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FCW : October 2016
October 2016 FCW.COM 49 floppy disks. In sixth grade, we’re using flash drives. And now we’re doing cloud-based storage.” Bruno heard of USCC through friends and classmates, and contacted the camp as soon as he found out about it. “I definitely gained a lot out of it,” he said, and the expe- rience influenced the classes he wants to take in his final undergraduate year. “I feel more ahead of the game prep- ping myself for my courses [senior year], with the amount of material they were able to teach us in a week.” Bruno’s team won the capture-the-flag competition at the Delaware camp and was invited to Washington, D.C., for a cybersecurity conference, where they were introduced to government officials. Bruno also was an intern at Holt Logistics, a port com- pany based in New Jersey, for about year. Although he would like to continue working there, he admits that being exposed to federal officials at the camp and in Washington piqued his interest in government work. “Knowing that the government is showing interest in [cybersecurity], my interest is definitely there,” he said. He added that government officials’ appearance at the camp “shows everyone is trying to step up to the plate.” With one year of college left before he enters the work- force, Bruno represents the next, yet-to-be-hired generation of cybersecurity analysts. Although he has not yet made up his mind about his professional future, he would like to see federal agencies identify and reach out to other IT specialists earlier in the process. He said the potentially lower salary and lengthy hiring process were not deterrents, just “an extra step you have to take.” Making cyber pros a priority If the government is serious about filling its cybersecurity gaps, Evans said there are creative ways agencies can take advantage of what the camps have to offer. “Part of the challenge is the government has to get cre- ative,” she said. “A lot of these kids want to [work for gov- ernment]. It’s making sure the CIOs...understand that they have the authorities to hire them.” For instance, the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014 gives agencies streamlined hiring authority to bring in skilled IT professionals. And in July, President Barack Obama released the first federal strategy to boost the cyber workforce. Evans also pointed to the importance of taking advantage of programs such as USCC and reaching out to prospective cybersecurity professionals early. Bray cites himself as an example of the benefits of joining the government early. “That’s probably how they got me,” said Bray, who started working at the Energy Department when he was 15 years old. Bray said the memories of his experience influence the way he hires IT specialists. “I’ve really tried to re-create those experiences,” he said. “That’s how you attract talent. You allow them to make an impact, you give them autonomy, then they tell their friends about it.” Other government agencies are doing community out- reach as well. For instance, representatives of the Federal Trade Commission made an appearance at a trio of Las Vegas hacker conferences that host thousands of members of the information security community. “I would say if [agencies] lack IT specialists, it’s usually because it’s not been seen as a priority that you need to make hires in that area,” Bray said. “When people have left, I’ve made the case to backfill to replace them.... Some agencies aren’t as intentional about replacing them.” Many members of the next generation of cybersecurity specialists want to feel like a priority. Fiorille said appear- ances and in-person pitches at events like USCC and the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition will ulti- mately benefit agencies, and word will spread. “When I was looking around [for a job], I talked to some of my peers and my mentors as well about what they’ve seen,” he said. “I was looking for someone who was invest- inginmeasmuchasIwasinthem.” n “A lot of these kids want to [work for government]. It’s making sure the CIOs... understand that they have the authorities to hire them.” — KAREN EVANS 1016fcw_046-049.indd 49 10/11/16 2:40 PM
September 30, 2016
November and December 2016