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The cybersecurity boot camp's main audience already have a technology background. (Photo from Stacy Clements).

Penn will launch a new cybersecurity boot camp in November targeted at professionals who already work in technology. 

Beginning Nov. 12, students will attend classes on Penn's campus three times a week during evenings and weekends, a 10-hour weekly commitment. The program, hosted by the College of Liberal and Professional Studies and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, costs $12,000 for a 24-week session. 

Boon Thau Loo, the Engineering School's associate dean of master’s and professional programs, said the boot camp will give students a holistic understanding of computer operation systems and network traffic along with concrete skills to defend corporate networks from attacks. The program will also train students to develop automated systems that monitor and help secure networks. After completing the course, Loo said, students will be prepared for industry-standard certification tests and cybersecurity-related employment. 

The cybersecurity boot camp will be an extension of a popular coding boot camp already offered by LPS. Rita McGlone, executive director of professional and organizational development at the School of Arts and Sciences, said over 200 students have graduated from the coding boot camp's full-time, part-time, and online sessions since its launch in 2017. McGlone also said the coding boot camp is targeted both at people already working in technology industry and those without a technology background looking for a career change, adding that 70% of students hold a bachelor's degree.  

Loo said, however, that the cybersecurity boot camp has a slightly different target audience, expecting most attendees to already have a technology background. 

“In this case, we may be looking at somebody who has been an IT administrator for a while, but they want to essentially do more high-end work, or their job demands them to learn cybersecurity,” Loo said. 

Students received a certificate of completion after the coding boot camp. (Photo from Stacy Clements).

The cybersecurity program expects to enroll around 25 students for its first session, McGlone added, and LPS plans to run different sessions consecutively. Over 100 people signed up to attend an open house for the cybersecurity boot camp, which was held on Sept. 26.

McGlone said LPS came up with the idea for the cybersecurity boot camp after conducting market research and noticing high demand for employees with cybersecurity skills. 

"Since we really focus on adults and what their needs are, [we] do a lot of market research into what kinds of skills they need to really thrive in the workspace," McGlone said. "And so we initially learned that there were lots of job openings in coding, but not enough people to fill them, which is why we did coding. And now we are seeing a similar trend with cybersecurity."

Like the coding boot camp, Penn will operate the cybersecurity boot camp in partnership with Trilogy Education Services, a company that runs coding boot camps with affiliate universities including Columbia University, University of California, Berkeley, and Northwestern University.  

McGlone said while Trilogy designed the initial curriculum for the cybersecurity boot camp, LPS and the Engineering School worked with Trilogy to adapt the curriculum. Loo added that Computer and Information Science professor James Weimer, who conducts research on medical technologies with a security perspective, helped adapt the Trilogy curriculum to Penn. However, the course itself will be taught by instructors hired by Penn and Trilogy rather than University professors. 

“What attracted us to work with Trilogy is that they are very market-driven, but also very outcome-driven, and their programs are very high-end, very high-quality," McGlone said. "And we’ve had a lot of opportunities to have input into the curriculum." 

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