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Frequently Asked Questions

NICE and Our Community | NICE and You Career and Educational Topics |  Building Your Career |  Miscellaneous

 

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NICE and Our Community

  • Q: What is NICE?
    • A: NICE is the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education. We are headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD and our work focuses on efforts to close the hiring gap in the cybersecurity workforce. We are led by the National Institution of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and are a partnership between government, academia, and the private sector focused on cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development. Visit our about page for more information.
  • Q: How can I get involved with NICE?
  • Q: How do I join the NICE Community?
    • A: Our NICE Working Group and subgroups are the most active way to join the NICE Community. All groups meet virtually by teleconference and web meeting. We would welcome your participation. Visit the NICE Working Group website for more information. 
  • Q: How do I get in contact with NICE? 
    • A: Please email us at: nist.nice [at] nist.gov

NICE and You:

  • Q: What is the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework?
    • A: The NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, NIST Special Publication 800-181, is a national-focused resource that categorizes and describes cybersecurity work. Visit the NICE Framework website for more information about the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework including a copy of the publication and tools and resources for implementing and using it. 
  • Q: Will the NICE Framework be updated and how can I provide input?
    • A: The NICE Framework is a living document that will be updated periodically based on change requests to the NICE Program Office. NICE will consider recommendations (change requests) for expansion, update/correction, withdrawal, or integration of NICE Framework components using the process described on the NICE Framework Revisions web page.
  • Q: What is the difference between the NICE Framework and the Cybersecurity Framework?
    • A: The Cybersecurity Framework or Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (currently version 1.1) is a voluntary framework consisting of standards, guidelines, and best practices to manage cybersecurity-related risk [the how and what of cybersecurity]. The NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (see question above) describes and categorizes roles and functions [the who of cybersecurity]. Read more about connections between these two frameworks in an article featured in the  NICE enewsletter.
  • Q: What is CyberSeek?
    • A: CyberSeek  is a cybersecurity career “heat map,” providing detailed, actionable data about supply and demand in the cybersecurity job market. CyberSeek also features a career pathway tool that maps opportunities for advancement in the cybersecurity field. The information in the map and pathway align with the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. CyberSeek was developed by CompTIA in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies under a grant from NICE.
  • Q: Where can I learn more about cybersecurity jobs and careers?
  •  Q: Where can I find a list of the “appropriate industry recognized certifications” that have been identified by NICE as mentioned in the Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act?
    • A: Please see this list, which is compiled from current course listings in the Department of Homeland Security NICSS Education and Training Catalog. The course catalog provides a list of courses that are aligned to the specialty areas of the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. Our NICE Working Group Training and Certifications Subgroup is also working on a mapping of certifications to the NICE Framework. 

Career and Educational Topics

Building Your Career

  • Q: How can I build hands-on skills and gain experience?
    • A: Participating in cybersecurity related competitions, job shadowing a cybersecurity professional, volunteering in your community, and doing cybersecurity research or being self-taught all relate to job experience. Internships both in cybersecurity-specific roles and in “feeder roles” such as network management and IT help desk can help you gain important experience and skills. Apprenticeships are increasingly available in both cybersecurity areas and in these “feeder roles”. 
  • Q: What else can I do to be job-ready?
    • A: Employers often mention the importance of “soft skills” like communication and presentation-skills for a cybersecurity professional. NICE has a webinar devoted to this issue and tutorials on resume-writing and interview techniques.
  • Q: How do I network or connect with potential employers?
    • A: A good way to connect with possible job employers is to visit your local or community technology organizations such as ICMCP, InfraGard, ISACA, ISSA, TECNA, and DefCon, The National  Cybersecurity Student Association, OWASP, etc. Use social media such as LinkedIn to identify practitioners in your community and request a connection or suggest an “informational interview” to learn more about their role and career. You can also visit employer’s websites and look at their career section to spot open positions. 
  • Q: I have a degree in cybersecurity but am having trouble finding a job. What can I do to increase my chances?
    • A: First, examine your resume to be sure it properly highlights your skills and experience, not just your classes and degree. Next, get feedback on your resume and interviewing skills to eliminate either of those activities as holding you back. Great places for feedback are from professionals in the field; people you may know from industry groups or even professionals online who are willing to help mentor job seekers. It doesn’t hurt to ask for help. Check social media for groups where discussions like this are plentiful.
    • Many professionals report that it was only when they added a few industry-recognized certifications to their resume, in addition to their degree and some demonstrated real-world experience, that the offers came in. Set up an in-home lab so you can practice what you learn in the classroom; volunteer your time with community organizations who would benefit from your knowledge; stay current on the latest threats by signing up for alerts and newsletters. 

Miscellaneous

  • Q: I’m a veteran. How do I translate my skills, knowledge, and experience to civilian cybersecurity roles?
  • Q: I don’t have a security clearance, can I work in cybersecurity?
    • A: Not all cybersecurity jobs require a clearance, but many do. Most roles in the private sector do not require security clearances but those with sensitive government-related work might. Employers sponsor clearances and for a candidate with the right background and experience, their lack of a clearance will not be an issue; it just may require time to get the desired approvals. 
  • Q: How do I get a security clearance and what is its purpose?

Still have questions? Email us at nist.nice [at] nist.gov

Created October 17, 2018, Updated November 26, 2019