UTSA’s cybersecurity program provides top talent to defend against cyberattacks | UTSA Today | UTSA | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Cybersecurity is an extremely diverse field with highly technical specialties such as cryptography and digital forensics as well as disciplines in cyber behavior and policy. The college’s cybersecurity majors take 36 hours of coursework in cybersecurity, and they can choose from courses in a wide variety of areas such as secure mobile app development, digital forensics, network security, cybercrime investigations, intrusion detection, cyber law, cyber analytics and malware analysis.

A huge selling point of the program was “the prestige and excellent reputation of UTSA’s cybersecurity program,” said Jeff Miller, an undergraduate cybersecurity student from Katy, Texas. “As I began to look into the classes I would be taking, I concluded that the business-focused curriculum would be substantial in preparing me for my future career.”

In an effort to reach even more students, UTSA launched a fully online B.B.A. in Cyber Security in 2017. The program, which offers identical content to the residential program, has grown over 410% to almost 500 students since its founding.

“Students are learning cutting-edge material in a hands-on environment but have greater flexibility as part of our online program,” said Rita Mitra, a cybersecurity professor who has taught in the online program since its inception. “Cyber classes by nature use virtual machines to simulate various scenarios and computing environments, so online students have the ability to complete the same assignments as students on campus.”

Beebe, who also serves as UTSA’s associate vice president for research and development, added that “our faculty don’t just teach from textbooks. They create custom content that students can’t get anywhere else. Our national No. 1 ranking by Ponemon in 2014 was a pivotal point for us. The timing of the ranking along with the increase in cyber-attacks put our program on the map.”

UTSA is one of the few universities nationally — and only Hispanic Serving Institution — to hold all three National Center of Academic Excellence designations from the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

UTSA’s commitment to innovate as the industry evolves is another way its cybersecurity program has maintained its dominance in higher education. The newest program offered ACOB is a B.S. in Applied Cyber Analytics. Combining analytics and cyber security training, students utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to address cyber threats. 

“In 20 years, society will look back at the launch of this degree program and realize how innovative the Alvarez College was in establishing it,” Beebe said. “Cyberattacks are coming so quickly that it is a losing battle for a person to parse through all of that data. But if our students are trained to use analytical tools well, they can recognize attacks much sooner.”

Elizabeth Reyes, a graduate cybersecurity student was drawn to the program’s emphasis on hands-on experience and real-world applications, which she believes are crucial in the field.

“In my Security Risk Analysis class, we have the freedom to explore all the different tools in SimSpace and implement what we learned in the college’s Cybersecurity Lab,” Reyes said.

SimSpace provides a training ground for cybersecurity students to learn about cyberattacks and practice their skills in a realistic environment. This virtual environment enables them to test their cyber defenses and to prove their processes against the intensity and uncertainty of aggressive cyber adversaries.

As one of the largest cyber and information security cities outside of Washington, D.C., San Antonio ranks second in federal and defense contracting opportunities and its concentration of cybersecurity professionals.

“As a hub for cybersecurity and technology, UTSA and San Antonio provide numerous opportunities for networking and internships, which was an important factor in my decision to attend here,” Reyes said.


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National Cyber Security