Imagine yourself on the frontlines of cybersecurity

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By Erin Eagan

 

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STWC student at computer

Courtesy of SWTC

Cyber attacks can occur at any time, and no one is immune. Just ask the hundreds of millions who were affected by the breaches of Yahoo, Marriott Hotels and Equifax.

In today’s digital world, network attacks, identity theft and data breaches are, unfortunately, part of our daily lives. While advancements in technology have prevented many of these attacks from occurring, technology alone is not enough. We need skilled cybersecurity professionals on the frontlines, armed with the most current skills and training, to help prevent these types of attacks and properly respond to them if they occur. 

Cyber threats aren’t going away anytime soon. If you’re considering career options or are looking for a change, give some serious thought to becoming a cybersecurity professional. Among the many benefits of this growing field are:  

  1. High demand. The number of cybersecurity job postings has grown 94% since 2013 (Burning Glass Technologies). There is such high demand, in fact, that the unemployment rate for cybersecurity professionals is at or near zero. 
  2. Significant earning potential. Companies are in dire need of cybersecurity specialists and are paying high salaries to get them. Those entering the field make an average starting salary of over $48,000.
  3. Unlimited growth potential. It’s an ever-evolving industry, where workers are constantly learning new skills and working with new technologies to try and stay one step ahead of any threat.

Wisconsin’s technical colleges are here to get you started on your new career path. Several of the colleges offer associate degree programs in cybersecurity:

In these programs, students are taught the skills needed to design, test, implement and monitor security measures for any company’s network as well as how to respond to breaches and viruses, making them invaluable to companies and organizations of all sizes. 

In addition to associate degree programs, the colleges also offer many other shorter-term technical diplomas and certificate programs related to cybersecurity. “Students do not need to be admitted to a cybersecurity program to take a class or two in cybersecurity,” says Ken McCullough, IT Department Chair at Madison College.

For students interested in an overview of the IT field, including Cybersecurity, McCullough suggests they take an IT introductory type of class. “If a student wanted to go further, they could take first semester classes in Linux Server operating system or basic computer networking,” he adds. “These classes are foundational for the cybersecurity program but are useful for any IT career.”

McCullough encourages interested students to give it some consideration, as he says, “The trend is that there will be a significant increase in demand for cybersecurity professionals.” 

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