Cybersecurity is a growing concern for virtually every industry, thus creating a growing demand for professionals with security skills. Cyber foundations is the second fastest growing job field in the U.S. between now and 2018, second only to healthcare. But where are these people going to come from?
A hot-button topic at CompTIA Breakaway, Joseph Cuenco, executive director at The Science Center of Pinellas County in Florida, gave CAPP Academic education leaders a glimpse into the innovative curriculum and tactics the instructors use at the Pinellas County facility.
The Science Center of Pinellas County is a K-12 informational education center serving Pinellas County for over 50 years and an experiential education facility. A seven-acre facility with 28,000 square feet, the center is filled with experiential facilities, labs, cyber labs and state-of-the-art equipment. Its mission is to foster leadership in innovative science, technology, engineering and math education with programs that promote critical thinking and the development of life and career skills.
The Science Center has a 15-hour summer camp program where students will learn to secure their home wireless networks. Students also go through training for their CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+ exams.
The Science Center’s goals are simple, to get their students certified and to provide them with the skills to move into the field, either through entry-level positions or post-secondary education. The Science Center uses a blended learning curriculum to help their students achieve their goals:
- Elearning content with video, simulation and gaming
- Hands on application for desktops, servers and software
- Applying STEM content
- Industry expert facilitated mentoring
- Practical and relevant application of concepts
As the industry advances and employers’ needs changes, the Science Center constantly evaluates its program to stay relevant and to provide the best education to its students. The Science Center measures the program’s adaptive model, program efficacy and interviews students and instructors. And they continue to add content to its curriculum, adding incident management and forensics, more e-content and a virtual classroom platform.