The School of Computer Science and Information Technology Systems hosted a cybersecurity panel Oct. 25, featuring three panelists from Cerner, American Century and Gallup.
This is the first semester the Bachelor of Science in cybersecurity is being offered, with 22 students pursuing a cybersecurity degree. The proposal for a cybersecurity program was approved by the Board of Regents in 2017.
Junior Jack Hill switched from a computer science major to a cybersecurity major because he said he was more interested in the security aspect.
“One thing with cybersecurity is that if you want to become a programmer, you can do that, you do computer science and you can focus on the development. If you want to become a database manager, you can focus in database or if you want to work in mobile, you can study mobile apps,” Hill said. “But if you wanted to touch everything, you do cybersecurity. Cybersecurity touches every single part of technology.”
The main topic for the cybersecurity panel was how to respond to the growing threat of personal information breaches, information attacks and a basic understanding of cybersecurity and how it affects daily lives.
Hill said the panel reaffirmed what he already knew; that cybersecurity affects everybody because of the number of technological systems throughout the world.
“If you’re talking about your car, your car can be hacked, if you have an Alexa at home, your smart TV, so many devices now could be hacked,” Hill said. “So it’s almost more of a safety matter and a security matter for your financial and everything else in your life.”
Scott Bell, computer science and information systems assistant professor, said the panel discussion went well and that the panelist shared needed information with students.
“Some topics that the students should probably start focusing on in the classroom more or outside of the classroom if they have the opportunity,” Bell said. “Automating analysis of the data that’s coming through the fire-walls and things like that on the networks.”
Security Analyst for Gallup Scot Dewerth said he was pleased with the number of students that showed up to the panel discussion. Cybersecurity graduates are in high demand; the U.S. Department of Labor predicted an 18 percent job growth in the future. Dewerth said he tried to portray this need for students in cybersecurity.
“I would hope that they realize cybersecurity is a career that they can do and there’s something for anyone who’s got the desire to actually help the internet be a better place because there is so many different things you can do in cybersecurity,” Dewerth said.
David Waldrop, information security specialists for American Century, said he was not only impressed with the number of students in attendance but also the quality of questions students were asking.
“Whether they were folks that are in the security program already or in the CIS program, they were intelligent questions, challenging questions from the audience,” Waldrop said. “I’m very impressed.”
Waldrop said he hopes the students realize the opportunity they have living in a digital age.
“They have an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a cybersecurity program that’s going to prepare them for probably one of the most exciting, most challenging and potentially lucrative career paths that the three of us serendipitously found,” Waldrop said. “It is a blessing that I hope they understand that they have, and I hope that they take full advantage of.”