COS jumpstarts cybersecurity “boot camp”

The College of the Sequoias Training Resource Center hosts cybersecurity career boot camp that teaches students how to defend against malicious malware and cyberattacks

VISALIA – The internet is a new frontier for many criminals, allowing them to hijack information from across the world. COS’s new cyber “boot camp” will prepare students for the growing demand of cybersecurity specialists.

The College of the Sequoias Training Resource Center (TRC) created a “cybersecurity career boot camp,” that teaches students fundamental cyberattack knowledge, as well as defense against malicious malware. The intensive course was designed to prepare learners for major cyber-industry exams such as CompTIA, Certified Kubernetes, Certified Sysadmin, Microsoft Azure AI Engineer and many more. The bootcamp was spurred on by the recent cyberattacks that have hit the central valley. 

“It is clear that cybersecurity professionals will continue to grow in importance and are already essential to protecting our region’s robust economy in central California,” TRC specialist Laurel Garver stated.

TRC partnered with Ed2Go and designed the course to certify students in cybersecurity quickly, so that they have a head start in a job market that has grown significantly over the years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there were over 700,000 job openings in the cybersecurity field from 2021 to 2022. The TRC estimated that the average salary for the professionals trained in COS’s online boot camps will be $107,000, according to the press release.

The need for cybersecurity specialists is particularly important for the valley, as cyberattacks are becoming more common. Visalia Unified School District (VUSD) fell victim to a cyber attack in 2021, and the cyber criminals held private information from certain email accounts “hostage,” and demanded the victims pay a ransom to get their information back. After a six-month investigation, it was determined that most of the information obtained was the name and medical information of the VUSD email account holder. These ransom-geared cyber attacks also hit KMPH FOX26, the Fresno Council of Governments and multiple ag companies in the valley, according to the press release from COS. 

The cyberattacks don’t stop there, though. The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) stated 40% of manufacturing companies in the nation have fallen victim to cyberattacks that demanded ransom, with 38% of those companies having to pay over $1 million in damages, according to the press release. Many of these attacks have come from China and Russia. 

With cyber defense jobs on the rise, the TRC is hopeful that the boot camp will prepare better candidates for the industry, especially as the projected job market growth for cyber security is expected to increase 35% by 2031, according to the press release.

The boot camp is not for credit, but rather is offered outside of the regular semester, Garver said. There is an in-person course that is offered to students that are just dipping their toes into the world of cybersecurity. No prior experience is required as the course is meant to teach the students foundational cyber knowledge. There is also an online course for students with prior cybersecurity experience that is self-paced, and is designed for those who want to jump ahead and take their required exams. 

“The boot camps are really for a different audience,” Garver said. “They’re for people who are trying to get into the field quickly, and they want to learn, you know, on a self paced kind of a model.”

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