Virginia Tech Aims to Fill Cybersecurity Jobs Gaps


By Beth Jojack, VirginiaBusiness

Ya Xiao is a third-year computer science Ph.D. candidate studying cybersecurity at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on deep learning solutions for software security. Photo by Peter Means, Virginia Tech

The U.S. Department of Defense in January awarded Virginia Tech a $1.5 million grant to prepare students for careers in cybersecurity — a field facing a critical shortage of skilled professionals.

The need for a pipeline of skilled cybersecurity professionals is regularly emphasized whenever a major hack is uncovered. In December 2020, news of the SolarWinds breach broke. Computer hackers believed to be working for Russia’s intelligence service compromised networks belonging to corporations and several federal agencies.

“The news very recently has pointed out how vulnerable we are,” says Laura Freeman, a research associate professor of statistics in Virginia Tech’s College of Science and principal investigator on the grant.


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