July 13, 2023

Faculty member participates in national cybersecurity workforce roundtable

Jeremy Straub

Jeremy Straub

Jeremy Straub, NDSU assistant professor of computer science, recently participated in a cybersecurity workforce experts roundtable focused on the energy sector hosted in Washington, D.C., by the National Governors Association. 

The event brought experts together from the federal agencies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Department of Energy, states and private industry.  It focused on how to increase the nation’s cybersecurity workforce and the specific needs of the energy sector.

“It was an excellent opportunity to meet key personnel from federal agencies, the White House and energy producers,” said Straub, who also is director of the NDSU Institute for Cybersecurity Education and Research and a Challey Institute faculty fellow. “It was great to get an understanding of the technical and workforce needs of the energy sector are and how they relate, more broadly, to workforce needs in cybersecurity.”

The energy industry has a strong need for cybersecurity professionals, across their operations, which is not being fully met.  There are numerous open positions in the upper great plains region and the need is only expected to grow.  While cybersecurity breaches, such as the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, highlight acute needs, the industry is faced with numerous threats every day – and has a need to prepare itself for potential future attacks.

“By understanding what the needs are in this important sector, we’re better able to prepare students for jobs in this area,” Straub said.  “The energy sector is an exciting one for students, due to its very important national role.”

NDSU currently offers several degrees that can help prepare students for cybersecurity careers – including those in the energy sector.  These include a master’s and doctorate in software and security engineering and a graduate certificate in cybersecurity.  Starting in Fall of 2023, a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and undergraduate certificate in cybersecurity will be available.

Straub plans to stay in touch with many of those who he met at the meeting.  There likely will be future opportunities for cooperative research and student involvement activities.

“I had the opportunity to describe our new degree programs to many of the individuals at the meeting and how, as a program that is available online, it could be taken by students anywhere in the country,” Straub said.  “From this I am more confident than ever about the opportunities that it will create for our graduates.”

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