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Todd Lewis was recently interviewed by ETV Carolina Money. Read what he had to say about a minor in applied computing (offered at nine South Carolina universities and colleges).

Research shows that South Carolina will experience a shortfall in tech talent in the next decade. This comes at a time when technology jobs are expected to grow significantly.

According to CoursePower.org, the Midlands of South Carolina will need 3,000 IT professionals over the next decade and is on track to produce only 1,650.

 

How do we fill this gap? Initiatives like CoursePower aim to do just that.

 

Q: What is CoursePower?

 

A:  CoursePower is a minor or certificate in Applied Computing available at nine colleges and universities statewide, including four in the Midlands – USC, Midlands Tech, Columbia College, and Benedict.  The program at each school generally includes six -  three credit hour courses, for a total of 18 credit hours.  Of those six courses, two are foundational and required of everyone and the remaining four are on various “tracks” that allow students to specialize in a specific area.  The overall purpose is to ensure students have basic foundational technology skills when they graduate and enter the workforce, regardless of major.  The end result is a job candidate more technologically savvy and better prepared for today’s jobs in South Carolina.

 

Q: So does CoursePower offer extra-curricular courses or is the program directly related to schools?

 

A:  The program is directly related to the schools themselves.  Meaning, each school creates and delivers all curriculum comprising the minor or certificate.  In addition, the curriculum, and what tracks are offered, differs by institution as available resources and subject matter expertise varies.

 

Q: Which schools are involved in Richland and Lexington counties? What are they doing?

 

A:  Four schools currently offer the minor/certificate in Applied Computing in the Midlands, including USC, Midlands Tech, Benedict, and Columbia College.  All have curriculum in place, are teaching classes, and are marketing the program to prospective students and parents both on campus and in the community.

 

Q: What type of classes do students have to take to complete a major or minor in Applied Computing? Give us some examples.

 

A:  Every student, regardless of school, must take and pass the two foundational courses that comprise the minor/certificate.  These courses are introductory in nature, such as Introduction to Computing Concepts or Introduction to Application Programming.  After successfully completing the two foundational courses, students then take classes specific to a track.  A variety of tracks are available at each school and include focus areas such as security, database administration, web development (front-end and back-end), GIS, project management, music, and many others.

 

Q: As a student, how will this program offer me a competitive advantage?

 

A:  The bottom line is this – nearly every single job in the future will require a basic understanding of technology and basic skills, at a minimum, and the level of understanding and skill required will only increase in the future.  Unfortunately, the majority of students graduating today do not have applicable technology skills.  They consume technology, and a lot of it, but they do not have the skills needed by employers in the workplace.  Any student with these baseline skills immediately “rises to the top” and is more marketable when interviewing.  We hear this all the time from employers from all over South Carolina and the country in general on a very consistent basis.

 

Q: How has been the response of the community to CoursePower? Could you give us some numbers related to how many students have taken advantage of the program in the Midlands? Or maybe in SC in general?

 

A:  The response from the community has overall been very good.  We’ve got work still to do but we’ve come a long way in a short period of time.  To date thousands of students have taken one or both of the foundational courses at schools in the Midlands and throughout the state and we’ve seen the number of students outright declaring the minor increase by approximately 100% year-over-year.  In addition, we are seeing enrollment in technology related majors increase significantly as well.  While we can’t take all the credit, we are exposing students to technology for the first time that never would have otherwise given technology a chance, and many are switching majors and choosing the technology field.  This is a secondary benefit of the program but one we thought would occur.  It’s a positive development and one that will benefit the state for many years in the future.

 

Q: What is most rewarding thing about having a career in technology for you?

 

A:  The most rewarding thing would have to be the endless possibilities.  In the grand, long-term view of things we’re still in the very early stages of technology.  As a result, the opportunity to contribute and have an impact is extremely high.  In addition, technology is the least regulated area of the economy, so we’re seeing incredible innovation and creativity because of it.  Every day is full of possibility and hope.

 

Q: What is the best advice you can give to someone looking for a career in technology?

 

A:  Get applicable skills, and do whatever it takes to get them, now!  I repeat this often but it is so true.  Technology skills and understanding will help you regardless of the industry you happen to work in, or plan to work in, and will result in more opportunities, higher pay, and more leverage.  I advise everyone to seek out opportunities like the Minor in Applied Computing, workshops like the ones offered by IT-oLogy, or the many other resources now available like Iron Yard, etc.  But whatever you do, do it as soon as possible.

