I chose to co-chair the Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council Workforce Committee because I am compassionate about the people I serve, and I believe that a fortified workforce is the most critical component to success. Without significant, ongoing investment in and commitment to people, we do not only run the risk of losing a return on our technology investments, we also jeopardize our ability to effectively protect the interests of our American constituents. As its mission is to serve the American people, the Federal Government must be on the forefront to ensure that the United States has a dedicated workforce capable of protecting American interests in cyberspace. This is essential, as IT and cybersecurity are woven into every aspect of our lives.
Cybersecurity is expected to see a 64% increase in projected job growth and IT occupations are projected to grow 12% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This workforce shortage is not limited to the United States. The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) projects that there will be a global shortage of two million cybersecurity professionals by 2019.
Unless the Federal Government identifies solutions to share information, hiring practices, resources—even interview practices and hiring standards—we continue to put ourselves at risk for a less-than-adequate workforce to defend the security of America’s infrastructure and resources. The Department of Health and Human Services and other Federal Agencies are looking for dedicated civil servants from a younger generation, which is very “now-centric” and accustomed to immediacy in technology. Recruiting this generation with mission and vision, while asking them to endure an extensively long hiring and onboarding process, will be difficult.
To address some of these challenges, the Workforce Committee chose a multi-agency hiring event as its top priority in 2017. The product of this effort is the first-ever, government-wide Federal Tech/Cyber Hiring and Recruitment Event that will take place at the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza on November 6 and 7. Over 2,500 IT, cybersecurity, and policy professionals are forecasted to attend, and over 30 federal agencies will be collaboratively recruiting, interviewing, and hiring candidates to ensure the U.S. maintains a long-term IT and cybersecurity advantage.
The event supports national-level efforts to respond to the May 11, 2017 Presidential Executive Order to Strengthen the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure and other legislation such as Federal IT Acquisitions Reform Act (FITARA) and Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act (FCWAA).
Going forward, the CIO Council Workforce Committee will continue to work with agencies across the Federal Government to identify and define critical IT and cybersecurity role categories and competency requirements, through which we can adopt a standardized, mature, and holistic IT human capital lifecycle approach (position descriptions, job announcements, development, and performance management, etc).
As a community, we will also focus efforts on growing and sustaining the Federal workforce including working with private industry and academic institutions to ensure that training and education standards are preparing the next generation with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities. The CIO and Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) communities must continue to partner to comprehensively address IT workforce business needs and legislative requirements while reducing duplication, increasing information sharing, and ultimately improving our ability to attract, develop, and retain world-class IT talent.