Checking the pulse on the future of our cyber workforce was the subject of a livestream discussion , hosted by Northrop Grumman, which featured experts from academia and industry who challenged stereotypes and highlighted what’s working in the national drive to recruit tomorrow’s cyber workforce.

Moderated by Tom Temin, anchor, Federal News Radio, the discussion featured Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, president, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Eric Conn, co-founder and CEO of Leverege (part of the bwtech@UMBC Cync program), and Lauren Mazzoli, cyber software engineer, Northrop Grumman.

With a global projection of 1.5 million unfilled jobs over the next five years in cyber security, many are calling the increasing shortage of workers a national crisis.  They discussed how candidates can get into the field, what keeps them there and what industry expectations are for cyber professionals.

Hrabowski said that anyone can do math or computer science and we have to stop classifying kids as good in math or science – or not. “We use the word grit. We have a house of grit (at UMBC). It’s about how hard you are willing to work, to ask questions, to get involved and to get help … We have a lot of humanities majors who are taking more computer science or information systems courses and they also can enter this field … We have to get Americans to understand that anybody can get involved in this work.”

 “The cyber mission we support here is ensuring the safety and security of our military.  That’s what drives me,” said Mazzoli.

When asked about what industry is looking for in a cyber professional, Conn said, “Fundamentally it comes down to passion."

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Pulse on Building the Cyber Workforce
Tom Temin, anchor, Federal News Radio, moderated the conversation between Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Lauren Mazzoli, cyber software engineer, Northrop Grumman and Eric Conn, co-founder and CEO, Leverege.