As cyber and ransomware attacks become more prolific, demand for cybersecurity professionals continues to grow. But there is a dire shortage of people with the required skills. There are about 4,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in Oregon alone and more than 460,000 nationwide.
In 2017, Oregon State University (OSU) associate professor of computer science Rakesh Bobba began mulling how to address this need. Dave Nevin, then chief information security officer at OSU, was experiencing the supply-and-demand problem firsthand. He would recruit new graduates to work in the university’s security office, only to see them leave soon after for more lucrative jobs.
At the same time, the Oregon State Legislature created Senate Bill 90 to improve cybersecurity for all Oregonians. Bobba and Nevin attended meetings to help craft the bill, coming up with a solution to help solve the workforce problem and incorporating the goals of the Senate bill as well: a collaboration between the colleges of Engineering and Business and OSU Information Technology.
The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science’s Oregon Research and Teaching Security Operations Center, or ORTSOC, will be a cybersecurity training ground for Oregon State students, help underserved organizations, and serve as a research facility for faculty and industry partners.
Borrowing from health profession models, ORTSOC will be a “teaching hospital” in a working security operations center. Mentored by industry professionals, students in their fourth year of study will participate in rotations that concentrate on different areas of security each quarter.
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