PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas (Aug. 28, 2023) – The world has seen record-high reports of data breaches and identity fraud in recent years, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the increasing threats in the U.S. and worldwide, Prairie View A&M University has launched an interdisciplinary cybersecurity minor that is open to all majors.
“The minor is in response to the national and international shortage of persons credentialed to fill the many cybersecurity jobs that exist,” said Camille Gibson, interim dean of the College of Juvenile Justice and executive director of the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center, who is available to answer any students’ questions about the minor. “The program is designed for students with a non-technical background, given that there are many cybersecurity positions that do not require a computer science degree given the increasing realization of human factors in cybersecurity.”
She continued, “The classes will expose students to hands-on and gaming deep-learning technology designed to make their learning applicable and provide graduates with sufficient real-world cybersecurity experience and knowledge to be competitive for employment.”
From “Fundamentals of Cybersecurity” to “Cyber Terrorism and Cyber Defense,” students will experience a spectrum of essentials to know in the industry. “Our faculty realize the importance of cybersecurity to all of our lives, and thus, in keeping with changing demands, want to ensure that our academic offerings are relevant,” Gibson said. Other courses in the 18-hour minor include: “Digital Forensics Investigations,” “Cybersecurity and Public Policy,” “Enterprise Cybersecurity,” and “Ethics of Cybersecurity.”
Additionally, Gibson said the minor has “built-in credentialing, meaning that it allows students to elect to pursue recognized industry certifications.” Most importantly, Gibson said a minor in cybersecurity will “expand” career horizons for students, noting that “currently, there are an estimated 755,743 open cybersecurity positions in the United States.” For example, students can pursue opportunities in cyber analysis, digital forensics, IT systems, network administration, penetration testing, security architecture, and more.
Kennedy Dickson, a junior majoring in psychology, decided to minor in interdisciplinary cybersecurity after her summer internship at the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service Security Studies Program. When she graduates in 2024, she hopes to pursue a career as a criminal or behavioral analyst.
She expects her degree will be particularly useful as mental health and digital security become even more important, noting that as an increasingly digital society, cybersecurity “affects every aspect of our lives.”
Even with the highest-ever estimated global cybersecurity workforce of 4.7 million people, there was a worldwide shortage of 3.4 million in the cybersecurity workforce in 2022. A minor in cybersecurity from Prairie View A&M would go a long way toward bridging that gap.
By Christine Won