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Best Cybersecurity Program: The Secret to Capitol Tech’s Success

best cybersecurity program

This year, Capitol Technology University was honored with the prestigious 2020 SC Media Award for Best Cybersecurity Higher Education Program. SC Media is well-known in cybersecurity circles through its over-30-year commitment to improving the industry.

Along the way, other accolades have also contributed to creating Capitol Tech’s reputation as a launch pad for cybersecurity leaders. The National Security Agency and Department of Defense designated the university as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. The NSA has also chosen Capitol Tech to train its new hires in Master’s-level courses, and the university has been selected as a Military Friendly® School for this academic year, just as it has for many years prior.  

Building a world-class program worthy of recognition from the likes of SC Media, the NSA and the DoD doesn’t happen overnight. Countless hours, and immeasurable energy and effort have gone into the making of the cybersecurity program that Capitol Tech offers today. However, our success is owed to these five fundamental building blocks:

  1. Location, Location, Location

Capitol Tech is situated in our nation’s cybersecurity epicenter – just six miles from the NSA and a 40-minute drive from the Department of Defense. The university is literally surrounded by the nation’s top organizations and people working in the field today.

Dr. William Butler, Director of Critical Infrastructures and Cyber Protection Center (CICPC) at Capitol, sees the school’s location as a strategic advantage. “Maryland is the cyber state. And we're right in the middle of the Baltimore-Washington corridor, so that to me is the greatest concentration of cyber-security practitioners, not just those working in policy and strategy, but hands-on, technical people.”

  1. Relationships

Because we’ve built strong, long-term working relationships with our neighbors, Capitol Tech is an integral part of the job-rich pipeline supplying talent to America’s most technologically sophisticated government agencies and their private sector supply chains. Within this eco-system our students gain valuable experience working year-long internships and our graduates rise, providing valuable leadership.

Joshua Joseph is a senior dual major in Cybersecurity and Computer Science, and recipient of the prestigious SMART Scholarship for Service Program. Established by the U.S. Department of Defense, the SMART program provided Joseph full tuition, monthly stipends, and a summer internship that will turn into a full-time position at the DoD upon completing his degree. To Joseph, Capitol Tech created opportunities that he believes he wouldn’t have had otherwise. “Professors at Capitol have a lot of connections; they know people who have openings and are willing to vouch for [students]. The connections with faculty and friends I’ve forged will benefit me for years to come.”

  1. Depth & Breadth

Many years ago, Capitol Tech was the first university in America to award a doctoral degree in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity Master’s and Baccalaureate degree programsare also available, as are certificate programs. More recently, the university has added specialized M.S. degrees to the mix – M.S. in Aviation Cybersecurity, M.S. in Construction Cybersecurity, and a Technical Master of Business Administration in Cybersecurity.

Specialized cybersecurity degrees are one example of how Capitol Tech continues to grow in response to the evolving needs of the marketplace. Dr. Butler explains, “As an institution — whether it’s programming or research initiatives — we’ve always looked to the future, to build early, so that we are proactive rather than reactive.”

  1. Faculty Expertise

Capitol Tech cybersecurity faculty are also working professionals with up-to-the-minute knowledge of the courses they teach. After all, no serious student of the subject is interested in learning how to deal with the cyber threats of yesteryear. To be employable, our students have to know how to hit the ground running, and to do that you have to be up-to-speed.

Glenn Andal graduated from Capitol Tech with a degree in Cyber and Information Security. In his current role as Senior Cybersecurity Engineer at MITRE, he supports top government agencies with cutting-edge solutions to cybersecurity and systems engineering challenges. “Because many of Capitol Tech’s professors are professionals in the field, they are able bring real-world scenarios into the classroom experience as opposed to teaching solely from a textbook. This is important especially in this day and age now where things change every day.”

  1. Adaptive Learning

Our cybersecurity curricula are constantly improving as they are informed by what is happening in the real world. The university is able to adapt our teaching in a matter of weeks and months where many schools may take years. University resources, such as our Cyber Lab, also offer students the opportunity to put theory into practice by working on modern cyberattacks simulated with input from top industry experts at corporations such as Lockheed Martin and SAIC. Such experiences ensure that Capitol Tech graduates are well-versed with the latest best practices from the field.

Michael Noel, Chief Technology Officer at Compass DX Consulting Group mentored several Capitol Tech cybersecurity students through his company’s Cybersecurity Professional Fast Track Summer Program and can attest to their job-readiness. “Capitol Tech students are engaged, self-starters who are on fire for cybersecurity.”

Every second of every day, our nation’s critical infrastructure and our way of life are being attacked at the speed of light. There is an urgent need for a new generation of cyber warriors, and this means that America’s best educators must build cybersecurity programs that are up to the task.

As Washington D.C.’s premier STEM university, Capitol Tech is an environment where STEM-minded students can reach their full potential. Our students benefit from a laser-focused education taught by industry-leading experts and learning in a community of like-minded and ambitious peers. Capitol Tech students graduate prepared to handle technology and cybersecurity roles in the D.C. areas top government agencies and their private-sector supply chains.

Tags: Cybersecurity