Colleges Must Evolve with Cyberthreats (Editorial)

Some experts are predicting looming deficits in the cybersecurity workforce in coming years – education could be the solution.

by St. Joseph News-Press / November 2, 2017

(TNS) -- As the world changes, so do the opportunities to engage it.

A current example can be found on the campus of Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville. The Board of Regents recently voted to approve a new bachelor of science in cybersecurity; by this time next year, students there can choose to be fully immersed in this blossoming career field.

This is both an opportunity and a sad reality about the rise of new technological threats — to businesses, banks, health systems, power grids, personal privacy and even the stability of governments.

According to Forbes, experts predict a global shortage of 2 million cybersecurity professionals by 2019. As many as 40,000 positions for information security analyst go unfilled in the United States each year, and employers must work to fill 200,000 related positions.

Well-paying, in-demand roles include that of a security analyst, who works to prevent and mitigate security breaches, and security manager, who develops and implements processes to keep information private.

It stands to reason that as Northwest adds to its capabilities and expertise in this evolving field, the entire region will benefit.

One important uptick will come from the number of students who will acquire new marketable skills. The program outline states students will gain a broad understanding of computer systems; learn about the prevention and detection of cyberattacks; and develop skills related to implementing security policies and best practices.

Another positive will come in the region’s ability to support the needs of businesses and organizations that require workers with these skills. Business recruitment and expansion will be made easier as we compete for leading-edge employers.

Also, we will miss out on an opportunity if we do not find a way to develop partnerships — internships, consulting contracts and more — that will both directly and indirectly benefit these businesses and organizations as the world of information security evolves.

With expertise in our midst, the region will be well-positioned to perfect our brand as a place that is capable of developing and supplying skilled professionals for a wide variety of career paths, including those in cybersecurity.

©2017 the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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