Millions of job opportunities are available worldwide for qualified cybersecurity professionals. What’s one major must-have for those seeking to fill the vacancies? Academic, technical and leadership skills, together, that set you apart.
Regent University’s Institute for Cybersecurity, home to one of the nation’s most sophisticated commercial cyber ranges, is uniquely qualified to prepare cybersecurity students to enter the workforce as professionals who are ready to confidently and expertly take on the daunting task of preventing cybercrime, which is predicted to cause more than $6 trillion in damages within the next three years.
The Triple Threat in Cyber Skills: Theory, Hands-On Learning, Communication Skills
Regent’s cybersecurity program is built on professionally focused coursework that provides the technical, academic and leadership skills needed to turn the heads of hiring managers. Cheryl Beauchamp, Regent’s department chair for engineering and computer science, is one of the world-class educators who shepherded the program from its inception to its designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
“The development of professional skills is core to our cybersecurity program. Our courses not only introduce current theory and relevant issues, but they also provide opportunities for students to work on collaborative projects that give them hands-on experience that will be invaluable when they enter the workforce,” she said.
The ultimate goal of Regent’s cybersecurity program is to graduate well-rounded cybersecurity professionals who are equally as comfortable on the frontline of defending assets and information as they are walking into the boardroom to present jargon-free assessments of vulnerabilities and strategic plans to combat them.
While not required to earn a degree, Regent encourages cybersecurity students to earn professional certifications, such as the Certified Cyber Practitioner™, to get ahead of the game. Many organizations, especially in the government, require them.
A degree, plus those credentials, make Regent graduates the triple threats of the applicant pool in that they have mastered theory, applied it with hands-on learning on the live fire range, and gained practical communication and professional skills.
“Many of our students take advantage of our certification preparation courses to round-out their competitiveness. Graduating with certifications under their belt is another way to make them stand out as professionals,” Beauchamp said.
Leveraging Competitions and Access to Experts
Participating in events such as the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition and the National Cyber League Competition provide Regent’s students with another venue to hone their professional skills.
“These are tremendous opportunities for the students to work on communication, collaboration and team-building skills,” Beauchamp said. “It also gives them the opportunity to meet students at other universities and network with industry professionals who are looking for recruits,” she said.
Regent University is strategically situated in Virginia Beach, Virginia, part of the East Coast’s epicenter of military presence and takes advantage of the opportunities afforded by that.
“Given our location, we can draw upon local, private, government and military cybersecurity experts to interface with our students,” Beauchamp said. “Through our cybersecurity forums and conferences, we’ve featured some of the country’s leading experts who share their knowledge and offer insights into what it’s like to work for entities such as Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.”
Maximiliano Gigli, a third-year cybersecurity student and graduate assistant at Regent, said those opportunities have been inspiring. “They give us a personal perspective of the work and their real-world experiences show how theories are put into action,” he said.
Capstones and Clinics: The Secret Sauce beyond Course Credits
Further development of professional skills is gained through the required capstone course that encapsulates their studies including the principals and methodology of information security management, research and project management.
Additionally, Regent recently introduced monthly clinic sessions, offered online and on campus, that cover topics such as the Linux operating system, password cracking, ethical hacking, and penetration testing.
“Higher education tends to focus on taking the courses and getting the credits. Our offering of these clinics, outside of the courses, reinforces what they are doing in class and provides them with more hands-on experience,” Beauchamp said.
“These are opportunities are for those who really want to gain experience and learn more. It’s like a bridge. The skills help them with their self-identity, and their career-identity, so they graduate as highly qualified professionals.”
Regent University’s Institute for Cybersecurity is disrupting and transforming the cyber defense industry with a state-of-the-art training platform and world-class trainers. To learn more about how you can stand out as a cybersecurity professional, visit regent.edu/cyber or contact the institute at 757.352.4215.