Image courtesy of Cyber Center of Excellence.
The Journeys Map tool shows the way for someone to prepare for a job in cybersecurity.

Image courtesy of Cyber Center of Excellence. The Journeys Map tool shows the way for someone to prepare for a job in cybersecurity.

Ever thought about a career in cybersecurity?

You may be better suited for the field than you think, said the president of San Diego’s Cyber Center of Excellence.

You need not be a math genius. You don’t even need coding skills. There is room for entry-level people in the industry, said Ken Slaght, president of the center, which goes by the abbreviation CCOE.

The center has an online feature meant to help job seekers learn what work in the cybersecurity field entails. In fact, it guides a user through the steps in getting a cybersecurity career, in the same way a mapping tool might give you directions to drive from Point A to Point B. “The tool works like a Google map,” Slaght said.

On the Road to a Career

The tool — a product of a San Diego company called Journeys Map — helps a user take inventory of their interests and skills, takes military service and higher education into account, and then offers a step by step plan for people to get into the field. It goes through what sort of education, trainings, certifications are needed to get to the destination.

The tool is at sdccoe.org/careermap/

One of the groups that Slaght sees the career map helping is people who are leaving the active duty military. For years, Slaght was the commander of the U.S. Navy’s information technology command, now called NAVWAR or Naval Information Warfare Systems Command.

NAVWAR is the cornerstone of San Diego’s cybersecurity industry, since much of its work is related to that topic. It accounts for 3,530 cybersecurity jobs locally, according to a report distributed by Slaght’s organization in 2019. The Navy command needs employees. Slaght called it “the big elephant in the room” and one that needs feeding.

The region as a whole hosts more than 150 cybersecurity businesses. San Diego County’s 8,450 cybersecurity jobs generate some $2.2 billion worth of economic impact.

State Grant Funds Map, Podcast

The CCOE received funding for the job tool through a state grant called CASCADE (California Advanced Supply Chain Analysis and Diversification Effort). Funds originated with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Also funded through a CASCADE grant is a series of 10 half-hour podcasts from CCOE on the topic of cybersecurity. The Cyber Insiders podcast series is available through iheartradio.com.