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National Academy of Science: Professionalization Project

What does it mean to be a cybersecurity professional?

Cybersecurity is an occupational field that has not yet evolved to have formal qualifications, regulatory governance or oversight. Is cybersecurity ready to be professionalized across the Nation? If so, how do members of the cyber community determine how much professionalization is needed? Should the federal government lead this effort single handedly?

Research conducted to date, has identified how various occupations are professionalized. For example, descriptions of professionalization show that common professional elements need to be in place, such as a core body of knowledge. In addition, professional associations are needed to help set training, education, and ethical guidelines. However, the path toward establishing these elements has varied for each occupation. Furthermore, different levels of professional maturity can exist, and provide organizations a framework for determining career pathways, and competencies.

What's Next

The government is exploring the professionalization of cybersecurity by opening a national public conversation on the merits of professionalizing certain specialty areas of the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. To do so, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is partnering with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Professionalization of the cybersecurity workforce is an integral pathway to credentialing, licensing, and training opportunities for the nation’s workforce and the NAS study will yield key foundational insights. The upcoming November forum in Washington, DC will be the committee’s first discussion on cybersecurity professionalization merit and approach. Learn more about the November 8 meeting. You can also learn more about professionalization here.