Hennepin Tech Receives Honors for Cyber Defense Program
Like any college student, Chijindu Nwahizu has career aspirations. Ultimately, he’d like to serve and protect, but not in the way we’re traditionally accustomed to.
“I’m in a cyber defense major,” Nwahizu said. “So I’m here to learn cyber defense, basically.”
Nwahizu is one of nearly 200 students in Hennepin Technical College’s cyber defense program, which launched in 2018.
“Basically, we learn how to make the cyber world safe for everyone to operate in,” Nwahizu said. “I mean, everyone needs safety, right?”
Online safety is especially important now that our society is so reliant on technology.
Ryan Brovold is Hennepin Tech’s cyber security director, and he says threats can come from anywhere.
“A lot of it comes from the U.S., Russia, North Korea,” Brovold said.
While the attacks can come from all over the world, more and more people who can defend us from those attacks are coming from Hennepin Tech’s Brooklyn Park campus.
“To provide a program here at Hennepin Tech where we can educate the public, not only for their personal awareness, but then to go out and create careers out of them is something that we’re really excited about,” Brovold said.
And now, there’s even more cause for excitement. Hennepin Tech was recently recognized by the National Security Administration (NSA) as being a National Academic Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity.
“In fact, very few community colleges or technical colleges have that designation, so it clearly sets us apart,” Brovold said. “If someone who is serious about a career in cyber security, we are the destination to go to.”
The designation can help Hennepin Tech recruit students, and gives the college access to curriculum and other resources they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Ultimately, students like Nwahizu are the ones to benefit.
“I was more like, IT zero,” Nwahizu joked. “And now it’s more like, I don’t want to get big-headed, but more like an IT Hero.”
Hennepin Tech has a number of resources available to the general public on how to protect yourself from cyber threats. That information is available on the college website.