 

 

 

On October 28th, 2015, It-oLogy hosted the “Securing the Future for Women in IT” event.   The event was sponsored by Google Women Techmakers and the  Women in Information Technology, Science and Engineering (WISE) task force.   While most of the participants were female, several males attended as well.  Heather Bauer, Chair of WISE, led the activities from the initial icebreaker game to the final panel discussion of female cyber security professionals.  

First, Heather introduced WISE and Google Women Techmakers organizations, followed by the description of her inspiring career path.  Her enthusiasm and endless energy would have made the evening a success on its own.  Raising awareness of the small number of women IT professionals and trying to find ways to increase this number made the event an outstanding success.

 

Women who earn an undergraduate degree in information technology are underrepresented, compared with other disciplines.  Despite all the recent government and educational efforts, this gender gap is increasing.  While nobody knows the reason for the decrease, events, like this can help to understand them.

 

Heather organized the panel of established IT professionals:

  • Csilla Farkas, USC Associate Professor with focus on cyber security and recipient of National Science Foundation Career Award
  • Donna Teuber, Director of Technology Integration and Innovation in Richland School District II, Google for Education Certified Innovator, and Google for Education Certified Trainer
  • Major Barbara Mesaros, Director of Intelligence at SC National Guard
  • Mimi Shaw, Senior Application Sales Executive of Advanced Enterprise Solutions at AT&T

 

Each panelist traveled a unique path to achieve her current success.  However, several shared characteristics were obvious among the panel members: not afraid of challenges, hardworking, and persistent.  While these traits appear among other professionals as well, they may be crucial for women in male dominated, highly technical domains.   High schools and universities teach Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.  Events, like the “Securing the Future for Women in IT,” facilitate mentorship and development of the critical personal traits.

 

Csilla Farkas

Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering Director of the Center for Information Assurance Engineering University of South Carolina

CsillaFarkas

IT-oLogy is accepting inquiries from those who would like to join our blogging team. What’s your story? Are you a career-changer? Or, was IT your passion from an early age? How did you get into your career in IT? What skills do you need? These are just a few of the topics that come to mind.

If you are interested in writing for the IT-oLogy blog, we’d like to hear from you! Email rachel.barnett@it-ology.org for more information.

Tammy

IT-oLogy has kicked off 2016 with new leadership in operations and planning. Tammy Mainwaring has joined the organization as Chief Operating Officer. Tammy has 22 years combined experience in education, adaptive change, ITIL Service Management, and Information Technology management within large governmental and private organizations.  She has extensive experience with IT policy and standards development, strategic planning, grant writing and evaluation. Most recently, she served as an I/S Training Manager at BlueCross BlueShield South Carolina (BCBSSC).  Prior to BlueCross, Tammy was the manager for Instructional Technology at the South Carolina Department of Education where she managed several million dollar grants, accounted for grant funds, reported on progress, and developed return on investment documentation. Her work with IT strategic planning, assistive technologies, and grant outcomes evaluation was highlighted by the Federal Department of Education and in THE Journal magazine.  She also developed networks throughout the state and nation in the K-12 schools, universities, state departments of education and the legislature.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Tammy join IT-oLogy,” said Lonnie Emard, President. “Her experience in IT education, delivery and collaborative partnership is a terrific asset as we ramp up new programs and move forward in our mission of advancing IT talent to meet the needs of business.”

“I am excited at the tremendous opportunities we have before us,” said Mainwaring. “IT-oLogy is poised to be able to deliver comprehensive programs for those who are either considering or actively seeking a career in IT. We will roll out a new strategic plan in the next few months. I invite those who have been a part of IT-oLogy from its inception to be a part of this journey with us and look forward to meeting and visiting with our friends. I can be reached at tammy.mainwaring@it-ology.org.”

 

Have you ever asked a stranger how many passwords he or she has?

I have. (It’s an occupational hazard.)

I’ll start by saying that I don’t harass strangers in shopping malls. But, when I’m at a conference or trade event, or at a party, and I find myself talking with someone I’ve never met, the talk often turns to security and passwords – and then I pounce!

The great majority of answers fall into the following categories:

TOOOO Many!

I don’t know.

And the #1 answer:

10-15.

Almost no one says “none of your business!” (Hurray for informal surveys!)

Too many” suggests that the person is overwhelmed.  This is entirely understandable in today’s world where, just about everything we do requires an online password.

Depending on the body language, “I don’t know” usually means they just don’t care. Because passwords are so prevalent, they have lost their significance for these folks.

