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2024 Cybersecurity Summit welcomes students and experts

Valley hosts Cybersecurity Workforce Development and Education Summit to help connect students to experts.

By Katherine OBrien Field, Copy Editor

Cyber Tech Talk taking place at Valley's North Gym on March 8. Photo by Ivonne Elias for The Valley Star.

Valley College hosted the 2024 Cybersecurity Workforce Development and Education Summit with speakers from IBM, Homeland Security, LACCD Build, Amazon, and more. 

The experts met March 8, to discuss cybersecurity threats, skills needed, and paths to apply for such jobs. Moderator California State University, Fresno Professor Keith Clement, who chairs an education task force, estimated there are over 600,000 unfilled jobs across the country for cybersecurity professionals.  

“The annual salary for an entry level cybersecurity professional is currently $92,000, 59 percent require a bachelor's degree, 22 percent require a graduate degree, and 19 percent of the jobs do not require a degree, ” said Mark Henderson, District Manager, College Technology Services (LACCD). 

According to a Cybersecurity Ambassador for IBM, the 2024 IBM Threat Intelligence Index reveals a hack can cost up to $10 million per crime, not including the data ransom. For jobs in the private sector, cyberthreats often attack individuals or small businesses. 

“If your client has lost their identity, tell them to immediately report the incident to the F.B.I.,” said IBM’s Michael Melore, Senior Cybersecurity Advisor.

“Lockdown and freeze their credit reporting information. Everyone should call the bureaus and freeze their credit. When you need a loan, you can unfreeze your credit temporarily, complete the needed transaction, and then freeze your credit again.”

For positions in the military, the threat is often directed at institutions and industries. Jeremy Esperitu, Training Coordinator, and Sergeant First Class Chao, California Cybersecurity Integration Center (Cal-SIC), described wide swath threats. There are network attacks, in addition to flooding of phone systems. Data breaches, where a bad actor has gotten ahold of a single password, can use that to reach sensitive data in a system. Malware inserts a corrupt program, locks the data, and issues a ransom. 

The military experts said foreign actors are dangerous. They can access the programmable logic controller of an automated system, to quietly collect data. The motive can be for a specific bad act, or to spy and learn how the automation of the whole system works. 

Patrick Luce, Chief Information Security Officer, Los Angeles Community College District, showed some ways in which students fall victim to fraud. 

“Students are often told what to do in case of a problem, but not who to believe. Trust absolutely no one on the internet – even your mother - wait no, especially your mother!” Luce said. “If you receive a solicitation for extra financial aid, a job, or a tuition payment, do not ask friends, family or the internet actor. Instead, contact the financial aid, student employment, or finance offices and ask them.”

Finally, the conference also included jobs for those interested in science, technology, engineering, and math, relative to building construction.  Sunil B. Shah, Build LACCD Director, Technology Program Management, said these jobs include paid internships in ironworking, plumbing, and carpentry. Students are paid to learn these engineering skills and positions are open.


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