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Cybersecurity Curriculum Is Topic for Webinar for Industry, Public Sector

Tech companies are direct stakeholders in the future cybersecurity workforce, and Dr. Keith Clement says it behooves the industry to help shape the training those future workers will need.

Technology professionals in industry, government and academia will convene virtually Thursday for the monthly meeting of the California Cybersecurity Industry Workgroup, which focuses on building a “pathway” from school to the workforce for students seeking to work in cybersecurity.

The meeting runs from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., and registration and other information is available online.

The cybersecurity education effort is being led by Dr. Keith Clement, a professor at Fresno State University who chairs the Workforce Development and Education Subcommittee of the California Cybersecurity Task Force. Clement is also the IT Subcommittee chair for the California Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship.

Among Clement’s goals is involving the tech industry in developing and investing in the cybersecurity education of California students, from kindergarten through grad school and beyond. Clement asserts that industry buy-in to cybersecurity education is necessary, as evidenced by the industry’s ongoing high demand for workers in that discipline.

Clement has issued a “call to action” for industry to weigh in on what type of training their future workforce should have — and to work with academia and government in shaping curricula to meet those needs.

Clement noted the different job opportunities available in the public and private sectors.

“In the Southern California area, with all the government, defense (and) military contractors, they are very specific about their minimum qualifications for the job,” Clement told Techwire last week. “They want to see the skills, of course, but they want to see the four-year degree before they even look at you.” By contrast, he said, many hiring managers in the private sector are happy to have candidates with skills or attitude, but not necessarily the degree.

“Our project actually began to serve the state of California and their 225,000 employees … and in the IT I, IT II (job classification) world of civil service for the state of California, they need four-year degrees in these technical areas to even sit for the exam,” Clement said. “If you don’t have a four-year degree, don’t even bother to apply. You will go nowhere here.”

Clement pointed to a draft analysis he’s done on cybersecurity workforce roles for those with four- and six-year degrees, which he posted on LinkedIn.

“Pretty surprising numbers from April 2020 through March 2021,” Clement said in his post. “Maybe we should be enhancing and aligning ‘high demand’ critical IT-cybersecurity skills in degree programs to meet these hiring requirements?!”

After Thursday’s June meeting, the workgroup’s next meeting will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 22.
Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Northern California foothills.