On September 18, Excelsior College began offering a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Operations degree. Dr. Li-Fang Shih, associate dean of the School of Business & Technology describes the new program as assisting with President Obama’s national initiative to improve cybersecurity through education and prepare students for jobs in demand.
The Bachelor of Science in Cyber Operations program is aligned with the academic requirements for Cyber Operations set by National Security Agency (NSA) and will provide students with the ability to enhance technical knowledge and skills in cyber operations. The program will also prepare students for jobs with the U.S. Cyber Command, the NSA’s signals intelligence operations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other law enforcement agencies that investigate cyber crimes.
In addition, The Bachelor of Science in Cyber Operations program can help US Military looking to earn a degree and extend their technical backgrounds. Dr. Shih shared additional thoughts with Excelsior Life.
Excelsior Life: Can you explain the difference between cyber operations and cybersecurity?
Dr. Shih: Cyber operations complements the more general cybersecurity, but places more emphasis on understanding the technical foundations of cybersecurity to help protect our national security against cyber attacks.
While cybersecurity has a more general focus, cyber operations emphasizes preparing students for intelligence, military and law enforcement professions.
National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) programs look for deeply technical, inter-disciplinary, higher education programs.
Excelsior Life: Does cyber operations have both a technical and non-technical component?
Dr. Shih: Cyber operations requires the same foundational knowledge required of all cyber security professionals as designation in the 10 domains of information security and other standards. However, cyber operations goes beyond that foundational knowledge and requires a deeper understanding and experience with technical components of cybersecurity. For example, programming, networking, operating systems, cryptography, reverse engineering, and secure software development support cyber operations in the collection, analysis and response to cyber attacks against our national security.
Cutting-edge knowledge in cybersecurity is very relevant today to both employers and employees. There is an increasing nationwide demand for cyber security skills and with a bachelor’s degree. Samples of careers include software developers, network administrators, and information technology project managers. (Source: Burning Glass Labor/Insight TM). Seventy-two percent of cyber security-related jobs between April 2012 to April 2013, were requiring at least a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, continued education is also beneficial to employees pursuing cybersecurity and cyber operations jobs.