Hiring will start with 20 new roles over the next 18 months to combat the increase in cyberthreats as part of a major expansion.
A significant Government investment will see Ireland’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) increase its headcount from 25 to 70 in the next five years.
Recruitment will begin with 20 new full-time roles over the next 18 months and will also include a cybersecurity graduate training programme later this year.
In addition to the new hires, the role of director of the NCSC will be re-advertised at a salary of €184,000 to reflect the scale and importance of the role and to attract experienced candidates.
The director will have responsibility for building and leading the NCSC, further developing the operational capacity and expertise of the NCSC and supporting the development of the policy and legislative framework relating to cybersecurity in Ireland.
The package also includes the development of a five-year technology strategy for the NCSC that examines its internal requirements and its relationship with academia and industry.
The associated budgetary increase for the NCSC for 2022 is estimated at €2.5m.
The NCSC team comprises specialist technical civilian staff with skillsets in areas such as computer science, software engineering, malware analysis, information technology forensics, cryptography, software development and cybersecurity compliance.
The NCSC’s headcount has increased from seven at the end of 2016 to 25 at the start of 2021.
The new graduate programme will see four computer science graduates recruited each year on three-year contracts.
Announcing the expansion today, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD, said the investment marks a “step change” in the evolution of the NCSC.
“The expansion we are announcing today will enable the organisation further develop its competence and capacity to help defend and protect IT systems and our key services into the future,” he said.
“The NCSC has an important role in gathering intelligence on cyber threats and in sharing that information and providing expert guidance. The Government is committed to ensuring that the NCSC has the appropriate level of resourcing to enable it deliver on its important mandate.”
Cybersecurity skills shortage
The increasing need for cybersecurity professionals has come under an intense spotlight in recent months both here and abroad, due to the increase in high-profile cyberattacks.
In May of this year, the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) suffered a serious cyberattack, which impacted healthcare services across the country and is currently still being remedied.
Earlier this month, a US software services company was also hit by a ransomware attack, which indirectly led to thousands of businesses across the globe becoming compromised.
As a result of attacks such as these, reducing the cybersecurity skills shortage has arguably never been more critical.
In Ireland, several education institutions are attempting to bridge the gap. Just this week, University of Limerick announced a new cybersecurity apprenticeship scheme. Previously Munster Technological University announced an €8m Cyber Skills project and a new cybersecurity course has been introduced at IT Sligo.