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To meet the growing need for information security professionals, the College of Southern Maryland has joined an international initiative with (ISC)² to help meet the demand for cybersecurity professionals and increase the number of skilled professionals entering the industry.

Through the college’s membership in the (ISC)² Global Academic Program, students and professionals in Southern Maryland can gain the knowledge, skills and industry certification they will need to enter the high-demand, high-paying cybersecurity workforce, according to a college news release.

“In this increasingly digitally dependent society, it’s imperative that the College of Southern Maryland is able to offer the latest cybersecurity resources and training for our community’s professionals and students who are eager to enhance their knowledge and advance in their careers. We are excited to be able to join forces with (ISC)² to meet this growing demand,” CSM President Brad Gottfried said in the release.

“Recognized as the global leader in gold standard information security certification and education, (ISC)² has developed and continually refined the (ISC)2 common body of knowledge over the last 25 years to reflect the evolving threat landscape and accepted standards of practice for this burgeoning industry,” Jo Portillo, manager of the Global Academic Program for (ISC)², said in the release. “This agreement with the College of Southern Maryland will allow us to advance our vision to inspire a safe and secure cyber world by incorporating our ... knowledge directly into the global academic community.”

As a member of the Global Academic Program, the College of Southern Maryland will incorporate (ISC)² training material into course curricula, while using (ISC)2-authorized instructors to teach courses. In addition, up to five new cybersecurity industry certifications will be offered in the next few years in an instructor-led format and, in some cases, also online, said to Susan Ross, executive director of college workforce development, in the release.

CSM is working with its Cybersecurity Advisory Group to select the key certifications to be offered.

“With (ISC)² now requiring their certification holders to earn more and more Group A continuing professional education units to maintain their professional certification, starting this fall, CSM intends to develop and offer 40 affordable and convenient two-hour online training courses in trendy industry areas of need over the next two years. This means information assurance professionals will now have easy access to earn Group A (ISC)² CPEs globally,” Ross said in the release.

“In the world that we’re in — information assurance and information security — the external threat is evolving rapidly. It evolves every time you add new systems into the world. It evolves every time somebody learns a new trick because the ability for bad actors to transmit that information has exponentially increased,” said CSM Instructor John Warsinske, who teaches information assurance and information security courses.

“When I started college, there was a notion that you would go to school and you would find a job and you would do that job until you got a gold watch. The reality of business today is that many of the jobs that people do didn’t exist 10 years ago. If you do not retain that intellectual agility, that ability to go back out and learn something new, then you run the risk in any profession of becoming stagnant,” Warsinske said in the release.

A military veteran, Warsinske graduated with a master’s in history in 1988, before the growth of personal computers and the World Wide Web. Warsinske’s career in information technology grew with the rise of personal computers and computer networking. He worked within organizations and progressed to setting up wide-area networks and infrastructure. With each new career challenge Warsinske sought the training and certifications he needed through continuing education courses.

Now, Warsinske, who holds professional certifications in information security, project management and information technology service management, is sharing what he’s learned with Southern Maryland IT professionals.

“CSM relies very heavily on the local community to provide instructors — adjunct professors or certification trainers — who are professionally current in their various disciplines, whether that’s information security or any of the fields that provide certification as well as regular curriculum instruction,” he said.

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