James Clemens students prepare for cybersecurity careers

MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — Cybersecurity is one of the Huntsville area’s fastest growing industries, and the recruiting process is starting in local high school classrooms.

Several cybersecurity professionals met with James Clemens High School students and gave them career advice on Thursday.

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“There was a need within our area for people to reach out to our youth and to help get them interested in the field and help kind of broaden their knowledge base on it,” said SAIC cybersecurity engineer Katelyn Banks.

Pamela Paquette structured the curriculum in her cybersecurity class to fit a need she saw in North Alabama.

“There’s not enough cyber security professionals in our area right now,” Paquette said. “I started as a software teacher and morphed because my husband is an engineer in this. He said you need to teach them how to do security with this.”

Several of Paquette’s students intend to pursue cybersecurity careers. James Clemens senior John Scott is currently working on obtaining several networking certifications.

“I think this class is something most people should take, especially with social media and all these new scams and stuff that are coming out that could potentially be devastating to anyone,” Scott said.

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With their early start, Banks said she believes these high schoolers will have an edge when looking for cybersecurity careers post-graduation.

“Keep learning and keep pushing forward,” Banks said. “This industry requires a very tenacious personality and requires you to keep learning day after day.”

The Rocket City hosts several nationally recognized cybersecurity events each year, and the University of Alabama Huntsville offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in cybersecurity.

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