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What Does it Mean to Professionalize Cybersecurity?

“Professions” have a certain character or status that set them apart from mere “jobs,” and typically require that individuals within the profession have met established educational, legal, or other recognized standards for the field (e.g., licensure). For example, medicine is a highly professionalized field, with recognized educational, experience, and licensing requirements placed on individuals before they can legally practice as a doctor, nurse, or physician’s assistant. Currently, cybersecurity roles are not as universally defined and training is not as standardized.

The Department of Homeland Security supports the professionalization of the cybersecurity field, because properly trained and placed cybersecurity professionals are critical to protecting our nation’s networks, infrastructure, and information.

Professionalization guides formal education and curriculum requirements that academic institutions develop to best prepare their students. Upon completion, these students then possess the requisite skills and abilities to successfully perform specialized roles within private or public organizations.

What Does this Mean for You?

Cybersecurity is a term that encompasses a broad field of work—a field that is in the midst of rapid growth and change. What began as an offshoot of IT and security functions is currently evolving into a robust and diverse group of jobs. There are multiple ways to structure and define this evolving field:

  • Employers and Hiring Managers - learn about the Workforce Framework and related tools to help define the occupations with your own cybersecurity workforces.
  • Academic Institutions - help link the knowledge and skills in the Workforce Framework with curricula that prepare learners to join the cybersecurity workforce.
  • Current Cybersecurity Professionals - check out the NICCS Training Catalog and find courses to meet your learning and professional growth needs.

Last Updated: December 29, 2015