Posts Tagged ‘computer’

Help Wanted: Cyber Security Specialists

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Cybersecurity

Wanted: Approximately 10,000 – 20,000 young Americans with the Information Technology skills necessary to safeguard America’s massive digital computer infrastructure. Openings available for Cybersecurity Practitioners, Researchers and General “Cyber Warriors.” Positions require elite “hacking” skills, strong ability to “think outside the box,”and a keen understanding of the nation’s security systems and their vulnerabilities. Excellent starting salaries.

Okay, it’s true, we just made up that description, but it’s a fact that the need for IT specialists to defend the Internet and our nation’s communications infrastructure has never been greater, with President Obama identifying Cybersecurity as one of the most serious economic and national security challenges faced by our nation. It’s also true that the job market for Cybersecurity experts is wide open – by one estimate, the U.S. needs at least 20,000 such cyber-specialists, and currently has but 1,000 positions filled.

So, what exactly is a Cybersecurity Specialist? A recent article in USA Today describes the job as “a new class of tech professional specifically trained to battle data thieves, online scammers and cyberspies.”

The demand for these “cyber crime fighters” is so great that not only are schools and businesses intently focused on “cyber” training programs, but the federal government, in collaboration with education officials, military contractors and businesses have even begun sponsoring “American Idol”-like competitions, such as the U.S. Cyber Challenge, which aims to find and recruit 10,000 talented young “security warriors” through intricate “hacking” contests and other tests of security mettle.

ATE programs are at the forefront of this “cyber movement,” with specialty programs including:

CyberWatch, a consortium of Mid-Atlantic colleges focused on cybersecurity training which has grown by nearly 66 percent in each of the last two years, according to the program’s co-director, Casey O’Brien, noting, “People are starting to get that the success of these programs is absolutely critical to the future of our country.”

The Cyber Security Education Consortium (CSEC), which comprises five educational institutions throughout Oklahoma and major population centers in neighboring states to develop strategies to help secure cyberspace.

The Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance Cyber Defense Training Center (CSSIA), founded in 2003 partners with industry and academia to help students develop cyber-security skills.

Think about this for a minute: The vast majority of our day-to-day lives are steeped in computer data, and much of our country’s infrastructure – from banking and financial systems to energy grids to medical records to telecommunications – is reliant on computer systems. In fact, in this week’s ATETV Episode, Todd Matthews of EMC Corporation – one of the world’s largest data storage companies – commented that “More digital data will be created in the next two years than was produced in the last ten.”

Wouldn’t you want to know that all this information was safe in the hands of tomorrow’s cyber-security experts?

ATETV Episode 34: Internships, Information and Innovations

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

This week, the “I’s” have it as we look at the importance of internships, the growing fields of Information and Communication Technologies and innovations in Biotechnology.

In our first segment, we talk with employers from a variety of industries who agree that student interns have provided their companies with vitally important support. “We [currently] have a number of full-time employees who started out as interns,” explains William Bither of Atalasoft, Inc. “It’s been a good way for us, as an employer, to really evaluate how [an individual] will fit in with our company.”

Adds Keith Parent of the Court Square Group, “It’s great if [a job candidate] has already had an internship [and been exposed to the same field as ours]. We like to find employees that come in with an internship background.” And, he adds, for the student interns at the Court Square Group, “If the student fits and likes what we do, I’d love to be able to offer them a job and keep them on.”

And, as we learn from Jill Heiden of ESAB Welding and Cutting Products, many internships are paid positions, enabling older students with families the opportunity to explore new ventures without sacrificing income. “This allows students to not only go to school, but to be productive and provide for their families,” she explains.

Finally, notes David Marlin of Metacomet Systems, graduating with a job reference already in hand can provide the leg up a student needs in today’s competitive job market. “The experience you get on the job is so valuable,” he emphasizes.

In our second segment, we examine a different kind of networking as we explore the Computer Information Technology (CIT) program at Springfield Technical Community College.

“CIT encompasses many things in the [computer] industry,” explains Springfield’s Andrew Maynard. “We’re preparing programmmers for programming jobs. We’re also preparing web programmers for web programming jobs. There’s also a technical side [of the industry] which is very close to the hardware and then there’s the business side.”

Adds student Sean Coughlin, “We’re dealing [directly] with the physical equipment, the cables, everything. This hands-on, real-world stuff is wonderful.”

Juan Valenzuela couldn’t agree more, as we learn in our third segment. “I’m enrolled in the Biotech program at Southwestern College,” he explains. “I actually received my bachelor’s degree in biology and I’m [returning to school] because I’ve been applying to a number of places and learning that a lot of employers require experience. So with this program at Southwestern, I’m hoping to get an internship.” And with his hands-on applications conducting DNA purification and other sophisticated Biotech experiments, Juan can pursue a Biotech career with a newfound confidence. “It’s one of the best things that I could recommend,” he adds.