Cybersecurity students get hands-on training from professionals at NKY symposium

ALEXANDRIA, Ky. -- With the recent news of security breaches at Facebook, Google, and others, the American workforce faces a growing need for cybersecurity experts. NKU has expanded its annual cybersecurity symposium to meet that need.

"(The) next generation is absolutely the key, " Encore Technologies information security VP Mike Schuetter said.

NKU’s Cybersecurity Symposium is in its 11th year. The event is usually geared toward professionals already working in the field, but this year will include workshops specifically targeted toward students.

"Certainly getting more kids passionate about cybersecurity and seeing that as a viable professional career in the future," Schuetter said.

The underlying issue most tech companies see is not enough experts in the pipeline. Many of the jobs require recent graduates to already have specialized skill sets.

"It’s now that we expect you to come in day one knowing what to do and continuing to learn, " NKU chair & computer science professor Maureen Doyle said.

Students can get hands-on experience at NKU’s JRG Cyber Threat Intelligence Lab so they’ll be ready for issues they’ll face in the workplace.

"These students are actually getting real world experience, " Doyle said. "It’s a simulated world experience but it’s the most realistic one through the cyber defense activity that’s probably available. "

NKY junior and cyber defense team member Aluor Nyamor has a passion for cybersecurity because it feels like a new frontier.

"We don’t know what it’s going to be like in the next five years, " Nyamor said. "And that, to me, is exciting."

Many cybersecurity students graduate with multiple offers because of the nationwide shortage of security professionals.

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