Over 600,000 cybersecurity jobs are vacant in the U.S., a staggering and troubling statistic as adversaries and criminal stateless actors take to the digital world to carry out attacks. Just last week, Vietnamese hackers carried out a coordinated cyberattack on U.S. lawmakers, United Nations officials, and CNN journalists. These attacks happen around the clock, and with over half a million jobs left unfilled in this crucial sector, the need to hire the right people with the right skill sets has only increased. 

AstrumU and NPower are two organizations focusing on closing the gap.  

“It’s not enough to start from zero and build up this force. We need to reskill existing workers if we’re going to close the gap,” Retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Chris Starling explained. “One way is to recruit those people leaving the military.” 

Starling is the AVP at NPower SkillBridge, a DOD-approved program that provides transitioning military members in the last six months of service with training and credentialing. Service members leave the military with industry-recognized certifications in hand. The program then connects them with employers who take them on board.  AstrumU also partners with NPower SkillBridge, helping service members translate their military training to civilian roles. 

While reskilling transitioning military members is essential, hiring and training civilians is also a top priority. “AstrumU is on a mission to quantify the return on educational investment for learners, education providers and employers,” John Bersentes, Director of Federals Sales at AstrumU said. Bersentes also serves as Communications Co-Chair for the NICE Cybersecurity Career Ambassador Program.  

“We’re looking to inform and engage the public around the demand, the opportunities, and the multiple career options available to join the cybersecurity workforce and really to demystify those careers, ultimately trying to build a more diverse workforce,” Bersentes explained. “We find that there are a lot of underserved communities, underrepresented groups where maybe getting that degree isn’t affordable.  

Marc Menninger also works for AstrumU as the Principle Information Security Officer. “I would encourage people, if you’re interested in getting into cybersecurity, you need to understand the field. It’s helpful to have an idea of what career you’re interested in pursuing,” he advised.  

“What are the hiring managers looking for as a penetration tester? What types of skills, what types of certifications? You have to understand the field.” Menninger breaks down the different pathways for cyber careers in his online courses.  


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