In today’s data-driven world the focus is on cybersecurity. For the next workplace generation, cyber and IT skills are going to be vital. Colleges and universities are taking notice and launching Cyber Ranges to prepare students with the cyber skills they’ll need.
A cyber range allows students to practice their cyber skills by performing cyberattack simulations. The Ohio Cyber Range, at the University of Cincinnati, is just one example of these growing resources. “It’s this virtual environment where you can practice skills and you can simulate attacks in a safe environment, so you can figure out how to combat against it, prevent it,” says Rebekah Michael, executive director of the Ohio Cyber Range at the University of Cincinnati.
Because ranges are housed in colleges, schools are responsible for the hardware, software, and management of the systems. This allows students to have more first-hand experience that prepares them for life after school. With simulations, labs, and competitions, students can utilize skills they will need outside the classroom – in one of the many open cyber jobs in the U.S.
“They’ve got to be able to put hands on keyboards and apply some of the techniques that they’re learning in class,” said David Raymond, director of the Virginia Cyber Range and deputy director of Virginia Tech’s IT Security Lab. Ranges help students identify vulnerabilities, secure web applications, and build firewalls just as they would in a real position.
Both the Cincinnati and Virginia Tech ranges were created to aid in filling the 30,000 cyber jobs currently open in Virginia and 7,000 in Ohio. With more cyber ranges, we can aim to fill the 350,000 open jobs open in the U.S.
“Cyber is as much about the human being as it is about the business and as it is about the technical stuff. And when you bring all three of those together, that’s when the lightbulb goes off as to what we’re up against,” said Raymond.