Neither of the first two answers suggests a healthy approach to security, but it’s the “10-15” response that is thought provoking because it is so specific, and it is such a popular answer. The response isn’t usually just blurted out without any thought: I can see the little cogs and sprockets turning inside their heads as they try to put a number on it. They are counting up the little cubbies in their brain where passwords are stored.

These folks think that arriving at an answer of 10-15 is great, because 10-15 of just about anything is pretty manageable. Even a stampede of 10-15 elephants doesn’t sound too dangerous.

And that’s the problem: 10-15 seems so reasonable.

Because the number they have in their heads sounds manageable, most people think they’re in control. And because they think they’re in control, they often don’t give the matter the attention it deserves, and that easily leads to choosing the wrong approach.

But, is 10-15 password accounts really realistic for most of us today?

Consider everything you do online:

email (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo… do you really have only one email address?),

banking (savings, credit cards, PayPal, mortgage, investment accounts…),

online shopping (Amazon, e-bay, Angie’s List…),

utilities (gas and electric, cable, cell phone …)

online entertainment and streaming (Netflix, Hulu…),

social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram…),

online magazines, newspapers and blogs,

self improvement (Lynda…),

kids’ school accounts and local services like the library,

security (online backup, VPN…),

not to mention the myriad interests that can be satisfied on the internet.

After finishing the exercise (a little exhausted, but satisfied!), most people are invariably surprised to find out that they’ve underestimated by 50%, or more. They typically have 20-30 accounts, and usually more than that.

Interestingly, the number of passwords people think they have doesn’t seem to influence the answer to the next obvious question: “how do you deal with them?” Most of the time, they give me an embarrassed grin and, pointing to their head, say some variation of “in my mind!” (Cue Eddie Izzard going on about his self-delusions.)

And then I hear the story of how they remember all their passwords (a strong sign that their passwords aren’t all that strong), or that they use a single super duper strong password for all their sites (considered by security experts to be even worse than having a less strong but unique password for each site), or a couple of passwords spread over ‘important’ accounts and ‘unimportant’ accounts (a dangerous combination of the two). Unsurprisingly, these approaches involve generous application of the ‘resend password’ feature available on most sites.

Very few people say that they use a password manager product.

Password security involves strong, unique passwords, and being able to connect them to their correct accounts. For most people, remembering random strings of characters and tying them to their respective accounts doesn’t come naturally. In addition, without frequent repetition, we tend to forget stuff, anyway. Add to that the fact that requirements for the random passwords vary website to website, and that the websites periodically demand that the strings must be changed. (It’s enough to make you say “TOOOO Many!”)

These are precisely the things that a password manager gives you. Plus secure storage that is accessible on all your devices. Regardless of how many login accounts you have, a password manager is the best way to have a strong, unique password for each account – and it remembers it for you!

Hi! I don’t believe we’ve met. How many passwords do you have?

About Sticky Password:

Sticky Password, founded in 2001, is a utility software that creates and organizes passwords to simplify a user’s online life without compromising security. Sticky Password provides automatic login, one-click form filling and storage for personal data. It brings “set and forget” password management technology to the world. Security leaders like Kaspersky Lab, among others, have selected Sticky Password to power elements of their own product solutions. Sticky Password is available at stickypassword.com and at major retailers including Office Depot, Office Max, Fry’s and MicroCenter.

Guest Blogger.

Following Trends:  WISE Columbia LeadHERship Meetup: Securing the Future for Women in IT

Sponsored by Google Women Techmakers other Google logos

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Moderator Joyce Vonada, CIO and Managing Director, EDENS

Panelists

Mimi Shaw, Senior Application Sales Executive,  AT&T’S Advanced Enterprise Solutions

Csilla Farkas, USC Associate Professor, with focus on cybersecurity and recipient of National Science Foundation Career Award

MAJ Barbara Mesaros, Director of Intelligence, South Carolina National Guard

Donna Teuber, Director of Technology Integration and Innovation in Richland School District II, Google for Education Certified Innovator, and Google for Education Certified TrainerWISE

IT-oLogy is a Champion of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) 2015. IT-oLogy will be joining a growing global effort among colleges and universities, businesses, government agencies, associations, nonprofit organizations and individuals to promote online safety awareness.

Celebrated every October, National Cyber Security Awareness Month was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure everyone has the resources needed to stay safer and more secure online. As an official Champion, IT-oLogy recognizes its commitment to cybersecurity and online safety.

“We are proud to be a part of this effort, said Lonnie Emard, president of IT-oLogy. “IT-oLogy will provide programming and awareness messages during the month of October.  Our fall conference, Trends, will focus on cyber security for business as well as individuals, Cyber security is among our top priorities for our citizens and businesses.”

