Wanted and Urgently Needed: Cybersecurity Pros to Serve Their Country
Author, Federal Career Coach®
June 12, 2018
Why is the federal government so concerned about hiring more cybersecurity workers, faster? Consider the failure-is-not-an-option stakes: the security of the internet-connected national electric grid; the electronic transactions – measured in trillions of dollars per day – that are the lifeblood of our economy; and the integrity of election systems that are the essence of our democracy.
The bottom line is that the federal government needed to hire legions more cybersecurity professionals – yesterday. In fact, the worsening cyber talent shortage prompted the secretaries of Homeland Security and Commerce to send a report to President Trump on May 31, detailing urgent skills gaps. Across public and private sectors, there are more than 300,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States; this number is expected to balloon to 1.8 million by 2022, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.
More good news for job seekers: Some of these vacancies are posted with direct hire authority, meaning the process is expedited by omitting competitive ranking and rating and certain other time-consuming procedures. Further, in a May 23 memo, Jeff Pon, director of the federal Office of Personnel Management, said the agency will consider implementing direct hire authority for even more cybersecurity jobs.
As of early June, more than 200 cyber vacancies appear on USAJOBS. These are great opportunities for IT professionals with varied levels of experience and education – opportunities to help defend their country against some of the most consequential national security threats of the 21st Century.
Here are just a few of the federal career opportunities in cybersecurity that are currently begging for qualified candidates.
- Information Technology Specialist, a direct hire posting, paying $47,686 to $103,656, with openings at various locations from Miami to Alabama to Fort Eustis, Virginia.
- Cyber Threat Analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency, paying $54,308 to $94,939, in the Washington, D.C. metro area. (A posting for the same Cyber Threat Analyst appears on the CIA’s own career site, which parallels USAJOBS but offers additional information about working at the agency.)
- Management Analyst with the U.S. Army Cyber Command, paying $96,970 to $126,062, in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
- Capabilities Assessment Officer with the U.S. Army Cyber Command, paying $134,789 to $164,200, in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
All of these positions come with big career potential, including upward mobility and opportunities to move to other federal departments and agencies that are also deeply engaged in strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity or in other cutting-edge IT specialties. Especially for technology-intensive roles, Uncle Sam makes big investments in its Civil Service employees, from on-the-job training programs to support for graduate studies.
WHAT FEDERAL EMPLOYERS ARE LOOKING FOR
Veterans’ preference is not considered for direct-hire openings, but it does apply for many other cybersecurity vacancies, and military experience can be a big plus for your application.
Many cybersecurity hiring managers are looking for a year or more of specialized experience, but an advanced degree can substitute in quite a few cases.
Cyber workers often need some form of security clearance, and a significant number of sensitive roles require Top Secret. But you’ll cross that bridge when you come to it.
And as with any civil service job, there will be more bureaucratic bridges to cross, even for an expedited, direct-hire position.
HOW TO GET HELP WITH YOUR APPLICATION
The Resume Place can help you navigate your candidacy for a cybersecurity position, especially with the first step: your federal resume, which must be very detailed and conform exactly to the format established by the government.
To get started, get in touch with us or read my Federal Resume Guidebook 6th Edition. Cybersecurity is a fantastic choice of profession, and the Civil Service is a great place to advance your career!