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Thursday, 25 December 2014

CYBERSECURITY SCHOLARSHIPS TO BE OFFERED BY RIT

There has been a very high demand of cybersecurity professionals worldwide. Countries are encouraged to train more people in the field of cybersecurity. In Africa there are several initiatives on capacity building that includes Crash programs, Workshops and in some countries security courses have been introduced to the curriculum.

The United States: In response to a growing national demand for cybersecurity workers, “ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY" has planned to use a $4 million federal grant to establish a new scholarship program.

“THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION" funding will provide tuition and a stipend to students in exchange for government service. RIT expects to offer the first scholarships in the fall 2015 semester.

A total of 21 scholarships will be awarded to students.

The program will be open to RIT undergraduates entering their third or fourth year in “COMPUTING SECURITY", computer science or software engineering, and will cover the final three years of a combined bachelor's and master's of science degree in computing security.

"Our degree is somewhat unique in that it does focus explicitly on computing security and it takes a very interdisciplinary perspective," said Andrew Sears, dean of RIT's B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

The scholarships, which will be awarded by a faculty committee, cover tuition, books and professional development, plus a cash stipend of $20,000 a year for undergraduates and $32,000 a year for graduate students. The total value of the scholarships will be between $50,000 and $60,000 a year.


In exchange for the scholarships, students must work in computing security for the government for one year for each year of scholarship funding they receive.

"There is really a significant shortage of people with expertise in cybersecurity or computing security, not just in the federal government," Sears said.

In 2012, there were more than 75,000 people working in the United States as information security analysts, one occupation that falls under the cybersecurity umbrella, and the number is expected to increase about 37 percent by 2022, according to the federal Labor Department.

Median pay for the occupation is more than $86,000 a year.

In 2013, the Pentagon announced plans to hire about 4,000 cybersecurity workers on top of the 900 working there at the time.

Worldwide, there is a shortage of more than 1 million cybersecurity professionals, according to Cisco Systems' 2014 annual security report.

"In general, in computing there is a very strong demand and security seems to be one that's really leading the way right now," Sears said.

He said students trained at RIT could wind up developing more secure computer systems.

"You hear of all these security breaches. The security breaches happen, in part, because there are some gaps within the software that was developed that leaves opportunities for people to get in," Sears said.


Other students might end up working on "the operational side where their job is to monitor the systems, make sure that they've addressed all the security gaps that might exist, and defend against potential attacks from outside," he said.