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New cybersecurity lab trains UNF students for future careers

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The University of North Florida is opening a new cybersecurity lab in its School of Computing.

The school is working with Pax Technology, a China-based international supplier of electric payment terminals and transaction software. According to the university, Pax Technology gifted $100,000 to go toward scholarships, research projects and graduate assistantships. Pax Technology’s North America headquarters is in Jacksonville.

The lab will be equipped with new technologies and software to train students for future careers in cybersecurity.

Dr. Sherif Elfayoumy, the director and a professor in the School of Computing, said the demand for those jobs is increasing.  

“The demand in general for anyone with a computing degree is really high but it’s much higher for those with a degree in cybersecurity,” explained Dr. Elfayoumy.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for information security analysts is expected to increase 28% in the next 7 years. Richard Lentz, a master’s degree student at UNF, said the new computer lab will give students good hands-on experience for the real world.

“They’ll be able to actually go to an employer and be like ‘I’ve put my hands on this technology or I’ve worked with software for facial recognition or fingerprint reading,’ explained Lentz. “It’s just something that you don’t normally get in a University setting.”

The lab accommodates 30 students at a time. The University is hoping to have it finished in the next 2 weeks.

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