There's a worldwide shortage of cybersecurity professionals. The White House and private companies are working to turn the trend around.
According to the ISC2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2022, the estimated 4.7 million professionals in the field is an all-time high. Unfortunately, that number is not nearly enough to effectively secure assets: The study reveals that the world needs 3.4 million more cybersecurity workers; further, 70 percent of cybersecurity professionals said their organizations don't have enough cybersecurity employees.
To address the shortage of qualified IT security workers in the US, the White House recently revealed the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy (NCWES). The first-of-its-kind plan calls for government officials to both open foundational cyber skills to Americans and address the underrepresentation of women and other minority groups in the field. The ISC2 report reveals that women younger than 30 years old account for just 30 percent of the cybersecurity workforce. That number drops to 24 percent for women between ages 30 and 38.
According to the White House, the NCWES aims to leverage adaptable ecosystems to effect change at scale, enable the lifelong development of cyber skills, and grow and enhance the cyber workforce by improving its diversity and inclusion. To achieve those goals, the plan includes four pillars:
- Equip every American with foundational cyber skills.
- Transform cyber education.
- Expand and enhance the national cyber workforce.
- Strengthen the federal cyber workforce.
The initiative includes commitments from private companies, such as Google's $20 million pledge to train students for key cybersecurity jobs. Google's plan, which began in October 2022, trains students with diverse backgrounds at 20 higher education centers across the US in cybersecurity.
Universities also seek to solve the dearth of cybersecurity professionals. The University of Louisville has brought together the "Pathways Coalition" of schools (including University of North Florida, University of Arkansas-Little Rock, Kentucky Community & Technical Colleges, City University of New York, and Hood College) to provide a program offering cybersecurity certificates, badges, and specialized course bundles. The coalition is funded by the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity.
Finally, through its MIND Cyber Security Training Program, Check Point Software has committed to training 1 million people in cybersecurity by 2028.