Professional Development

Maryland invests in its cyber pipeline with a new SANS Institute partnership

In partnership with the SANS Cyber Workforce Academy, the state seeks to bulk up its cyber workforce with a free, six-month training program geared toward technologists of color, women and veterans.

Developing tech skills.

Photo by Shahadat Rahman on Unsplash

Update: This article has been updated with post-publication information about the program's number of open slots and structure from Max Shuftan, a director at the SANS Institute. (8/10/2022, 12:04 p.m.)

This month, the State of Maryland and cybersecurity training program SANS Institute are teaming up to boost Maryland’s cyber talent pipeline.

On Tuesday, Maryland’s Baltimore-based Department of Labor and SANS announced a partnership that will provide a free training program for residents looking to break into the cyber industry. The SANS Cyber Workforce Academy-Maryland is geared toward those with few to no cyber skills, as applicants cannPh.D.not have a master’s or Ph.D. in IT. It also boasts both a reskilling and upskilling track — one for those who have no tech or cyber experience, and another for applicants with limited cyber or IT skills. Program officials said that veterans, women, underrepresented technologists and those who are unemployed will be given priority in acceptance.

The state is funding the program through a grant from the EARN MD program, which supports workforce training. In order to qualify, applicants must live in or have proof of permanent residency in Maryland. It arrives about three months after the state’s enacting of cyber preparedness bills that local industry boosters say need a stronger workforce to fully implement.

“The students enrolled in this program are earning in-demand, industry-recognized certifications that will help Maryland employers remain competitive in today’s marketplace,” said Tiffany Robinson, Maryland’s secretary of labor, in a statement.

Students complete the course in a cohort, though the training program is part-time, self-paced and completed virtually. Participants will have support from technical mentors and others in the cohort. Most participants will likely complete the coursework and certifications in about six months — an estimation drawn from SANS Cyber Academy numbers, which found that it takes about 100 hours to prepare for a certification exam attempt. The partner entities expect that students will have at least interviewed for, if not landed, a job by the time they take the certification exam.

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Max Shuftan, a director at the Montgomery County-based SANS, told Technical.ly that there are 18 remaining slots for the upskilling track and 44 in the reskilling one.

“SANS is committed to the economic growth of the Maryland community,” Shuftan said in a statement.  “With an average program graduate salary of $90,000, there has never been a better time to learn the industry and enter the workforce as a cybersecurity professional.”

Applications for the latest cohort are open through Sept. 16.

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