Texas A&M employs students as cybersecurity apprentices

A new training program allows students to protect real networks used by the university, state agencies, cities and counties throughout Texas.
Smart Female IT Programer Working on Desktop Computer in Data Center System Control Room. Team of Young Professionals Doing Code Programming

The Texas A&M University system partnered last week with a cybersecurity education group to give students experience monitoring and defending networks as they learn technical skills on-the-job though a new apprenticeship program.

The program, in partnership with the Cybersecurity Youth Apprenticeship Initiative, an education initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor to give high school and college students cybersecurity experience, allows A&M students to be a part of a real cybersecurity team and protect networks for the university system, as well as state agencies, cities and counties throughout Texas. University leaders said the new training program will allow students to learn cybersecurity skills like how to detect cyberattacks and other malicious network activity, while earning certifications to help meet a growing national demand for cybersecurity professionals.

“The cybersecurity industry currently has millions of job openings,” Daniel Basile, executive director of the Texas A&M University System security operations center, said in a press release. “The Texas A&M University System is working to fill this deficit through a variety of methods, such as this program providing necessary hands-on experience for our cybersecurity analysts. These individuals will move on to careers protecting us from cyberthreats from around the world.”

Texas A&M University System SOC currently employs 18 student apprentices who are helping to monitor and defend real-world networks, and expects to hire 20 additional apprentices in the fall, which will give students a unique opportunity to gain job experience before they graduate.


“Entry-level jobs in cybersecurity often require two years of experience,” Mark Ouellette, project manager of CYAI, said in the announcement. “Registered apprenticeships are a great way for young people to gain that experience and exposure while contributing as employees and getting paid.”

Texas A&M has also created other opportunities for students to pursue cybersecurity and technology education, creating programs for students to earn certifications and degrees in cybersecurity fields, as well as hands-on experience through bootcamps, internships and leadership training.

Betsy Foresman

Written by Betsy Foresman

Betsy Foresman was an education reporter for EdScoop from 2018 through early 2021, where she wrote about the virtues and challenges of innovative technology solutions used in higher education and K-12 spaces. Foresman also covered local government IT for StateScoop, on occasion. Foresman graduated from Texas Christian University in 2018 — go Frogs! — with a BA in journalism and psychology. During her senior year, she worked as an intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and moved back to the capital after completing her degree because, like Shrek, she feels most at home in the swamp. Foresman previously worked at Scoop News Group as an editorial fellow.

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