Focus on cyber security degrees rising for colleges, employers



Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely


Posted on May 30, 2012 at 11:31 PM

DALLAS - Webs of wires, servers and screens are the mechanics of modernity. Hackers know their way around them well.

"Cyber hacking has been around since the early '90s, it's only 10-to-20 years later that the government and other large organizations are coming to terms with that," said Brandyn Schult, a cyber security student.

And that has spawned an emerging field, which Schult plans to be a part of: cyber security experts.

The 24 year old is even moving to Maryland this fall to gets his masters in it.

"You have a whole industry just coming up, just flowering, just blooming," Schult said. "It's not going to die down anytime soon."

A federal report said the shortage of experts is already severe.

"There are about 1,000 security people in the U.S. who have the specialized security skills to operate effectively in cyberspace," the report reads. "We need 10,000 to 30,000."

It's not just government ramping up cybersecurity.

So are private companies. Dallas-based AT&T, for example, has hired a dozen young Ph.D's in the last two years.

All of it is driving universities to develop new curriculum.

"I have not seen any of our students not having a job after the graduate," said Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham, a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas.
UT-Dallas is one of several universities in North Texas quietly focusing on cyber security. They've hired six professors in recent years, and a seventh starts soon.

They're teaching much more than just I.T.

"It's almost like you have a generalist - a General Practitioner - right?" Thuraisingham said. "So why can't a General Practitioner do everything? We need these specialists."

They're thought to be recession-proof positions. And one Brandyn Schult hopes to have.