Georgia Tech Advances Statewide Efforts in Cybersecurity and Digital Privacy Through Education Strategy and Industry Workforce Development

April 26, 2021

Georgia is a leader in the cybersecurity field, home to flourishing industries in multiple regions and a headquarters for companies in priority sectors such as healthcare, fintech, agriculture, the U.S. Department of Defense, and others. 

Nationally recognized cybersecurity and privacy firms call metro Atlanta home, including OneTrust and Pindrop, both cofounded and led by Georgia Tech alumni. Each recently hit significant milestones – OneTrust, which is focused on privacy compliance, saw a jaw-dropping 48,000% three-year growth rate in 2020 and Pindrop celebrated 10 years this year with a major acquisition that enhanced it as a leader in voice security. Codoxo, using AI forensics to mitigate healthcare fraud and waste, has joined its elder brethren as an alumni-led startup on the Atlanta scene and was recognized by the Technology Association of Georgia as a top 10 innovative tech company in 2021.

Georgia Tech’s newest investment in the fields materialized in the form of the first academic school at the institute in a decade. The School of Cybersecurity and Privacy officially launched in September 2020.

“Georgia Tech has earned a reputation for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research in service to society. Georgia Tech’s new School of Cybersecurity and Privacy will focus on applied research collaborations as well as translational research with the fast-growing cybersecurity industry in Georgia, meeting a critical workforce need,” said Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera.

Georgia’s current cybersecurity workforce includes more than 32,000 professionals, but there are 17,000 jobs, or a full one-third, of the total available in the state that are unfilled according to Cyberseek, a tool for job market analysis and supported by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE).

The Georgia Cybersecurity and Privacy Roadmap Taskforce, a newly formed group of education experts and chaired by Georgia Tech’s Richard DeMillo, is working with industry and government officials to address this challenge. They are currently working to understand the needs of Georgia’s education system and provide a guide to fill the workforce gap by recommending a strategy for cyber education programs and training for students and working professionals.

Georgia Tech’s own OMS Cyber program has already provided a model that could potentially be a template for working professionals looking to switch careers to cybersecurity or digital privacy. More than 80% of the students enrolled, or about 800, are employed already.

“The flexibility and access the online format offers, combined with Georgia Tech’s rigorous instruction, has provided a strong value proposition for students and their future career prospects without interrupting their current jobs,” said DeMillo, who also chairs the School of Cybersecurity and Privacy at Georgia Tech.

To equip the workforce of the future in both cybersecurity and privacy, Georgia Tech is taking a wholistic approach to teaching students about the technology, business, policy, and practice of these fields.

Technical skills in specialties such as cloud security, cryptography, cyber-physical systems, forensics, and malware are paired with learning about regulatory requirements, including those in public policy and law.

Students are able to choose from some of the most pressing applications of cybersecurity and privacy in society; election systems, social media, internet infrastructure and web security, cyber warfare, hardware security, network and communications system security, and machine-to-machine trust.

The state taskforce addressing workforce development in cybersecurity and digital privacy is holding a series of public workshops spring and summer 2021. To learn more visit https://gacybereducation.org/.

Media Contact: Joshua Preston, Research Communications Manager, College of Computing