Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities for Specialized Curricula in Cyber Defense

Miriam E. Armstrong, Keith S. Jones, Akbar Siami Namin, David C. Newton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

More specialized cybersecurity education programs are needed to address workforce needs, but it is unclear which knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) fulfil industry needs. We interviewed 48 professionals within four cyber defense specialty areas: (1) Cyber Network Defense Analysis, (2) Cyber Network Defense Infrastructure Support, (3) Incident Response, and (4) Vulnerability Assessment and Management. The professionals rated a number of specialized KSAs along two dimensions: how important the KSA was to their job and how difficult the KSA was to learn. Overall, communication and other non-technical skills were rated as being very important for all cyber defense jobs. Findings indicated that, for some specialty areas, technical knowledge and skills vary considerably between jobs and so the ability to teach oneself is more valuable than proficiency in any one KSA. Findings may be used to inform the development of general cybersecurity curricula, as well as curricula that focus on Cyber Network Defense Analysis, Cyber Network Defense Infrastructure Support, or Vulnerability Assessment and Management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
JournalACM Transactions on Computing Education
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Cyber-defense
  • NICE cybersecurity workforce framework
  • curricula development
  • cybersecurity education

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