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Get a degree and become a master hacker

US IT trainer offers master's degree for hackers

"Most chief security officers in the industry today joined at the low end and came up through the ranks, but we felt there was a need for a specific training regimen that went far beyond what was out there for systems administration-level professionals," Bavisi said.

"Today's CTOs need to understand a wider range of attacks than ever before and how to help their organisations respond in a forward-thinking way in an organisational environment that is increasingly strained in terms of budget and the acquisition of new technologies."

Bavisi said that it took roughly two years to put the program together and gain accreditation from the appropriate educational bodies.

One of the six current students, Dock Marshall Clavon, who currently works as a project management infrastructure analyst at oil exploration industry giant Chevron Global Upstream, said that he is taking the program to position himself for a management job in IT security down the road.

Having already completed a master's in business administration with a focus on IT security, along with a master's degree in project management, he said that there should be significant opportunities in the near future for those who aggressively expand their skills.

"A lot of the senior people who do this type of work are from the baby boomer generation, and they're going to start retiring soon, which should lead to a hiring rush for those who are qualified over the next three to five years," Clavon said. "And a lot of people in IT security aren't interested in managing people, which actually might be the hardest part of this type of work."

While Clavon said that he isn't looking to swap jobs today, he believes that completing the course could get him "fast-tracked" by his current employer or by other firms looking for management-level security expertise.

"In this field, there will always be work for the locksmiths, and as technologies move further into the electronic world, there will be job security for the people who have the right sets of skills," he said. "The tests in this program are hard, and the classes are allowing me to go deeper into this area of concentration, not just in terms of technology, but in terms of what it will take to lead others in a business environment."

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