Elementary School Employee Reinvents Her Life Through K-State Olathe’s Affordable, Nationally Recognized Programming

February 15, 2023

KSU Olathe campus

K-State Olathe

Kathleen Matson

Kathleen Matson

Kathleen Matson reinvented her career and personal life by graduating from the Cybersecurity program offered by K-State Olathe's Digital Skills Bootcamps

Kathleen Matson felt stuck. She was a paraprofessional in a kindergarten classroom earning $26,000 a year. Feeling burned out and financially strained, Matson knew she wanted to do something more with her life.

She decided to reinvent her career by enrolling in the 10-month cybersecurity program of K-State Olathe’s Digital Skills Bootcamps, which is powered by ThriveDX – an institute that works with academic institutions, government organizations and global companies to offer advanced digital-skills  programming.

Though she was a cybersecurity novice, Matson began learning and honing newfound digital skills in a variety of security topics, including computer networking and digital forensics. The curriculum is taught through interactive lectures, hands-on projects, simulations and learning modules that gave her career-ready training and industry certifications required for cybersecurity professionals.

As change was making its way into her professional life, it was occurring in her personal life, too. Matson was going through a divorce after 31 years of marriage. Not only did Matson successfully navigate this life change and complete the cybersecurity program, but she also attended a session about women in technology provided by K-State Olathe and IT company Accenture.

Following an interview with Accenture, Matson was offered and accepted a position with its technology development program, where she nearly tripled her annual salary and will receive a bonus after a certain period of time with the company.

Matson’s experience with K-State Olathe’s Digital Skills Bootcamps is not unique. More than 350 people have taken advantage of the robust bootcamps since they launched in November 2020. The bootcamps also offer tracks in digital marketingUI/UX design and software development. A new data science and analytics bootcamp will be added soon.

The Digital Skills Bootcamps are helping local professionals quickly transition to in-demand tech careers while addressing the demand for thousands of unfilled jobs in Greater Kansas City – and are doing so at an affordable price.

In its best cybersecurity bootcamps of 2023 series, Fortune.com recently named K-State Olathe’s noncredit Digital Skills Bootcamps as one of the most cost-effective ways to retrain for a career in a digital field. 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 about the Digital Skills Bootcamps at digitalskills.ksu.edu.