By Richard ArnesonSome things just don’t make sense, like why when a baseball hits the foul pole it’s a fair ball. Shouldn’t it be called the fair pole? Or why hot dogs come in packs of ten (10) but the buns in quantities of eight (8). Oh, and how about this one—its estimated that within the next three (3) years almost 4 million (4,000,000) cybersecurity jobs will go unfilled due to both a lack of interest and adequate training. It doesn’t seem possible given the amount of cybersecurity events that we hear about every week, what with the ransomware, the Trojans, the viruses, the malware, etc. You’d think cybersecurity would be attracting professionals in droves, but it isn’t. Texas A&M University is doing something about it, though. While many of the larger corporations have enacted specialized apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity, including mobile training trucks for personnel, the Fightin’ Texas Aggies have taken a far more proactive approach to this issue, and it’s one from which they’re immediately benefiting. To address their cybersecurity labor shortage, they’re pairing students with AI software to protect the schools’ systems from cyber-attacks. In turn, the students get security training and a great, hands-on addition to the resume. Each month, the Texas A&M University System, which includes eleven (11) universities and seven (7) state agencies, estimates that there are approximately a million attempts to hack into their systems. Prior to implementing this program, IT security was handled by a lean staff that included few full-time employees. Now ten (10) students comprise the majority of their IT security team, and they’re utilizing AI software to detect, monitor and remedy threats. And they’re having no trouble filling these positions. Word has spread throughout campus that this high-visibility program provides insightful skill sets and extremely marketable training.
Manufacturers have had to a deal with a host of new problems and opportunities related to COVID-19, from new safety concerns to increased demand for services and everything in between. Looking forward to the rest of 2021 and beyond, here are three technological focus areas that will drive the manufacturing industry forward.