Cover the basics, offer hands-on training and adhere to privacy and ethics. These are three of the six must-have modules for a cybersecurity course, and these 10 colleges have them all.
Educational institutions are in dire need of cybersecurity professionals as criminal organizations continue to set their sights on the education sector. Since the pandemic, the increased reliance on digital technology, such as virtual meetings and online learning, has created additional pathways enabling bad actors to access confidential student and employee data.
According to data from Cyberseek, an organization that provides data about the cybersecurity market, there are nearly 770,000 job vacancies in the field, a clear indication that it needs reinforcement. In K-12, several districts have initiatives in place to ensure students have a head start on their careers in the field.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency recently announced the expansion of its cybersecurity education initiative to all 50 states.
“Early cyber education is critical to our national security and tomorrow’s cybersecurity professionals are sitting in today’s classrooms,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly in a statement.
But what about higher ed? Which colleges are doing the most when it comes to providing top-tier education on the subject? Spiceworks, an information technology company, recently released its rankings in August of the best colleges in terms of cybersecurity education. Along with its list are six must-have modules for any cybersecurity course: “Foundational aspects of cybersecurity, hands-on program training, privacy and ethics, government and national security, risk and information assurance, and capstone projects.”
Now, here’s a look at the top 10 colleges for cybersecurity.
Carnegie Mellon University (1)
- According to Spiceworks, graduates seamlessly transition into their careers. It’s common for companies like Uber, Disney, Google and Facebook to look here when hiring cybersecurity professionals.
DePaul University (2)
- Accredited by the Department of Homeland Security, the university utilizes technology that enables students to take a game-like approach to learn where they’re presented with simulations of cyberattacks and it’s up to them to solve them. Alumni work at high-profile organizations, such as Apple, Microsoft, Paylocity and others.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (3)
- A private university, the institution specializes in offering courses surrounding technology sectors, aerospace, defense and aviation. In addition, it has its Center for Cybersecurity.
George Washington University (4)
- As the largest higher ed institution in the District of Columbia, it is designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. It is also one of the few colleges students can obtain opportunities in cybersecurity in higher education.
Iowa State University (5)
- The institution offers a range of courses under the umbrella of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Students with heavier focuses on computer science and other related majors can also minor in cybersecurity, according to Spiceworks.
Maryville University of Saint Louis (6)
- According to the rankings, the university is technology focused. Every student receives an iPad for online or remote instruction. Those who choose to take cybersecurity courses also have the option to follow the Offensive or Defensive track throughout their process of earning their undergraduate degrees.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (7)
- Known for its reputation in technology and science education, MIT offers a variety of cybersecurity courses. It is home to the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the Interdisciplinary Consortium for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.
St. John’s University (8)
- This Catholic university has its own dedicated Cybersecurity Center for research, education and practice in the field, according to the rankings. Students also have access to regularly scheduled workshops and technical training.
University of California Berkeley (9)
- The university offers a Master of Information and Cybersecurity that allows students to follow specific career pathways, such as government policy or privacy engineering. Faculty members also regularly conduct events to discuss emerging topics in the field.
The University of Texas at Dallas (10)
- The university launched its cybersecurity program in 2012 and founded the Center for Engaging Women in Cybersecurity in 2016. According to Spiceworks, the university has one of the longest-running cybersecurity programs in the country.