The University of Nebraska at Kearney is adding a cybersecurity major to its undergraduate program in order to meet increasing job demand, according to a press release by UNK.

According to UNK, the number of nation state attackers, industrial spies, organized crime groups and hackers is growing, which puts government, companies and others at increased risk of cyber threats.

Organizations are looking to protect themselves and beef up network security.

“This is still new to a lot of companies. They don’t have cybersecurity experts on their IT teams,” said Matthew Miller, University of Nebraska at Kearney assistant professor of computer science and information technology.

UNK is doing its part to fill the growing need for cybersecurity experts by adding a new Cybersecurity Operations Bachelor of Science Major. Students can now declare the major, which will be formally offered for the first time in fall 2018.

The computer science and information technology department and information networking and telecommunications program partnered to create the program.

The new program provides students with a background for protecting and defending networks and information systems from cyber attacks. It emphasizes technologies that enhance the national security posture of U.S. intelligence, military and law enforcement special operations, as well as energy, financial and health care corporations.

UNK’s cybersecurity operations major is based on the NSA’s National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations curriculum. Currently, there are only 15 undergraduate programs in the U.S. with that designation, and only a handful of Midwest colleges and universities offer a cybersecurity operations major.

“We’re also one of the few programs with professors in the classroom teaching hands-on labs. That is a huge thing to be interacting with students at that level,” said Angela Hollman, UNK assistant professor of industrial technology.

The new major gives UNK students hands-on experience in programming languages, software reverse engineering, operating system theory, networking, cellular and mobile technologies, discrete mathematics and algorithms, cyber defense, security fundamental principles, vulnerabilities, and legal issues.

Miller said the cybersecurity operations major differs from those that train chief security officers.

“We are training people who are on the keyboard, building and designing systems, and thinking about it that way. We are sending out the hands-on, in depth, technically-trained student,” Miller said.

Average salaries for cybersecurity operations careers are $100,000, said Miller. “Companies are issuing huge salaries in this field because there are large deficits in the number of cybersecurity workers.”

“Hacks are really a problem,” Hollman said. “The risk to businesses is huge and keeps growing. We’re just opening everybody’s eyes to all of the career opportunities in cybersecurity. This move aligns UNK with future workforce demands in the field.”

Source: Full article – Nebraska.TV