About the Cyber Career Pathways Tool

The Cyber Career Pathways Tool helps users identify, build, and navigate a potential cyber career pathway by increasing their understanding of the tasks, knowledge, and skills needed to begin, transition, or advance in their cyber career.

The Cyber Career Pathways Tool presents a new and interactive way to explore work roles within the Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity (NICE Framework). The Tool depicts the Cyber Workforce as five distinct yet complementary skill communities. It also highlights core attributes among each of the 52 work roles in the NICE Framework as well as offers actionable insights for employers, professionals, and individuals considering a career in cyber.

This tool was created in partnership with the Federal Cyber Workforce Management and Coordination Working Group, led by CISA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The NICE Framework work roles were updated by NIST in March 2024. 

About the Cyber Workforce Communities Diagram

The Cyber Workforce is comprised of the following Cyber Workforce Communities: IT, Cybersecurity, Cyber Effects, Intel (Cyber), and Cross Functional. The skill communities are color coded to match the Work Role Galaxy below the diagram. The communities encompass the skills required to build, secure, operate, defend, and protect technology, data, and resources; conduct related intelligence activities; enable future operations; and project power in or through cyberspace. 


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT): Skills required to design, build, configure, operate, and maintain IT, networks, and capabilities. This includes actions to prioritize portfolio investments; architect, engineer, acquire, implement, evaluate, and dispose of IT as well as information resource management; and the management, storage, transmission, and display of data and information.

CYBERSECURITY: Skills required to secure, defend, and preserve data, networks, net-centric capabilities, and other designated systems by ensuring appropriate security controls and measures are in place, and taking internal defense actions. This includes access to system controls, monitoring, administration, and integration of cybersecurity into all aspects of engineering and acquisition of cyber capabilities.

CYBER EFFECTS: Skills required to plan, support, and execute cyber capabilities where the primary purpose is to externally defend or conduct force projection in or through cyberspace.

CYBER INTEL: Skills required to collect, process, analyze, and disseminate information from all sources of intelligence on foreign actors’ cyber programs, intentions, capabilities, research and development, and operational activities.

CROSS FUNCTIONAL: Skills required to lead, acquire, and manage cyber initiatives; develop cyber workforce talent; and conduct cyber related legal and law enforcement activities.

NO COMMUNITY: With the release of NICE Framework Components V1.0.0, a new work role has been added. This role has not been evaluated by the Federal Cyber Workforce Management and Coordination Working Group for placement within one of the Cyber Workforce communities.

Who is the Cyber Career Pathways Tool for?

The Cyber Career Pathways Tool is designed for:

  • Professionals looking to begin or advance their cyber careers through training, reskilling, and upskilling;
  • Employers and managers recruiting cyber talent, creating position descriptions, guiding employees, procuring training, and conducting workforce assessments; and
  • Students and recent graduates who want to learn more about the NICE Framework, identify cyber work roles of interest, and identify and pursue training and certifications to prepare for a cyber career.

Users from a variety of backgrounds can also use the tool to better understand the cyber workforce as a whole, in addition to the various types of cyber work roles and their relationship to one another.

Key Features

The Cyber Career Pathways Tool allows you to explore the cyber workforce through the lens of Cyber Workforce Communities, expand your knowledge of NICE Framework roles through core Tasks, Knowledge, and Skill statements (TKS statements) and compare related work roles to gain a better understanding of how to obtain the skills needed to move from one work role to another. Users are encouraged to take advantage of the interactive nature of the tool and use the tool for exploration and information gathering.


  • Cyber Workforce Communities diagram
  • Work role display by Cyber Workforce Community
  • Individual work role displays with core TKS statements
  • Data comparison between two roles (overlap in TKS statements, common relationships, etc.)

Using the Cyber Career Pathways Tool

Learn more about using the Cyber Career Pathways Tool and its features below to help navigate a career in cybersecurity. 

Get Started

There are multiple ways to start using the Cyber Career Pathways Tool.

  1. Pick a Cyber Workforce Community.
  2. Select a work role from the galaxy.
  3. Use the Select a work role search field and drop-down.
  4. Search for private-sector job titles.

Navigating the Cyber Workforce Community

Explore the Cyber Workforce using the Cyber Workforce Communities buttons. Each section of the Cyber Workforce within the Diagram can be selected to display a subset of the work roles.


Using the Work Role Galaxy

The Work Role Galaxy is an interactive display of all 52 work roles in the NICE Framework.

  • Hovering over a work role will display a pop-up containing basic work role information and draw connection lines to related work roles based on the Relationship Filter button selection made (by default, these are the TKS statements, which show the top five related roles by shared TKS statements).
  • Selecting a work role will display more details.

Selecting a Work Role

The Select a Work Role search field and drop-down list allows users to select a work role from the list, which is grouped by Cyber Workforce Community. The roles listed can be filtered by typing part or all of a work role’s name in the search field.


Search by Functional Job Titles

Functional job titles are names that are commonly used for work roles in the private sector. The Search Job Titles link allows users to search for commonly used job names.

Once a job title is selected, one or more work roles will be displayed. Select a role to set the corresponding dropdown.

Viewing a Single Work Role

The single work role view features a filtered version of the work role galaxy that displays only the related work roles and an information panel. The information panel lists information about the work role, as specified by the NICE Framework, and is supplemented with career path information, such as common off-ramps, as identified by the Federal Cyber Workforce Management and Coordination Working Group.


Comparing Work Roles

Compare related work roles to gain a better understanding of how to gain the skills needed to move from one work role to a related work role.

  • To compare, select one of the related work roles in the work role galaxy, or select a work role from the second dropdown.
    • The information panel will update to provide a side-by-side comparison of the selected work roles.
  • To compare the originally selected role to a new role, select a different work role in the galaxy, or select a different work role from the second dropdown.

Relationship Filters

Use the filters to explore more information about each individual work role and common TKS Statements, on/off ramps, and secondary work roles. 

Relationship Toggles

By default, the information panel will show all TKS Statements for the selected role or roles. Changing the Relationship toggles to Federal Core will filter these statements for the corresponding work role.

When the TKS relationship button is set (see below) roles shown in the galaxy for a hovered or selected role will be those related by top 5 shared TKS Statements. If the Selected TKS toggle is set to Federal Core, the roles shown will be related by top 5 shared Federal Core TKS Statements.

Relationship Buttons

Selecting from the filter buttons (TKS, On Ramps, Off Ramps, and Secondary Work Roles) will change the relationships shown in the galaxy for a hovered or selected role. The selected relationship button will change when navigating the data tabs. Use the lock button to prevent this.

  • When On Ramps is selected, On Ramps to Cross Functional roles from other communities are not shown. 
  • Similarly, when Off Ramps is selected, Off Ramps to Cross Functional Roles from other communities are not shown.

Additional Features

Start Over

To reset or clear the galaxy, select the Clear Selection button.


Navigation Tips

For a refresher on tool navigation, select the Information button.


About CISA

CISA is the Nation's risk advisor, working with partners to defend against today's threats and collaborating to build more secure and resilient infrastructure for the future. CISA's Training and Education (T&E) Branch manages and develops the NICCS website, which serves as a one-stop shop for cybersecurity training, education, and career information.