Cybersecurity courses changing with times

Businesses in the Crossroads area looking to find cybersecurity expertise have several options

By Mike Lewis
mlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com

Cybersecurity threats keep evolving, and cybersecurity training keeps changing, too.

“I tell students it’s a really good job, because it’s different each day,” said Brad Rinard, chairman of the department of computer science and information technology at Frostburg State University in Maryland.

Businesses looking to find or develop cybersecurity expertise have several options. Some cybersecurity companies offer training programs as part of their services. And colleges and universities throughout the Crossroads Business Journal region offer various cybersecurity courses and programs. Those range from Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in West Virginia to Hagerstown Community College in Maryland to Penn State Mont Alto in Pennsylvania.

Frostburg’s program focuses on the nitty-gritty of cybersecurity work, Rinard said.

“It’s not security policy. A lot of the programs out there are security policy. … We have over 20 security courses,” Rinard said.

Instructors keep up to date through journals, online resources and contacts in the field, Rinard said. And alumni often share what they’re seeing in the course of their work.

Demand for cybersecurity grads remains high, the professor said.

“Most of our computer science and cybersecurity people have a job before they graduate,” he said.

Other approaches

According to statistics from Frederick County, Md., government, jobs in information security and computer and information systems have grown 11.3% in the past 10 years. By 2029, that number is expected to grow by another 10%.

In Maryland, the number of cybersecurity jobs has grown nearly 50% in the past 10 years. That number is expected to grow another 15% by 2029.

With all of that in mind, Hood College has launched online programs in cybersecurity and information technology to make the programs more accessible for working pros.

“The Hood online programs are identical to our rigorous on-campus programs, ensuring that our students get the same faculty engagement, attention and access to resources as if they were physically present,” George Dimitoglou, associate professor of computer science at Hood, said in a news release. “We deliver an unparalleled educational experience by leveraging modern tools and technology platforms. This allows us to offer various options for communication and offer seamless student-faculty collaboration and interaction.”

April Boulton, dean of the graduate school at Hood, said it was “mission-critical to convert the college’s existing high-quality programs to an online offering, thereby extending the educational support in these fields throughout the state and beyond. We will use video conferencing, chat and other online messaging to engage our students remotely.”

Award-winning partnership

Hood also is part of a three-partner, award-winning partnership in cybersecurity.

As Crossroads Business Journal reported previously, the cyber degree pathway involving Frederick Community College, Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmittsburg, Md., and Hood College won the 2019 National CyberWatch Center “Innovations in Cyber Security Education” award in the program development category.

The cybersecurity associate degree at FCC offers courses that transfer to the Mount toward a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. In turn, the cybersecurity curriculum at the Mount offers courses that transfer toward a master’s degree in cybersecurity at Hood College. The institutions developed the agreement to give students a contemporary, rigorous and relevant education in the cybersecurity field that fully aligns with National Security Agency accreditation standards.