The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science is offering a program for undergraduate students to earn a certificate in cybersecurity. The program covers topics ranging from the influences in psychology to legal aspects in keeping the internet secure.
According to the department website, the certificate “provides essential skills and knowledge in cybersecurity which are in demand in a variety of career tracks from areas such as Business, Computer Science, Information Technology, Diplomacy, Political Science, Psychology and Mathematics.”
Professor Manfred Minimair, the program director, said, “Cybersecurity is very important because many companies rely on the Internet nowadays and all the computers are connected to the Internet and there are many criminals who try to steal people’s identities.”
According to a statement issued by the Federal Trade Commission in March, nearly 2.7 million complaints regarding fraud, identity theft and other concerns were reported in 2017.
“This certificate allows students to approach cybersecurity from different angles,” Joseph Ingemi, an adviser to the program, said. “Students will be able to examine cybersecurity problems beyond the technology aspects and consider solutions from the point of view of a broad range of stakeholders.”
Ingemi said the program combines courses in law, mathematics, computer science and psychology to prepare the students to not only see the full picture of cybersecurity, but to also see the blending of a few different topics as they relate to the real world.
“It is a really important subject,” Minimair said. “It is very intricate. It combines more than others and I think that is really exciting.”
Minimair said there are a lot of concepts to grasp when mixing these three together, but it is necessary to understand the full picture. The psychology is needed to understand why the criminal may want the information. The law aspect is included so students know what to do and the computer science classes are taught to show the students how to prevent these issues in the future and protect their information online, Minimair said.
One can sign up for the program in the same way one would switch majors, Minimair said.
“Professionally, this certificate tells future employers that you have not only prepared yourself to be an expert in your major but that you have an understanding of a niche within your field,” Ingemi said.
Ingemi said to achieve the certificate, students must attend a boot camp a week before classes start in August. The boot camp focuses on how to secure a computer network.
If someone is not interested in the certificate, they can still take the classes to learn about what they should do to protect their data, Ingemi said.
Timothy Gathers, a freshman business major, discussed the importance of cybersecurity. “I usually just shut my computer down at night to make sure it updates,” Gathers said. “Cybersecurity is important to me and it should be to everyone, but I do not know how to go about protecting my data further than a password.”
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