UMW offering digital security programs
Information technology professionals in the Fredericksburg region will have access to locally based training to help them earn one of the industry’s most sought-after cybersecurity certifications, with registration open now.
UMW is leading a consortium of local governments and educational entities to offer a non-credit preparatory program for the Certified Information Systems Security Professionals, or CISSP, exam. The program – the only one of its kind in the region – is made possible by a grant from GO Virginia, a statewide economic development initiative, and King George County, as well as the Fredericksburg and Stafford County economic development authorities.
Recent high-profile data breaches at household-name businesses have greatly accelerated demand for cybersecurity skills among employers. The demand for cybersecurity workers has grown three times faster than that of overall IT jobs, according to a recent report from workforce research firm Burning Glass Technologies. The high demand also means that certified workers can command premium salaries.
Joel Griffin, Stafford County Economic Development Authority chairman, described the demand for credentialed cybersecurity professionals as unrelenting. “As demand for IT security workers continues to expand, people need access to this kind of training within the communities where they live.”
The CISSP is for cybersecurity professionals with at least five years’ experience in their field. The exam asks candidates to demonstrate advanced knowledge of eight domains of cybersecurity, preparing them to be leaders within organizations’ information security operations.
Beth Black, chair of the Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority, said UMW’s training offers “a solution that helps our companies and our workforce be more competitive, without having to spend hours driving north.”
Demand in our region for these positions over the next five years is projected to be nearly 2,000 jobs, said Curry Roberts, president of the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance at the University of Mary Washington. “These are high-paying, high-growth jobs that will need to be filled, and programs like this CISSP certification give our labor force another opportunity to take advantage of this growth.”
Registration is open now for the first CISSP preparation course, which will begin in winter 2020. Registrants who sign up by the Priority Deadline of Dec. 1, 2019, will receive preferred placement in a local study group that complements the class. Potential candidates can learn more about the course and the requirements for CISSP certification at www.umw.edu/cissp.
Classes will take place at UMW’s Stafford County and Dahlgren campuses.
“Having local study groups will encourage valuable networking among our region’s cybersecurity professionals,” said King George County Director of Economic Development and Tourism Nick Minor. “We think the unique experience this training program provides will make the CISSP certification these participants earn even more valuable, strengthening our workforce and providing professional growth opportunities for many residents of our region.”
Previously, the only in-person training programs available for the CISSP were more than an hour’s drive from the Fredericksburg region. Online-only programs tend to be expensive, and often provide inadequate preparation for this rigorous exam. Regional support and grant funding from GO Virginia make this high-quality program more affordable than other options outside of the region.
“This is the gold standard in cyber certifications, and through the generous support of our partners, it’s affordable and accessible to our residents within the region,” said Kimberly Young, executive director of UMW’s Continuing and Professional Studies. “It’s an opportunity for information security workers in our region to advance their careers and increase their value to their organizations.”