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Government: Cybersecurity IT Skills Scarce

The government is looking for security IT pros versed in certification and accreditation, but having trouble finding them.
More than half of government cybersecurity managers say it's "very challenging" to find candidates with the right skills and the right amount of experience for new jobs, according to a new survey by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium ((ISC)2).

In a survey of 175 U.S. government security managers (a group that was just part of a larger survey on cybersecurity careers), the (ISC)2, a non-profit that certifies information security professionals' skills, found that finding someone with the right skill sets and experience is the most difficult part of the process.

That's a critical gap, as almost 60% of respondents said they would be hiring new permanent and/or contract employees for cybersecurity work over the coming year. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, recently announced plans to hire as many as 1,000 new cybersecurity workers over the next few years.

In particular, the survey found, the government is looking for cybersecurity pros skilled in certification and accreditation, security architecture and models, applications and system development security, and operations security.

About 61% of respondents are looking for workers skilled in certification and accreditation, which is a key aspect of the Federal Information Security Management Act, the regulation controlling government cybersecurity.

Though properly skilled and experienced candidates are hard to come by, 56% of respondents said that finding the right candidate was only somewhat difficult, as opposed to the 23% who said it was very difficult.

Though the government may pay a bit less than the private sector, cybersecurity jobs hiring managers also said that it was only somewhat challenging to meet salary expectations, and less so to find a candidate who's willing to withstand a lengthy hiring processes or to commit long-term.

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