Eastern Develops Cyber Intelligence Degree Program

Starting in the Fall of 2024, Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College will begin offering a cyber intelligence program with options to earn a two-year degree, 1-year academic certificate, and two micro-credentials in cyber intelligence. According to Dr. Tom Striplin, Eastern President, “We have been working on the development of this fully online program over the past year and are excited about the options and opportunities the program will provide to prospective students and employers.”

All courses in the program including general education can be taken online which is conducive to individuals interested in pursuing a career in cyber intelligence while working and maintaining a household. The program will also be offered in area high schools where students who complete 4 of the core cyber intelligence courses can earn a micro-credential in cybersecurity. According to Jonathan Williams, Cyber Security Program Coordinator/IT Faculty, “We created the program to be scalable so that students could earn micro-credentials, an academic certificate, or a degree in cyber intelligence. The program is also going to be competency-based, with a focus on the attainment of cyber intelligence skills that employers are looking for in prospective employees.”

Striplin recently attended the National Governors Association Meeting on Cyber Security in Washington, D.C., as one of two representatives from West Virginia higher education. “What I heard overwhelmingly from major employers in the industry that presented on various cyber security topics was a need to focus on skills and competencies and a decreased focus on degree attainments,” said Striplin, “Eighteen states have now removed degree requirements for working in state agencies and employer polls are indicating managers are favoring experience to education.”

portrait of a man
Jonathan Williams, Cyber Security Program Coordinator/IT Faculty

“Industry-level certification coupled with micro-credentials and hands-on training are what employers are looking for and we plan to deliver that in the program. The cyber intelligence program will leverage a competency-based approach with practical experience by partnering with several cyber companies. Our plan is for our students in the program to have practical experience in simulated cyber-attacks and participate in cyber competitions,” said Williams, “We have virtual servers that students can safely participate in these simulated environments providing hands-on experience that employers are looking for. Coupling simulated training with Learn and Earn opportunities where students can have paid internships while in the program increasing their advantages in the job market.”

“We are also embracing the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and are developing an AI Tutor-bot that will be trained on cyber intelligence information that will be available 24/7 for students in the program that will help them with topics anytime and anywhere,” said Williams. Eastern has also partnered with the Cyber Defense and Intelligence Center, a non-profit organization committed to cyber intelligence. Relevancy to market needs is important to the quality of the educational program with courses focused on digital forensics, incident response, threat hunting and malware, and cyber warfare and ethical hacking to name just a few.

“There is an incredible need for cyber intelligence experts worldwide with an estimated 700,000 jobs and growing,” said Striplin, “Cyber security is now a critical component of the national defense strategy of the country, and we are looking for students interested in helping protect the United States against this growing threat.” For more information on the program, visit www.easternwv.edu or send an email directly to Jonathan.williams@easternwv.edu.

About Eastern
Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College, based in Moorefield, serves six rural counties in West Virginia’s Potomac Highlands by offering affordable academic programs, including five online degree programs, and a variety of flexible workforce trainings. Eastern is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. For more information, visit https://easternwv.edu or call 304-434-8000.