Investing in cyber resiliency through continuous employee development

In particular, the field of cybersecurity has evolved dramatically from focusing on virus protection software to becoming one of the most vital business functions across all industries. To stay ahead of the curve, BAE Systems has launched a workforce development program in its Intelligence & Security (I&S) sector to ensure its people – specifically cyber professionals – continue to grow and learn new skills.

“As agencies and enterprises are moving to a digital environment, the cyber threat landscape continues to expand. To maintain cyber resiliency across an organization, cybersecurity experts must continue to develop their capabilities,” said Tim Estell, I&S Solution Architect. “We have invested significantly in skills growth and expansion so our employees can have up-to-date knowledge and tools to support their national security work.”

The development program, called I&S University, consists of an online network of courses, including access to Linux Training Academy and CompTIA training and certifications. It includes a large portfolio of cybersecurity-related training modules and access to a variety of in-person training events to develop technical skills and an understanding of industry trends, tools, and technologies.

“This employee resource includes Cyber Pathways and Digital Literacy programs, which provide roadmaps for employees who wish to earn qualifications,” said Bob Totten, manager of I&S University. “To better support our customers’ future contract requirements, we are teaching our workforce skills today that they will need 5 to 10 years from now. This is part of our growth strategy.”  

Continuous learning from the start


Because high-tech skills can quickly become outdated, it can be challenging for companies to find fully qualified candidates for cybersecurity positions. That’s why BAE Systems makes continuous learning programs available to new employees from day one.

“Once a person is employed full time, we offer training and ramp-up time to earn additional certifications or qualifications that they may need,” continued Totten. “It is our job to prepare our workforce to become future technology leaders. When development is voluntary, we offer incentive programs to encourage employee involvement.” 

The cyber workforce includes intelligence analysts, operations officers, engineers, and cyber security professionals. I&S University has a goal to engage at least 25 percent of its cyber workforce – including intelligence analysts, operations officers, engineers, and cyber security professionals – each year with voluntary training. This goal has been exceeded every year over the last four years.

“In addition to cybersecurity, model-based systems engineering is a big focus for us,” said Totten. “We continually look for development areas across the board, including project management and engineering, because those skills are also relevant to the work a large system integrator needs to perform for its customers. We give employees at all levels of the company the ability to easily learn the skills they need to succeed.”

Investing in the future workforce 


Our college interns also have access to I&S University and Linux Academy, tutorials, and brown bag events, where they can learn about technologies they need to be successful on their projects. Interns are hired onto various teams across the sector, in areas such as intelligence and reconnaissance, information technology, cybersecurity, engineering, finance, communications, business development, and human resources.

Investing in the future workforce

“When we hire paid summer interns, we don’t expect them to already be experts,” said Totten. “We are looking for interns who are willing to learn and are interested in continuous improvement – and we give them the resources to do that.”

Investments in the future workforce are also made through strategic community investments in organizations like the Utah Engineers Council, Emerald Coast Science Center Women in Science Conference, and FIRST robotics support student scholarships, women in engineering, and STEM education.

BAE Systems was recently recognized by the Institute for Corporate Productivity for innovative best practices in employee learning and workforce development. Mentorship programs, rotation assignments, and leadership training are offered across the global enterprise.

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