For a group of students from Del Rio High School in Texas, a career in cybersecurity is a little closer today thanks to the Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy and the dedicated employees and teachers who put the curriculum into action.
The program teaches students fundamental cybersecurity skills and creates a roadmap for future roles and opportunities in the industry. Paired with a school district program called Project Lead The Way – which is aimed at fostering interest in STEM careers – the Palo Alto Networks course included a test and certificate earned by the students.
“By offering this program we are gaining a better educated user and perhaps future cybersecurity engineers as we battle to reach our goal of a more secure digital world,” said Lalo Ruiz, Senior Manager, Consulting Services at Palo Alto Networks. “I want to make sure our next generation and future generations of digital citizens are provided better skills to maneuver day to day functions securely. Further I want to provide the students from my hometown other options for careers.”
“I am so thankful for the opportunity Palo Alto Networks has provided to my students,” said Del Rio High teacher John Reed. “It is opening doors and pathways the students would not otherwise have.”
The course taught students about the current cybersecurity landscape and helped them recognize and potentially mitigate attacks against enterprise networks as well as mission critical infrastructure. The students also learned how to initially setup and configure security zones, authentication and policies on a next-generation firewall.
For Ruiz, a Marine who took a number of years to discover and turn his passion for computers and cybersecurity into a profession, working with the students was truly a labor of love.
“By providing this curriculum to the students of Del Rio, we are opening up other careers that align with the digital space,” Ruiz said. “I want to target those students that are frustrated and do not know what their calling is. I want to show them another great option. I'd love to see the next wave of CIO's and CTO's to come from the academy program and Del Rio High School.”
Want to know more about Palo Alto Networks social responsibility and environmental impact? Check out https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/about-us/corporate-responsibility