New cybersecurity degree offered

Illustration of padlock promoting information security.

Washington State University will begin offering a new undergraduate cybersecurity degree starting in fall of 2023, thanks to $2 million in Washington state funding. 

The new program aims to meet burgeoning demand for computer scientists with expertise in cybersecurity.

“Many businesses and communities are concerned with a myriad of computer security threats, ranging from personal digital banking information or company data breaches to security of the electric power grid,” said Partha Pande, director of WSU’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). “We look forward to training our students in this important field and to meeting the increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals in our state.”

An increasing number of companies make use of cloud services in their operations, and the number of cyberattack incidents have been steadily increasing. Data theft of critical information and ransomware that harms computer systems are challenges for companies across the world.  The number of jobs for cybersecurity experts is expected to grow by more than 30% in the next decade with more than 16,000 available positions every year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary for information security analysts was more than $100,000 in 2021.

WSU’s new undergraduate degree program will be available on the Pullman, Tri-Cities, and Everett campuses. In addition to learning in traditional computer science courses, students will take classes and learn skills in privacy principles in modern communications, security protection mechanisms, secure communication protocols, and security in virtual and cloud environments.  As interest in its programs grow, the School of EECS will be hiring several new faculty members. 

Last year, a Department of Defense (DOD) grant also supported the establishment of a WSU-led cybersecurity education and research program that is training ROTC and DOD-skilled civilian workers in cyber basics, operations, and defense. 

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