The Public Eye with Eric Chabrow

Community Colleges: Best Cybersecurity Training Grounds?

Community Colleges: Best Cybersecurity Training Grounds?

On Capitol Hill, expert witnesses testify about the need to beef up graduate-level education, not only to train needed cybersecurity professionals, but prepare the PhDs and others needed to educate IT security specialists. But just outside the Beltway that encircles Washington, community colleges - hoping to tap millions of dollars President Obama promises to spend on strengthen federal government IT security - are instituting cybersecurity programs.

"The time is really ripe for community colleges' role in this area of technology to expand, be recognized, to get the kind of support that it needs," Corby Hovis, cybersecurity program director at the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education program, said in an article posted on the website of The Chronicle for Higher Education. "All of the stars, I think, are aligned for this."

Still, are community colleges the best places to educate future cybersecurity professionals? University of Tulsa computer scientists Sujeet Shenoi expresses some doubts in the article: The state of cybersecurity education at community colleges is not very good. "I don't want to put down community colleges," says Shenoi, who runs one of three NSF-backed regional centers that support community-college cybersecurity education. "but if you are really good, chances are you wouldn't want to take a job at a community college as an instructor."

In many respects, colleges at all levels are just starting to focus on cybersecurity as an academic discipline. And offering a IT security curriculum likely will be needed at all levels to meet the demands of governments and the private sector to safeguard their IT systems. A big question is: Will there be sufficient teachers to provide the training at all levels of post-high school education?

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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