Idaho Alpha (Idaho) Phi and computer science senior Taegan Williams is one of just 3 students in Idaho to be named a U.S. Cyber FastTrack finalist!
He was awarded $22,000 toward an Undergraduate Certificate in Applied CyberSecurity from the SANS Technology Institute, the world’s largest information security training and certification company. With more than 13,000 initial competitors on the program, U of I is one of 63 colleges in 28 states that had finalists.
Williams first took a pre-assessment, representing realistic threat scenarios to measure existing knowledge. His high score allowed him to continue on in the program, eventually tackling more than 250 cybersecurity challenges that progress in difficulty in self-directed study over the summer.
It’s estimated there will be 1.8 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. by 2022. The Cyber FastTrack initiative launched in 2017 to eliminate this skills gap. With the help of Idaho National Laboratory and Governor Brad Little, the Cyber FastTrack initiative was offered in Idaho for the first time this year.
A total of 220 college students from 11 different public and private universities and community colleges in Idaho participated in the program, and the state is planning to continue participation in 2020.