Coordinated and led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Department of Homeland Security, NCSAM has grown exponentially since its inception, reaching consumers, small and medium-sized businesses, corporations, educational institutions and young people across the nation and internationally. This year marks the 12th year of NCSAM.

“The Champion Program is a vital part of making National Cyber Security Awareness Month a success each year,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “We are thankful to our 2015 Champion organizations for their support and commitment to our shared responsibility of promoting cyber security and online safety awareness.”

For more information about National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the NCSAM Champions program, and how to participate in NCSAM activities, visit http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam. You can also follow and use the hashtag #cyberaware on Twitter throughout the month.

Considering the title phrase, A Sense of Security, can tend to make someone uneasy just thinking about it.  In our cyber world today, every person and business is potentially vulnerable to some sort of cyber threat.  Knowing more about this topic, the issues, the techniques and the personal responsibility involved is part of acquiring a sense of security.  I recall a phrase by Will Rogers that went something like this:

“It is not only what we don’t know that leads to problems, but more so, what we know that ain’t so.”

On October 28, IT-oLogy will host the annual TRENDS conference that brings key leaders and executives together to network, build intellectual capacity and to discuss emerging trends in technology.

Cybersecurity:  Securing Your World in the Digital Age will feature  sessions  designed for everyone from business leaders, to technical staff, to government and most importantly students and citizens in general.  The goal of the day is to accurately inform, create awareness and share techniques that we can all benefit from at every level from novice to expert.

Following the IT-oLogy mission of addressing topics like this – from an awareness and skills point of view – we will highlight great educational programs from K-12 through higher education, hear from experts on a national, state and local level and provide powerful insights for each audience participant so that everyone walks away with more information to use in the this cyber world.

IT-oLogy is a non profit collaboration of businesses, academic institutions and organizations dedicated to growing the IT talent pipeline, fostering economic development and advancing the IT profession.  For more information, visit www.it-ology.org

Lonnie Emard, President, IT-oLogy

 

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IT-oLogy to host annual Trends conference Wednesday, October 28

 

For a full agenda or to register, go to https://it-ologytrends2015.eventbrite.com

 

Technology is driving business at an unprecedented speed. But, on an almost daily basis, cyber security breaches or hacks are taking place throughout the world.  So, how do you protect your business, your family, your self? IT-oLogy’s Trends 2015 will explore the important topic of cybersecurity. Presentations will range from trending topics, to new technologies, to demonstrations showing real-time hacks and what you can do to prevent them.  The conference will be held at IT-oLogy, 1301 Gervais Street in Columbia on Wednesday, October 28th.

 

•                Creating a Culture of Cyber Security Michael Kaiser, National Cyber Security Alliance

•                South Carolina’s Cyber Landscape and Opportunities Lester Eisner, Major General (USA Retired),   University of South Carolina

•                Lessons Learned from Ashley Madison Jim Salter, Openoid

•                But I Thought It Disappeared! SLED Forensics

•                How to Make Your Home and Family Cyber Safe, Michael Kaiser, NCSA

•                The New Rules of Credit Card Fraud, Bruce Smalley, SLED

•                Passwords in the Internet Age Jim Salter, Openoid

•                So You’ve Been Hacked   Juliana Harris, South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs

•                Are You and Your Staff a Target? How Hackers Use Social Engineering to Target You and Your              Organization Greg Meetze, SLED

•                A Legal Primer on Cyber Breach Jarrett Coco Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough

•                Low Cost Tools for Security Challenges Timothy De Block

•                Application Security Bruce Jenkins, HP

•                Simple Hacking Techniques Anyone Can Use Mark Baggett, SANS Institute

•                Open Security – How Open Source Dominates InfoSec Chad Cravens, Open Source Systems

 

Trends 2015 brings key leaders and executives together to network, build intellectual capacity and to discuss emerging trends in technology. This is the fifth year the conference has been presented.

 

Collaborators include the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce, SCITDA and the University of South Carolina.

Wednesday, October 28

IT-oLogy, 1301 Gervais St., Columbia, SC

A massive digital transformation is taking place in society and the pace is only accelerating.  Industries, as well as organizations and individuals, are being impacted in ways never imagined.  What are examples of this transformation?  How is it having an impact?  Why is it important?

This year’s Trends conference will focus on the overall digital transformation taking place in society and the associated security issues that come along with it.

To register: https://it-ologytrends2015.eventbrite.com