Cyber attacks from our nation’s enemies are on the rise and these attacks have the very real potential to compromise the country’s IT infrastructure. In response to this immediate threat to our national security, the federal government is seeking IT professionals for a growing number of information security jobs. Now more than ever, a cybersecurity degree is a promising path to a stable career defending our nation.
Cyber Attacks at All-Time High
The Internet has connected us globally and streamlined operations and efficiency in virtually every field. However, we have paid a price in information security for this connectivity. Cyber attacks are increasingly sophisticated, and even the most complex virtual defenses are eventually corrupted by hackers.
From global cyber powerhouses like China, Iran, and Russia and foreign militant groups to rogue domestic vigilante groups like Anonymous, our nation’s IT infrastructure is threatened from all sides. For the next several years, the federal government is ramping up its defensive efforts, as well as preventative intelligence-gathering strategies.
As a result of this expansion, cyber experts are in high demand by a variety of federal agencies. After graduation, students with a cybersecurity degree will find themselves in a unique position to help defend their country from these malicious cyber attacks.
Information Security Opportunities
According to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the United States is facing a shortage of skilled, technically proficient Information Security professionals. Skilled workers are needed, both to work with and strengthen existing frameworks and to design new, more secure systems.
As the New York Times reports, the Pentagon is increasing its team of cybersecurity experts on the recommendation of the head of Cyber Command in the Defense Department. This move will add four thousand new information security positions, growing its task force by nearly 450%.
With this expansion, this robust cybersecurity task force will divide into three main branches:
- National Mission Forces (to protect national cyber infrastructure and power grid)
- Combat Mission Forces (to initiate cyber attacks on foreign adversaries)
- Cyber Protection Forces (to defend and secure the Pentagon’s internal systems)
Available positions vary, as do their respective education and work experience requirements. Generally, a cybersecurity degree or a degree in a related field is required for employment consideration, along with at least one year of past work experience.
National Security Agency (NSA)
The NSA is currently looking for information technology professionals to help protect our national interests in cyberspace, both by defending government IT systems across the country and gathering and exploiting the intelligence of foreign government hacking.
While on-the-job training depends on a combination of the skills of each candidate and the demands of each position, the National Security Agency is looking specifically for professionals with backgrounds in the following fields:
- Computer Science and/or Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
On-the-job training is also available through the NSA. The extent of the training will depend on the specific expectations of each position and the qualifications of applicants.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
The Cybersecurity Division of the DHS is also recruiting information security professionals with specific skills. Desired skill sets include:
- Cyber Risk and Analysis
- Digital Forensics
- Systems Vulnerability Detection
- Investigation and Intelligence
In addition to the security of our cyber infrastructure, the DHS is also concerned with engaging Americans in the public sector with the shared responsibility of cybersecurity. The DHS emphasizes training and education so that citizens and businesses are equipped to assist federal efforts by securing their own data.
Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
The FBI employs a team of cyber experts who work closely with international law enforcement agencies to protect our cyber interests.
To be considered, many applicants are required to hold a master’s degree or specified training. Some positions may require up to one year of real-world experience in one of the following disciplines/fields:
- Computer Science, Forensics, or Engineering
- Information Assurance or Technology
- Electrical Engineering
- Cyber Investigations
- Ethical Hacking
- Network Administration
Available positions in FBI cyber security include:
- Cyber Special Agent
- Cyber Intelligence Analyst
- Computer Scientist
- Information Technology Forensic Examiner
Highly competitive FBI cyber internship opportunities, which provide intensive on-the-job training, are also available.
Cybersecurity Degrees Lead to Both Job and National Security
Malicious hacking isn’t going anywhere—and because of the government’s recent initiatives to rise up and meet these challenges, neither are stable jobs in information security.
Regis University offers an online or on campus cybersecurity degree designed to give graduates tools to defend federal and public organizations of all kinds from both foreign and domestic cyber threats, and to adapt and change along with changing technologies.