In October, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) committed to hire 1,000 cybersecurity personal over the next three years. However, hundreds of these projected jobs have gone unfilled, with only about 200 hired last year and a projected 100 to be hired this year.
Although the talent is available, DHS faces difficulty hiring qualified techs due to government hiring processes and other factors. The Federal Times reports the problems are due to “lengthy security clearance reviews, flat budgets under the extended continuing resolution, the need for a strong business case, noncompetitive pay scales for IT talent, and an archaic job classification system that hinders effective human resources strategic planning.”
Politics is compounding the problem. The three stop gap spending measures that Congress has authorized has forced federal hiring managers to fund their departments in pieces. Managers can’t hire full-time techs if they don’t know whether Congress will fund the positions. But the need for hundreds of techs still remains, so the government has been circumventing the problem by hiring contractors. Although a contractor may cost $40,000 more than the equivalent government position, the federal agencies don’t need to commit. John Lainart, who leads the cybersecurity and privacy service for IBM, thinks the next logical step (government logic that is) would be to hire the contractors as government employees once Congress agrees on a budget.
Lainart thinks these positions need to be filled quickly if the government expects to fill them at all. When the economy improves, people won’t tolerate the government’s six month hiring process.
Dice lists more than 170 jobs with the search term “DHS”, with IBM posting 26 positions. TSA/DHS Solution Consultant is looking for candidates with skills in InfoSec and “transportation security” while Apex Systems needs SharePoint admins and C# developers.