Training the Next Generation of Cyber Elites

Training the Next Generation of Cyber Elites
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The instructors and course designers who shape our cyber program are informed by an incredible breadth of experience. They’re pen-testers, threat hunters, and reverse engineers working for government agencies in the civil, defense, and intelligence spheres, as well as Fortune 50 automakers and other high-tech manufacturers. 

They’re people like Tim Nary and Fred Frey, winners of multiple titles in the Capture the Flag competitions, where cyber pros from around the world compete to outthink, outwit, and outhack one another. Tim and Fred both serve within Booz Allen’s Dark Labs, where elite hackers take on advanced work supporting the frontlines of the intelligence community.

That operational depth and breadth uniquely positions Booz Allen to see—and train for—the needs and threats emerging on the horizons of the entire cyber landscape.

Most universities base their cybersecurity curriculums on a taxonomy called the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. It defines the various cyber professions, and provides authority on what skills are necessary to perform them. Andrew led the Booz Allen team that worked with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to write it.

Now he helps ensure we offer training resources for each job the framework defines, and at every skill level. Booz Allen’s workshops, courses, and boot camps provide people opportunities to gain the skills they need to advance within their current roles, or to move from one cyber discipline to another. They also give those from nontechnical backgrounds the chance to enter the field and move up the ladder.

Our strong cyber instruction program makes us a top employer in a job market where about 300,000 cybersecurity positions are currently unfilled, according to CyberSeek, an online cyber jobs tracker. When SANS Institute named Booz Allen one of the “Best Places to Work for Cyber Elites,” our professional development offerings were a major reason.

Those offerings are open to anyone—but some of the most desirable skills in cyber are personality attributes, Micah says: “Persistence. Motivation. Determination. An inquisitive mind.”

Andrew concurs. It was his motivation to solve the world’s cybersecurity skill deficit that inspired him to go from practicing cyber disciplines to designing programs that teach them.

“With cyber incidents, when you look at the fundamental root causes, it almost always boils down to a people problem,” he says. “You can have the best technology and the best processes, but if you don’t have people trained to use and understand them, cyber criminals are going to kick your butt. I don’t like getting my butt kicked.”