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White Hat Hackers: Uncle Sam Wants You To Hack for the U.S. Government

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The editors at Homeland Security Degrees decided to research the topic of:

White Hat Hackers: Uncle Sam Wants You To Hack for the U.S. Government

US government agencies are struggling to build a cyber workforce

- In 2010 the United States currently had about 1,000 elite cybersecurity experts, but needed 20,000.
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) currently has a need for about 600 of them, says head Janet Napolitano.
- "We don't need PhDs in computer [science]" for many of the jobs they will be called upon to do," she says.
- To that end, DHS is launching "a whole host of internships and fellowships for young people to get,"
- DHSs recently had "over 3,000 kids compete for 60 billets" in one such program.
- The Pentagon is also struggling to build its own cyber workforce.
- That's because most skilled "cyber warriors," as the US military calls them, often get recruited by private industry after their service commitments are up.
- Air Force
- The Air Force set up an internship program for high school students, who were given security clearances to work in the service's Cyber Emergency Response Team unit
- But sequestration has forced a cancellation of the high school training program for the Air Force.

But Where Will get next Gen's White Hat Hackers?

- Turning the Hacker Next Door - A survey of 200 well-known hackers reported that the average age of a hacker is 16-19, 90 percent of whom are male; 70 percent live in the United States.
- private companies and government agencies are amping up their efforts to find and educate a new generation of cybercorps.
- US Cyber Challenge - a national cyber competition (akin to American Idol) - the goal is to quickly bring at least 10,000 young tech minds into the fold.
- Developed by The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a bipartisan and nonprofit organization
- Defcon's Kids Village, children engaged in activities like deciphering clues, picking locks, coaxing information out of people, and reading subtle facial expressions

Hacker High - Educating the Next Generation of Hackers

- U.S. schools have been slow on the uptake; many don't have up-to-date computer science classes. Only 5% of high schools offer an AP Computer Science course.
- Instead, teenagers are mostly self-taught, but some notable programs are leading the way
- CodeHS, the company, co-founded by two recent Stanford Universitygraduates, aims to provide online programming classes in high schools.
- Code Academy - free online school to teach anyone how to code
- Sans Institute, a cybersecurity school.
- Obama's last state of the union address: "We'll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math - the skills today's employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future."

What's in it for White Hat Hackers? Increase in IT and Security fields increase the need for WHH

- Research firm Gartner estimates that worldwide enterprise IT spending grew by 5.9% between 2009 and 2010, to a total of $2.7 trillion.
- Gartner expects to see an increase of nearly 40% in spending on worldwide security services during the five-year period from 2011 to 2015, eventually surpassing $49.1 billion.
- entry level "ethical hacker" earn between $50,000 to $100,000 per year (depending on IT experience and education)
- The United States and its allies are pouring large sums into computer defense. Research published by the London-based consultants Visiongain suggests that Western governments spent $35.5 billion on telecommunications and cybersecurity in 2010 (the United States accounts for 40 percent of that). Add to that the private sector's outlay and we spend annually $100 billion, a figure set to double in the next six years.
- Certified Ethical Hacker - A certified ethical hacker's average salary in the United States ranges from $56,930 to $82,424 annually, depending on what specific functions he or she performs, and the number of years of experience. In general, a first year CEH can expect to earn around $60,000. After five to nine years, that figure rises to roughly $71,000. After 10 years, a CEH can expect to earn about $91,500, expanding to $105,000 after 20 years. The U.S. cities with the highest paying CEH jobs are Chicago and Milwaukee; the lowest paying cities are San Antonio, Texas, and Baltimore, Maryland.