Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

(Edel / Shutterstock)

For all of the finger-pointing and blame-shifting that followed the massive hacks of the Office of Personnel Management, lawmakers and officials agree on this much: The federal government needs more cybersecurity professionals.

That obvious and seemingly insatiable demand has spawned a variety of cybersecurity training programs, some of which cater to veterans and others to active-duty military personnel.

Trainees hoping to land a federal cyber job can take heart in two developments at the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. One is the Pentagon’s goal of building a cyber workforce of approximately 6,200 — and officials say they are already about halfway there. The other is the hiring authority DHS received from Congress late last year that allows DHS to pay cybersecurity experts more than was previously possible and retain them with bonuses.

Although competition for those slots at DHS and DOD will likely be fierce, a good training program can boost an applicant’s chances. Here are six schools that are making an impact.

1. Champlain College

Cybersecurity is part of the 60 online certificate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for which Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., is offering steep discounts to federal participants. The cybersecurity “specialization” for undergraduates covers topics such as ethical hacking, introductory programming and information assurance, including risk assessment and government policy.

Sydney Smith-Heimbrock, OPM’s chief learning officer, has touted the college’s online courses as a means of reaching “every civilian employee regardless of their duty station.”

Champlain College is no upstart in cybersecurity: Back in 2007, the National Security Agency and DHS designated it a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance.


2. University of Maryland University College

Before its partnership with Champlain College, OPM worked with the University of Maryland University College to offer discounts on training for federal employees. Washington, D.C.-area public transit riders will be familiar with UMUC advertisements touting its cybersecurity credentials, and the college contends that it was one of the first to build cybersecurity into its curriculum.

“UMUC recognized the crisis that we were having with human capital in the cybersecurity-related area,” said retired Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege Jr., former director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, in a promotional video. “I was impressed by that because others may have recognized it, but they weren’t bold in moving and committing so many university resources to addressing this growing area of concern.”

UMUC also boasts partnerships with industry heavyweights, including Cisco, Google and SAIC.

NSA and DISA are among the cyber-related agencies based in Maryland, and UMUC notes that a good number of cybersecurity jobs (about 5 percent as of 2014) are in that state.

3. Louisiana Tech Research Institute

Louisiana Tech University and the Cyber Innovation Center, a research and development outfit in Bossier City, La., announced the creation of the nonprofit Louisiana Tech Research Institute in July. It will provide office and lab space for research, “workforce development efforts and external partnerships with industry and government,” according to the announcement.

The institute will be located at the Cyber Innovation Center’s headquarters at the 3,000-acre National Cyber Research Park, which is already home to several large firms, defense contractors and cybersecurity startups. Computer Sciences Corp., meanwhile, is building a technology center next door.

It is all part of the plan to build an ecosystem of innovation, Louisiana Tech University officials said.

In the statement announcing the institute, officials said: “This integration of academia and industry is critical to support the overall ‘ecosystem’ that furthers innovation, creates entrepreneurship and spin-off companies, and attracts additional federal research funding — all of which drives the expansion of a knowledge-based, 21st-century economy.”

4. University of San Diego

The University of San Diego’s new Center for Cyber Security Engineering and Technology will support master’s degrees in cybersecurity engineering and IT leadership, and the latter will be available online.

“The community can access USD’s cybersecurity expertise through degree and certificate programs, inviting USD’s cyber experts to participate in projects focusing on the evaluation and development of their own systems and strategies to mitigate cyberthreats, and developing internal leadership on cybersecurity IT, cybersecurity law, forensics and incident response,” said Jason Lemon, the university’s dean of professional and continuing education, in a statement.

5. North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University is the site of NSA’s Laboratory for Analytic Sciences and offers a master’s degree in big-data analytics.

NC State was one of four major universities to receive funding from NSA last year for cybersecurity research in five key areas: scalability and composability, policy-governed secure collaboration, security metrics, resilient architectures, and understanding and accounting for human behavior.

The university had previously received a grant of $2.5 million for research ranging from fault-tolerant computing to security context. An NC State professor told FCW that the 2014 funding would be used for similar research, with a focus on the design of trusted IT systems.

NC State lies in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, which is a magnet for engineering and, increasingly, cybersecurity talent.

6. George Mason University

Like UMUC, George Mason University’s proximity to Washington, D.C., makes it a convenient potential pipeline for federal agencies.

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia approved GMU’s master of science degree in management of secure information systems in 2011. “This isn’t just a technical cybersecurity program,” said Daniel Menasce, who was a senior associate dean in GMU’s Volgenau School of Engineering at the time and is still a computer science professor at the school. “Cybersecurity is not just a technical problem, it is also a policy and management problem.”

The Fairfax, Va., university’s cybersecurity curriculum has since expanded. Officials say GMU is the first college in the country to “offer a cybersecurity engineering degree that focuses on cyber-resilience engineering design.”

The staff of the Volgenau School of Engineering includes Associate Professor Angelos Stavrou, who is also a guest researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Computer Security Division.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.