The federal government will fund development of a visualization tool that highlights the demand and availability of cybersecurity jobs across the nation, with data to aid employers, applicants, policymakers and others in getting the positions filled.

Cybersecurity jobs are in great demand; an analysis from analytics/research firm Burning Glass Technologies found a 91 percent increase in postings between 2010 and 2014. However, it will take about a year until the new job-finding tool is available.

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The CompTIA trade association for information technology professionals has been awarded a three-year grant, with $249,000 available in the first year, to research and build the visualization tool, called “heat maps,” in partnership with Burning Glass.

Heat maps, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology which is funding the program, “are a popular data visualization tool that in this case will use varying shades of color to show relative differences in the geographic concentration of supply and demand.”

The heat maps tool will enable students, job seekers and employers to assess supply and demand for cybersecurity jobs on a city-by-city or state-by-state basis, according to Rodney Petersen, director of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education within NIST. Users will click on a heat map in a region they want to explore, and have access to data from Burning Glass on job postings by state or city, requirements necessary for positions and other information.

NIST expects the first version of heat maps to be available in late 2016 and the maps will be updated quarterly. Petersen hopes later versions will expand on the supply equation by enabling searches for qualified candidates in specific regions with CompTIA certifications or other appropriate certificates, as well as regional cybersecurity graduates.

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