RIT launches a MicroMasters Program in Cybersecurity

Professionals looking to break into a cybersecurity career now have an accelerated and reduced cost option to earn a master’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Starting in March, learners can begin the RIT Cybersecurity MicroMasters ™ program with edX, the leading nonprofit online learning destination founded by Harvard and MIT. Upon completing the four course program and earning an MicroMasters credential, learners can apply to RIT and may be awarded nine credit hours towards their degree requirements—making up nearly one third of a master’s program. The program is open for enrollment today and the first course, Cybersecurity Fundamentals, begins on March 21, 2017.

“You can’t go a few days without hearing about another cybersecurity breach or attack, but we still don’t have enough professionals to protect our infrastructure,” said Bo Yuan, chair of RIT’s Department of Computing Security. “This MicroMasters program is a terrific opportunity for RIT to engage with edX’s more than 9 million global learners and encourage more workers to become qualified in cybersecurity.”

RIT’s MicroMasters program in Cybersecurity will provide learners with the expertise in network security and forensics needed for a cybersecurity position in enterprise environments. With the program, RIT is helping to meet the demand of a growing field that anticipates 6 million new cybersecurity jobs being created by 2019, according to Forbes.

Those who earn the MicroMasters credential can then build on their work by applying to RIT for the master’s degree in computing security, the advanced certificate in information assurance or the master’s degree professional studies.

The graduate-level online MicroMasters credential is designed for people whose undergraduate major or minor was in a computing specific discipline, as well as those who have a strong background in a field where computers are applied, including engineering, science or mathematics.

The RIT MicroMasters program includes modules in Cybersecurity Fundamentals, Computer Forensics, Cybersecurity Risk Management, Network Security and a Cybersecurity Capstone. The program is 40 weeks of instruction.

“The shortage of skilled and qualified cybersecurity professionals is one of the biggest issues facing our Internet-connected world today,” said Bob Kalka, vice president of the IBM Security Business Unit and a 1989 RIT computer science alumnus. “Professionals who gain the skills and tactics needed to defend against the next generation of security threats will be better prepared for careers at IBM and other organizations in the cybersecurity industry.”

MicroMasters programs are a new category of Master’s-level online education that offer a credential with a pathway to credit. The programs are designed for learners looking for in-demand knowledge to advance their careers or follow a path to an accelerated, fully accredited advanced credential.

In September, RIT became one of the first universities to offer a MicroMasters program with edX, launching a MicroMasters program in Project Management. Fourteen universities around the world are offering MicroMasters programs in other areas of study, including MIT, Columbia University, University of Michigan, Thunderbird School of Global Management, a unit of the Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise and Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.

“We are honored to work with RIT to launch a MicroMasters program in Cybersecurity, an area of expertise that has become increasingly more vital in the modern workplace. This new offering marks a new and exciting step toward furthering our shared mission to expand access to high-quality education,” said Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX and Professor at MIT. “MicroMasters programs provides the next level of innovation in learning and meet the needs of learners, universities and employers in today’s on-demand, tech-driven world.”

Netcracker Drives GCI’s Transformation into a Digital Service Provider

Modernized BSS/OSS Capabilities Help GCI Optimize Customer Experience, Improve Business Agility and Enable New Business Models.

 Netcracker Technology announced today that General Communication, Inc. (GCI), the leading communications service provider in Alaska, has selected Netcracker to enable its Polaris Program, which is the transformation of GCI’s customer, revenue and operations management systems. These new capabilities will deliver a better customer experience, reduce operational costs through managed services and greater automation in call center operations and bring services to the market more quickly through an automated and streamlined fulfillment and provisioning process.

As the largest telecommunications company in Alaska, GCI provides multiplay services, including voice, video, broadband and wireless services, to businesses and consumers across the region. Its broadband network accounts for roughly 70 percent of the consumer broadband market in Alaska.

GCI will use the Netcracker 10 product suite to provide an improved customer experience through a more streamlined and simplified digital omnichannel journey. With a single product catalog covering all of GCI’s businesses, the company will be able to provide one invoice for all consumer products and reduce the time it takes to provide customers with accurate quotes for new services, leading to faster sales and higher overall customer satisfaction. Netcracker 10 makes this possible because it is a true end-to-end, analytics-driven revenue, customer and operations management solution.

The Netcracker 10 product suite will also enable an automated customer interaction environment that will help GCI reduce costs and increase revenue by allowing its customer service representatives (CSRs) to prioritize critical queries. These wide-ranging improvements in customer service will help raise GCI’s overall net promoter score (NPS), a customer satisfaction measurement standard that gauges how loyal customers are to a brand or service.

