What is NICCS?
NICCS is the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies. It is an online resource for government, industry, academia, and the general public to learn about cybersecurity awareness, education, careers and workforce development opportunities.
Why do we need NICCS?
There is a lot of cybersecurity information on the web. However, in many cases, it is hard to tell how credible the information housed on those websites actually is. NICCS serves as that resource to provide the nation with credible and real-time information related to cybersecurity.
What are some of the key features on NICCS?
The Portal includes a plethora of information, including information about:
Awareness resources, such as a Cybersecurity How-To Guides
Education resources including curricula, multimedia, and reference materials for teachers, a listing of cybersecurity degree programs, scholarship opportunities, and information on cyber competitions;
Training resources, including the interactive training catalog; and
Careers resources, including career roadmaps, which show how to enter and progress in a cybersecurity career.
The goal of NICCS is to provide a single online resource for anything related to cybersecurity.
About NICE and the Framework
What is NICE?
The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) is led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), but is a collaborative effort across more than 20 federal organizations including, DHS, DoD, DoED, NSF, and ODNI. NICE aims to raise national awareness among the public about the risks in cyberspace; develop and maintain an unrivaled, globally competitive cybersecurity workforce; and broaden the pool of skilled and educated workers capable of supporting a cyber-secure nation.
What kind of work does NICE entail?
NICE is represented by four components:
- National Cybersecurity Awareness
- Formal Cybersecurity Education
- Cybersecurity Workforce Structure
- Cybersecurity Training & Professional Development
I’ve read a couple things on your site about the Framework. What is that?
The National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, commonly referred to as “the Framework,” is the foundation of the NICE effort to standardize the cybersecurity field. It has found growing acceptance as a standard resource to define and understand the nature of work in the cybersecurity field. The goal of the Framework is to standardize the cybersecurity lexicon in order to build a globally competitive workforce. The Framework outlines 31 functional work specialty areas, grouped into seven categories, within the cybersecurity field. To learn more about the Framework, see the page about the Framework.
What is cybersecurity?
More than ever, people rely on the Internet for everything from basic communications, to making transportation reservations, to entertainment. With each click of the mouse, citizens risk their online security if they have not taken the proper precautions to protect themselves and their Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Cybersecurity involves protecting that information by preventing, detecting, and responding to attacks.
How does this affect me?
When you cross the street, you look both ways to make sure it's safe. Staying safe on the Internet is similar. It takes some common sense steps. DHS's Stop. Think. Connect. campaign outlines this importance and the impact of awareness.
STOP: Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.
THINK: Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety, or your family's.
CONNECT: Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you've taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.
What can I do to make myself and my family safer online?
While there are no sure ways to protect yourself from a cyber-attack, there are some simple steps you can take to help keep your PII private.
Set secure passwords and don't share them with anyone. Avoid using common words, phrases, or personal information and update regularly.
- Keep your operating system, browser, anti-virus and other critical software up to date. Security updates and patches are available for free from major companies.
- Verify the authenticity of requests from companies or individuals by contacting them directly. If you are being asked to provide personal information via email, you can independently contact the company directly to verify this request.
- Pay close attention to website URLs. Pay attention to the URLs of websites you visit. Malicious websites sometimes use a variation in common spelling or a different domain (for example, .com instead of .net) to deceive unsuspecting computer users.
Learn more tips and tricks in our Cybersecurity How-to Guide.
What can I do if I want to report a problem?
If you need to report a problem, please send us an email at NICCS@hq.dhs.gov.
What is the best degree for me if I want to get into a cybersecurity profession?
If you are interested in entering the cybersecurity field, visit our Degrees page to find the degree programs that most often lead to a cybersecurity career.
What are Cyber Competitions and how can they help me?
Cyber competitions are interactive competitions that test participating individuals’ cybersecurity skills and help them develop and increase their interest in cybersecurity careers. The competitions help foster talent in potential cybersecurity professionals that might otherwise be unidentifiable through traditional academic means. Cyber competitions became popular starting in 2005 and there are currently 35 competitions across the U.S. that DHS has identified. To learn more about Cyber Competitions or to find one that might be right for you, visit our Cyber Competitions page.
How can Cyber Competitions benefit industry?
Cyber competitions are cost-effective, expandable and provide a high return on investment (ROI). Companies that sponsor competitions have the opportunity to find potential candidates through “visual resumes,” essentially observing skills in action during competition. This can help build the future workforce because employers are able to see how individuals respond to real-life situations.
I am a student. What can I do if I want to get more involved in cybersecurity activities?
One way students can get more involved is through Cyber Competitions. Cyber competitions are interactive, scenario-based competitions that help participating individuals develop cybersecurity skills and increase interest in cybersecurity careers. Cyber competitions foster talent in potential cybersecurity professionals that might otherwise be unidentifiable through traditional academic means, and encourage mentor-led atmospheres where participants can practice and hone cybersecurity skills in a controlled, real-world environment. DHS CEO aims to identify U.S. based cyber competitions to analyze which cybersecurity knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) and specialty areas (SAs) the competitions test and promote, based within the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (the Framework). Learn more at the Cyber Competitions page.
