America's Potential Cyber-Skill Shortage:
Addressing The Increasing Need For Skilled Technology Professionals

Not too long ago, cybersecurity and cybercrime were words that most people didn’t recognize. These days, however, nearly everyone knows exactly what they mean. This growth in awareness is easy to understand when you consider how much we depend on data and how often we hear about large-scale data breaches in the news.

Just how big a problem do we have with cybercrime? The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) stated that there were reported losses in excess of $1.3 billion due to cybercrime in 2016 alone. (Source: IC3 Report) This staggering number highlights the need for educated professionals that are capable of mitigating threats to data and networks.

It’s important to realize, however, that cybercrime is about more than just dollars and cents, it’s about the security of our nation. On November 30th of last year, DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke provided written testimony for a House Committee titled “World Wide Threats: Keeping America Secure in the New Age of Terror.”  

In this testimony she outlined a broad range of threats facing our nation and highlighted the seriousness of threats to the cyber domain:

“Cybersecurity has become a matter of national security, and one of the Department’s core missions.” Elaine Duke, DHS Acting Secretary, Nov. 30, 2017 (Source: Department of Homeland Security)

Facing the digital future from a standpoint of cybersecurity is no small task. In fact, as our dependence upon data increases, the demand for trained technology professionals will likely also increase.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roles concerned with data security are set to grow faster than normal. In fact, they state that employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 through 2026. (Source: BLS

The need for cybersecurity professionals is directly echoed by the Department of Homeland Security as well. In her testimony, Duke also said that DHS “prioritizes the expansion of its human resource programs to recruit, hire, develop, and retain personnel with strong cybersecurity skillsets.” (Source: Department of Homeland Security)


Addressing the cyber-skill shortages through education

How will the United States meet the growing need for skilled technology professionals? For Northcentral University, this question is answered through education, or more specifically, education designed to keep pace with the speed of technology. This requires educators to do more than keep up with technology, but to get ahead of the needs of an increasingly tech-driven world.

Adapting to this ever-changing landscape presents a unique challenge for institutions of higher learning. At Northcentral University, we take a multi-faceted, proactive approach to staying in front of changes. Our School of Technology uses a special technology-focused Program Advisory Council (PAC) to analyze technology trends and market needs. This PAC is comprised of tech-industry stalwarts from various fields which analyze technology trends and market needs. This information is used to ensure that our programs align with the demands of the market.

Additionally, highly experienced technology professionals both design and teach our technology programs. This serves to deepen the connection between the education our students receive and the real-world needs of the industry. It also offers students the benefit of hard-earned experience from professors that have spent years working in the areas they teach.

The goal of our approach is to graduate students that are well-prepared to address the problems of the future. The ultimate goal, however, is to help address America’s need for highly-skilled technology professionals to protect and secure our digital frontier.


For more information on earning a degree in Cybersecurity, Information Technology, Data Science,
Computer Science or other Northcentral University programs, please visit