Natrona County High School students take district's first cybersecurity course

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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) For the first time, Natrona County High School students are learning to protect networks. These 11 students are part of the cybersecurity class at Pathway’s Innovation Center. The new program is one of many Career and Technical Education courses offered to high school students in Natrona County.

“It’s like nursing where it’s an industry where you get your foot in the door with a basic certification and you can choose a special certification once you’ve done that,” cybersecurity teacher Jacob Stutheit said.

He said his students can get the basic certification if they finish this yearlong course and pass a test. This will allow them to go directly to work in the industry.

He said they start earning around $45,000 annually but it can increase to more than $100,000 per year within a few years.

Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity industry leader, developed the program for high school students.

“They were noticing that they didn’t have anyone to hire, essentially, because kids were graduating from high school and, if they had an interest in cyber stuff, they were specializing in software engineering, full-stack web development, stuff like that,” Stutheit said.

Natrona County High School senior Alex Knighton is in the cybersecurity class. He said he took the class because it sounded cool. Now, he’s thinking of a career in cybersecurity.

Stutheit said he wants to expand the class next year. It’s currently only open to Natrona County High School students.