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BLUFFDALE — They won't be trained for espionage, but about 20 University of Utah students will learn how to run the National Security Agency's new data collection center in Bluffdale.
The College of Engineering will teach these students a mix of computer, mechanical and electrical engineering, plus courses in business and writing. Dean Richard Brown said they will need to be well-rounded for running the complex center slated to open at Camp Williams in October. The students won't, however, be taught to read the spy data.
"We emphasize communication skills, writing skills, some business, some law, because all of those so-called ‘softer skills' can be very important in their careers," Brown said.
He expects future students to work in the private sector, and not for the government. The school is training them to run any data center.
"The NSA and their Camp Williams data center drove our developing the program, but there are many data centers in Utah, and all of them need employees like we'll be producing," Brown said.
The exact purpose of the $1 billion facility has not been disclosed by officials in Washington. NSA issued a statement last year saying only that it would be used to "strengthen and protect the nation's cyber-security." One Washington whistleblower estimated that the facility could store 5 zetabytes of data.