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SNHU Launches Online Bachelor’s in Cyber Security

By Cait Etherington
July 27, 2018

Last week, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), which continues to grow and gain a solid reputation for offering quality online courses and degree programs, announced that it is launching a new bachelor’s degree in cyber security. The program emerges as public and private organizations across sectors struggle to fill vacancies for cyber security analysts in the midst of growing digital attacks.

SNHU’s New Program Fills Training Gap

In 2016, 53% of U.S. organizations planned to hire more cyber security professionals, but 59% of U.S. organizations reported that when hiring new graduates for entry-level cybersecurity positions, it is difficult to identify who has an adequate level of skills and knowledge. This likely reflects the fact that despite the the growing demand for cyber-security experts over the past decade, colleges and universities have been slow to respond by developing specific programs in the cyber security field.  This is the gap that SNHU hopes to fill with the launch of its new cyber security program.

Among other skills, SNHU’s new bachelor in cyber security, which like most SNHU degrees can be completed online, will offer students a background in computer networking, systems security, application security, and incident response. Students will also be provided with opportunities to improve their skills in computer programming. As Dr. Anthony Hurd of SNHU told News@SNHU last week, the program is not just training IT professionals but people specifically prepared to work on the frontline of the cyber-security industry: “Those individuals are the people responsible for frontline defense for companies. They’re the people who are going to understand the policy side. They’re the people who are going to understand the technical side, the people who are going to understand the risk-management side.”

Associate Dean Jonathan Kamyck also emphasizes that despite building on foundations in SNHU’s established IT degree, the cyber security degree will offer a unique set of skills. “The (bachelor’s) in cyber security…is much more focused,” explains Kamyck. Specifically, in SNHU’s new program, students will be “fully immersed in the life of a cyber security practitioner.” Beyond diving deeper into the skills needed to handle security issues, SNHU new program hopes to promote what Kamyck describes as a “security mindset”:”You have this cycle of competition between the good folks and the bad folks, so to speak. There’s a huge demand for (security analysts) because they help organizations that weren’t built to handle these types of threats continuously adapt and continue to operate in spite of them.”

For this reason, the program not only meets SNHU’s rigorous academic standards but is fully aligned with the National Security Agency’s Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Knowledge Units and Topics.  The program also incorporated standards from the Cyber Security Education Consortium and the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.

Growing Demand for Cyber Security Analysts

Notably, the demand for cyber security professionals is extremely high and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics so are average salaries for cyber security analysts. In 2017, the median pay for a cyber (or information) security analysts was $95,510 with top earnings bringing home much more. Most importantly, the demand for cyber security professionals is on the rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for cyber security professionals will increase 28% over the next decade, which means the industry is growing much faster than average.

If cyber security professionals are in demand and businesses are willing to pay generously for well-trained experts in the field, it is not surprising. As Kamyck notes, “There’s no industry that isn’t touched by cyber security because they’re all connected and are all under attack. There’s a huge demand for (security analysts) because they help organizations that weren’t built to handle these types of threats adapt and continue to operate in spite of them.”