Cybersecurity certificate program launches this fall

With sophisticated hackers targeting everyone from Sony and Target to the Pentagon and State Department, the demand for skilled workers in cybersecurity has skyrocketed in recent years.

cybersecurity-rules-linkedinForbes magazine reports cybersecurity jobs are up 74 percent since 2007. The jobs are not only plentiful, they are high paying, offering a median salary of $116,000 – nearly three times the nation’s median full-time wage.

To meet the growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, FIU’s College of Business has collaborated with the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs and the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy to create an executive certificate program in cybersecurity leadership and strategy.

The two-day course, scheduled for October 11-12, will offer two tracks –  private and public sector – targeting professionals in law, government, healthcare and other industries, as well as leaders and policymakers in national security, looking to defend their networks and secure their data against attack.

The cybersecurity program has the endorsement of the Organization of American States, which has been helping to build cybersecurity capacity throughout Latin America and the Caribbean for more than 10 years.

OAS is also helping develop content for FIU’s program, said Brian Fonseca, director of the Gordon Institute, an expert in national security who is overseeing the development of the course.

“We have enlisted the support of top experts from OAS, Verizon, Microsoft and United Data Technologies, along with our FIU faculty, to create cybersecurity leaders in South Florida and among our partners in Latin America and the Caribbean,’’ Fonseca said.

“In this time of growing global concern surrounding cybercrime, it is essential that we strengthen our resilience to the cyber threats of tomorrow.’’

FIU’s response to the demand for skilled cybersecurity workers is part of a larger national trend targeting cybercrime.

The White House has issued a call for greater investment in cybersecurity programs, including $19 billion in 2017, an increase of more than 35 percent from 2016. The federal government is also expected to enhance student loan forgiveness programs for cybersecurity graduates who enter the federal workforce.

According to a Symantec Internet security report, there were more than one million cyberattacks against people each day in 2015. The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education predicts more than 1.5 million new cybersecurity professionals will be needed to accommodate an expected shortfall by 2020.

“For businesses, the magnitude of cybersecurity threats has never been greater,” said Monica Chiarini Tremblay, associate professor and chair of the Information Systems and Business Analytics department at the College of Business and co-author of a MOOC focusing on cybersecurity for businesses.

“Training in cybersecurity will enable professionals to take on roles of increasing importance in a profession where demand for trained workers is at an all-time high.”

In addition to interactive discussions about strategies, best practices and legal issues, FIU’s course will provide hands-on simulation exercises of potential threats, group projects and keynote speakers from technology leaders in private industry and government. The course will be simultaneously translated into Spanish.

Leaders at OAS say they are eager to partner with FIU to deliver cybersecurity education.

“The digital age has arrived, and leaders and decision makers need to be prepared to face the challenges that it brings while capitalizing on the many opportunities it presents,” said Paulina Duarte, acting secretary for multidimensional security of OAS.

“We are very enthusiastic about this opportunity to partner with FIU, and we look forward to an excellent cohort of students and a successful delivery of this first executive certificate in cybersecurity.”

Applications for the cybersecurity certificate program are being accepted until the program is filled. Seats are limited as the course is centered on a hands-on approach and close interaction with faculty. For more information or to apply, visit or call 305-348-4217.