Cybersecurity professionals ensure that North Carolina’s most private and important information, and critical infrastructure is maintained and secured. Governor Cooper has proclaimed this week, November 9-14, as Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week in North Carolina to bring awareness to this profession.
“This week, we want to take the opportunity to celebrate the vital role that the cybersecurity workforce plays in our society. With technology improving every day, it is important to recognize the diverse, highly skilled individuals that enhance the state’s security and promote economic prosperity within the cybersecurity industry,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Throughout the week, we want to focus on educating the public on the demand, opportunities, and various careers available within the area of cybersecurity.”
During a pandemic, the cybersecurity workforce has been more critical to society than ever before, as residents are going online to work, learn and seek health care. This workforce is also instrumental in the protections of our state’s public safety networks, health systems, water, financial systems etc. A monthly report from NC Tech showed that the increased use of cloud technologies, as a result of remote working conditions related to COVID-19, has led to a significant increase in demand for cloud capabilities and the ability to demonstrate cybersecurity and data privacy capabilities to compete in today’s environment and gain consumers’ digital trust.
“We want to take this week to inspire and educate North Carolinians of all ages, educators, parents and employers on career opportunities in the field of cybersecurity,” said Thomas Parrish, IV, acting secretary and state chief information officer of the North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT). “The flourishing industry will only continue to grow and offer more jobs and paths for the future professionals of North Carolina.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce ranks information security analysts as one of its Five-Star Jobs, projecting it to experience significant net job growth of 36% over the 2018-2028 period. North Carolina currently has more than 20,000 listed cybersecurity jobs open. A cybersecurity workforce shortage is expected to continue to grow for the near future. This deficit could be filled by local talent if exposed early to available educational resources for career entry. North Carolina is home to numerous colleges and universities that have met the rigorous criteria required to earn the National Security Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education designation for their various degree programs. For a list of certified programs, visit https://www.caecommunity.org/
In addition to a variety of degree and certification programs at community colleges and universities throughout the state, NC Works, the state’s workforce system, has created various apprenticeships and training programs to prepare jobseekers for careers in cybersecurity.
As an example, the Cumberland County Workforce Development recently recognized graduates of a Cybersecurity Pre-Apprenticeship program for young adults ages 14 through 25. The Raleigh-based ISG Cybersecurity Talent Development teamed up with the Cumberland County Workforce Development to prepare and train cybersecurity professionals and help young adults establish a career path early in the IT industry. Currently, the Capital Area Workforce Development Board is recruiting candidates for its own ITAP (Information Technology Apprenticeship Program), with ISG Cybersecurity Talent Development. The program combines classroom learning with real-world experience, so students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become successful IT professionals. NCDIT has also partnered with ISG on a Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program specifically for disabled veterans.
Citizens interested in cybersecurity jobs can view current listings at www.ncworks.gov.
As part of the cybersecurity work that NCDIT conducts, the agency recently launched CyberSecureNC for Schools & Students, a website and educational effort dedicated to helping school administrators, teachers, students and parents with the transition to working and learning remotely and doing it in a safe and cybersecure way. This is a part of it.nc.gov/CyberSecureNC, the agency’s statewide effort to promote being cybersafe as well as what to do if you become a victim of a cyberattack. Residents can also dial 211 if they suspect they are the victim of cybercrime and be put in contact with a trained specialist to assist them with best practices and support.
It is important to show cybersecurity is a job you can have as early as possible, especially when it comes to girls and women, who are historically underrepresented in STEM fields, specifically cybersecurity. To help reduce this gender gap, NCDIT supports Girls Go CyberStart, part of CyberStart America, a virtual, national competition for high school girls. Registration is now open for the 2021 competition.
For more information on Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week and the work at NCDIT, visit it.nc.gov/CyberSecureNC. For more information about cybersecurity education and programs, please visit www.nist.gov/itl/applied-