A high-powered industry advisory council fuels a high-powered initiative

The NYU Cyber Fellows program leverages close public and private partnerships to make cybersecurity education more relevant

Advisory council for Cyber Fellows and other NYU Tandon cybersecurity programs

It’s a story that’s been told over and over again over the last several years: millions of cybersecurity jobs are going unfilled due to a lack of skilled technical graduates ready to step into them, even as instances of cybersecurity attacks and threats are on the rise. 

The real question is: what is being done to solve the problem?

The NYU Cyber Fellows program was established in 2018 in partnership with the NYC Cyber Command to address that talent gap by offering an elite, yet low-cost, online master’s degree in the field–one that will allow students to navigate the ever-changing threat landscape.

One of the critical elements of success for the Cyber Fellows program is maintaining an active, ongoing connection with an impressive group of advisors who hail from major companies and agencies in New York City and beyond who are encountering threats every day. Their input ensures that the Cyber Fellows curriculum fully prepares graduates to meet the real-world challenges facing industry and government leaders. As Geoff Brown, former head of NYC Cyber Command and current Advisory Council member, once stated, “What keeps me up at night is not only keeping up with the pace of technology, but making sure we continue to attract the type of talent that needs to join the mission and fight the good fight to come.”

Recently, the advisory council met in-person to discuss their workforce-development needs and to help shape Cyber Fellows and other NYU Tandon cybersecurity programs moving forward.


They were greeted by Dean Jelena Kovačević, who explained that Tandon is in the process of re-examining its advanced degree programs to reflect the complexity of societal needs for tech and engineering in the modern era. She praised Cyber Fellows as one of the earliest examples of reshaping course offerings in preparation for 21st-century careers. “One thing that is abundantly clear is that cybersecurity is top of mind for everyone, and your partnership will play a vital role in the years that follow in creating the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and in building a safer planet,” she told attendees. “The Cyber Fellows program is a perfect example of what’s possible when academia, government, and the private sector come together.”

Afterward, advisory council members heard leadership updates on the program and participated in lively roundtable discussions about pressing industry needs that could inform future program development.

Other key takeaways from the event:

The advisory council is the driving force behind helping us build and deliver one of the world’s top cybersecurity training programs. Thanks to our members, we recently launched three executive programs for CISOs, CIOs, and CDOs to equip the next generation of c-suite leadership to create an enterprise-level cybersecurity ecosystem and team; forged a partnership with the MTA to deliver training on Operational Technology Security (OTSec); and spearheaded a Mass Mutual program at the intersection of data science and cybersecurity, using modeling to build top-notch cyber workflows; among other advances. We could not accomplish these goals without their practitioner insights, guidance, and mentorship.

Joel Caminer, Senior Director of the NYU Center for Cybersecurity

We’re proud that the Cyber Fellows program has recorded an amazing 682% growth since 2018, with nearly 1,000 students now enrolled–a third of them from industry partner organizations and a quarter from groups underrepresented in STEM. With new offerings in the works on blockchain; privacy; and 5G, WiFi and Bluetooth security, we foresee that growth continuing.

Abhijit Chitnis, Director of the Cyber Fellows Program

It’s time for businesses to adopt unconventional HR practices: you don’t hire people when you need them, you hire people when you find them. We have to lead by creating professional development opportunities for our cybersecurity employees at an enterprise scale. However, enterprises don’t have all of the necessary expertise developing curriculums for diverse skills which is why enterprises need to partner with NYU.

Jim Routh, Board Member, Advisor, and Investor


Partners and Special Guests

  • A&E
  • Aflac
  • AIG
  • AllianceBernstein
  • Bank of America
  • BNY Mellon
  • Booz Allen
  • Bridgewater Associates
  • ConEdison
  • DTCC
  • Estée Lauder
  • EY
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Google
  • IBM
  • JPMorgan
  • Jefferies Group
  • MasterCard
  • Morgan Stanley
  • News Corp
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • NYC Cyber Command
  • NYPD
  • SVP
  • T. Rowe Price
  • Target
  • TIAA
  • U.S. Bank
  • Vonage
  • Wells Fargo