The Louisiana State Board of Education approves Cyber Engineering as one of 11 new graduation pathways in the state, according to a press release. This new pathway will help address the state’s growing demand for information technology professionals. In recent years, companies like CSC, IBM, CenturyLink and GE Capital have all made Louisiana home creating thousands of jobs and new opportunities for our students. In addition, there are over 340,000 unfilled cyber security jobs in the United States. With the Cyber Engineering Pathway, Louisiana is creating a competitive advantage over other states and will be well positioned to continue and accelerate its success in recruiting additional IT jobs.
The Cyber Innovation Center, in conjunction with New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy (NOMMA), Bossier Parish schools and the Department of Education, has written a pathway that will better prepare students for success in cyber-related degrees at the post-secondary level. In addition, this pathway will allow interested high school students the opportunity to study cyber engineering electives for the purpose of graduating with industry accepted certifications that will give them a distinct entry level advantage over job applicants without these certifications.
Four such industry certifications include CompTIA’s IT Fundamentals, A+, Network+, and Security+. CompTIA is one of the world’s largest IT certification bodies and represents the voice of industry across the globe. The CompTIA certifications aligned with the Cyber Engineering pathway will count towards the state awarding a Jump Start endorsed diploma and will better prepare students for the real world. Dr. Chuck Gardner, a Cyber Science teacher and career education coordinator for NOMMA, says, “NOMMA is very excited about the approval of this pathway. This means that our students who are interested in technology-related jobs will be able to graduate with certifications that are in high demand by industry. These certifications are differentiators in the job market!”
The CIC has invested heavily in the development of a robust academic outreach and workforce development program since 2008. Through its efforts, the CIC created the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) which fosters collaboration among academia, government, and industry and innovation in K-12 education. G.B. Cazes, CIC Vice President, explains, “Bringing together key stakeholders to create relevant and engaging curricula was a critical component in the creation of this cyber engineering pathway. If we’re going to help develop the nation’s cyber workforce, then the material being presented in classrooms must relate to what’s happening in the real world.”
The Louisiana Department of Education website at LouisianaBelieves.com states that “Jump Start is the state’s new program for school districts, colleges, and businesses to collaborate in providing career courses and workplace experiences to high school students, certifying them for the career fields most likely to lead to high-wage jobs. Jump Start will be an elective path for students pursuing a university-preparatory diploma, and a required path for students pursuing a Career Diploma. Jump Start will ensure students access to state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and professionals to prepare during their high school schedules for careers in Louisiana’s high-growth job sectors.”
The state-approved cyber engineering pathway includes numerous courses that schools can apply toward this diploma endorsement. Courses such as computer coding, computer science, and computer technology literacy can be offered by schools with limited access to a practical cyber engineering lab. Dr. Gardner, also the principal author of the pathway, states, “The intent of the pathway, though, is for students to experience a more structured cyber experience by having schools offer courses like Cyber Science, cyber engineering, or cyber security.”
The CIC, in cooperation with its partners, has created a series of cyber-related courses for high schools to implement almost immediately. These courses provide a vertically integrated curriculum beginning in 8th or 9th grade with Cyber Literacy followed by Cyber Science and a cyber-based Physics course. Juniors or seniors may be interested in Advanced Math for Engineering and Science or Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science.
Whether students want to enter the job market after high school or further their education at two or four year colleges or universities, this pathway provides opportunity. Potential cyber degrees that students may pursue at a post-secondary level include Cyber Information Technology, Cyber Information Systems, Computer Science, Cyber Engineering, or Electrical Engineering. Louisiana Tech University created the nation’s first Cyber Engineering undergraduate degree program, a program that has experienced exceptional growth and national attention for its students since its inception. The program’s first graduates will be in May.
Source: Shreveport Times