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Ready for the Future

Industry leaders say BSU’s cyber program will create jobs

As cyber-attacks continue to rise globally, the need to fill cybersecurity positions to combat these incidents is vital. 

Which is where Bridgewater State University enters the picture.  

Last week, BSU officials, politicians, and industry leaders gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school’s new cyber range and Security Operations Center inside the Dana Mohler-Faria Science and Mathematics Center. 

“The BSU cyber range will be a focal point for a growing cyber program, offering students an essential hands-on environment to complement their classroom learning,” said Peter Sherlock, CEO of CyberTrust Massachusetts. “Cyber ranges are becoming essential laboratories for cyber education, just as important as laboratories are to chemistry and biology.” 

Last fall, BSU launched a new degree program in cybersecurity, the first undergraduate degree of its kind within the Massachusetts state college system. Students will gain real-world experience working in the new facility and develop a skill set that will undoubtedly open doors in terms of a future career.  

President and CEO of Massachusetts Competitive Partnership Jay Ash has no doubt in Bridgewater State’s ability to train a future workforce to meet the immediate cyber security needs, not just in the commonwealth, but nationwide.  

“We are confident in what you’ll be able to accomplish,” Ash said. “We’re sure Bridgewater State is going to be in the (cybersecurity) game and thank you for taking this challenge on.”  

Alumnus Tom Walsh, ’20, attended the ribbon cutting ceremony, and was excited to see his alma mater offering students a pathway to what he says is a lucrative career. 

Walsh currently works in cyber security at National Grid as a security orchestration automation and response engineer.  

“This is huge,” he said. “Having access to this, students will be getting hands-on experience, the value you get here at BSU is going to be unmatched anywhere.” 

According to Steve Zuromski, BSU’s vice-president of Information Technology and chief information officer, there are currently more than 20,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions in Massachusetts and 750,000 nationally. Sherlock predicts that number to rise in the foreseeable future and BSU is positioned to fill those vacancies.  

“The incentives for bad actors to attack public and private online resources continue to grow,” he said. “As a state university with a new cyber major, BSU has the scale and focus to move the needle on the cyber workforce in the state.” 

Andrew Burton, president and chief operating officer at Rapid7, a leader in extended risk and threat detection anticipates that BSU will play a major role in the future of cybersecurity in Massachusetts.  

“It’s tremendous to see BSU contributing not only through the new cyber range and making it available to the community, but also in helping to educate and develop future leaders and members of the cyber security community,” Burton said.  

More directly, Burton added, BSU will be working with the CyberTrust Massachusetts, nonprofits, state and local agencies, and corporate members like Rapid7. 

“This will help grow and develop a diverse cyber workforce, create new opportunities for education and employment, and improve the security posture of under-resourced organizations,” he said. “This is very beneficial not only for the BSU community, but also as part of a broader cyber defense ecosystem in Massachusetts.” 

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