Colleges address cybersecurity training gap with degrees, partnerships
More than 3 million cybersecurity jobs will be unfilled in 2021, a fact that is spurring college investment in education and training opportunities to help students take advantage of job opportunities in the growing field, EdTech reported.
So far, relatively few colleges offer undergraduate or graduate cybersecurity degrees, but that could change. Colleges are partnering with the private sector to design new programs and curriculum that meets workforce needs and, in some cases, to help shoulder the cost of expensive training and simulation facilities such as cyber ranges.
Colleges investing in cybersecurity programs include Augusta University, Montgomery College of Maryland, Regent University, Texas A&M University, the University of Michigan and Virginia Tech, among others.
To grow enrollment in an increasingly competitive recruiting environment, colleges are looking beyond traditional liberal arts and sciences degrees to create programs that align with new career opportunities and respond to areas of growing interest in higher ed, such as IT. In many cases, these new degrees are offered online, targeting adult learners across the country.
Last fall, the Georgia Institute of Technology launched an online master's in analytics, and it is planning one in cybersecurity to start in January. The cybersecurity program has been offered on campus since 2002. The online version, designed with edX, will begin with 250 students and grow over time as need demands. Georgia Tech launched its first at-scale online program — a master's degree in computer science — in 2014.
Online programs often cost less than in-person versions, though they can still be expensive. For example, Georgia Tech's new online cybersecurity master's will cost students less than $10,000 while the online version runs $20,000 for in-state students and $40,000 for out-of-state students.
Responding to similar demand, the University of Pennsylvania last month announced plans to take its popular master of computer and information technology program online. It will be the Ivy League's and the university's first foray into fully online degrees, and it will come at a discount, costing $2,500 per course compared to $6,500 in-person.
Other programs involve clearly defined partnerships with private sector partners. Through its Cyber Security University Program, Facebook is collaborating with several colleges and universities to offer cybersecurity courses and provide participants with access to hands-on training, mentoring and industry events, Government Technology reported.
Texas A&M University-San Antonio, one of the participating institutions, this summer won a National Science Foundation grant to help recruit students for these positions and connect graduates with jobs. It also recently opened a $63 million science and technology building that will be the new home for its Center for Information Technology and Cyber Security.