Universities look to cybersecurity partnerships

Teaming up with industry cybersecurity providers, universities are hoping to produce more highly-skilled cybersecurity professionals

cybersecurity-educationAs the information technology industry grows, cybersecurity careers are projected to grow along with it–leading to an increased need for students to pursue cybersecurity at the higher-ed level.

National defense leaders and experts at the fourth annual Cybersecurity Summit in October revealed that in 2014, cybersecurity crimes cost the U.S. more than $1 trillion in damage, and while the FBI used to search for major security breaches every 2-3 weeks, they now search every 2-3 days.

And while organizations are constantly creating new technologies and tools to meet cybersecurity challenges, the October cybersecurity summit revealed that the industry itself is 200,000 professionals short.

Higher education institutions are forging partnerships to meet the needs of the cybersecurity industry and produce highly-skilled professionals to fill those industry gaps.

Champlain College in Vermont offers master’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and industry certificates in computer forensics and digital investigation, along with cybersecurity. The college was recently honored as the 2015 winner of the Professional Award for Best Cybersecurity Higher Education Program by SC Magazine, an IT security professional publication.

Students gain knowledge through hands-on experience, said Ric Messier, the program director of Champlain College’s Cybersecurity, Computer Forensics, Digital Investigations & Economic Crime Investigation Programs.

“They’re learning content, concept, and subject matter that go along with security, and they’re learning it through the process of doing it as opposed to reading a book,” Messier said.

Next page: How partnerships help both institutions and industry

Laura Ascione