Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

DMACC: Cyber security program coming in 2018

To meet a growing demand Des Moines Area Community College is offering a cyber security program starting in the fall of 2018.

The new four-term program will feature networking, security, Java, Cloud, composition and ethics classes plus a mandatory internship component.

Kyle Hess—Electronic Crime Institute Instructor—said he’s been meeting with local industry experts from financial, insurance and communication companies since February of 2016. The goal of those meetings was to find out what they want in a DMACC graduate, and make sure his students become that.

“The classes we’ve laid out, we ask if they like them,” Hess says. “There’s a lot of passion and experience and no fluff in this. I tried to build this with getting the most out of the education.”

The DMACC student center

Paving a job pipeline

Steve Barger—chair of the Homeland Security Program and a Criminal Justice Professor at Des Moines Area Community College—said for years the majority of forensic and cyber security jobs were directed at government entities.

“Jobs were somewhat locked up because they were done by sworn cops and not everybody wants to be a sworn cop,” Barger said. “But you bring in this private sector component, there is this need and that’s what we were missing.”

Barger said the cyber security program is designed to get jobs easily and locally. Or if they choose, they can seamlessly transition to Iowa State University to get a four-year degree.

“There are jobs and partnerships in place so when these guys finish, you don’t have to go into law enforcement,” Berger says. “You can finish at DMACC and go on if you choose to with a degree path, or try to enter the private sector.

“And every private sector company knows they need this. Because a cyber security incident will put you out of business.”

Berger said by providing students with the option to continue on to get a four-year degree or to enter the workforce, it makes the program a win-win for everybody.

“You aren’t going to follow a path that leads to nowhere,” Berger says. “A crucial thing this does is when you have the availability of jobs and you know it, we can offer internships and jobs paths.”

What happens between now and 2018

Hess said two more classes are still being built and additional instructors will be hired for the program.

“The partnerships with industry and the input we’ve already had will make this program fantastic,” Hess says. “If you turn around and see the level of experience and talent, everyone who teaches in this program has industry experience.”

Berger says it’s the real world experience professors bring to the classroom that will elevate the program.

“When you work in the industry or have worked in the industry, you can bring the book to life,” Berger says. “It’s not just taking the book and saying that’s right. I think that gains some credibility with the students.”

Hess said there’s a full face-to-face component but students can also earn the degree completely online.

DMACC: Cyber security program coming in 2018 | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now