Cyber Bootcamps at K-State Olathe Offer Fast Track to In-Demand Tech Careers

women sitting at computer coding.

K-State Olathe is offering four Digital Skills Bootcamps as alternative learning pathways for local professionals to access future-focused education for a tech-driven business world.

Digital Skills Bootcamps at K-State Olathe are helping local professionals quickly transition to in-demand tech careers, while addressing the demand for thousands of unfilled jobs in Greater Kansas City.

In its 2020 Technology Talent-to-Industry Exchange analysis, the Mid-America Regional Council reported that  “educational opportunities that make it easier for students and workers to achieve continuous, best-in-class learning that results in stackable and evolving credentials rather than a finished degree may be better suited to developing and retaining the talent needed by businesses in the fast-moving tech sector.”

K-State Olathe’s Digital Skills Bootcamps, launched in November 2020, align with that philosophy.

“We developed the Digital Skills Bootcamps as an alternative learning pathway to access future-focused education for a tech-driven business world,” said Debbie Kirchhoff, executive director of strategic initiatives at K-State Olathe.

Each bootcamp is a nine- to 10 month, 400-hour, cohort-based, noncredit training program that provides an accelerated path into a particular tech career field. There are four track options, each addressing a specific area of need: cybersecurity; digital marketing; UI/UX design; and software development. A new data science and analytics bootcamp will be added soon.

ThriveDX – an institute that works with academic institutions, government organizations and global companies to offer advanced digital skills programming – developed the curriculum, which includes immersive lectures, virtual cyber labs and real-world simulations taught by industry experts. Students also receive career development support. After completing a bootcamp, program graduates have the knowledge, skills and industry-recognized credentials necessary to enter and excel in the technology industry.

More than 350 people have participated in the bootcamps in the program’s first nine months. New cohorts for each bootcamp are onboarded every two months.

“Talented digital skills professionals are in high demand in Greater Kansas City,” said Kirchhoff. “In the cybersecurity field alone, there are more than 3,100 open positions in the area. The Digital Skills Bootcamps are designed to address the gap in employers’ needs and the available talent pool.”

The Kansas Board of Regents recently commended K-State Olathe for its professional development programming, noting that the Digital Skills Bootcamps are establishing a pipeline of new talent that could fill job vacancies in digital sectors, many of which support and overlap with the region’s animal health, food and manufacturing industries, among others.

Digital Skills Bootcamps are part of the professional development office at K-State Olathe, which receives its funding from the Johnson County Education Research Triangle (JCERT). Learn more at digitalskills.ksu.edu.