Both the private and public sectors are currently battling severe shortages in skilled data scientists and cyber experts.
Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly frequent and damaging, yet we are not properly staffed to secure our nation’s networks and stop these intrusions. To narrow the big data and cyber employment gap and keep up with emerging cyberthreats, government and private sectors need to take a proactive approach and focus on improving cyber education.
Yes, having up-to-date security systems is important, but we need strong talent to manage these systems and ensure they are operating effectively.
Offering cyber skill courses at colleges and universities is crucial to prepare the next wave of cyber warriors. While all federal employees should be required to participate in mandatory cybersecurity training, recruiting young talent with backgrounds in data analytics and security will strengthen and advance cyber response efforts.
In April 2015, Booz Allen Hamilton and Partnership for Public Service published a report outlining the federal government’s cyber talent gap. According to the report, one of the biggest challenges for government agencies is finding employees with experience in identifying cybersecurity threats and analyzing complex data.
One of the report’s recommendations to address this shortage is to grow and strengthen the quality of undergraduate and graduate-level cyber skill education. Encouraging institutions to develop data analytics and cybersecurity programs will increase our nation’s pool of available talent.
Fortunately, there is a growing trend among forward-thinking U.S. universities that we should be encouraging students to pursue degrees in analytics and cybersecurity. Schools are starting to seriously think about the ways we can train students to become skillful in analytics.
Colleges and universities are investing in these programs because they understand the market value and what it means for students’ future job prospects. Data analytics and cyber skills are in high demand across industries, and students graduating with those capabilities will undoubtedly have brighter job prospects.
A comprehensive data analytics program can help teach students skills and concepts applicable for both the public and private sectors. Higher education programs are increasingly using cutting edge IT tools to train students in data encryption and analysis.
Respected education institutions like Georgetown University, Northwestern University and University of Colorado (UC) Boulder are encouraging students to use analytics to study media behaviors, global health issues and teaching them to leverage both structured and unstructured data.
Students at UC Boulder used visualization and data analytics software in a Social Computing class to identify social media trends generated during times of mass emergency. Specifically, students used software to actively analyze Twitter data from the 2013 Colorado Floods and the 2012 Costa Rica Earthquake. Similarly, the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University offers students hands-on experience with data analytics software to help them understand operational intelligence and streaming live data.