05 Dec NSA certifies MATC's network security program
Madison, Wis. — Madison Area Technical College’s Network Security Specialist degree program, which trains people to fight viruses, worms and other threats to computer systems and data, has earned federal certification by the National Security Agency’s Committee on National Security Systems.
It is only one of two in the state and 124 nationwide to carry the high-level certification. MATC had to match its curriculum precisely to what the NSA wishes students to be exposed to, in terms of course material, time spent on lab work and specific projects, and goals that are met in networking classes.
“What they’re looking for is gaps. They’re looking for something that they would think would be a best practice,” said MATC instructor Michael Masino, who worked with the NSA on getting the certification. “If there are any gaps, you have to fill in those gaps by adding lab work, by adding lecture materials and so on.”
Almost 50 students are enrolled in the program, which was created last year with grants from the federal National Science Foundation as well as the state government. The program’s first class will graduate in spring 2006. The certification will mean that those students have a readily identifiable certification in one of the country’s most rigorous standards for data security, which will become an ever more important area of business infrastructure.
“It looks good on a resume,” Masino said. “As long as they know what the national security agency’s set of guidelines are, some places that value those guidelines are going to know that our program has covered them.”
• Read more coverage of MATC’s security program