Computer Crime Research Center


Universities creating advance courses in cybersecurity, anti-terrorism

Date: September 16, 2016

Universities in San Diego are reporting strong interest in the advanced courses they’ve begun offering in cybersecurity and anti-terrorism issues.

San Diego State University recently added 66 students to its Graduate Program in Homeland Security — twice the number it reported a year ago.

The University of San Diego has a similar number of graduate-level students barely one year after it created the Center for Cyber Security Engineering and Technology. An additional 45 students are set to be added in the spring.

UC San Diego doesn’t have a standalone cybersecurity program. But the campus is making the issue a key component of its engineering and technology certificates, and the campus plans to soon introduce a course titled “Best Practices for Security Managers.”

At the same time, UC San Diego is searching for a security chief for its massive, campus-wide information system. Such experts are in heavy demand nationally, and it’s common for them to earn $200,000-plus a year in high-profile positions.

SDSU has “seen tremendous growth in 2016 enrollment in-part due to the need for qualified homeland and cybersecurity-trained professionals in the United States and around the world,” said Lance Larson, assistant director of the Graduate Program in Homeland Security.

“Some of our students transition from recent military service, arm themselves with a master’s in homeland security degree and find they are highly sought-after by military contractors and intelligence agencies,” Larson said.

“Our students can speak Mandarin, French, Russian, Italian, Urdu, Spanish and Arabic, to name just a few languages,” he added. “Most SDSU homeland security students are from the United States, but others attend from South Korea, the United Kingdom and South Africa.”

Programs like the one at San Diego State are evolving to meet local and regional needs.

“Only a small percentage of (our) students are from law enforcement,” said John Callahan, who heads the cybersecurity program at USD.

“We have a good number from the defense/military community, but probably less than 10 with a law-enforcement background. However, we are starting a law-enforcement cybersecurity and cyber-investigations training program this fall.”

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