DHS beats expectations with cyber security hiring spree

The Department of Homeland Security has hired almost 300 cyber security pros since May

The Department of Homeland Security has announced the largest cyber security hiring initiative in its 20-year history. 

The DHS onboarded has almost 300 cyber security professionals and made another 500 tentative job offers since May, it said in an announcement this week, exceeding its initial recruitment targets by 50%. 

The hiring initiative was part of a 60-day Cybersecurity Workforce Sprint designed to build a more diverse employee base, DHS said. It included targeted outreach to hire from under-served communities, including people of color. It was part of a series of sprints that Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced at the RSA conference in March. 

The initiative doesn't signal the end of cyber security recruitment at the DHS. It only filled 12% of its current vacancies in the field and it's looking to fill a total of 2,000 cyber security roles. 

The next initiative will be an Honors Program that will recruit recent cyber security-related graduates for one-year professional development positions in preparation for permanent full-time positions. That will begin this month. 

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the cyber security arm of the DHS, will also expand an existing campaign targeting schoolchildren with cybersecurity skills. This will use a partnership recently announced with Girl Scouts of the USA to educate girls in grades 6-12. 

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The US is not the only country eager to encourage more cybersecurity skills. The Australian government recently announced a series of projects to improve skills among cybersecurity professionals. 

(ISC)², which specializes in government security, reported a year-on-year reduction in the workforce gap in its 2020 Cybersecurity Workforce Study last November. The global cyber security workforce had grown to 3.5 million, it found, sending the worldwide skills gap to 3.12 million from 4.07 million.

Nevertheless, employment in the field still needed to grow by 41% in the US to fill the talent gap, it said. The US is doing better than the global average. Organizations around the world must boost cybersecurity recruitment by 89%, the report warned. 

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