Upgrading education: UCM adds B.S. in cybersecurity

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — The mathematics and computer science department launched a new bachelor’s degree for cybersecurity. The program will be the first of its kind in Central and Western Missouri, catering to the growing demand of cybersecurity professionals.
“It’s about preventing resources from getting hacked, and essentially that’s what we teach,” said Anshuman Singh, cybersecurity program coordinator at UCM.
With Missouri ranked fifth in the United States for cybersecurity breaches, Singh said the program is essential.
“If you have resources available anywhere, if you don’t protect it, it’s going to be vulnerable to people who can misuse it,” Singh said. “With more and more such information online, there is a greater need to protect it.”
Information security analysts are the third fastest growing occupation in Missouri, with a 28 percent growth rate over the next decade, according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
“It turns out in industry, there are not too many people who know the skill,” Singh said. “In fact, the ratio is really not in favor of meeting the demand. The job is open, and they can’t find people. We do need students who are ready to take this challenge.”
Many defense contractors located in Missouri hire cybersecurity professionals in various roles, including: information security analysts, security engineers, security architects, security administrators and cryptographers, according to the Industry Advisory Board of the computer science program.
Xiaodong Yue, professor of computer science, said he is looking forward to the program development.
“We are going to seek ABET accreditation – which is special accreditations for like engineering program, computer science program, technology program and applied science program – so this is a very prestigious accreditation,” Yue said.
While the degree may be new, Yue said they are already looking to expand the program.
“We are working on to create a minor,” Yue said. “We do have some majors like criminal justice, maybe they want to work for FBI, NSA, those kinds of agencies, and they need to know computer forensics – how to hack into a computer system – those kinds of things. This could be a very good minor for them.”
In addition, they are in the works of developing a graduate program in cybersecurity that is scheduled to go into effect Fall 2016.
“The proposed program will prepare our students in a much needed area of national interest and is well aligned with the university’s mission of preparing students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to succeed and lead,” Yue said.
For more information on the cybersecurity program, contact Anshuman Singh at [email protected].