CybersecurityAs demand for cybersecurity professionals grows, shortages are felt

Published 4 August 2010

Federal agencies, contractors, and tech companies compete with each other for cyber security work force; measuring the size of the cyber security sector is difficult, but surveys show demand for technical expertise is skyrocketing; the number of jobs posted on by companies and recruiters looking for professionals with active federal security clearances has jumped 11 percent to 6,100 openings this year from fewer than 5,500 in the same time period last year; Maryland wants to become U.S. cybersecurity capital

While unemployment lines remain high elsewhere, SafeNet Inc. is one Maryland employer that is hiring. The Belcamp cyber security firm has more than 100 job openings for consultants. So far this year, though, it has only been able to fill four of those positions.


This is because there are many opportunities in cybersecurity but not enough qualified workers to take advantage. As the federal government, contractors who support federal agencies, and private companies ramp up spending to secure complex computer networks, they are all competing for a tight pool of high-tech specialists and workers with government security clearances (see “Shortage of cyber workers in the U.S.,” 22 July 2010 HSNW; “U.S. government encounters shortage of skilled cyber-security workers,” 7 April 2010 HSNW; and “U.S. cybersecurity efforts hobbled by shortage of cyber experts,” 23 July 2009 HSNW).

They’re just hard to find,” said Joe Moorcones, SafeNet’s vice president of cyber security. “Everybody’s going after them.”

The Baltimore Sun’s Gus G. Sentementes writes that the shortage of job candidates has prompted Maryland state officials to craft strategies for creating a capable workforce. Economic development officials hope to step up marketing to lure cyber security companies and workers to Maryland, while educational efforts are being ramped up, too.

The University of Maryland University College in Adelphi is launching a cyber security curriculum this fall, with a bachelor’s and two master’s degree programs. Community colleges in Maryland also are offering students certifications in cyber security-related tracks (see “Maryland wants to become cybersecurity’s Silicon Valley,” 13 January 2010 HSNW).

In Maryland, one of the biggest employers in cyber security is the National Security Agency at Fort Meade. The federal infrastructure there is expanding.

Last week, federal officials announced a $10 million grant to create a National Cyber Security Center of Excellence at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, which would allow private industry and government to collaborate on digital security standards.

Sentementes notes that the federal government is not the only one hiring. At ARINC Inc. in Annapolis, for example, company officials anticipate needing to hire 200 to 300 cyber security professionals over the next couple of years to work for their commercial and military customers.

Vice Admiral Bernard “Barry” McCullough III, head of the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command, also based at Fort Meade, said recently that he needs to recruit