Degree of the future | UDaily

With digital devices infiltrating almost every corner of our lives, from how we communicate to how we bank to how we vote, ensuring these systems are safe and secure has become more important than ever.

In recent years, Americans have seen firsthand what happens when the protections on these digital devices fail. Last year the pirates shelved the nation’s largest fuel pipelinebringing a vital supply chain to its knees and highlighting the real threat of cyberattacks.

Cybersecurity, once a niche for tech-focused minds, is now an essential part of our daily lives. Earning cybersecurity certificates or studying the field as a minor will no longer suffice in today’s digital age.

To help fill this gap, the University of Delaware College of Engineering is one of the leading academic institutions in the country to offer a unique degree in Cybersecurity Engineering starting in fall 2022. The undergraduate degree will help train a much-needed workforce that is currently in high demand and that is expected to grow in the coming years.

“We are extremely excited to offer the new Cybersecurity Engineering degree, with a curriculum designed to address a major market and societal need, particularly in Delaware and the region in the finance and defence,” said Jamie Phillips, professor and president of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering where the new program will be hosted.

One of the program’s strengths, Phillips said, is the combination of rigorous cybersecurity fundamentals along with the design and problem-solving skills that UD engineers are known for, thanks to the curriculum. of the design-oriented department.

“As a result, our graduates will not only have the important modern computing skills, but also the expertise and mindset to analyze, design and build secure devices and systems,” he said.

In October 2021, the White House even stressed the need for a “national effort to deal with cyber threats”.

“Cyber ​​threats can affect every American, every business of any size, and every community,” President Joe Biden, a UD veteran, said in a statement released by the White House. “The federal government needs the partnership of every American and every American business in these efforts. We must lock our digital doors — by encrypting our data and using multi-factor authentication, for example — and we need to build secure technology by design, enabling consumers to understand the risks associated with the technologies they buy. Because people – from those who create technology to those who deploy technology – are at the heart of our success. »

UD’s College of Engineering has anticipated this need for years and is now expanding its offerings with this specialized degree offering.

“We are a leader in the game,” said Kenneth Barner, Charles Black Evans Professor of Electrical Engineering with who Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Nektarios Tsoutsos, was one of the driving forces behind the new curriculum. While at least two dozen other institutions, such as Purdue University, the University of Texas at Austin and the US Naval Academy, offer degrees in cybersecurity, UD will be among the first in the country to offer a cybersecurity engineering program.

“We’ve been doing this kind of work for a very long time, and we already have a huge portfolio of programs that add to our expertise in this area,” Tsoutsos said. “Cybersecurity threats are real and we need to defend ourselves. Before, you could do this and get away with an electrical engineering degree and a minor in cybersecurity. Now it doesn’t work anymore, and we were among the first to notice it.

Just as computer engineering was a new field unto itself just a few decades ago, the new cybersecurity engineering degree will provide a solid foundation that connects math and science to a design-focused curriculum. Within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as the Department of Computing and Information Science, students can already pursue a minor in cybersecurity, a master’s degree in cybersecurity, or pursue professional certifications. More competitive students can then use their skills to participate in year-round hackathons and cyber games, even at the national level, thanks in large part to the resources available on the Campus Innovation Suite (iSuite).

“Having a dedicated degree makes graduates much more well prepared to jump in with an employer or pursue higher education,” Barner said. “It’s not just a fad. These are the kinds of skills that employers want and need.

The technical focus of this unique program means that students won’t just take on theoretical coding challenges. They will learn practical skills that are desperately needed in today’s industry.

“Cybersecurity is one of the hottest areas in science, technology, engineering and math,” Tsoutsos said. “It’s not going to die down and there’s a serious shortage of skilled labor in this area.”

Tsoutsos said the cybersecurity field is growing at 7% per year, providing relatively stable job security for anyone looking to tackle the challenges of the digital age. The United States is a leader in the field, and prospective students will have the opportunity to be at the forefront of future cybersecurity innovations.

“I believe the new Cybersecurity Engineering program will be successful in attracting a diverse student body and meeting an ever-growing demand for talented professionals in Delaware, the region, and beyond,” Phillips said.

For more information or to register for this new program, go to ece.udel.edu/academics/undergraduate/cybersecurity-engineering-major.

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