NSA: Looking for a Few Good Cybersecurity Professionals

At a time when cyberattacks on America's critical infrastructure have increased 17-fold (between 2009 and 2011), the need for highly trained cybersecurity professionals is acute. However, 83% of federal hiring managers in a recent survey said it was extremely difficult to find well-trained cybersecurity professionals and a projected shortfall of 20,000 to more than 40,000 people is expected in the years to come.

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[Lt. Greene] "Something changed. Once we got wrapped up in the research everything just kept getting more and more interesting. We spent a lot of time in the lab and, well, our weekends got cut very short. We realized that our capabilities were getting better; me as a computer scientist, our electrical engineer, the GIS person we had assigned to the group. Everybody was getting better at programming, at figuring out how the system works, at designing software. I started programming in different computer languages including Ada, Java, Python, C, Perl scripting, C++ and now Mathlab.

Have you been able to give any feedback to the NSA that might help the agency?

[Lt. Greene] "Definitely. We gave our results and our code back to the NSA. They looked at it and said 'Wow, this works! Let's do some further testing . . . ' "

Growing our nation's cybersecurity professionals

As Deborah Curry, the Service Academy Program Coordinator, added, "We are preparing tomorrow's IT professionals. We are also preparing people so that they can live safely by creating a more aware population. You know, people who know what we know or learn what we learn here are a lot more security conscious - and cautious - but we are also helping to create a safer environment, a safer world for everyone else."

And, although NSA's Service Academy Intern Program is for military students, the agency has a wide range of opportunities for other students as well. More information is available online.

Smith is a freelance writer. He can be reached at dirkADsmith@gmail.com.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

This story, "NSA: Looking for a Few Good Cybersecurity Professionals" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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