SCI to offer programs in cybersecurity


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Classes for the new Pitt School of Computing and Information cybersecurity program will start in August.

By Brian Gentry, Assistant News Editor

Pitt’s School of Computing and Information opened a Professional Institute yesterday, and its first initiative is to offer programs in cybersecurity, according to a press release from the University.

The institute will offer a professional education program, which requires students to take five short courses either in person or online that give students technical experience in cybersecurity. It will also offer a graduate certificate, which provides students with interdisciplinary experience in both the technical side of cybersecurity and the political and social implications of it, according to Leona Mitchell, the institute’s founding director.

The graduate certificate is focused on individuals that want to pursue job opportunities that require broader insight beyond just the technical,” Mitchell said in an email. “These individuals will be pursuing jobs where understanding policy and legal issues factor into making everyday policy and strategy decisions.”

The professional education program is a non-degree program, and classes for this program begin in August. Applications are open now and due Aug. 1, and will be open as long as space is available in the courses. The institute expects to attract roughly 100 students in the first year, according to Mitchell.

The SCI started these programs to satisfy a national need for increased cybersecurity training, according to the press release. Mitchell said the institute’s goal is, in part, to offer this training to students who may not get a graduate degree in the field.

“The need for cybersecurity skills has accelerated to the point where almost half the jobs go unfilled due to lack of skilled resources,” Mitchell said in the press release. “Not everyone can come back for a full graduate degree, so we want to target working professionals and help them gain skills and capabilities at a much faster rate.”

According to CSO, a news source that provides information about cybersecurity, 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs are expected to be vacant globally by 2021. This deficit is a hole the institute is trying to help fill, according to Paul Cohen, the dean of SCI.

“That workforce is one of the most understaffed and undertrained in the nation,” Cohen said in the press release. “It is our goal to help working professionals gain the skills and industry knowledge necessary to step into these essential roles and make an immediate impact.”