Cybersecurity Adds to Computer Science Offerings

by Ryan Bower, Assistant Director of Public Relations

As cybercrimes become increasingly more common and sophisticated, Cedarville University is responding by adding a cybersecurity track to its computer science major. The new track, available in August with the start of the 2016-17 academic year, is based on five core courses that will equip students to better respond to the growing cyberattacks. 



In the United States, 2015 was one of the worst years for cyberattacks. One of the largest attacks was the breach at Anthem, Inc. – the world’s second-largest health insurer – that exposed the personal information of nearly 80 million people. 

“Cybersecurity is a field that’s experiencing huge growth,” said Seth Hamman, assistant professor of computer science. “Along with this growth we’ve also seen a number of students interested in pursuing a career in the industry. Now is the right time to begin these courses.”

According to Forbes, the cybersecurity field is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. An estimated six million jobs will be available by 2019, and the cybersecurity industry is expected to grow to $170 million by 2020. It is currently at $75 million.  
 
A cybersecurity career can also be highly lucrative, with salaries averaging $116,000 a year according to a study by Semper Secure, a Virginia-based cybersecurity initiative.

Cedarville currently requires all computer science majors to take courses in foundations of computer security and computer networks, but the cybersecurity track will also include three new classes – Linux systems programming, software security and cyber defense.

“I think this program will become a real niche for Cedarville,” said Hamman. “Our students who study cybersecurity won’t lack for job opportunities. We are in an area of the country where the cybersecurity field is growing rapidly, especially with the presence of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.” 

In addition to the new courses, Cedarville is also installing a brand-new cybersecurity lab. The new lab will allow students to practice attacks and defend scenarios on an in-house network specifically designed for use in the new courses.

The ultimate goal of the program is to obtain certification as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO). The CAE-CO is awarded by the National Security Agency (NSA), and only 14 colleges nationwide currently hold the designation.

Cedarville’s cybersecurity track is being modeled around the NSA’s strict requirements for CAE-CO certification. The certification is good for a term of five academic years, after which schools must reapply in order to assure that they are responding to the changing nature of the field.

The computer science program at Cedarville is already accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET), a non-governmental organization that accredits post-secondary education programs in applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.

“We’re basically in the Wild, Wild West when it comes to cybercrime and cybersecurity,” said Hamman. “The world needs cybersecurity professionals who are well trained and of high integrity. Our students are the type of hard-working, honest people who will make fantastic cybersecurity professionals.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu