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US Not Training Enough Cybersecurity Experts 112

graychase writes "Homeland Security's cybersecurity director, Richard Marshall, warns that universities aren't turning out enough cybersecurity experts and urges greater scholarship funding. 'Look at all the great football and basketball programs. They're all on scholarships. They're not playing for fun — they're playing for money.'"
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US Not Training Enough Cybersecurity Experts

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  • Training? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @12:04PM (#31612042)
    Shouldn't they be recruiting them from the trenches or simply luring script kiddies into the evil clutches of our federal government with promises of "no bedtimes", "free games, pizza & soda" and "no one here will make fun of you because everyone here will be like you"?
  • by rindeee ( 530084 ) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @12:08PM (#31612124)
    Working in the industry and hiring new Cyber talent on a weekly basis, I'd say that the author's aren't looking in the right place. We find the best, most talented folks are coming out of the military. These ladies and gentlemen are very disciplined, highly trained and have real (very real) experience not only within the ranks of military cyber operations, but most also have a good deal of experience in the intelligence community. They all have a great deal of experience (and preference) with open source tools, but understand the proper application and integration of COTS products as well. Anyway, my two cents.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 25, 2010 @12:26PM (#31612484)
    I see your point but the contrast isn't always that stark.

    I recently quit my job as an IT Manager for a large resort. I was expelled from school in the 8th grade and never got a GED. When I quit I was making $50k. Never a day of college in my life.

    There is a small cache of people out there that hold many things higher on the ladder than money that also put their convictions into practice..... of course, if I would have had a wife and children, I probably wouldn't have made the decision to quit--- just for their sake... but since it was just me, I felt that although I did a great deal of work there, that my 'work' didn't really qualify in the way I wanted it to... What I am saying is that I felt it was wrong for me, being 24 years old, to be making over double that of which so many people there, double my age were making, when in fact they put in more physical work in 1 single day than I did in an entire week. It became a daily struggle to have to fend off the mental insinuations ushered in by the rest of the management there that I was 'better' than the other people simply because my skillset allowed me to circumvent hard honest labor while exceeding the contemptuous honest laborers in monetary gain.

    What I am trying to say is that people making millions of dollars for contributing so little to society are doing a massive disservice to themselves in the long run. When they have to look back on their lives I am pretty sure it is a tough experience if they are honest with themselves-- and the alternative is just lying to yourself which also takes its toll on you, mentally. No amount of money can ever satisfy the troubled, guilty conscience. Ever wonder why so many 'successful' people are miserable bitter substance abusers?

    About a year after quitting that job I read this quote and it expressed my feelings very well:

    Governor Washburn of Wisconsin in his annual message, January 9, 1873, declared: "Some law seems to be required to break up the schools where gamblers are made. These are everywhere. Even the church (unwittingly, no doubt) is sometimes found doing the work of the devil. Gift concerts, gift enterprises and raffles, sometimes in aid of religious or charitable objects, but often for less worthy purposes, lotteries, prize packages, etc., are all devices to obtain money without value received. Nothing is so demoralizing or intoxicating, particularly to the young, as the acquisition of money or property without labor. Respectable people engaging in these change enterprises, and easing their consciences with the reflection that the money is to go to a good object, it is not strange that the youth of the state should so often fall into the habits which the excitement of games of hazard is almost certain to engender."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 25, 2010 @12:27PM (#31612500)

    That might be the case, but it's equally as hard to find a cyber security job. I graduated from a Center of Excellence with a Master's in Computer Security and Information Assurance. Due to the scholarship I've been working with DoD and I've gained my clearance through them. I've sent job applications to NSA, DHS, ARL, NRL, DARPA, etc. and have not heard one response aside from DHS saying I wasn't the most qualified candidate. I even have my 8570 certifications now for IAT 2. Everything is so C&A focused it's a bear to find any real cyber security work - I've certainly been trying to move toward it. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but from my experience the job positions just aren't there, regardless of need.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday March 25, 2010 @01:12PM (#31613344)

    The best, most talented aren't coming out of the military. The military has some stringent guidelines on physical health and background that a lot of people don't make the grade for, but nonetheless are well-suited for the work. Anyone with asthma, short-sighted, or is gay, or bad credit, etc., are all ineligible for military work. I should know -- I am one of those "cyber security" experts, and I did look into joining the military, but was ruled ineligible. The talent pool that the military can recruit from is significantly smaller than total pool size.

    And as anyone in IT will tell you, overspecialization can kill your career; You need to remain flexible, continually expanding your skillset, and often find yourself in peripheral fields because a job isn't available in your field of choice. Many of us wind up taking help desk positions when five years ago we would have been network administrators, simply because of consolidation, outsourcing, and the fact that IT in general does poorly in a recessionary economy. A lot of that talent we had moved into other fields that have better job security, and they are no longer trained to current requirements. This is a side-effect of capitalism and is neither good nor bad, but it does shrink the pool size.

    If the Department of Homeland Security wants more people to choose from, they need to either lower their requirements to what the job actually requires, or they need to consider liasoning with the Department of Commerce, trade, etc., and funding IT projects that will bring people back into the field and increase the pool of currently-trained and available workers, or they raise the amount they're willing to pay, offer training, etc.; Like the medical field does. The Department of Homeland Security needs to offer a career path, not just a job, in that scenario. Otherwise, what's the point?

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!