Wicker Highlights Needs & Opportunities for Cybersecurity Workforce

Miss. Senator Led Effort to Expand Scholarships for Cybersecurity Students

July 12, 2018

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., yesterday attended a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to consider ways to bolster U.S. cybersecurity capabilities in the wake of the “Spectre” and “Meltdown” cybersecurity vulnerabilities that were revealed earlier this year.

Wicker asked the witnesses at the hearing to discuss their views on how the United States can recruit and train the next generation of the cybersecurity workforce.

Mr. Sri Sridharan, the managing director for the Florida Center for Cybersecurity at the University of South Florida, expressed the need to create interest in cybersecurity education among younger students to fill future workforce needs.

“We have to create a very large cybersecurity workforce. Last year, 300,000 jobs went unfilled around the nation,” Sridharan said. “That’s an alarming number, and it will increase exponentially.”

Wicker has repeatedly called for enhanced cybersecurity education and training opportunities for students and teachers. Last year, his legislation to expand scholarships for students pursuing degrees in cybersecurity was signed into law.  The legislation also expanded the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program to provide professional development opportunities for teachers to help local education agencies recruit and retain highly qualified cybersecurity educators.   

Wicker also asked Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, president of Dakota State University, about the high salary potential for students in cyber-related fields. She indicated that students with bachelor’s degrees can expect starting salaries in the $85,000 to $90,000 range, while students with master’s degrees can expect starting salaries above $100,000.

Other witnesses at the hearing included:

  • Ms. Donna Dodson, Chief Cybersecurity Advisor and Director of the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce;
  • Ms. Joyce Kim, Chief Marketing Officer, ARM; and
  • Mr. Art Manion, Senior Vulnerability Analyst, Computer Emergency Readiness Team Coordination Center, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University.