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DHS Cybersecurity Hiring: Everything You Need To Know

Tech talent looking for DHS cyber security career opportunities now will have access to a comprehensive hiring system known as the Cybersecurity Talen Management System (CTMS).

Last year DHS launched their Cybersecurity Talent Management System (CTMS) and over the last 12 months they have worked towards refining and improving the systems in place to make them more agile and responsive to job seekers. Much more than just a website, the CTMS is an entirely new approach to the federal government hiring tech talent.

The CTMS has been in the works for many years with Congress passing the Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act back in 2014 set to direct DHS to develop a comprehensive workforce strategy to enhance readiness, training, capacity, recruitment, and retention of new hires. Though it has taken several years to develop, DHS first used the system to fill 150 high-priority jobs at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer; now, it is expanding to other DHS agencies and organizations to grow their tech workforce.

“The DHS Cybersecurity Talent Management System fundamentally re-imagines how the Department hires, develops and retains top-tier and diverse cybersecurity talent,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas in a recent press release. “As our nation continues to face an evolving threat landscape, we cannot rely only on traditional hiring tools to fill mission-critical vacancies. This new system will enable our Department to better compete for cybersecurity professionals and remain agile enough to meet the demands of our critical cybersecurity mission.”

As you may be seeking a job through CTMS, here are some things you can learn from the new DHS cybersecurity hiring program and how to prepare: 

In most job applications, candidates present their accomplishments rather than their actual skills. The DHS CTMS hiring program uses simulations based on the specific position and tasks to check the candidates’ performance. Applicants undergo screenings that demonstrate their skills in areas such as incident response and network forensics. The tests in the CTMS are based on specific skills currently needed at the DHS.

As part of the program, the DHS increased its pay rates. By raising salaries, the DHS hopes to attract new talent to its department. They also hope it will help retain current talent that may have otherwise left for the private sector. The CTMS allows hiring workers with starting salaries of up to $255,800. In special cases, the DHS can increase that rate up to $332,100.

The CTMS focuses on competencies and certifications rather than strictly 4 year degrees. The CTMS looks for these types of credentials and considers them when judging applicants. Employers can also use the tests and simulations in the system to replace expertise with the four-year degrees required before.

Removing barriers to employment, such as requiring a four-year degree, is also a matter of letting people from varied backgrounds in. In this way, DHS is working to improve diversity for underrepresented groups. In addition, the DHS’s 60-day Workforce Sprint, which focused on hiring cybersecurity workers, included targeted outreach to underserved communities and communities of color. The program exceeded its goal by 50% by hiring and onboarding 293 cyber workers. At the end of the sprint, DHS also had an additional 500 tentative job offers pending.

The DHS cybersecurity talent system’s efforts to improve hiring and the industry overall are innovative and provide an assurance to candidates that DHS can move quickly to hire tech talent and compete with private sector industry.