Davenport Adds IT Security Courses

January 23, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Whoever could turn on a computer 10 years ago was considered to be in the emerging information technology field.

Of course, that isn't true today.

Programmers, Web designers, networkers and others now have their own specialized talents that have evolved through the industry and have been further developed through higher education.

Davenport University has for years offered five post-baccalaureate certificates for those who have earned a bachelor's degree in management, information systems, networking, Web design and development, and integrative professional studies.

Now the Grand Rapids-based university is getting ready to unwrap two more post-baccalaureate certificate programs. Starting with the spring term, Davenport will begin to offer post-baccalaureate certificates in information and computer security and in network security.

Reid Gough, dean of Davenport's School of Technology, said both programs were very timely additions and that both would add a lot of value to the school's curriculum and to any business that had an employee go through one.

"We'll start to roll out some initial programs this spring," he said.

"We're also offering an associate's degree in information and computer security, as well as a bachelor's degree in information and computer security, and an associate's and bachelor's degree in network security, as well," said Gough.

"We're one of the first, if not the first, to offer this program."

Reports issued last month said the information security field was an industry on the brink of exploding, and that it would likely become the fastest growing IT niche in the nation over the next decade.

"It's not just nice for companies to have security anymore; companies now need security people and a security strategy," said Gough. "We're going to be offering this not only to our existing students, but also to new students coming into the IT program, as well as to the post baccalaureates."

The post-baccalaureate certificates offered by Davenport allow those in the field to gain more specialized training in their particular IT niche. The courses are targeted to a specific area of study, their job, or to the exact certification they want.

Besides the security programs, Davenport offers classes that lead to Cisco certificates in network administration and network professional, to Microsoft systems administrator and systems engineer, and to Novell netware engineer.

"It really is a targeted way for people to update their skills," said Gough.

Going through a post-baccalaureate certificate program doesn't take very long.

Five classes is the average for each program and the programs have been designed to be short so that those working in the field can enroll without making a major lifestyle change.

Gough told the Business Journal that more employers are sending their IT personnel to Davenport for the certificates.

"Typically in the past what they would do is send people to specific training at local for-profit companies to get certain skill sets.

"They'd spend two, three, fours hours in a class and come back to their job," he said.

"A post-baccalaureate is specific to a job but it gets more detailed, more in depth, and it also provides credits to the students. So employers aren't spending $4,000 or $5,000 on a one-time class and then the student doesn't have anything to show for it," he added.

Gough is relatively new to Davenport.

He signed on with the university last fall after holding positions at AT&T Capital and the automotive division at United Technologies. Prior to joining Davenport, he served as chief knowledge officer at PIP Interactive.

"The technology field changes all the time," said Gough, "and one thing that I think Davenport does very well is adjust to the most relevant topics that are out there."    

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