April 8, 2022
Purdue University Northwest (PNW) received approval today (April 8) from the Purdue University Board of Trustees to offer a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity.
PNW plans to transition current college students and welcome new students to the program during the 2022-23 academic year, pending approval from the Indiana Commission on Higher Education. PNW students currently enrolled in the Computer Information Technology bachelor’s degree, with a concentration in Cybersecurity, would be eligible to transition to the new Cybersecurity bachelor’s degree.
“Purdue University Northwest is constantly evaluating how we can serve the educational and career interests in demand,” said Kenneth C. Holford, Provost and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. “Transitioning some of our current cyber security offerings to a four-year degree will help PNW recruit and prepare new classes of well-trained technology students in cyber security, who will be highly sought after by employers in this growing field. As a high-quality, affordable metropolitan university, PNW will also offer a significant financial advantage through this degree program compared to other institutions nearby and in Indiana.”
Since 2014, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA) have jointly designated PNW as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education for its Computer Information Technology program . This designation signifies the strength of PNW’s cybersecurity curriculum and its status as one of only two institutions in Indiana with this recognition to offer four-year in-person cybersecurity education.
“The Cybersecurity degree will help meet workforce needs that are in high demand statewide and nationally due to cyber incidents impacting our infrastructure, industry, business, and government,” said Niaz Latif, dean of the College of PNW technology. .
Helping to bridge the gap
The Bachelor of Cybersecurity will prepare college students with the technical competence to protect networks, systems, programs, and data from criminal or unauthorized use. Students will learn a wide spectrum of topics, including emerging fields of applied data science and artificial intelligence. PNW Computer Information Technology students are often placed in hands-on, lab-based courses with exercises relevant to real-world contexts.
“Cybersecurity is important because we live in a connected world,” said Keyuan Jiang, professor of Computer Information Technology and chair of the Computer Information Technology and Graphics department at PNW. “We are human. Everything we create technologically will not be perfect, but we can try to minimize vulnerabilities. Everyone will be affected by cybersecurity in one way or another. We need to have a strong workforce to make sure things don’t happen so severely.” as we have experienced in the past. Cybersecurity incidents have been shown to have enormous costs.”
PNW’s new offering will in turn serve critical labor demand in the Chicago metropolitan area and beyond. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasted in 2020 that national cybersecurity jobs would grow 33% through 2030. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development forecasted a nearly 26% increase in cybersecurity jobs. jobs in cybersecurity between 2018 and 2028.
The PNW Cybersecurity degree will prepare students for occupations such as cybersecurity specialist, manager or consultant, software developer, system or network engineer, and system administrator. The degree can also prepare students for PNW’s graduate programs, in particular, the pending Master of Technology and Ph.D. of Technology.
“In Computer Information Technology, we cover every part of computing,” Jiang said. “Our students will have the opportunity to be exposed to all aspects of IT. This is important because everything is integrated these days. Employers really like our students. The best comment I hear from them is that our students can wear many hats.”
The new Cybersecurity bachelor’s degree also meets a higher educational demand for undergraduate students. PNW offered a concentration in Cybersecurity with its bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Technology in 2019. Enrollment in that concentration increased significantly from fall 2019 to spring 2022.
In the Chicago metropolitan area, PNW’s cybersecurity bachelor’s degree will be the only in-person four-year public degree available among neighboring institutions.
Additional PNW Cybersecurity Resources
The cybersecurity degree is based on several resources that PNW has developed in cybersecurity education.
The PNW Cyber Security Center, which is funded by DHS and NSA grants, promotes cyber security education and outreach in the local community through GenCyber summer camps for high school students, as well as job training and research in cyber security. The Center has earned more than $16 million in federal funds to support its activities.
In the fall of 2020, PNW’s Computer Information Technology and Graphics department launched an Applied Data Science major to prepare students with new knowledge and skills in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and big data. The faculty envisioned that the program could integrate AI with cybersecurity, as AI can help detect cyber threats.