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3-Minute Interview: Cybersecurity educator Mark Ousley

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Local,Science and Technology,Virginia,Steve Contorno,3-Minute Interview

Ousley is corporate training director of American National University's School of Professional Development, which recently opened a location in Tysons Corner. The school will provide professional training in cybersecurity, a rapidly growing career track for D.C.-area workers.

What is the focus of this new campus?

For over 125 years we've been focused on career-focused education and also short-term education, but our focus on our Northern Virginia location is really certification training in cybersecurity. The Department of Defense mandates the training level people who deal with that kind of information need to be at to make sure they're at a high level of skill, so we come in and provide that training for the federal government but also people who are interested in making that career move.

What are the job prospects in this field?

In the cybersecurity realm, the gap between trained skilled individuals and what will be needed to fill those positions, we're going to be lacking in that area. Over the next 10 years, there will be over 200,000 new jobs in cybersecurity in the D.C. metro area. This is the fastest-growing area of IT.

Is there a demographic you cater to?

We've seen a lot of returning veterans who see the program as very attractive. They may not necessarily want to go to a four-year program, but they want to build upon the skills they began learning in the military.

What advice do you have for people looking for a career move?

A lot of people are out of work and if you're going to retrain yourself, the best field to do that in is IT and, specifically, cybersecurity. We're going to take people from level 0 proficiency and take them through the certifications over 10-11 months that gets them ready for a job in IT.

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