A Safe Bet For Turning A College Degree Into A Job

Career College Central summary:

  • McKinsey Global Institute predicts a shortage in the U.S. of up to almost 200,000 workers with deep analytical skills, and a deficit of 1.5 million managers capable of using big data analytics for actionable insights in their decision-making. Programs in data analytics and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, including cybersecurity, simply aren't keeping up with the demand.
  • Corporations are increasingly partnering with colleges and universities at an undergraduate level to help develop the 21st-century skills businesses and the economy will need. For students concerned with finding employment after college, big data analytics provides a huge edge at a time of diminishing high-wage-income opportunities.
  • "Instead of just learning about theories, we'll have the actual hands-on skills to use in whatever job we take. It will make us much more marketable," said Jessica Pease, 21, who'll continue her studies in cybersecurity as a senior next year at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo.
  • Raytheon had previously funded a two-year project cybersecurity lab, as well as the White Hat Club for security-minded hackers, of which Pease is president. Then last year the school announced it was establishing its Cybersecurity Center and, in January, began offering classes in conjunction with another big defense company, Northrop Grumman's Cybersecurity Lab. The lab was not only funded by Northrop but was set up and configured by one of its scientists. The company provides input to the university's development of coursework and also provides students with access to its Virtual Cyber Lab.
  • "Gone are the days when you fire money into a black hole and provide funding and they go off independently," said Chris Valentino, director of contract research and development at Northrop Grumman's Information and Cyber Solutions Division. The goal is not just to promote cyber-domain skills: "We're going to need people with the core engineering education that allows them to analyze a problem and develop solutions—the sophistication to create something that's going to shut down a big cyberattack."

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