To help reduce operational costs and enable a more efficient use of resources, GCI is using Netcracker’s multiyear hosted managed services program. With Netcracker as its strategic partner, GCI will also be able to fully integrate the wireless customers and assets acquired from Alaska Communications.

“Our need to improve IT process efficiency and accelerate service delivery methods to optimize customer experience led us to select Netcracker, which has proven itself to enable large-scale digital transformations successfully,” said John Hegarty, Vice President/General Manager of the Polaris Program at GCI. “With the combination of innovative solutions, robust roadmap, managed services and expertise in handling complex business transformations, we are confident that our partnership with Netcracker will deliver the right outcomes which will enhance our customer experience leadership position.”

“We look forward to helping GCI provide the experience that its customers not only demand, but expect from an integrated telecommunication provider,” said Sylvain Seignour, Vice President of Global Sales at Netcracker. “Our Netcracker 10 solution is a game changer and we are excited to validate its ability to enable critical digital transformations.”

Alaska-based technology company creates tech pipeline for skilled labor around the state

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alaska-based telecommunications company GCI has launched an innovative workforce development program to encourage Alaska students to pursue a STEM-based education that will lead to challenging, tech-sector careers.

“GCI works hard to recruit the best engineers, software developers and network administrators available, but the competition is tough,” said Craig Mollerstuen, GCI vice president and Workforce Development Program manager. “There just aren’t enough people graduating with degrees in engineering and IT. That’s not just a problem for Alaska—it’s a shortage nationwide. We created GCI’s Workforce Development Program in order to recruit and hire more Alaskans for these challenging, high-paying positions.”

The GCI Workforce Development Program starts in middle school by introducing students to technology careers and extends through graduate school, military and technical school recruitment programs. Conceived in 2014 to combine and enhance many outreach programs already in place around the company, the GCI Workforce Development Program focuses on technology jobs but also includes logistics, business management and finance tracks, among others. Since 2014, more than 40 individuals have participated in the program.

“The program gave me a well-rounded look at the various positions within telecommunications, an industry that I was very interested in,” said Daniel Ning, an electrical engineer who joined the program as an intern in 2016. “I really enjoyed learning about wireless technology during my internship—an opportunity that led me to my current position as a graduate intern at GCI.”

Mollerstuen continued, “It’s the right thing to do for our company, but it’s also the right thing to do for the economy. GCI’s Workforce Development Program provides a career pathway for Alaskans who might normally move outside of Alaska to find a job. It also encourages Alaska students to pursue a career they might not have previously considered.”


GCI’s Workforce Development Program includes the following key initiatives:

·      Career Pathways – GCI is introducing middle school and high school students to jobs and careers in telecommunications, IT and business through curriculum assistance, guest speakers, on-site tours and teacher training opportunities.

·      Externship – This hands-on learning opportunity, similar to an internship, gives educators focused on STEM from across the state a two-week immersion at GCI to learn the company culture and the services and products GCI provides. Teachers learn what skills are needed and the variety of STEM jobs available at GCI. When they return to the classroom, they can pass this knowledge on to their students and help students design a career pathway.

·      Internship – GCI offers three terms for internships throughout the year – spring, summer and fall – each lasting up to four months. Interns are provided an ongoing work plan to keep them engaged and learning throughout the internship and are able to work in a variety of areas within the company, from consumer finance to wireless engineering.

·      United Utilities Scholarship – For more than 20 years, United Utilities, Inc. (UUI), a GCI company, has awarded scholarships to graduating high school seniors who live in rural areas served by UUI, which includes Tanana, Whittier and Ruby. The scholarship is designed to help promising young Alaskans further their education and launch their careers to create a brighter future for Alaska. In 2015, UUI awarded 150 scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each. Over the past 20 years, $6 million worth of scholarship funds have been awarded through the program.

·      Recent Graduate Program – GCI hires outstanding candidates for a one-year term with the expectation that each participant finds a regular, full-time position at GCI within a year. Graduates of a technical school, college or university as well as the military are eligible for this program, which allows them to try up to four positions to find a perfect fit for them at GCI.

·      Career Development & Education – The GCI team works closely with its employees to continue their development once they are with the company. GCI is working closely with Alaska schools, colleges and universities to develop curriculums for training and technical certifications.

·      Military Liaison – GCI is active in the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program as well as the Executive Transition Assistance Program, which help military members shift to civilian life, including résumé assistance and counsel for soldiers and airmen. In addition, GCI regularly participates in veterans’ job fairs to recruit talent across the state.

For more information about GCI and its workforce development initiatives across Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, visit http://gci.com/careers.

About GCI: GCI delivers communication and technology services in the consumer and business markets. Headquartered in Alaska with additional locations in the U.S., GCI has delivered services for more than 35 years to some of the most remote communities and in some of the most challenging conditions in North America. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com.