BOSSIER CITY, La. – According to economic experts, cyber security jobs are among the fastest growing occupations in the world. Education is taught to teachers who in turn teach their students. More than 21,000 educators have taught more than 3 million students across the United States.
Cyber security jobs are among the fastest growing in the nation. Some of the most effective curriculum used to teach it started at the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City.
“Many of my friends who I graduated high school with or graduated high school or graduated college with go on to bigger cities, go on to bigger towns and I see that the greatest export in Louisiana is its human talent,” said Kevin Nolten, director of cyber.org, which is the academic outreach initiative of the Cyber Innovation Center.
The center is the anchor of the 3,000-acre national cyber research park which serves as a catalyst for the development and expansion of a knowledge-based workforce. Cyber.org has a federal grant through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to develop a K-12 cyber security curriculum to embed in classrooms nationwide.
Nolten’s team instructs teachers in the Bossier Parish School District. On the elementary and middle school levels, he says curriculum focuses on integrating cyber security of existing content by taking the concepts of math, science, and English language arts concepts to create relevancy around cyber security.
“Sally has a computer at the house that has three gigabytes of memory. She has this really cool program that she wants to run that requires five. How many gigabytes does Sally need to add? What we’ve done there is not change 5 minus 3 equals 2, because that’s an important standard based skill that our students need to know. What we’ve done, is we have changed the context or the relevancy for which that concept it taught,” said Nolten.
More than 500,000 cyber security jobs are expected to increase to 1.8 million by 2023.
“That focus on ensuring that our students have an awareness of what degrees are available to them, is only going to close that gap,” said Nolten.
By the 9th grade, students can take a cyber literacy course. They can graduate with a certification in cyber security. Before earning their associates, bachelors, and masters degrees in cyber engineering.
Without ever leaving Louisiana, annual salary starts at about $60,000. Cyber Innovation Center Executive Director and President Craig Spohn told KTBS 3 that it can go much higher.
“Depending on what your skillset is, how you apply yourself, the experience that you gain overtime, the education that you bring with that job, a couple of hundred thousand is not uncommon at all,” Spohn said.
“An economy that is based on an average salary of $35,000 to $36,000, that’s a tremendous salary, that’s a tremendous living and that’s right here in our backyard,” said Nolten.