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EITC one of two schools in the state offering a cyber security degree

Idaho Falls

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IDAHO FALLS — Fighting those who threaten your network’s security at home, or in your business start with education.

Eastern Idaho Technical College is now the second school in the state to offer an associates degree in Cyber Security. The College of Western Idaho offers a similar program. Division Manager for business, office and technology, Leslie Jernberg said EITC has been working with advisory committees to get a full blown cyber security curriculum for some time.

“It was a natural thing for us to look to evolve our regular computer networking program into a cyber security program, lots of jobs out there,” Jernberg said. “Across the industry we’re finding the demand for highly skilled cyber security skills is increasing.”

EITC has been offering computer networking courses for 23 years and the cyber security classes will be added to the mix. The networking program only takes 20 students, but by next spring it will be doubling it’s enrollment space.

Students will be required to take one year of computer networking courses, and then apply for the cyber security program to receive an associates degree of applied science in information assurance and cyber security. EITC will continue to offer its regular two year computer networking course.

Jernberg said the industry for cybersecurity is booming especially in the immediate area.

“It just provides more opportunity for high-wage, high-demand jobs. This is becoming quite a technology area in eastern Idaho and so we want to fill that talent pipeline with students that are ready to take on those kinds of jobs,” Jernberg says.

The Idaho National Laboratory’s cyber security analyst Lee Kerns said the basic concepts behind cyber security actually apply across all industries.

“We’re starting to see that where cyber security is having and impact in health care and financial sectors as well as government and transportation and really all aspects of our lives there’s really a cyber security component these days,” Kerns said. “Across all industries we’re finding the demand for highly skilled cyber security professionals is increasing.”

Computer networking technology instructor Donald Casper said the learning about digital protection is vital because hackers are attempting to infiltrate networks of all kinds on a daily basis.

“Everybody’s getting hit. It only takes a few seconds after you plug your computer in to the network and the bad guy knows your there,” Casper said “I have gone back in the IT department here and looked at the logs, looked at the scans they do of the network and see the hundreds of times everyday that somebody tries to break the firewall here at the college.”

Jernberg said this August the college will begin hosting night classes called practical programming and digital forensics. She said cyber security experts will be instructing the courses and students may still apply. Jernberg says the easiest way to be accepted into the course is if the applicant holds a degree in computer networking, or if they submit a resume showing they are currently working in the networking field. Jernberg said a foundation knowledge is required for the course.

The cyber security courses will be held in the next academic spring semester beginning January 2018.

“There’s a lot of education that goes with cyber security, a lot of things that regular people can do to keep themselves from being vulnerable and those are things that we want to be training on as much as we want to be training on how do keep your business secure and your private information private,” Jernberg said.