Cybersecurity Workforce: Bridging the Gap
Keeping computers and information systems secure is a major challenge. Business, industry, and government need well-prepared technicians who can prevent, detect, and investigate cybersecurity breaches, and the growth of cyber-threats has created a need for many more workers who have appropriate, specific knowledge and skills. The demand for educated and talented cybersecurity personnel exceeds the supply in Southern Maryland, which is home to multiple naval bases, several Fortune 500 companies, and a growing list of smaller entrepreneurial enterprises. This project will contribute to growing the region's cybersecurity workforce talent pipeline and to increasing its diversity. In particular, it will develop cybersecurity professionals who are also knowledgeable in business and management.
The project will implement practices shown by research to be effective, contributing to the understanding of curricular and co-curricular activities that affect recruitment, retention, student success, academic and career pathways, and degree attainment in cybersecurity. The project will introduce an updated cybersecurity curriculum that is closely aligned with the unique cybersecurity workforce needs of industry and military base partners in Southern Maryland. The curricular modifications are also aligned with continuing the college's designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense - 2-Year Education (CAE-2Y). Activities will include:
- developing a new business area of concentration in Cybersecurity Policy, with stackable certificates and the opportunity for students to earn professional cybersecurity certifications;
- summer orientation events;
- boot camp workshops to prepare students for certification exams;
- monthly cohort activities, such as guest speakers, field trips, hackathons, and career enrichment;
- cybersecurity career awareness workshops for K-12 teachers, parents, and students;
- a virtual learning community that will bring together students attending classes on different campuses;
- engaging industry partners in the design of courses and curricula;
- integrating real-life cybersecurity enrichment activities into the cybersecurity program to increase student satisfaction and improve retention; and
- increasing the number of women, minorities, and first-generation college students entering cybersecurity careers.