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The NICE Framework at the NICE Annual Conference and Expo

The 2022 NICE Conference and Expo took place in Atlanta, GA this past June. As to be expected, numerous sessions discussed the NICE Framework and how it is used to support cybersecurity workforce needs. NICE staff led two sessions in particular on the NICE Framework: a pre-conference workshop on “Using NICE Framework Competencies to Build a Better Cybersecurity Workforce” and a Community of Interest meeting of the NICE Framework Users Group.

Pre-Conference Workshop: Using NICE Framework Competencies to Build a Better Cybersecurity Workforce

The workshop was a full room, gathering people from industry, government, and academia together to learn more about what competencies — especially NICE Framework Competency Areas — are and what they offer; to discuss approaches for learners to demonstrate competencies and how education and training organizations can help evidence competencies; and to look at how to define processes for employers to identify and assess needed competencies for hiring and employee development. These topics were addressed via a series of short presentations aimed at encouraging attendees to consider these topics from various points of view and followed by tabletop activities and facilitated group conversations. Overall, what we learned from this event is the importance of recognizing that we are part of an overarching cybersecurity workforce ecosystem, and that connection is absolutely key as competencies are integrated in education and training and aligned to employer needs, and further supported when employers develop tools and plans for securing talent throughout the employee journey. We heard, too, how the NICE Framework serves as an important connection point among stakeholders. The common language and approach that is defined by the NICE Framework can serve as a tool on which regular processes and structures can be built, offering a way for us to grow together as shifting human resource practices focus more greatly on competency-based approaches to hiring and employee development.

But there is also agreement that there is still work to be done. Although there is agreement that we want to come together to find solutions to address common challenges, we are at early stages of defining approaches and processes. Ultimately, though, there was a broad recognition of the need to shift towards competencies to benefit both learners – by which we mean students, job seekers, and employees — as well as employers. The benefits of doing so include helping ensure that learners are prepared and ready to address the challenges of today and tomorrow, growing the workforce so that we can adequately address risks to our organizations and the nation, and recruiting a more diverse workforce. Something we must also do is understand the circumstances and struggles of our cybersecurity talent to better serve this community.

Birds of a Feather: NICE Framework Users Group

The NICE Framework Users Group met in person for the first time at the NICE Annual Conference and Expo, since its formation in January 2021. The full room engaged in an active discussion focused on promoting use of the NICE Framework, discussing key groups for outreach, and what kinds of activities would be most useful. Attendees emphasized the need to engage human resources professionals, including through professional associations, as well as shared ideas such as:

  • Integrating the NICE Framework in training, education, and certification provider curriculum
  • Storytelling to communicate the benefits of using the NICE Framework
  • Developing resources to support use of the NICE Framework, including case studies, aligned job descriptions, interview questions, using the framework to introduce K-12 to cybersecurity career paths, and a beginners’ guide

Join us in continuing these conversations! Visit the NICE Framework Users Group online.

Learn more: NICE Framework Resource Center

NICE eNewsletter Summer 2022

Created July 21, 2022