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Careers in Cybersecurity

According to U.S. News and World Report, the number of cybersecurity incidents at federal agencies rose about 780 percent between 2006 and 2012 as reported by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.  Additionally, CNNMoney states that nearly 50 percent of adults in the U.S. had personal information exposed by cyberattacks between May 2013 and May 2014, according to data tracked by the Ponemon Institute, a cybersecurity research firm.  Cyber threats, cyber attacks, cyber terrorism, and cyber warfare can have an adverse effect on public confidence, stock markets, economic and service sectors, and other national critical infrastructures.  As a result, the cybersecurity industry is expected to grow 22 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with many positions being offered by the government.

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Useful Skills within the Cybersecurity Field

As with any career, certain skills are required to be successful within your field of study. Below are some skills that may be applicable to a job within the cybersecurity field.

  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Career Options

To identify what education or training is typical for careers within the counter terrorism field, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on “Job Zone.”

As with all majors, the education you receive serves as a foundation of knowledge that prepares you for what you may face in the professional world. The career field you chose may require additional education or experience.

Getting Started: Internships

Gaining real-life experience is an ideal way to start a new career. The career services website has an extensive list of internships and fellowships. Browse through the internships - they are organized by interest or by federal program - and use the list below to find a few examples of organizations that offer internships for both graduate and undergraduate cybersecurity students:

In addition to the organizations mentioned above, there are government-organized internship programs, many of which require students to maintain either a half-time or full-time student status. The best ways to identify potential opportunities such as these is to contact branch offices directly, to search USAJobs.gov, or to look at the agencies’ career portals. Keep in mind that these positions are not always posted online, so direct contact with the agency is key.

Pathways

The Pathways Program is a federal initiative that offers internship programs for current students and training and career development opportunities for recent graduates. Recent graduates must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans, due to their military service obligation, will have up to six years to apply).The internship program for current students replaces the former Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)

PMF is designed to attract to federal service outstanding men and women from a wide variety of academic disciplines who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. To be eligible for nomination, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree from a qualifying college or university.

The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)

WRP is coordinated by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense, and aims to provide summer work experience, and in some cases full-time employment, to college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other federal agencies, each of whom makes a commitment to provide summer jobs and a staff recruiter. Each year, recruiters interview about 1,500 students with disabilities at college and university campuses across the nation, and develop a database listing the qualifications of each student.

Getting Hired: Government Agencies, Organizations, and Search Engines

There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with degrees in cybersecurity. The list below provides a few places on might find employment specific to this degree.

Keeping Current: Professional Organizations and Associations

Involvement in professional organizations is a great way to stay up-to-date on new technology, tools, and best practices in your field. Professional organizations are also a great networking opportunity. Below are a few professional organizations you may be interested in as a cybersecurity major.

Conferences and Expositions
Get Connected: Social Media

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Social media allows students and alumni the opportunity to connect with their fellow classmates, as well as professionals in their field.