Earn a High-Demand Degree or Certification in Cybersecurity

by CoVaBizMag

With internet-connected devices at an all-time high, so are internet crimes. Companies are smart to dedicate large budgets to cybersecurity, including employing experts to protect against threats like data breach, malware, hacking, identify theft, phishing and more.

According to the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative, a group aimed at ensuring Virginia is a global leader in cyberphysical systems, estimates indicate that employers seek more than 33,000 workers in Virginia and 43,000 in the National Capital Region. At the same time, there is a lack of qualified professionals to fill these open positions. If you’ve thought about a career in cybersecurity, many local colleges and universities are putting a strong emphasis on their computer science programs to meet demand. Here are a few good options to obtain degrees and certifications in the cybersecurity field.

Regent University

Regent offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in cybersecurity. The program is designated by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense and provides students opportunities to further their critical and communication skills through hands-on labs and hyper-simulated cyber defense scenarios on their premier cyber range and at collegiate cyber competitions.

“Many of our students are confidently equipped with the content knowledge and practice experience to then secure internships and follow-on job offers with companies that are both local, such as the Newport News Shipyard and operate globally, such as Google,” says Cheryl Beauchamp, chair of Regent’s Department of Engineering & Computer Science.

Tidewater Community College

An Associate in Applied Science degree in cybersecurity is designed to provide students with the most current and effective techniques to prevent, detect and eliminate cyber attacks. Career Studies certificates can also be earned in cybersecurity and cybersecurity and networking foundations.

The Cyber Security Program is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE2Y) for two-year schools by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Old Dominion University

NSA has designated ODU’s Cyber Operations B.S. program as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO), joining a group of only 12 other bachelor’s programs around the nation in Cyber Operations.

ODU also heads the Coastal Virginia Center for Cyber Innovation (COVA CCI), which recently awarded more than $640,000 to five research teams from ODU, William & Mary and Hampton University, as well as commercial partners MI Technical Solutions and CivilianCyber. Funds will allow more expansive research regarding the preservation of privacy, integrating security of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices, creating ways to use AI to assist in cybersecurity workforce development and improving cyberhygiene in the Department of Defense workforce.

Norfolk State University

Norfolk State offers a master of science degree in cybersecurity, an online program. They have also collaborated with the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) - Old Dominion University (ODU) to establish and operate a Center of Excellence in Cyber Security (COE-CS) with an emphasis in Cyber Modeling, Simulation, Analysis and Experimentation (CMSA&E).

William & Mary

In February 2020, the Center for Legal and Court Technology (CLCT) and the Law School announced the new, interdisciplinary seminar “Cyber & Information Security Essentials,” taught by faculty from the Law School along with the Mason School of Business and the Department of Computer Science.

It helps students recognize information technology risks and minimize potential harm by addressing the technical, legal and business aspects of cyber and information security. Industry specialists provide real-life, hands-on instruction in the anatomy of a cyber-attack, the intersection of cybersecurity, privacy, and data protection, how to manage cyber risks and other contemporary topics.

Christopher Newport University

Students can obtain a bachelor of science degree in computer foundations with either a major or minor in cybersecurity.

The university is also a member of the Commonwealth Cybersecurity Initiative along with William & Mary, Norfolk State University and Thomas Nelson Community College (also offers an associate’s degree and cybersecurity career studies certificates). Across the entire network, 320 faculty members from 39 institutions, as well as 65 companies, four federal partners and 45 other regional partners participate in CCI’s efforts to help fill an abundance of vacant cybersecurity jobs that exist in Virginia.

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