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What is the Cybersecurity Nexus Program? - Columbus State University

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Turner College of Business & Technology

What is the Cybersecurity Nexus Program?

CSU Cyber

The Cybersecurity Nexus program is Columbus State University (CSU’s) unique and effective response to help rapidly solve the world’s shortage of trained, work-ready cybersecurity professionals. Through the Nexus program, our students gain both theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills that help them become ready for a career in cybersecurity in as little as 12 months!

The Nexus program consists of two options:

  1. The Practitioner Certificate in Cybersecurity of FinTech
  2. The Cybersecurity of FinTech Nexus Degree

The Certificate is an 30-hour “Rapid Workforce Development” program that  Nexus students complete in 12 months. The Certificate consists of ten 3-hour classes for a total of 30 hours. The program is cohort-based, so Nexus students stay with their “team” the entire duration of the program. This allows rich community and collaboration to develop within each cohort and between cohorts. The intent is to simulate a work team environment collaborating with other work teams as much as possible in an academic setting.

CSU Cyber

The Certificate is delivered in a boot-camp style with classes meeting 3 hours per day 5 days per week. Currently, the scheduled class time is 9:00 am until noon Monday through Friday. We stay on the same academic calendar year with the University.

The Nexus degree is simply the 18 hours of the 30-hour certificate plus 42 hours of  general education for a total of 60 hours for the Nexus degree. The  courses in both the Nexus Degree and the Certificate are “stackable”  into the Bachelor’s programs offered by CSU. That means courses taken in the Certificate program count toward the Nexus degree and even more count towards the BS degrees offered at CSU.

The six classes in the Cybersecurity certificate are:

  1. Information Technology (IT) Fundamentals (ITF+)
  2. Fundamentals of Computer Networks (Network+)
  3. Penetration Testing Student – aka “Ethical Hacking” (eJPT)
  4. Fundamentals of Information Security (Security+)
  5. Professionalism in the Cybersecurity Workforce
  6. Cybersecurity Apprenticeship
CompTIA ITF+
CompTIA Network+
eJPT
CompTIA Security+

In the Professionalism course, Nexus students learn how to create an effective resume, how to successfully prepare for an interview, how to build their “brand” online, how to develop a professional network, and much more. Students also get “mock interviews” with cybersecurity professionals, recruiters, and executives to practice their interviewing skills.

The internship is the final course the Nexus students take in the Certificate program. Most Nexus students fulfill the requirements of this course by working an unpaid internship in the CSU Security Operations Center (SOC) defending the networks at CSU from attacks. Students learn and utilize professional tools that will help them land cybersecurity jobs when they complete the program. Many Nexus students successfully secure external internships (paid or unpaid) with organizations that put them to work in their cybersecurity, networking, or other technical areas.

CSU Cyber

CSU Cyber

In addition to their courses, Nexus students get to defend against real-world cyberattacks on our Cyber Range, where they learn hands-on, real-world technical and collaboration skills that will help them in their future careers. Nexus students defend against attacks like ransomware, website defacement, web server shutdown, network denial of service, and many other common, live attacks with real malware.

CSU Cyber

CSU Cyber

Nexus students are also encouraged to participate in the many cybersecurity competitions available to them because CSU is a Center of Academic Excellence (as designated by the US National Security Agency) and through our many partnerships with companies who host such competitions.

National Security Agency

CSU Cyber

National Centers of Academic Excellence

Because of our close partnerships with local, national, and global organizations, students are visited on nearly a weekly basis by industry executives, technical professionals, recruiters, and other professionals who help give them insight into what they are preparing for during their time in class. These professionals also help Nexus students get jobs as they finish the program. They become part of our students’ professional networks.

CSU Cyber

All of these attributes of this one-of-a-kind Cybersecurity program help prepare our students to look, talk, and perform more like an industry professional than a student when they complete the program.

For more information, please contact:

Patrick Aiken - aiken_patrick@columbusstate.edu

Elke Brumbaugh - brumbaugh_elke@columbusstate.edu

Armando Fernandez - fernandez_armando@columbusstate.edu

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