Federal Times

NIST gives cyber workforce a NICE framework for nurturing communication, careers

The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology has released the draft NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NCWF), a special publication it believes will provide building blocks for a trained workforce.

Developed by the NIST-led National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), with contributions from the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, the NCWF is intended to provide common language to categorize and describe the job titles, role descriptions and responsibilities, systems, and data of cybersecurity. 

The primary goal of this "workforce dictionary" is to assist organizations in defining and sharing information in a manner that helps U.S. employers more effectively identify, recruit, educate, train and maintain cybersecurity talent. In addition, the common framework will help current cybersecurity staff, educators and students considering a career in the field speak to each other in a more detailed, descriptive and consistent way, assisting in career planning.

The NCWF identifies the cybersecurity workforce as seven high-level categories, which are made of up of more than 30 specialty areas and more than 50 work roles defined by extensive sets of related knowledge, skills, abilities and tasks.

The terminology of the NCWF will inform how the federal government identifies its cybersecurity workforce — as directed by the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act of 2015 — and has already been incorporated into the CyberSeek jobs map and Career Pathways opportunity availability and planning tools announced Nov. 1 at the NICE Conference and Expo in Kansas City, Missouri.

The NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework draft can be viewed on NIST's website and feedback for the final version can be sent to ncwf@nist.gov until Jan. 3, 2017.

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