Security

The U.S. needs cyberwarriors

The U.S. has a shortage of cyberwarriors -- those who can find flaws in systems before those with ill intent find them.

If you're looking for an interesting field to get into that has some job openings, you might want to consider cybersecurity. Last week, NPR's Tom Gjelten reported on the shortage of cyber technicians and engineers.

According to Jim Gosler, CIA, a veteran of CIA, the National Security Agency, and who is currently working for the Energy Department, there are currently only about 1,000 people in the U.S. with the skills needed for frontline cyberdefense and that 20 or 30 times that amount are needed.

A report soon to come from The Center for Strategic and International Studies says the shortage is now desperate, with the United States losing ground to China.

To answer the need, officials are looking in a couple of places. First, they're turning their eyes toward cybercriminals. After all, who better to find flaws in your system than someone who can hack it?

Second, some members of Congress are promoting a U.S. Cyber Challenge, a national talent search to find up to 10,000 potential cyber warriors, ready to play both offense and defense. This would entail schools around the country to create technical teams that would compete against one another on being able to hack into other systems.

Makes sense. If you want to know where your vulnerabilities are, tap those who are the best at finding them through the same means as terrorists would.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

101 comments
timcl
timcl

I really hate this term. Can we think of a better one please?

Ryan_Fischer
Ryan_Fischer

If one wanted to make the switch to be a cyberwarrior from network administrator what kind of training would be recommended?

turtle975
turtle975

Umm... We already have a program like that. It has been in place for some time. There are even scholarships - you can get your education paid for and get a Federal Government job when you finish school. Here is a link to the program at my local university (UNC - Charlotte): http://www.coit.uncc.edu/sis/site/NSFSFS-Fall10.cfm There is also already a national competition as outlined in this post.

NexS
NexS

How-wude.

dawgit
dawgit

There is, however, a shortage of those capable of, and willing to work for that US Government. That is the real problem.

fashizzlepop
fashizzlepop

I am 17 years old and computers are my all-time passion. I love hacking and learnin abou security. Often I stay up all night researching and practicing. I am currently lookin into colleges and am wondering what would I need to do in order to prepare myself and make me a good candidate for these positions? Any ideas and conversation is much appreciated.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Or is that a faux pas when national security is involved?

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

If the U.S. really wanted cyber warriors they'd advertise for them, offer a decent wage and benefits package, and some kind of job security and they'd have plenty of people. The concept of employing a crook to catch a crook is exactly the wrong thing to be doing as a standard. There's enough unethical types in the I.T. feild, and the U.S. government and certainly don't want mor of them. There are a large number of I.T. types out there that could run circles around hackers that never engage in unlawful activities; and never come to anyone's notice.

RU_Trustified
RU_Trustified

Sure, if you pile on layers of complexity because of our broken security model, then of course everyone from the janitor and up will need a blackbelt in IT security. What we really need is just ONE guy who can figure out how to stop threats from exploiting vulnerabilities, not 20-30,000 cyberwarriors to stick their fingers in leaking dykes.

melias
melias

There is a built-in lag in our education/employment system. That is, new technologies are created/evolved today faster than our education system can train the employees for them. Since companies and the public sector would MOSTLY decide hire someone for such new tech rather than train someone for it, then a lag is created. Add in such financial blocks such as off-shoring and high-tech immigrant workers, and suddenly your lag becomes an even greater problem. Conultants and contractors can ease the burden somewhat. However, security sensitive positions such as the ones discussed in this article should not be filled with temporary workers, out-sourced or immigrant workers. In this situation, the best policy would be for the relevant agency(s) to actually be pro-active, find smart, active minds, both young and old for different points of view, and train/educate them to what you need them to be. This is the methodology used by military organizations across the globe. It is also the keystone of the master/journeyman/apprentice model.

jck
jck

I tried applying to be an air marshal. They wanted ex-law enforcement. I worked in black box projects. I was treated like a worthless lump of pork by the contractor. So, why would I want to use my skills anymore to promote national security? Seems unless you're credentialed or have an arrest record, the government doesn't want anything to do with you anymore. I'll just keep focusing on moving to rural America, and living a quiet, sedate life while the power mongers and ladder climbers play their games. I can always play games without an internet connection.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

near anyone talking about "cyber"-something these days has little understanding of what they are talking about or is trying to sell something. I agree; come back and talk to me about "cyberworriors" when they're all layed out on cots and plugged directly into the network.

