Annapolis, Md. – Montgomery College and the SANS Institute (SANS) today announced the kick-off of the Maryland Cyber Fast Track (MCFT) program, the first program of its kind in the United States to offer talented community college students a clear pathway to important jobs in cybersecurity. The MCFT program will launch Friday, September 14, 2018, at a daylong event at Montgomery Colleges Germantown campus.
"Maryland is a technology-rich state," said Secretary Kelly M. Schulz of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. "We are home to more than 1,200 cybersecurity companies, as well as premier cyber-related federal agencies and intelligence assets, all of which need cybersecurity talented individuals. The Cyber Fast Track program will help identify and train our young college students for critically important jobs in Maryland."
MCFT is a single, continuous pathway along which students discover their talent for cybersecurity, receive training to develop that talent, and then get hired for important cybersecurity roles. SANS is offering $3.2 million in MCFT scholarships, which will enable students in Maryland community colleges and the state's historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) to participate in this unique program.
At the kick-off event, young women and men from colleges throughout Maryland will be playing the CyberStart game and competing for prizes and an early introduction to Cyber Fast Track. IBM, GEICO, Northrup Grumman, Cisco, CACI and two federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies will be observing the event, handing out awards, and meeting with participating students.
The CyberStart game lets students discover their aptitude for cybersecurity and whether they enjoy the types of tough challenges faced by those who choose cybersecurity as a career. The game and courses offered by community colleges in the state will enable talented students to develop a remarkable level of hands-on mastery of the foundations of cybersecurity with special emphasis on how core cyber technologies work and can be attacked.
Many businesses and government organizations in Maryland and throughout the country are searching for job candidates who can excel at cybersecurity work. They are particularly interested in interviewing job candidates who have done well on the SANS Institute's national cybersecurity aptitude exam, which is given as a part of MCFT.
"The Governor's Workforce Development Board (GWDB) supports the SANS Institute's efforts to expand career pathways for cybersecurity professionals," said GWDB Executive Director Mike DiGiacomo. "As Maryland continues to grow its vibrant technology workforce, initiatives like Cyber Fast Track will be instrumental in helping us identify and grow this essential part of our state's workforce."
Alan Paller, director of research for the SANS Institute, the largest training organization for cybersecurity professionals in the world, says, "We know Maryland and the entire nation are faced with a critical shortage of cyber professionals. Cyber Fast Track is not the only answer to this shortage, but it has the potential to add many more very capable individuals to the talent pool."
Paller continued, "Maryland students should try the CyberStart game. They can try it at Montgomery College on September 14, or play it at their colleges. Theres nothing to lose since its free and they might discover they are really good at it."
For Maryland community college students interested in participating in the Cyber Fast Track kickoff event, register at https://bit.ly/MdFastTrack
Details of the kickoff event can be found at https://bit.ly/MCFTKickOff
For more information on Maryland's Cyber Fast Track, go to: https://cyber-fast-track.io
For a poster on "The 10 coolest jobs in Cybersecurity" and an overview of the Maryland Cyber Fast Track program, visit: https://www.sans.org/images/10coolestjobs.jpeg
For more information on Montgomery College's other cybersecurity programs, go to: www.montgomerycollege.edu/cyberprogram
For more information on the SANS Institute and the CyberStart program in the United States, go to: https://www.sans.org/CyberStartUS
About SANS Institute
The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Today, SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals in government and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach more than 60 courses at in-person and virtual cyber security training events and on demand. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates practitioner skills through more than 35 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers a master’s degree, graduate certificates, and an undergraduate certificate in cyber security. SANS Security Awareness, a division of SANS, provides organizations with a complete and comprehensive security awareness solution, enabling them to easily and effectively manage their ‘human’ cybersecurity risk. SANS also delivers a wide variety of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, webcasts, podcasts, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system–the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to support and educate the global information security community. (https://www.sans.org)