Federal Government Jobs

Helping job hunters find, apply for, and land government jobs

Understanding Cyber Security Positions – New Guidance from the OPM

Cyber security employment is expected to increase dramatically for the foreseeable future due to concerns about cyber security crimes and the war against terror. These concerns have spurred the demand for cyber security professionals across the board and the need to fast track the recruiting process.

Agencies are now able to more easily identify, recruit and retain cyber security professionals that are highly qualified. With guidance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), roles and responsibilities have been clearly identified and explained in accordance with an HR/OPM memo dated October 15, 2018. In addition, many positions will fall within the administrative work ‘standard’ of information technology group 2200. A title of “IT cyber security specialist” for example, within the 2210 series of management position listings, will include cyber work.

Organizations are now able to include ‘cyber security’ as a designated title for other occupations that perform this type of work so it helps them to recruit and meet mission goals and objectives more easily. With a myriad of laws, orders, strategies and frameworks, OPM has been able to work with other agencies, Chief Information Officers, and other stakeholders to understand the need for a comprehensive and robust cyber workforce and streamline the guidance.

Definitions of cyber security positions have been challenging and organizations like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have struggled to place identifiers, markers and codes for required positions; OPM has made a lot of this guesswork easy with new clarification and identifications. Given that cyber security is multi-faceted, and on the cutting edge of technology, the guidance had to be steadfast and sustainable; in addition, it had to co-exist with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) positions.

Qualifications include following traditional procedures for ranking, and individual organizations who can determine whether or not additional knowledge, skills and abilities are required and/or competencies should be added as part of their cyber security standard position.

Specific certifications as well must be agency-implemented, as required and become part of the organization’s selection criteria. Finally, organizations must continue to define their factors for ranking and quality of applicant selection for their developing cyber workforce. Subject matter experts in these organizations can use the guidance, to include general and technical competencies set forth by OPM to make this happen by reviewing specific duties, tasks, and competencies required for cyber positions.

These criteria will then serve as the foundation for job analysis and the cyber security workforce build out. Applicants will also be expected to portray creative and strategic thinking, problem solving, negotiations and customer service skills as key soft skill competencies for cyber security professionals. Technical skills, for example, may include computer forensics, surveillance or counter-intelligence for certain agencies.

If you are interested in cyber security / intelligence positions now is a good time to start your job search. Seek out relevant job announcements and apply for all positions that you qualify for to improve your changes of employment.


Career Planning Tools

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

About The Author

Dr. Donna Day is a Manager at the Department of Defense, where she has been for more than 30 years. With a background in Information Assurance, Customer Engagement and Marketing, more recently she has been studying Cyber security Policy and Management at the University of Maryland, University College (UMUC). She earned her Doctor of Management, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Science Degree in Technology Management at UMUC and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing at the University of Baltimore. Dr. Day is also an Adjunct Professor at Norwich University in Vermont, where she teaches Cyber security, Critical Infrastructure and Information Assurance courses to a myriad of students, worldwide, from across the intelligence community. A published author, Baltimore Ravens fan, and life-long learner, she enjoys writing, traveling, cooking, and most importantly, spending time with her family and friends.