In the face of the government’s difficulties in filling cybersecurity jobs, OPM should consider loosening qualification requirements that in practice exclude would-be applicants who do not have a four-year college degree, a group of House Democrats has suggested.

Members of the New Democrat Coalition task force on cybersecurity said that while OPM does not mandate bachelor’s degrees for those positions, “the vast majority of job postings ask for one. Given the increasing need for cybersecurity personnel, OPM should be more flexible with job requirements.

“For many of these jobs, a two-year degree or other non-traditional education paths, such as industry-recognized certification testing, can sufficiently prepare workers, especially in combination with high-value experience,” they wrote.

They added that offering training toward recognized certification “would be a valuable way for agencies to recruit and retain highly-qualified cyber professionals.” However, agencies do not currently offer that benefit, they said, asking whether anything is preventing it and if not, what could be done to encourage it.