kent.manley
kent.manley

Hello Ryan, For DoD, there is a document called the DoD 8570-1m, which you can find easily on the web. It essentially breaks down responsibility to tech, manager, and intrusion analyst positions (three broad categories of employee documented in the instruction.) These fit roughly into the OPM 2210 career field, although there are also 1500-series, 0132 series, and others who have roles in the cyber arena, including program management and program execution functions. I believe Department of Homeland Security is developing their own best practices plan right now, but you can poke around the US Cert - and DHS - web site to see what kinds of experience and training they're looking for. If you can demonstrate facility with a base operating system - either linux or windows certified - as well as essential information assurance/network analysis/forensics, or straightforward forensics training and experience, you have an excellent start. In addition to these, having characteristics of loyalty, trustworthiness, and character which can be verified through background/security checks can only work in your favor. You can find positions by looking on USAJOBS, and DONHR websites (I don't know the sites for Air Force or Army). Use keyword cyber, info assurance, or info security.

posejc
posejc

Well first of all being a Network Admin does not qualify you for anything but that!..unless you have some programming skills behind you - ie: DOS, UNIX, RPG, PL1, SAAL, COBOL, Pascal, on ad infinitum!.. You will not really understand how the 0 and 1 work to get into Hacking someone's computer.. Sure there are tools as a Net Admin that you can use (ie: sniffers, switches, etc..) but those do not teach you the real way to get into someone's computer obstrusebly and intrusively (using all ports available!) and at this time - there are few and far between colleges courses that will teach you "Social or Ethical Hacking!" - Period!.. Its a skill thats learned from a young age - people who can sit for hours decoding or encrypting messages (cryptographers for examples) might be a good candidate - but you have to know the entire layers not just the OSI models - and Hardware (what makes it tick!) - the modern hacker is usually a young kid out to prove how great a programmer he/she really is - and secure a job with the NSA, CIA, FBI once they make a deal with the DA's - so what is the punishment for Hacking!.. get a job with the highest agencies in the world - thats the punishment - getting back to your question - I have no doubt your a good Network person (probably have MSE, CCNA, CNA, A+, Net+ ad infinitum certifications right?) - but its an entirely different mindset - one of being unscrupulous and foolish but knowing that the outcome outweighs the hacking..Not taking anything from your expertise in IT - but who knows - you might be right on track. Best of luck Ryan - Nothing ventured - nothing gained - and the outcome is bright!.

posejc
posejc

I have been in computers since 1973 - yes I am old - and the technology has amazed me. From the time we had computers with 8K of memory to now having watches with more power than that -from PCM (Punch card Machines) and keypunching all your data and sorting it out on trays and IBM System III Computer room with DASD equipment - now to WiMAX - and the young one's learning how to do: "Ethical Hacking" - what is that? just to prove your prowess at computing? and then get hired by the FBI? what kind of slap on the wrist is that!..Ok Johnny!..don't do that again.. now go work in the NSA room for a while!.. - now does that shows why we have few and far between "Ethical Hackers" Courses in College?..you kidding me?.. this is just the top of the Iceberg - Call it what it is: Espionage - not cyberwarriors - no such thing!..just as a common thief breaks into your home - so are hackers - we have let TCN (Third World Countries) get into our systems - look at the Nigerian Connections (419) - How often do you recognize it in your email? - for the US to become A+, MCSE, CCNA, etc.. qualified - you must pass a rigorous test of in debt computer knowledge (tis all down to the 0 and 1 after all!) - and yet not being able to get paid - once I made $30 an hour for my skills - now with the same skills - I get lucky if I can get a job paying me $9 an hour?..wonder why we have few people wanting to learn IT (Information Technology) and becoming a mechanic (pays more!) - where are our priorities? - you would think on the latest technology we so claim to be ahead of everyone else - yet China as beaten us to our own game - India is not far behind. I worked for HP and many a times I had to go to major corporations to repair systems - and guess who was there? Indians, Pakistanis, Skrilankans, Chinese, Americans are not filling the IT positions in the US!..its not offshored or outsourced - its given to the talented and power hungry TCN (Third Country Nationals) who immigrate to the Land of Milk and Honey!.. Call AOL Hot line - who answers?.. some Indian somewhere in Mumbai (Bombay) or Gurion!.. don't let there lack of being able to properly speak the Queen's english fool you!.. they know how to get into a system - whereas we have been left behind and wondering WTF happened to the IT Field!..we graduate more mechanics now than ever before!.. Cyberwar needs talented people - 9/11 - thought us a lesson we seem to forget - let alone hitting us with hard targets - we are dulled into our senses that America will fall withinn - let me tell you one thing - it already is!.. they are here and now and slowly strangling our economy our way of life!..When are we going to wake up and smell the roses?.

