As the internet gets larger, more complex, and more powerful; as computers are increasingly used to execute, support, and regulate business functions; as sensitive data piles up in virtual warehouses — more and more every day, the world needs qualified cybersecurity professionals. There’s a shortage of talent in most IT niches, but it’s most acutely felt in the cybersecurity realm.
Many industry organizations have turned a thoughtful eye on the rising generation of tech professionals, particularly including those now advancing to the final rungs of the public education system. High schools are increasingly viewed as critical incubator of top IT talent, and high school tech education programs are seen as fertile soil for certification programs.
That’s the sort of thinking that’s clearly behind a new joint initiative between training and testing facilitator Certiport and cybersecurity certification provider EC-Council. The freshly-minted partners announced a new agreement Monday under which Certiport will pitch high schools on two new entry-level cybersecurity credentials tailored by EC-Council to break in aspiring security experts.
EC-Council, which administers the popular Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credential, is launching an “associate” series of certification exams. The first two exams to be offered are Ethical Hacking Associate (EHA) and Cyber Forensics Associate (CFA). Both exams will be available for the school year that begins next month, along with practice tests and supporting curriculum.
Certiport (a subsidiary of training and testing titan Pearson VUE) has an existing partnership with Microsoft Learning, the certification and training arm of Microsoft, to deliver training and testing for its Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams. The MOS exams are already hugely popular with high school and other secondary education venues, meaning that Certiport already has a robust funnel to move content into high school-level education programs around the world.
Cybersecurity jobs are consistently ranked as being among the highest-paying in the tech industry, and working in information security offers the added enticement of living out youthful fantasies of fighting crime — the new pitch from EC-Council and Certiport certainly has the potential to attract high school students like bees to pollen.
If EC-Council’s new credentials catch on, then the race to steer high school students in IT career paths could pick up steam.