Benjamin Yankson, a professor at the University at Albany, has established a professional footing in the world of cybersecurity. But there was something pulling him home.
“I decided to visit Ghana with really one purpose in mind, how do I give back?” said Yankson, who was born in the African country.
This past July, he returned for the first time in a decade to lead a cybersecurity clinic for students.
“I was very fortunate enough to get in the field by accident, but I think I would have gotten into it earlier if I had a mentor,” Yankson said.
His goal is to get more minorities working in the field.
What You Need To Know
- Benjamin Yankson is an assistant professor in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC)
- His trip to Ghana inspired him to start a Global Exchange Program to expose students to career opportunities in cyber security
- The U.S. Commerce Department estimates there are nearly 600,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs across the country
“How do we make cybersecurity attractive? How do we demystify the fear for a lot of minority kids that want to get into cybersecurity, thinking its only highly technical and they can’t do it?” he said.
Ghana is experiencing a digitalization wave, and Yankson is working to better protect their booming digital infrastructure.
“We need a united front, we need a community to train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, and it’s not something that only myself can do,” Yankson said.
With the help of his colleagues at UAlbany, Yankson started “Global Cybertech Exchange,” a series of workshops for students and professionals.
The goal is to improve critical infrastructure in Africa, as well as in underserved communities here at home.
“There are a lot of companies that have subsidiaries in Africa. And within that global supply chain, if there’s weaknesses that could be exploited then American companies could be exploited, too,” Yankson said.
The U.S. Commerce Department estimates there are nearly 600,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs across the country.
Yankson hopes to fill the gap with more diverse candidates.