Professor8
Professor8

Nope. There's not even a shortage of those able and willing to work directly or indirectly for the US federal government. I'd much prefer them to some of the unethical projects I've heard advertised by GE, Siemens, the "social networking" sites, etc. At least defense is constitutional... and it is, you know, defense, rather than offense.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

He lives in the US and maintains citizenship. Granted, he wouldn't want the job. He was the obvious pick for Czar but realized the job had not authority to actually make changes and the US gov wouldn't want to hear what he has to say because it wouldn't justify there high budgets and ongoing theater show. Red Beard has also been approached by mil and turned the job down flat.

Professor8
Professor8

Study and practice and buy references on math. Look in the library for info on advertising and other con artists. You only need a little of that, and you've probably already picked up a middling amount from the net.

Professor8
Professor8

Maybe we should ditch UNIX (in all its flavors and variants) and Windoze, and seek to design something more elegant and defensible.

lishchuk
lishchuk

"...to stick their fingers in leaking dykes. " - so true! Instead of fixing the cause they try to fix consequences... I'm always smiling watching stereotyped Hollywood movies depicting a hacker breaking a bank in seconds... Did the movies created such a huge myth? Vast majority of hackers just reuse special tools written by a small group of really smart guys. And security breaches are mostly result of human negligence... The most important thing in security is not a qualification, but devotion and honesty of guards. The fastest way to have a lot of new 9/11 is hire hackers. P.S. Just braking M$ monopoly could increase security many times.

Professor8
Professor8

We're "them". We're "they". WE are the men in black, the 1st, last, & only line of defense against the worst scum of the universe.

Professor8
Professor8

So, melias from Batavia, how are those thousand US citizen STEM workers the Indian promised to hire just to your west near Milford coming along? The last media reports said they'd hired 300, 250 of those from US colleges and universities, but pointedly did not say how many of the 300 US citizens. As it is, I think I'd rather work for a federal contractor like Raytheon or Northrup..., anyway, if I could reach a hiring manager through all of the barriers they've erected. Better yet would be if the US software product development firms hadn't been ravaged and had a wider base across what far too many consider to be "fly-over country". Instead, all that turn up in my searches of the job boards are bodyshop after bodyshop, with very few exceptions (like Apple and Adobe).

teeeceee
teeeceee

An old Steppenwolf tune came on my Sirius radio the other day, the song, "Monster". As I listened to it (nostalgically) I could not help noticing how current the old lyrics are. "There's a monster on the loose. Its got our heads into a noose!" Could we apply those lyrics to this thread? As companies outsourced IT jobs, and overworked the people that managed to stay employed in the remaining ones, the IT career path became less desirable for students entering college. That has created the shortage of entry level IT prospects in this country. Add that to the fact that colleges just do not have IT security tracks for IT students, and what do you have, that Monster on the loose. It is time to play catch up, which in itself is almost impossible to do, given the fast pace of IT change. "And it just sits there watching." "America, where are you now, we can't stand alone against this monster."

rcaraway
rcaraway

Register at: https://www.avuecentral.com/casting/aiportal/control/mainmenu as many UASJobs listings, which include Army and Federal positions, will eventually require you to apply or have a profile with AVUE. And you can set up personal searches, also. USAJobs has been known to leave closed positions posted, kind of upsetting to jump through several hoops into a brick wall. FWIW, Ron

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Not at all the level of detail that someone will need to understand and that Hackers naturally gravitate to undestanding that level of detail. The Hack your way into a job is far more myth than fact though. Also, the community is far richer than just some kids at home hoping to make a DAs deal and get hired. Security and even Computer hackers are only a part of the greater list of areas of interest that the Hacker mindset is applied to.

Ocie3
Ocie3

were here and are here on HS1b visas, which basically makes them salary-slaves of their employers. They don't immigrate and eventually become US citizens unless they marry a US citizen. Instead, eventually they return to their home country and usually get a well-paying job as a college professor, teaching their students everything that they have learned both academically and by experience. How do you think that India acquired so many people with IT expertise?? The same for China. WE taught them everything that we knew, including how to learn more (R&D), and they returned home to become professors who pass on their knowledge to students, a few of whom might find their way to the USA for post-graduate studies until they are ready to return to their native country and become professors, researchers, and otherwise use their expertise acquired here but applied there. And our universities send people to foreign countries to [b]recruit[/b] students as undergraduates, but even more especially for our post-graduate programs, because our own universities do not graduate enough people who are the most qualified for graduate studies, compared to the top-tier foreign students. The university has indeed become "universal" in its mission to educate the best, regardless of the nation and culture in which the best may be found. The foreign universities do not recruit in the USA, though, not even for professors to teach in their education system.

