Yesterday afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden welcomed the University of Central Florida’s cyber defense team to the White House to congratulate them on their victory in the 2014 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Beating out more than 2,000 students from over 180 schools, the Central Florida team members demonstrated their ability to protect complex networks from skilled cyber criminals.
Joined by the Director of the Secret Service, the President’s Cyber Coordinator, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Director for National Security and International Affairs, the Vice President underscored the vital national security and economic need to prepare Americans for jobs in cybersecurity.
As more and more sensitive information flows across electronic systems and networks, new platforms have to be designed, built, and maintained to protect that information. While some businesses specialize in cybersecurity, industries like financial services, healthcare, and retail transmit valuable information over their computer networks and therefore require increased focus, investment, and a growing number of trained professionals to secure their systems, data, and intellectual property. That’s why a robust cybersecurity workforce is a fundamental prerequisite for protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure and the intellectual property that supports our innovation-based economy.
To support a strong and growing cybersecurity workforce, the Administration has taken key actions like launching the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education in 2010, to coordinate the development of a skilled cyber workforce across the federal government and foster cyber education partnerships with academia and the private sector.
And following his across-the-board review of America’s approach to job training, the Vice President presented his report to the President that specifically highlighted paths forward to develop the pipeline to train cybersecurity professionals. Academia, government, and industry are strengthening their partnerships to ensure that cybersecurity education provides the necessary skills for a diverse set of in-demand cybersecurity jobs. Opportunities like the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition are strong contributors to workforce development, raise the visibility of cybersecurity as an occupation, and highlight the sometimes overlooked “cool factor” for cyber defense.