Cybersecurity Academy courses to be offered fall of 2018

Published: Nov. 15, 2017 at 10:35 PM EST
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Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017

(News 12 at 6 o’clock/NBC 26 at 7)

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – With the sound of video games in the background, this computer exchange engineer rebuilds a laptop.

Sure, he's got a degree in IT, but he says most of what he knows he learned before he stepped foot in a college.

“The only real way to learn how to take apart a laptop is to take it apart,”

His boss, the owner of Computer Exchange, Charles Kelly, says the “best”, the people he looks to hire are often young gamers.

“If you have a degree and spent the last 8 or 10 years tearing down computers and solving problems you are going to be a much better engineer,” Kelly said.

Richmond County school systems are trying to offer those young gamers and really anyone who’s interested a way to grab a degree early for one of the fastest growing careers -- cybersecurity.

In fall 2018 Richmond County in partnership with Augusta Tech will start the Cybersecurity Academy.

“We believe that experience will really help our students be workforce ready for the cyber community here and certainly their job success in the future,” Dr. Debbie Alexander, Associate Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction and Technology.

Coursework will range from network security to ethical hacking.

Students who participate from ninth to senior year will graduate with an Associate’s degree in cybersecurity.

Unisys executive director, Dale Dye, says creating a homegrown workforce is critical to be prepared for all the upcoming cyber opportunities. “In my opinion as fast as we are going, we are behind the curve,” Dye said.

Dye continues, “Today we have a lot more jobs than we have skilled labor. This is a specialized skill on top of it. It’s in our vested interest to help.”