What is Professionalization?
Cybersecurity is an occupational field that has not yet evolved in terms of qualifications, regulatory governance, or oversight. The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) is exploring the merits of professionalizing job fields in alignment with the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework.
To date, research conducted has provided a historical overview of how various occupations have professionalized. Professional associations are used to set training, education, and ethical guidelines; however, the path toward establishing these elements has varied. NICE will examine the formal approach and context for establishing professionalization standards.
For more information on research conducted on the history of Professionalization, please refer to:
- A Historical Overview of How Occupations Become Professions
- A Path Towards Cybersecurity Professionalization
The cybersecurity field and the nation, has reached the point of asking,
- Is cybersecurity ready to be professionalized across the nation?
- Which jobs within the cybersecurity field should be professionalized and to what degree?
- Should the federal government lead this effort single handedly?
NICE, through DHS, has sponsored a study conducted by the National Academy of Science(NAS) titled, Professionalizing the Nation’s Cybersecurity Workforce: Criteria for Future Decision-Making. An ad-hoc committee has been established by NAS to conduct a study that will consider approaches to increasing the professionalization of the nation's cybersecurity workforce. It will examine workforce requirements for cybersecurity and the segments and job functions in which professionalization is most needed; the role of assessment tools, certification, licensing, and other means for assessing and enhancing professionalization; and emerging approaches, such as performance-based measures. It will also examine requirements for the federal (military and civilian) workforce, the private sector, and state and local government.
Three public workshops have been held in the course of the study as the principal data-gathering mechanism to obtain input on professionalization pathways from education and training institutions and public and private sector employers of cybersecurity workers. The committee developed the respective agendas, select and invite speakers and panelists, and moderate the discussions. Subsequently, the committee will prepare a report drawing on information and insights gained from the workshops. The report will characterize the current landscape for cybersecurity workforce development and set forth proposed criteria that federal agencies participating in the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education -- as well as organizations that employ cybersecurity workers -- could use to identify which specialty areas may require professionalization and to evaluate different approaches and tools for professionalization.
Visit the NAS site to find out more about this project.