About the Cyber Career Pathways Tool

This tool will help you identify, build, and navigate a potential cyber career pathway by increasing your understanding of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to begin, transition, or advance your cyber career.

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

You can find this tool on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) website in addition to other tools and resources for current and future cybersecurity professionals. This tool was created and is maintained 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.

About the Cyber Workforce Communities Venn Diagram

The Cyber Workforce encompasses 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. It is comprised of the following skill communities: IT, Cybersecurity, Cyber Effects, Intel (Cyber), and Cross Functional. The skill communities are color coded to match the work role galaxy.

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

Who is the Cyber Career Pathways Tool for?

The Cyber Career Pathways Tool is designed for:

  • Professionals looking to begin or advance their cyber career 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 looking 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 Communities, expand your knowledge of NICE Framework roles through core Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs), 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 take advantage of the interactive nature of the tool and use the tool for exploration as well as information gathering.


  • Cyber Workforce Communities diagram
  • Work role display by Cyber Community
  • Individual work role displays with core Tasks, Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
  • Data comparison between two roles

Using the Cyber Career Pathways Tool

Get Started

How to Navigate the Cyber Career Pathways Tool

There are multiple ways to navigate the Cyber Career Pathways tool to choose a work role.

  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 using the Cyber Workforce Community

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


Navigating using the work role galaxy

The work role galaxy is an interactive display of all 52 work roles in the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework

  • Hovering over a work role will display connection lines pointing to the top 5 related work roles and a pop-up containing basic work role information.
  • Click a work role to view more details about the work role.

Navigating using the Select a work role search field and drop-down

The Select a work role search field and drop-down list allows users to select a work role from the list, which is sorted by community, or to search by typing a word. Once a work role is selected, a work role information panel will load on the right side of the galaxy.


Search for private-sector job titles

The Select a Functional Job Title search field and drop-down list allows users to select a private sector job title from the list, or to search by keyword.

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. Review the information panel to learn about the selected work roles and the related Tasks, Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities needed to be successful in that role.


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, click on 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, click on a different work role in the galaxy, or select a different work role from the second dropdown

Relationship Filters


Relationship Toggles

Click the relationship toggles to filter the top 5 related work roles based on All or Federal Core Tasks, Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. The relationship toggles default to All.

When the KSATs relationship button is set (see below) roles shown in the galaxy for a hovered or selected role will change to reflect shared Federal Core KSATs. The information panel will also update to show Federal Core alignment of Task and KSA statements for each role based on the corresponding toggle.

Relationship Buttons

Selecting from the filter buttons (KSATs, On Ramps, Off Ramps, and Secondary Work Roles) will change the relationships shown in the galaxy for a hovered or selected role.

  • When selecting the Off-Ramps button, relationships to Cross Functional roles from roles in other communities are not shown, and vice versa.
  • These displays also change when navigating the data tabs. The lock button is used to prevent this from changing.

Additional Features

Start Over

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


Navigation Tips

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


About the Federal Cyber Workforce Management and Coordination Working Group

The Federal Cyber Workforce Management and Coordination Working Group (WG) is dedicated to developing cyber career resources, including career pathways for NICE Framework work roles for use throughout the Federal government, as well as private industry and academia. This interagency collaboration directly supports Executive Order 13870, America’s Cybersecurity Workforce and the President Management Agenda’s Cross-Agency Priority Goal, Developing a Workforce for the 21st Century. This WG is tri-chaired by the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and CISA.

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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 Cyber Defense Education and Training subdivision manages and develops the NICCS website, which serves as a one-stop shop for cybersecurity information and training.