Cybersecurity Professionals are in Higher Demand Than Ever Before

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The cybersecurity field has a zero percent unemployment rate, and it’s for good reason. North Dakota is under constant threat of attack.

Renée Cooper tells us why the job is in such high demand, and what the state is doing to fill the 1.8-million roles still needed nationwide.

North Dakota Information Technology Department Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley says, “You want everyone to understand the good and the bad about dealing with technology.”

The bad Riley is referring to is the growing number of cyber threats everywhere.

Riley explains, “It could be a phishing attack, it could be someone scanning for vulnerabilities in a system, but those type of things are happening on a constant basis, every minute, every second.”

The Information Technology Department is a newer entity within North Dakota state government. They defend against about six-million cyber attacks per month, and that’s just protecting state government. They also fight off about 15-million spam messages each month.

Riley adds, “Spam, most of the time, is just an inconvenience. But often times it’s also used specifically to attack someone. So you’re trying to steal credentials, and they use those credentials then, to get into other systems.”

Right now, one percent of North Dakota’s workforce is dedicated to cyber.

Bismarck State College President Larry Skogen says, “We are just working to solve that problem, because cybersecurity is something that affects all of us personally, and all the businesses and all the industries.”

In July, the BSC President announced a collaboration with Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity company out of California.

The college will offer a new bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity by fall of 2019.

BSC’s program will be the first of it’s kind, and Riley says cybersecurity could really take off as a North Dakota profession.

He also emphasized the importance of not only educating cybersecurity professionals, but also teaching anyone going into any job field how to protect themselves.

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