Additionally, students can also get involved with the Cyber Camps and Clubs. Camps and clubs range from after school activities during the school year to week long summer camps where you live on a college campus. Either way, camps and clubs use robots and computers to teach programing, security, and engineering lessons. Some camps even end with a competition amongst the robots that students built themselves! Camps and clubs are a great way to learn in a hands-on environment. Visit the Cyber Camps and Clubs page.
As a teacher, what resources are available to me to learn how to better teach cybersecurity?
If you are a teacher interested in learning more about integrating cyber into your lesson plans, please visit our Cybersecurity Curriculum page, which will tell you about some of the resources available to you.
How can I learn more about the cybersecurity career paths and what would best fit my interests?
If you are interested in a career in cybersecurity, visit the Career Roadmaps page. This page contains an easy-to-navigate interface that allows you to learn how you can enter and progress in any of the 26 publically-accessible specialty areas.
What is Talent Management?
Talent Management is a holistic view of human capital that includes functions of workforce planning, talent acquisition, talent engagement, talent development, deploying talent, leading talent, and retaining talent. Talent Management is about both who you need and how you get them - both planning and execution. Learn more on our Talent Management page.
Cybersecurity Training and Certifications
What types of courses are listed in the training catalog?
The courses in the training catalog are those that are cybersecurity focused, or science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) focused. Each course is mapped to the Framework and associated knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to allow users to search for courses that fit their needs.
Will my employer accept the certifications listed here?
The NICCS portal cannot guarantee that a course or certification listed in our catalog will be useful in your current position. In order to determine whether a training or certification is accepted for your current or desired position, we suggest you speak with them prior to taking the course.
I want to list my organization’s training. How can I do that?
You can find out more information about how to list your organization’s training, including the criteria it must meet, and what you can expect, on our Training Submission page.
Cybersecurity News and Events
Where can I find information about cybersecurity events?
Information about cybersecurity events is available on our News and Events page. This page includes events that are cybersecurity focused and are based in the U.S. The events range from cyber-focused conferences, to Cyber Competitions and camps to extra-curricular activities.
I want to list my organization’s Event. How can I do that?
NICCS allows certain categories of cybersecurity events to be considered for being listed in the NICCS portal. This includes:
- Cybersecurity conferences
- Cybersecurity panels
- Cybersecurity trainings
- Cyber camps
- Professional speakers talking about related issues
- Cyber competitions
- Cybersecurity workshops
If you are interested in listing your cybersecurity event on our portal, please also note that it has to meet a list of specific criteria. This includes the following:
- Event supports the mission and vision of NICCS
- Event supports cybersecurity-specific, STEM-focused studies or a related discipline
- Event does not have ties to any one political party or sponsorship.
- Event organizer or sponsor is peer-reviewed, government, or industry qualified
- Event lists sponsoring agency or institution
- Event lists qualification requirements
- Event lists attendance qualification requirements
- Event lists attendance fee
- Event lists location
- Event lists synopsis of purpose and learning objectives or goals
To learn more or to submit your event, please visit our News and Events page.
Where can I find information about relevant cybersecurity research?
Information about cybersecurity research is available on our Research page. This page includes research that is cybersecurity focused and only include articles from peer-reviewed publications.
I have some interesting cybersecurity research I’ve done. Can I submit it here?
You can submit your research for inclusion on the NICCS portal. If you want your research to be considered, please keep in mind it must meet the following criteria:
- Research supports the mission and vision of NICCS
- Research is cybersecurity-specific or STEM-focused
- Review Criteria
- Research is based on a qualified scientific study
- Research is already published
- Publishing institution is peer-reviewed, government or industry qualified
- Required Information
- Description of the research and/or executive summary is provided
- Name of the publisher is provided
- Purchase fees (if applicable) are provided
If you are interested in listing your cybersecurity research on our portal, please visit our Research page to learn more.
Other Cybersecurity Questions:
I can’t find the information I’m looking for—can someone help?
If you can’t find the information you are looking for, please email us at NICCS@hq.dhs.gov and we will either help point you in the right direction, or if we do not have that information on the portal, determine whether or not we should.
What are some other resources I can look at to learn more?
The government has a number of resources available to the public to learn more about protecting yourself. You can visit DHS’s Stop. Think. Connect. website to learn more about cybersecurity awareness. DHS also offers specific tips about keeping your email, phone, and social media accounts safe at http://www.dhs.gov/files/events/cybersecurity-tips.shtm. You can also find additional cybersecurity resources through the following sites:
- US-CERT at http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/. See the links below for additional information about cybersecurity.
- On Guard Online. (http://onguardonline.gov/)
- National Vulnerability Database (http://nvd.nist.gov/)
I saw a word on your website and I don’t know what it means. Where can I find a definition?
If you need to find out more information, check out our Cybersecurity Terms Glossary.