Texas A&M employs students as cybersecurity apprentices

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The Texas A&M University system partnered last week with a cybersecurity education group to give students experience monitoring and defending networks as they learn technical skills on-the-job though a new apprenticeship program.

The program, in partnership with the Cybersecurity Youth Apprenticeship Initiative, an education initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor to give high school and college students cybersecurity experience, allows A&M students to be a part of a real cybersecurity team and protect networks for the university system, as well as state agencies, cities and counties throughout Texas. University leaders said the new training program will allow students to learn cybersecurity skills like how to detect cyberattacks and other malicious network activity, while earning certifications to help meet a growing national demand for cybersecurity professionals.

“The cybersecurity industry currently has millions of job openings,” Daniel Basile, executive director of the Texas A&M University System security operations center, said in a press release. “The Texas A&M University System is working to fill this deficit through a variety of methods, such as this program providing necessary hands-on experience for our cybersecurity analysts. These individuals will move on to careers protecting us from cyberthreats from around the world.”

Texas A&M University System SOC currently employs 18 student apprentices who are helping to monitor and defend real-world networks, and expects to hire 20 additional apprentices in the fall, which will give students a unique opportunity to gain job experience before they graduate.

“Entry-level jobs in cybersecurity often require two years of experience,” Mark Ouellette, project manager of CYAI, said in the announcement. “Registered apprenticeships are a great way for young people to gain that experience and exposure while contributing as employees and getting paid.”

Texas A&M has also created other opportunities for students to pursue cybersecurity and technology education, creating programs for students to earn certifications and degrees in cybersecurity fields, as well as hands-on experience through bootcamps, internships and leadership training.

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