One of the popular trends in cybersecurity and tech hiring today is the emphasis on reskilling and upskilling to place the right professional into the position. And that push is also alive and well at the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), where the cross-section of infrastructure and security means professionals with a variety of perspectives are in-demand.

Reskilling helped Jermaine Roebuck, deputy associate director at CISA, move into his current role overseeing analytic operations and internet responders.

“I really like to have new challenges come my way so I can solve the puzzle,” said Roebuck, CISA. “Here at CISA, there is never a shortage of puzzles to solve.”


But he didn’t start his tech career in critical infrastructure – or even cybersecurity.

“Early on in my career I was installing fiberoptic cable, crawling around in ceilings, so eventually I wised up and decided to go back to school,” he said.

That additional schooling lead Roebuck into a career in electrical engineering, and doing enterprise work as a federal contractor for several government agencies.

“As cybersecurity became more of a focus area, I went back and educated myself more and then gradually moved into cybersecurity,” said Roebuck.

That gradual move into his current high-level career is worth noting. It’s common today for veterans or entry-level professionals to attend a boot camp, obtain a few certs, and expect to walk into a high-level government position. But while certs help, it takes time to build cyber skills – and not every cyber professional needs a tech background at all.

“It doesn’t matter which background or which perspective you come from, because here at CISA we address threats across 16 critical infrastructure sectors,” said Roebuck. “If someone happens to have experience in the energy sector, or in water and pipelines, but no cyber experience, I find that we can train them to become cyber experts and their unique experience in working in a critical infrastructure sector is very valuable to our mission space.”

That’s because a key part of Roebuck and CISA’s job is responding to and investigating cyber incidents and attacks, helping to identify vulnerabilities and prevent future breaches, or triage them after they occur – and put new protocols in place to prevent them.

“Which to me is like one of the most exciting things in the world because we get to see very unique things,” said Roebuck. “We’re searching for threats, so we’re constantly hunting for bad guys and malicious activity within enterprise environments to determine what exactly these threat actors did in those environments, how they got in, and then we devise ways to eradicate them from these environments and then implement plans so that it makes it much, much tougher for them to access in the future.”


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