Cybersecurity minor can complement multiple degrees
Across all industries, data breaches and hacking are a constant concern. October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure these breaches and hacks don't happen and everyone has the resources to stay safer and more secure online.
University of Houston-Clear Lake offers a minor in cybersecurity, and according to Associate Professor of Information Technology Lisa Lacher, acquiring these foundational skills can increase a student's chances of receiving a lucrative job offer after graduating.
"There are more jobs out there than qualified candidates to fill those roles, and the field of information technology in general is growing," Lacher said. "Having this minor in cybersecurity is definitely going to prepare students to mitigate vulnerabilities happening in businesses. Because everyone in general is becoming increasingly connected, this talent is imperative."
She said that it made good sense to add this minor to a degree plan in system administration, management information systems, forensics or software development, among others. "First, students need an understanding of networks in order to learn how to secure them. Software developers can learn how to write software more securely," she said. "This minor could also be a great complement to those studying law enforcement. The weakest link in securing organizations is always the people. We are trusting; we click on the emails, we give up our passwords and private information."
Lacher said the courses in the minor help educate students on the characteristics of cybercrime, about the technology available, and how to help protect the organization where they'll someday be working. "If everyone at the university took a course like Cybersecurity I, then they'd all be more aware and more secure users," she said.
There are many different career paths, Lacher said, and with the minor in cybersecurity, a student would have the beginning credentials to continue. "We offer the training to help students prepare for certifications such as the Security+ and the Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)," she said. "Certifications show employers a certain level of understanding of security. A student will have foundational skills and offers more options, based on their main degree background."
With the cybersecurity minor complementing a technical degree, career options include junior security analyst, incident responder, security auditor, or penetration tester. "This minor can start a student on the road to becoming a lifelong learner in this area," Lacher said.