Cybersecurity and Government Jobs
Government Cybersecurity Jobs Offer Opportunities to Join the Industry
When most people hear cybersecurity, their minds might not necessarily go straight to a government cybersecurity desk job. They probably think of one of the high-profile data breaches that have rocked private companies. From small businesses to global enterprises, companies everywhere are trying to shore up their defenses against hackers and other cyber threats. Damages from cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021.1 But the private sector isn’t the only place cybersecurity expertise is in high demand. The U.S. government is searching for cybersecurity talent to keep their networks secure, and they are searching for experts in a strained marketplace.
There was already a gap of almost 3 million cybersecurity jobs globally at the beginning of 2019, and the government must compete against private companies to hire the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.2 If you’re looking to join the industry, a government cybersecurity role at the local, state or federal level might be just what you need to get your foot in the door.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the government cybersecurity jobs you can expect to find in this field and how you can get started on your career.
Local Government Cybersecurity Jobs
Cybercriminals don’t just go after high-profile targets. Local governments have been hit particularly hard by cyberattacks in the past — especially ransomware attacks. In only ten months, 140 local governments, police stations and hospitals had been held hostage by ransomware attacks in 2019.3 Local governments are desperately searching for the talent they need to keep from being overwhelmed.
Many local governments are now outsourcing their cybersecurity functions to private companies. These contractors usually serve in infrastructure or operational roles or assist with network monitoring and threat detection.
However, most local authorities still need experts in-house to liaise between them and their contractors and take responsibility for citizens’ data security. Local governments are also coordinating heavily with state and federal resources to ensure they have a defense against ransomware attacks and other types of crime.
Local governments generally need these types of cybersecurity professionals on their staff:
- IT Managers
- IT Security Specialists
- Information Security Analysts
- Network Security Engineers
- Security Engineers
- Application Security Engineers
If you want to work in a local government, you can usually apply at the city or county level. Major cities will have more job opportunities than smaller towns, but even your local library needs to secure its network.
State Government Cybersecurity Jobs
State governments are working to bolster their cybersecurity teams and form partnerships with the private sector to secure their data. Like other government levels, states are struggling to find the tech talent they need to fill their cybersecurity rosters. This has led to new investments and partnerships.
For example, in 2019, Massachusetts invested $300,000 to strengthen cybersecurity cooperation between municipalities.4 Other states have invested in cybersecurity training initiatives, incentive programs, and other benefits.5
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) even cited “Cybersecurity and Risk Management” as their top technology priority in 2020.6
Among their priorities are:
- Cybersecurity governance
- Budget and resource requirements
- Security frameworks
- Data protection
- Training and awareness
- Third-party risk
States are also hiring cybersecurity staff for other initiatives, such as securing their elections. As states continue to invest in more technology infrastructure, their need for cybersecurity professionals will only grow.
Federal Government Cybersecurity Jobs
The federal government is one of the most promising places to start a public sector cybersecurity career. Not only are there plenty of available positions, but the government offers incentives like student loan forgiveness just for serving.7 If you intend to move to the private sector, starting in a federal government job can provide you with the necessary experience and boost your resume.
Virtually every branch of the federal government needs cybersecurity expertise, but some of the most prominent government agencies include:
- The Department of Defense (DOD)
- The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
- The National Security Agency (NSA)
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Many of these agencies need to fill entry-level cybersecurity positions as well as advanced positions. The skills you acquire now will help you determine what path your cybersecurity career takes in the public sector.
For example, the Department of Homeland Security is looking for professionals with skills in:8
- Cyber Incident Response
- Cyber Risk and Strategic Analysis
- Vulnerability Detection and Assessment
- Intelligence and Investigation
- Networks and Systems Engineering
- Digital Forensics and Forensics Analysis
- Software Assurance
DHS has programs for students, recent graduates and entry-level cybersecurity professionals, making it an excellent opportunity for entry- and mid-level job applications. Even the FBI has an internship program for cybersecurity professionals.
But if you already have cybersecurity experience, you may be able to take on a more advanced role. Agencies like the FBI and CIA are always on the lookout for cybersecurity experts who have the skills they need.
Upskill and Fill the Cybersecurity Skills Gap
The cybersecurity skills gap is still widening. According to Info Security Magazine, the global IT security skills shortages passed 4 million just before the start of 2020, which includes 561,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions in North America.9
Governments at the local up to the federal level are searching for cybersecurity talent to fill their vacant positions and protect sensitive data. If you’re ready to step into the cybersecurity field, you can hone your skills with EmergingEd’s online cybersecurity courses.
Learn in-demand skills such as cloud security, cyber threat intelligence, network traffic analysis and more.
- Retrieved on August 6th, 2020, from tripwire.com/state-of-security/government/consider-career-government-cyber-security/
- Retrieved on August 6th, 2020, from techcrunch.com/2019/01/27/too-few-cybersecurity-professionals-is-a-gigantic-problem-for-2019/
- Retrieved on August 6th, 2020, from cnn.com/2019/10/08/business/ransomware-attacks-trnd/index.html
- Retrieved on August 6th, 2020, from govtech.com/security/Massachusetts-Governor-Announces-Cybersecurity-Program.html
- Retrieved on August 6th, 2020, from govtech.com/security/Connecticut-to-Invest-Federal-Money-in-Cybersecurity-Training-Ahead-of-Elections.html
- Retrieved on August 6th, 2020, from nascio.org/resource-center/resources/state-cio-top-ten-policy-and-technology-priorities-for-2020/
- Retrieved on August 6th, 2020, from studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service
- Retrieved on August 6th, 2020, from dhs.gov/homeland-security-careers/dhs-cybersecurity
- Retrieved on August 6th, 2020, from infosecurity-magazine.com/news/cybersecurity-skills-shortage-tops/