As the cyber industry expands, there’s an influx of unique job titles: cybersecurity analyst, cybersecurity manager, even cyber warrior. But, working in the field of cybersecurity doesn’t always mean holding a position with a trendy tech name.
In fact, there are many duties that already exist that now require specific cyber skills to fill the gap.
“For small- to medium-sized companies, they may not even have an individual whose job description is cyber,” said Kevin Harris, program director for cybersecurity at American Military University. “They may not have an IT individual where cyber is part of their particular role, but cyber skills are still very important. Don’t focus on titles that have cyber or security in them, but make sure all the individuals in the organization have cyber skills.”
Not all organizations can afford to hire a cybersecurity expert, so some employees have to wear different hats and dip into the cyber world.
So how can those people stay relevant in a world that is becoming more and more reliant on cybersecurity?
In relation to cybersecurity education, “Individuals do not just gain the understanding of the skillset, but they also have this theoretical understanding of what’s behind it,” Harris said. “They not only know the technical skills, but they also understand why they are doing something. If you have someone who is well rounded that takes a step further and they not only understand what their role is in an organization, but how that role helps that organization grow. That’s one of the larger values that students gain from getting a degree.”
Harris said there are relevant skills that can be learned as the industry continues to build and secure networks to share vital information.
“Foundational networking skills are always important and valuable because you always have data that is traversing some type of system,” Harris said. “Other skillsets like information systems security – making sure the infrastructure of systems is designed properly from day one – those skillsets are important.”
Harris said soft-skills also go overlooked. He said it’s important to be able to market new ideas and convey the importance of certain cyber practices to other functions of a business is crucial.
“I work with our faculty members and I work with our internal teams to make sure our curriculum that we offer in our program is flexible and engaging,” Harris said. “I’m also making sure that the content in the courses meet the needs that we work to identify with our advisory committee what the organizations in the field need.”
AMU is part of American Public University System, which is designated by the U.S. Department of National Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. Harris’ leadership role as cybersecurity program director is to continue delivering high standards of relevant, innovative curriculum so that those who come to AMU to earn a cybersecurity degree or certificate are exposed to the latest knowledge and skills used in the industry.
Program Director for Cybersecurity, American Military University
Dr. Kevin Harris is the Program Director for Cybersecurity, Information Systems Security and Information Technology Management, and serves as the alternate Cyber Center Director. He has more than 20 years of experience in the information technology field with positions ranging from systems analyst to CIO. He performs research on the digital divide and works to ensure a trained cyber workforce in the country.
He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Lincoln University in Missouri; his Master of Science degree in Computer Management Information Systems from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville; and his Doctorate of Business Administration with an emphasis in Information Systems from Argosy University.
Harris’ career encompasses diverse experiences both in information technology and academia. He has served as a lead instructor training faculty in the area of cybersecurity as part of an NSF CSEC grant. He provided leadership to information security faculty during his time as an information security program coordinator. As a faculty member he has delivered instruction in several disciplines including business, computer science, and computer networking, with particular interest in information security and computer forensics.
Dr. Harris also served students at various types of institutions including community colleges, HBCU, public, private, graduate, undergraduate, as well as online. He is passionate about implementing ways to bridge the digital divide especially among underserved populations. His consulting and research areas include minorities/women in technology, cyberbullying prevention, information security, and various computer training.
Scott Maucione is a defense reporter for Federal News Network and has worked in journalism for over a decade. He previously covered the Pentagon for Inside Defense. He received his B.A. in journalism and political science from the University of Maryland and his Master’s from American University in applied politics.