Cyber Talent Revolution

By Coleen

Evolving Cyber Systems Need New Talent

Every day each of us is dependent upon the use of components of integrated cyber systems to interact with others via a smart device. These systems use new and emerging technologies that allow us to communicate, collaborate, work and learn remotely or virtually. For instance, demands are increasing for the expansion of cyber-physical systems (CPS), those engineered systems built from, and dependent upon, the seamless integration of computation and physical components. These are not the information communications technologies we have grown accustom to. Rather, CPS’s offer new concepts of how utilizing these emerging and integrated technologies will transform the way people interact via these complex systems, just as the internet had transformed the way people interact now. The use of these systems can drive innovation in a range of domains including agriculture, aeronautics, building design, civil infrastructure, energy, environmental quality, healthcare and personalized medicine, manufacturing, and transportation. The integration of artificial intelligence with CPS will also create new opportunities to serve major societal implications as well. As Cyber Proud explores industry shifts and trends, we hope to learn and share emerging workforce opportunities and a greater understanding of skills that make these systems work.
Achieving Meaningful Workforce Change
The Cyber Proud Talent Revolution will celebrate our greatest asset “digital natives.” Today’s young adults have grown up immersed with the Internet, digital media and digital devices that do just about everything. They understand too well the role, and necessity, these have played in their lives, and will continue to. Insecurity Magazine suggests that the future of cyber security may very well rest on the shoulders of digital natives “Unlike older generations, who treated the concept of technology as something foreign and unnatural to their way of living, digital natives have chosen to embrace technology as a permanent constituent of their way of life. Moreover, digital natives are so well acquainted with the advent of technology, the acknowledgment and acceptance of cybercrimes come naturally, along with more active involvement in solving problems, so that better data privacy can be exercised…digital natives have brought forth a revolutionary change within the cybersecurity spectrum by focusing their attention on the formulation of a robust cybersecurity culture that sees an equal distribution of assets and labor to each aspect of a security infrastructure.”  
Everything from streaming videos to ordering from post-nets, everyone has become more dependent on these systems, and even more now inlight of Covid-19. We are feeling the added burden put on those systems as well as the evident inequities of access.
And…The Need for More Cyber Workers
Is there an adequate training and educational ecosystem to meet this growing demand? As it becomes imperative that more people are trained to design, build, maintain and secure these systems, Cyber Proud’s primary purpose is to serve as the conduit to connect this ecosystem of education and workforce providers to the industry who needs the talent. Today, the number of unfilled cyber positions continues to grow and is projected to be 3.5 million by 2021 (Herjavec Group). Even more troublesome is that for every 100 cybersecurity jobs there are only 48 qualified candidates, many of whom are already employed (Emsi,2020). At times, this prevailing narrative of the cyber workforce crisis creates the impression that all organizational players are vying for the same talent to enable them to solve the same sorts of problems of network vulnerability. This narrative contains some truth, but it also glosses over the ways in which industry needs differ from mere cybersecurity to the demand for the design, security, and maintenance of IT systems. These functions are defined as “actions taken to design, build, configure, secure, operate, maintain, and sustain communications systems and networks in a way that creates and preserves data availability, integrity, confidentiality, as well as user/entity authentication and non-repudiation” .  As with national security operations in domains other than cyberspace, however, cyberspace operations include defensive and offensive functions that engage and counter adversaries directly. Research indicates that successful cyber candidates need a body of technical knowledge of computers and networks, but they also need knowledge in auxiliary areas such a legal and regulatory policy. The criteria involved in recruiting for civilian or military in most case is the same as there are many similarities in the labels given to the key skills and ability cited. 
Knowledge transfer and diversity will be the keys to this talent revolution. As cyber workforce supply gap grow, how can Cyber Proud through its network ensure that there is a well mobilized training and educational ecosystem to meet this growing demand. Knowledge transfer and diversity will be the keys to this talent revolution. It is our imperative that more people are trained to design, build, maintain and secure cyber systems. Cyber Proud’s primary role is to serve as the conduit to connect this vast ecosystem to education and workforce development players to the industry who needs the talent. As well we will provide guidance on best practices, nationally recognized frameworks, curriculum and training programs including apprenticeships. Additionally, Cyber Proud will leverage its network to expand access to high demand industry certifications. 

As the first priority of Cyber Proud, we will develop a Mentor Network to help cultivate this next generation of our workforce. As a reflection of our communities, this generation of cyber workers should be inclusive, diverse, and representative of the people it serves to meet the needs of our economy, our communities and our society as a whole.  Learn more and sign up here. CYBER REVOLUTION.