MINOT, N.D. (KMOT) – Information security analysts’ jobs in this digital age are projected to grow by 32% in the next eight years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since Minot State University added a cybersecurity and operations degree to its computer science program four years ago, the number of enrollments has grown tenfold. A senior in cybersecurity and operations, Quinn Sullivan said learning the language of computers was trying in the beginning.
”There might be hundreds of lines of code, and you might not know where that error is right away,” said Sullivan.
Over time, he said he’s gotten faster. Chair of the math and technology department, Darren Seifert, said enrollments in cybersecurity at MSU in 2020 was four, and as of Fall of 2023, it’s 41. He said overall, in the field of tech, there’s no shortage of jobs. He said it has a negative employment index, meaning people with different occupational backgrounds have a chance of getting hired.
”Software engineering, computer science, they’re still high-demand fields, but cybersecurity specifically is a high growth area,” said Seifert.
Sullivan said he’s able to comprehend these sets of letters, numbers and punctuation. It’s ambitious, but he said he has the tools to be able to program a secure check-in system at a hotel, for example.
”You can learn how to program a virus and actually understand how viruses work and they can move onto someone’s computer,” said Sullivan.
Seifert said the students can learn to defend themselves from cyber-attacks using software tools and manage firewalls for an organization.
”Offensive cybersecurity is the other side of that, and that would be if you wanted to do actual attacks against somebody else, which you can’t do unless you work for the government,” said Seifert.
Although the degree program has increased, Sullivan says class sizes are small.
”You get more one-on-one, and I think that can help because you can kind of ask questions a lot easier,” said Sullivan.
They also use peer tutors. The department chair said more cybersecurity positions have popped up over the last few years in the energy industry across the state.
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