More universities are offering cyber security degrees

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	There's becoming a growing need for cyber security experts.
    There's becoming a growing need for cyber security experts.

    More universities are offering cyber security degrees

    Cyber security is becoming a common concern among Americans, as large hacks in 2015 made critical information public. First was the release of nude pictures of celebrities, followed by a security breach on Sony Pictures. The most scandalous of all — a hack into the adult affair site Ashley Madison, exposed millions of personal lives as well as their credit card information, their email addresses and even home phone numbers. These security breaches struck fear into the hearts of many and demanded greater insight into cyber security.

    "This is the first graduate degree to be added to USD's engineering school."

    A growing trend
    As a result, several universities are responding, offering master's degrees in the field. One of these schools is the University of San Diego, which just announced that it will be offering a master's degree in cyber security engineering. The degree will be offered on campus through the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering. This is the first graduate degree to be added to USD's engineering school. Meanwhile, if the course is successful, the university plans to add an additional master's program in cyber law and policy online. For now, administrators believe the program will be a great addition.

    "We anticipate high demand for this program that will serve professionals in the military, homeland security, public safety, ecommerce, privacy and technology industries," said Chell Roberts, dean of the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering.

    The program started in January and will offer ten different courses. Classes will be held at night accommodating those with daytime schedules.

    The University of San Diego is one of many schools adding cyber security to their academic curriculum. Southern Utah University also just announced that it will be offering a master's of science degree in cyber security and information assurance. The courses in the program will be offered in spring of 2016. Like USD, SUU noted that they are hoping to fill the void in cyber security expertise that is leaving major organizations vulnerable to attack.

    "This is a unique and timely offering acknowledging the needs of Homeland Security, the Secret Service, Border Patrol and local law enforcement to develop a network of qualified cyber security specialists," said Mark Atkinson, dean of graduate studies at SUU.

    The course, which is available on campus and online, gives students an opportunity to explore several fields in cyber security, computer forensics and counter intelligence. The administration hopes that students will be able to apply their vast breadth of knowledge in the real world after graduation.

    A constant battle
    It is expected that more universities and institutions will offer cyber defense and security courses to help expand the workforce in this area and keep vital data safe.

    Currently, cybercrime is on the rise in the U.S. Between 2010 and 2014, there was a 96 percent increase in the costs caused by cybercrime. Conversely, though the attacks are becoming more frequent, it is harder for organizations to detect and resolve these types of crimes, with the amount of time going up by 33 percent between 2010 and 2014. At the same time, the employment rate in these areas is growing as well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment in this field will expand by 36.5 percent by the year 2022. Hopefully with a greater number of jobs available, more students will be motivated to become skilled in protecting organizations and their data from cybercrime, reducing the number of security breaches that are being committed.


    By Monique Smith 

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