Fresh-faced with my English degree in hand on graduation day, I would have never believed it if you told me that I’d embark on a successful, decades-long career in cybersecurity. For one thing, the discipline of cybersecurity was barely defined at the time, but also, because I never would have imagined joining a technical field without a technical college degree.
Considering the dire state of the cybersecurity skills gap, it’s a good thing I did pivot to a career in security. The shortage of cybersecurity professionals around the globe has never been more acute. Research by (ISC)2 places the estimate at just under 3 million with roughly 500,000 of those positions located in North America. Couple this with the continued explosion of threats and the industry is in dire need of support.
The government has taken note of this need and, in response, developed the Federal Cybersecurity Reskilling Academy. With this program, federal employees can gain hands-on training in cybersecurity, one of the fastest growing fields in the country. This reskilling effort is part of the administration’s commitment to developing a federal workforce of the 21st century, as outlined in the President's Management Agenda and the recent government reform plan. The Federal Reskilling Academy received 1,500 applicants for its first class and kicked off its three-month curriculum April 15. It’s worth noting that the inaugural class was made up of current federal employees who do not work in the IT field and was designed to help them build foundational skills in the field of cyber defense analysis. Like me, many of these participants will take a non-traditional path to succeeding in cybersecurity.
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