Future Technician Preparation: Security Technology

Only one technology left to introduce in this Future of Work Series.  Although the technologies introduced thus far, advanced manufacturing technology, agricultural and biotechnologies, energy, environmental technology, information technology, micro & nanotechnologies, and geospatial
technology are the headings used by the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education program, these categories are not exclusive labels. This caution is mentioned because our last topic, security technology, is particularly open-ended. However, it is still the intent to constrain the topic to the world of the technician and what security technology means to the “Future of Work” impacted technician. Again, the basic questions (how do new technologies influence the technical workforce and what do future technicians have to do to secure knowledge of and comfort level with related specific subsets of existing STEM connected skills?) must be addressed.

A first pass definition of one aspect of security technology, cybersecurity, is useful to start the conversation rolling and demonstrate the open-ended nature of this technology area:

It is also typical to use the phrase, information technology security, as the linking term. However, there are other common attributes within security technology: network security; application security; endpoint security; data security; identity management; database and infrastructure security; cloud security; mobile security; disaster recovery/business continuity planning; and end-user education. Clearly, the challenge is to trim the skills that encompass all these important security technologies attributes to a set or sets that make sense within the intent and constraint of a technician education frame.

The initial stage of this skill trimming challenge is to establish current expectations for specific cybersecurity technicians. A Goggle search for jobs targeted for such a technician indicate skills that are all over the map. One type of add announces the need for the following qualification set: “security foundations and framework knowledge -configuring and supporting firewalls and security solutions – Experience using Microsoft Office.”    In this example the “Experience using Microsoft Office” might represent the “all over the map” qualification.

Although the security technology landscape relative to technician education may seem to be an “OH No Mr. Bill!!” situation, that is, as with all Mr. Bill situations, far from reality. The technician profile we are exploring will not include the installation of various security devices (cameras, etc.). Nor will this technician be the prime agent that creates programs that “operate” these devices in their network environment. However, verification of the proper and appropriate operation of and access to that network I.P. addresses and critical systems will be expected of this technician.

So, as with the other initial Future of Work Series articles, we have returned full circle to their operating premise: "The work to do starts with you."! Your views of both present and future skills from an industry and education perspective are needed. Since technician preparation programs are typically constrained to a two-year (60 credit) education platform it is important to determine what is (should be) taught during this formal education period and what skills or skill applications must be left to the technician’s employer. There is an effective role for both, and the best technicians will be created from the optimal use of both resources. NSF-ATE is listening and can put its resources into action in response to what it hears so now is the time to speak up.  Think about the skills needed and the optimal time (place) to learn them. Contact us. Send us your thoughts. Please respond or send comments to Dr. Richard Gilbert: gilbert@usf.edu

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