OKNightOwl
OKNightOwl

I remember 4K Memory, 5Mb Brick size Hard Drives, Punched Tape & Cards, and Mag Tapes. Casettes were for Mass Storeage. IT used to be a very respected career field, we worked magic, doing the impossible ust to make the ungrateful look good. Your all too true that Employers are not offering wages that sustain the cost of training. Not to mention their postings advertise for basically Steve Jobs or Bill Gates to work for less than a McDonalds Trainee. Where is the incentives? You are right - We have forgotten a lot of things since 9/11. Sadly I don't have the answer. I don't think that Off-Shoring and foriegn contractors is not the answer though.

dawgit
dawgit

There might be more than a few actually technically qualified, and maybe even willing, but... How many of those will be able to get through a through back ground check? It's now (optimistically) estimated that only 25% of the field of those normally eligible for the Military in America, in fact really are. Fresh out of College? Did you ever ______? (remember lying here is worse)

seanferd
seanferd

The whole cyberwar thing is a contrived moral panic designed to be "fixed" by security theater. Yes, there should be a certain level of preparedness. But they have been calling all sorts of ateempted and successful cracking and information stealing "warfare" rather than criminal activity, which would be correct. There still needs to be a defense to any such activity, whether taken by criminals or states and their proxies. But the cyberwar thing is a big scam of buzzwords used to panic people into giving the gov what it wants (give up rights, taxes, and privacy to fight some nebulous enemy). Anything else I'd want to say has already been covered in this thread, I do believe.

dawgit
dawgit

But it seams, most of the knowledge, and applicable technology, is locked up in Patents. X-(

jperick.mbei
jperick.mbei

I have read a number of posts. I like this one for one main reason. The author has put the nail in the heart of the problem: "colleges just do not have IT security tracks for IT students". They definitely do not. When did we actually start this Cybersecurity/Cyber Security discourse? Right after 9/11. How much time does one need to really develop and sustain expertise in a field as complex as this one? I will leave it to the experts to answer. Is it enough to be able to write a cote, to have managed an IT group to be a Cyber Security expert? The complexity of this field, coupled with the equally complex and fuid nature of agents (Cyber criminals, Cyber terrorists, etc) and the magnitude of the playing field make it extremely difficult to appraise, to master. Everything here is so dynamic, that solutions developed yesterday become obsolete today, because Cyber Criminals seem to constantly ahead of us. They change their techniques and tactics constantly. As a result, R&D is greatly needed. And without research--sustained research, I wonder how academia has managed to produce its Cyber Security experts so quickly, developed Cyber Security curricula so quickly? I wonder, yes I truly wonder and worry. Is it that schools are just taking advantage of the national need--and demand to catch the elusive monster, to hurriedly update curricula once designed for CSc, CIS, and so by adding to the old stuff a few concepts and changing the course title to read Cyber Something? How are these so called Cyber Security programs accredited? So, yeah...The pace of outsourcing is such that, the field of computing has lost its luster. Colleges students are no longer highly attracted to the field. After all, why sweat so much if it is only to end up being offered a job you never wanted to do, because companies have outsourced your dream job to save money? One of America's paradoxes is that, we don't want the fed to get involved. At the same time, we whine over ugly decisions that Corporate America makes. In this case, how can we at least reduce the rate of outsourcing without Congress becoming involved? Will we not drum up if the Fed and Congress get involve to pass a legislation that would, at least help control how outsourcing happens? Regarding the Fed hiring needs. Honestly, the Fed needs to first re-assess its hiring process. The process is simply too long, too bureaucratic--so bureaucratic that it simply creates a serious disincentive. Just my two cents

Professor8
Professor8

The stats still show a glut of entry-level people. Just a few months back, another academic report on more recent data confirmed that we're still producing far more capable people than the STEM employment pipe-line is absorbing. And we still have a huge pool of bright, experienced people who are under-employed (in survival jobs) and unemployed that just keeps on growing deeper and wider.

