WARRENSBURG, Mo. – A high demand for cybersecurity knowledge and experience has led the University of Central Missouri to plan an expansion of its degree program in the field.
The school in Warrensburg began offering a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity last fall and plans to add a master’s degree and minor program, pending approval from the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education.
If approved, the school will offer the new courses this fall, the Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal reported.
“(There is an) increase nationwide among business and government agencies that want to hire people who have experience in cybersecurity,” university spokesman Jeff Murphy said. “What we’re doing is responding to both a statewide and national need.”
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Xiaodong Yue, chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, and assistant professor Anshuman Singh recently presented a plan for the new programs to the Central Missouri Board of Governors. Yue said the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that information security/cybersecurity analyst will be the second-fastest growing occupation in the U.S. during the next decade.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development lists information security analyst as the third-fastest-growing occupation in the state with a projected growth rate of 28 percent over the next decade. Cybersecurity professionals often are hired as security engineers, security architects, security administrators and cryptographers.
Yue said a need exists for cybersecurity education that goes beyond computer science and technology majors to include majors in business, accounting, nursing, criminal justice and other disciplines.
The cybersecurity minor will allow students from different majors to get a working knowledge in the field.
It also will help the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science obtain a National Center of Academic Excellence designation from the National Security Agency.
Yue said many cybersecurity jobs in the private sector and government require advanced skills in areas such as malware detection, cryptographic protocol design and other areas that can be offered only at the graduate level.