Cyber security was hot topic at Wilmington Information Technology eXchange

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Cyber security is one of the main focuses at this year’s Wilmington Information Technology Exchange at UNCW.

Attendees could go to several different learning workshops, hear from featured speakers, and speak to those in the local industry.

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The event was open to students, staff, and the local community at UNCW’s Computer Information Systems building.

“We’re doing a workshop on agile development, there are some programming workshops, we have some on cyber defense and security, cause that certainly is an important topic. We have another one called disaster planning and hurricanes,” said Tom Janicki, Information Systems professor at UNCW.

Featured speakers discussed the global cyber security landscape and cyber threats, hacktivism, cyber espionage, cyber terrorism, and more.



Back in November, the university was named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, known as a CAE designation, which will enable students to compete for federal and private cyber security jobs.

Ulku Clark, director of UNCW’s Center for Cyber Defense Education, says only about six percent of more than 3,000 U.S. higher education institutions have that CAE designation.

“With that, our students have opportunities to be recruited by government agencies that require security clearance, and that require degrees from CAE designated schools,” Clark said.

One of those students is Marine Corps veteran Jay Richardson. He’s a junior, and a member of UNCW’s cyber defense club.

Richardson actually helped get the ball rolling to apply for the CAE designation.

“I’m really passionate about it, and when I saw the program at another UNC system school, I thought we should have the same thing, those same benefits,” Richardson said. “And growing the program, I had heard talks about a cyber security minor here, and how we can kind of expand on that, with potential of ethical hacking, malware analysis, cyber warfare talks, and things of that nature.”

Featured Speaker Retired Lieutenant General William Mayville Jr. says there’s two main issues we face in regard to cyber security.

“We need to address the gaps in cyber literacy, and we need to generate a workforce that can fill a significant gap in cyber security specialties,” Mayville said. “If we can do those two things, we can fix many of the challenges we have in our communities and our businesses.”

Mayville says additional education plays an important role in preparing for the digital revolution, and UNCW’s CAE designation can help make that happen.

“What it does is it creates a foundation by which we can develop programs for cyber security specialties and majors,” Mayville said. “And in time, I think we could look at how we can partner with industry and businesses and local community, so there can be continuing education.”

Other topics and workshops included the future of healthcare, disaster recovery, virtual reality presentations, and more.

Several businesses were here today to discuss internships and potential jobs with attendees.

Janicki says 80 percent of students with technology degrees have jobs on graduation day, and ten percent go to grad school.