blacksmithforlife
blacksmithforlife

Unless you really love being overworked, unappreciated, and a pile of debt there is little reason to go to college for IT. I recently graduated with a Computer Science major and Mathematics minor and I can't find a job in IT. During my internship time I came to find out just what I stated above from most(if not all) of my colleagues. And if asked if they would do it over, most say no. So tell me why should I sell my soul for these things when I can go do something where I am appreciated? Add to the fact that even if I wanted to get a job, the skills that were taught to me during college have no relevance(unless it is programming) to the IT market. I am now overqualified for entry level(help desk) positions (which can't even pay off my loan bills each month) or under-qualified because I was not taught the latest and have no experience.

clarkcurtis
clarkcurtis

As I mentioned in my off-shoring post above, I'm with the College of Computing and Informatics at UNC Charlotte. We have one of the top security programs in the United States. We do offer IT security tracks in our Department of Software and Information Systems. And yes our students are highly sought after by the National Security Agency, Homeland Security, DOD. FBI, etc. We are one of the few Colleges in the US to be designated a center of academic excellence in information assurance education and research by the National Security Agency.

kent.manley
kent.manley

I don't think you HAVE to use this service as stated in the post. It may be useful to do so, but is not required. This is a commercial concern that I assume makes it money from job seekers.

kent.manley
kent.manley

Is the name of an excellent book by one of those Visa holders. It does a fantastic job of explaining the up - and down - sides from the visa holder's perspective. It was essentially self-published, so I don't know how easily it can be obtained, but I thought it very insightful. Bottom line: we get our fair share of value from this program. Just like in any sale, both parties have to be happy with the deal before one can happen.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Somebody needed to check our garrulous Professor -- if only momentarily.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Consider that the US gov contracted production of the super secure passports to Taiwan who in turn contracted it out to China.

Jasonjb1222
Jasonjb1222

The reality is, we watch TOO MUCH TV. We read too many books, and our heads are constantly filled with paraoia, which in turn leads to Cyber-something. The idea, that someone could potentially hack into a Nuclear reactor, set the rods to overheat and blow the thing up, while sitting on a beach in the middle of the pacific, drinking a Pina Collada, is at best completely impossible and unlikely. There are too many safeguards in place. Diverting or turning away a large amount of current, basically the same thing. Anyone remember Die Hard 2 (I think) and Bruce Willis on the Runway, trying to tell the plane he's lower than he thinks, before it crashes on the runway in a snowstorm? What about Pelham something or another, where they manage to high-jack a train in the tunnels via electronic use. The real "threat" of Cyber-everything stems from things like this. Hacking into a bank and transferring funds- plausible. Blowing up a nuclear reactor - not so much. Traffic light systems in major cities, all controlled via grids and computer systems- possible, but they should all be in CC (closed circuits). We rely too much on computer systems. And that is truth. When you're fridge begins to e.mail you to remind you to buy milk, there is a problem. We don't need to learn spelling anymore, we have F7 in text editors... We ship technology jobs overseas and we worry about "espionage"? Think about this... When you signed up for a phone line, what info did you need to give them? Did they do a credit check? Social Security, birth date, bank information, etc. I can tell you, from having worked for a phone company, that data is available to you. Now, ship that job overseas. Those emplyees need access to that information as well. Server might be here, but the pipe is still there and open. Are you more afraid of having someone hack into your personal home computer? Or being able to press F6 on a terminal and see your entire life "on file"? Think about it. Sorry for the change of topic in the reply...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If you took computer security seriously, that fellow in england wouldn't have been able to get in using default passwords. What if it had been someone with hostile intent instead of a fellow with obsessive mental issues? Everybody cried for his head yet no attention drawn to the failings of your military. Funny that. The expected punishment also far outweighed the crime. WTF is a foreign nation extraditing it's citizens when they can apply a reasonable punishment locally. Can you really blame the fellow for fearing a government who uses rendition and questionable imprisonment? His crime was embarrasing the military which carries a far higher penalty then unauthorized computer access. He also wasn't an intentional saboteur so your government would be playing BS games if that was the angle. His actual intrusion caused very little cost; it was the army's gross reaction, if anything, which caused the grief. I agree that computer security could be taken much more seriously but let's not play more security theater by trying to justify bad policy with a scapegoat.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It's a good bet that if someone is talking about "cyber-something" they don't actually know what they are talking about or are trying to sell you something. Not always the case but these days it's more than likely. There can be no cyberwar.. at most, network intrusion is espionage or part of a physical war strategy. So, we're either talking espionage or real war that happens to involve computers within the strategy. Cyber-terrorism is an even worse term to take seriously. If someone uses a truckbomb it's not "truck-terrorism".. it's just "terrorism" yet when it involves a computer it's somehow magical. I'll have to go with SANS on this one and agree that CNE (computer network espionage) is about as close as we get to the "cyberwar" myth that so many are selling button-push appliances with.

