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Cybersecurity Faculty Member Stays Abreast of Industry Trends So Students Can Too

Cybersecurity Faculty Member Stays Abreast of Industry Trends So Students Can Too

Villanova University faculty image Jayme Lara

Last Updated March 8, 2024

Cybersecurity is a fast-paced industry that is constantly evolving. Rarely a day passes without the introduction of a new security software, privacy regulation or target phishing attack that increases an organization’s exposure to cybersecurity threats.

As technology continues to soar to new heights, so, too, does the emphasis for educating professionals on how to plan for and combat cyberattacks. The desire to strengthen the cybersecurity workforce through evidence-based education is one of the factors in Villanova University’s decision to revamp its 100% online Cybersecurity Certificate program.

Villanova adjunct faculty member Jayme Lara, CISSP, MS IS, is overseeing the program developments, and said she is constantly updating her own education to keep up with the improvements in cybersecurity.

“I stay interested in cybersecurity because of the broad range of topics involved and the ever-changing landscape,” Lara said. “I enjoy the problem-solving aspect and the constant learning that is involved.”

Growing up, Lara said she used to watch her brother “circumvent the security controls my mom would put on our home computer, which fascinated me.” She said that circumvention is what whetted her appetite for a cybersecurity career. That, and the fact that cybersecurity technology is constantly evolving.

In addition to keeping course curriculum up to date, Lara, who works for Lockheed Martin in the information security office, said she always does a section in the beginning of her courses involving the latest cyber news.

Lara said her broad range of responsibilities at Lockheed Martin help her stay current on a wide range of cyber topics that she can share with her students.

“I give students websites to visit that I check daily to keep up with the latest technology. I’m also a fan of Wired magazine to keep up with IT and cyber trends.”

“I teach because it is important to give back to the cyber community and help train the next generation of cyber defenders,” she said.

Cybersecurity and Cloud Computing

Much of the Villanova program update also involves the cloud, Lara said.

“The revamp was to update the courses to reflect the current landscape of cybersecurity, for example, the use of the cloud, which is booming,” she said. “There is a huge need for cyber professionals who have cloud experience.”

Cloud computing involves using a network of remote computer servers hosted on the internet where paying customers can store, manage and process data. It replaces the need for each individual company to pay for its own servers and engineers to service them.

When the Villanova courses were first developed, the cloud was just introduced and people weren’t sure what do to with it, Lara said. “Now, every corporation is using it or investigating how to use it.”

The cloud has a lot of security to keep data protected including state-of-the-art cyber tools, Lara said. “Some cloud providers have developed machine learning algorithms to detect hackers to make sure your data is protected. At the core of cybersecurity, you are trying to protect the data. That is typically the crown jewel.”

Projected Growth of Cybersecurity Jobs

It is crucial that cybersecurity engineers become at least somewhat familiar with the cloud, Lara said.

Some 3.5 million jobs in cybersecurity are expected to go unfilled globally by 2021, according to the Cybersecurity Jobs Report by Cybersecurity Ventures.

“The cybersecurity jobs forecasts have been unable to keep pace with the dramatic rise in cybercrime, which is predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015,” the report states.

“Every IT position is also a cybersecurity position now,” the report notes. “Every IT worker, every technology worker, needs to be involved with protecting and defending apps, data, devices, infrastructure and people.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), roles such as information security analyst are projected to be in high demand to help organizations safeguard computer networks and critical information. According to the BLS, information security analyst jobs are projected to increase by 32% through 2028*.

Additionally, the BLS reports that job employment of information security analysts is expected to increase 55% in computer systems design and related services through 2028 because of the increased “adoption of cloud services by small and medium-sized businesses and a rise in cybersecurity threats.”

Prepare for Certification

Villanova’s Cybersecurity Certificate program can also help students prepare for professional certification through CompTIA Security+.

The CompTIA Security+ exam is a global certification that incorporates best practices in hands-on trouble-shooting and practical security problem-solving skills. Earning the certification shows that candidates have the baseline skills needed to perform core security functions.

“Villanova’s revamped Cybersecurity courses prepare students for content they would see on the certification exam,” Lara said.

Who Should Seek Cybersecurity Education?

Lara estimated that 80% of her students come from the IT world, but that the revamped program applies to other backgrounds as well.

“My students are typically working professionals looking for a career change or looking to get a cyber certificate required by their job,” she said. “Having a different perspective rather than coming from an IT background is really gaining momentum in the industry, as those security professionals approach problems and identify how to solve them differently.”

Villanova’s Cybersecurity Certificate is ideal for IT professionals, those who aspire to transition into IT security, or those who need to meet government requirements. Students will learn cybersecurity concepts, methods and practices, as well as proven techniques for assessing risks and safeguarding corporate data.

The three-course certificate program includes two required courses: Essentials of Cybersecurity and Mastering Cybersecurity/Security+ and one elective.

Elective options include: Essentials of Business Analysis, Essentials of Business Intelligence, Essentials of Business Process Management and Essentials of Project Management.


*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Information Security Analysts, on the internet at (visited September 04, 2019).

National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Information provided is not intended to represent a complete list of hiring companies or job titles, and program options do not guarantee career or salary outcomes. Students should conduct independent research for specific employment information.