Searching for the next generation of government IT security pros

Hiring managers in the federal IT market continue to grapple with the issue of finding qualified professionals, but those already employed in the field say they have experienced substantial stability and opportunity, according to a new survey.

Findings from (ISC)²’s 2012 Career Impact Survey revealed that information security professionals employed by the public sector report nearly full employment, combined with career advancement opportunities and pay raises in 2011. On the other hand, a majority (83 percent) of those hiring for these positions say it’s extremely difficult to find qualified candidates.

Forty-two percent said the average time to find and hire the right candidate is one to three months; 33 percent said it could take three to six months to find a skilled recruit; and 17 percent reported it could take longer than six months.

Related story:

IT certification gives federal job seekers an edge

Nearly 97 percent of the 545 surveyed government information security professionals are working, and only 8 percent were unemployed in 2011. Sixty-two percent said they received a salary increase in 2011, and roughly half said they expect one in 2012.

The survey also showed that the top three skills federal hiring managers are looking for are certification and accreditation (68 percent), operations security (55 percent), and telecommunications and network security (53 percent). CISSP (96 percent), Security + (68 percent) and GIAC (18 percent) were the top three certifications among respondents.

The majority (83 percent) of hiring managers said an understanding of information security concepts is the most important factors in their hiring decision, followed by technical skills (82 percent) and related experienced (78 percent).

Having a college degree (37 percent) and having an appreciation for emerging technologies (32 percent) were among the least important factors for those hiring for information security positions, the survey found.


About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.


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