BrokenEagle
BrokenEagle

If the US Government really took this seriously, they would treat industrial or military sabotage they way we did in World War II (firing squads). If we took this seriously, the hacker in England who broke into Pentagon computer, claiming to have been looking for UFO information, would not have been able to fight extradition for 8+ years. The US military should have told the British military, "You have a saboteur loose in your country. Pick him up and deliver him to us." It would have been very difficult for a British judge to delay the extradition of a saboteur the the Ministry of Defense was asking to extradite.

dawgit
dawgit

...What they advertise, are two different things. What you're seeing is the HR hurdle, and it's anowing. (and counter productive) "Masters Degree, 10 years experience, fluent in x Languages, US citizen, no record, never left the country, and under 25". (oh, I forgot, the looks of a super model) Yea right. And somewhere in that company is a dept. understafed, while HR is saying they can't get qualified people. ]:)

codesNstuff
codesNstuff

This is true, I've been noticing that all these companies here in Washington want you to know at least six languages fluintlly. I know five but not fluintly since I'm just starting out. All these entry level positions, or so they are called, are calling for 3-5 years experience. That's not entry level and I'm in the same boat with my degree. What do these companies expect?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I love the requirement of 10+ years of experience in technologies that have not yet been around for ten or more years; HR departments are brilliant aren't they.

snaik95899
snaik95899

I was an engineer in the US Army.I got an AS degree in Mechanical Engineering. I went on to complete my bachelors in computer Network Security. I have found out the hard way that you need many YEARS of experience to even be considered for a job plus have certifications coming out of your behind. So essentially my degree is pretty worthless too. I have seen too many IT security professionals run out of companies when something goes wrong. When everything is ok, nobody knows your name. Also, the attacks that are being waged now are being launched by countries. Meaning they are no longer being launched by 12 year olds with some root kits and some cut and paste codes. They are exponentially nasty in severity and in sophistication now. Attacks are waged by entire campuses of Chinese, North Korean, Russian, etc groups. There is virtually no way to defend against these types of attacks other than to physically destroy the facilities they are in. The job market now is insane. Hardware people are being paid slightly above minimum wage. IT groups in general are still being outsourced out of companies. And whats worse to boot, the job requirements companies are listing to hire people are ridiculous. They want you to know a dozen programming languages,hardware, software, project management, and have 10 years of experience. If I had known IT was going to end up like this, I would have finished my bachelors in engineering or business. IT Sales is where it's at.

Professor8
Professor8

You could go to a different U that has a cutting-edge program and take what are touted as the latest "hot" skills, come back next term and they'd still say your skills are out of date. It's a scam, a pretext. Pick a hot topic. Hit the local universities' libraries and the web, talk with some profs doing some research, read a few journals, looking for the latest info. Compare it with the info from 10 and 20 and even 30 years ago. There have been tiny increments, whether it's in compiler and OS design, algorithms and data-structures, hardware or whatever. New programming languages are generally extensions of what have existed before. Frameworks build on older frameworks. Sure, there's a skim of bleeding-edge material, that's no longer bleeding-edge next week. But anyone who knows his stuff takes that in stride. No one who was a "computer guru" back in the 1970s or 1980s or 1990s (and has not suffered physical brain damage which is very rare) would need more than a few weeks of refreshing to "hit the ground running". It's just an excuse publicized by the B-school bozos who prefer cheap, pliant labor.

teeeceee
teeeceee

Many like you exist, and many would do something different if they could do it again. Not me. I have found a niche IT job that does not overwork nor under pay me (oh, maybe a little). It was a long hard overworked and underpaid road to get here, but I finally got lucky. That which you describe is the reason(s) that college entrants are shying away from IT period. If global organizations and even our state and federal governments are outsourcing IT projects and support to companies that eventually off shore the work to overseas IT sweatshops, good IT jobs in America are forever doomed, and noone in his right mind would make the college investment to work in that environment. "There's a monster on the loose. Its got our heads into a noose, and it just sits there... watching!"

teeeceee
teeeceee

I would be curious to know, how many colleges and universities that have IT departments have a security track. Now, that would be a useful poll.