RICHLAND, Wash.-- Cyber terrorism is a growing national security issue and specialists are in high demand.
That's why Columbia Basin College is partnering with Battelle to create a cybersecurity program. Battelle is at the cutting edge of cybersecurity research and development.
The growing issue poses a threat to national security and isn't going away anytime soon. So, Battelle decided to contribute nearly one hundred twenty thousand dollars to CBC's brand new cybersecurity program with the hopes that integrating the two could develop highly skilled specialists to help protect us from those threats.
Mike Schwenk from the Battelle operated Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, says what we once knew as warfare is quickly changing.
"We're used to bullets and tanks and guns and airplanes. We think of warfare that way. We need to start thinking totally different about it. And now it's about a war around what I call zeros and ones," says Schwenk.
Computer code just might save us all. Cybersecurity is a serious threat to national security and the demand for cyber specialists to fight the threats is growing rapidly.
Industry experts say we'll see a twenty-eight percent growth in cyber security jobs by 2020 but Schwenk says that's a conservative estimate.
"Help stop an intrusion before it comes in. Once an intrusion makes it in, if it does, what we do about it to prevent it from spreading and then trying to figure out how do you prevent it from happening again in the future. We're going to need people that are skilled in that. We need them now," says Schwenk.
The CBC program will teach students how to look for weaknesses in servers and how to hack into systems ethically to prevent security breaches, but the field is constantly evolving.
"We need to train workers to be able to go out there and protect our resources. Our resources can be anything from your networks and your servers. It can be the energy grid. It can be anything," says Debbie Wolf, CBC cybersecurity instructor.
"It's a perfect partnership. We live it everyday and we're at the forefront of research about it and to be able to put that in the curriculum we think we'll have some of the best and brightest students in cybersecurity coming out of CBC," says Schwenk.
Battelle hopes to eventually hire some of the students that complete the program and keep them here locally.
The CBC program starts next week and will offer a one year certificate and a two year associate's degree. The college is also developing a four year bachelor's degree that's expected to start next fall.