Cybersecurity is top of mind these days as breaches of credit card information and malicious software attacks occur with alarming frequency. Also looming are questions about the security of the upcoming presidential primaries and general election. And the coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on cybersecurity due to the increased vulnerability of workers’ home computers and security teams that are short-staffed due to quarantines. The world has changed to the point that cybersecurity is no longer just an IT issue, it affects everyone.
In addition to hiring new workers trained in cybersecurity, businesses also need ways for current employees to update their skills in emerging technologies and cyberthreats. It’s all part of developing the workforce on the job. That’s where institutions like Georgia Tech make valuable contributions, including offering an online master’s degree in cybersecurity. “It’s an opportunity to have quality education come to working professionals at an affordable cost to help them pursue their career aspirations,” says Nelson Baker, dean of professional education at Georgia Tech.
Along with the online master’s, Georgia Tech provides professional development programs that consist of short courses – one to three days in duration – on a variety of topics. The university also offers a boot-camp approach to cybersecurity for individuals who want to transition in their careers. The 24-week boot camp consists of evening and weekend classes and work outside the classroom.
“We listen to companies and what their workforce needs are and to individuals to come up with a format and delivery that meets lifestyle and work schedules,” he says.
Another way the university works with companies is by providing on-site training. “We take the course to them,” Baker adds. “These are self-funded; revenue from enrollments keeps them going. It’s a part of Georgia Tech’s statewide outreach.”