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Cal Lutheran Launches Cybersecurity Graduate Program

California Lutheran University has launched a graduate program in cybersecurity to help fill the growing demand for professionals who can safeguard organizations’ technology systems.

A cybersecurity track has been added as an option in the Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program.  

With organizations dependent on sophisticated information systems that are increasingly subject to attacks, cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing fields. The number of jobs is projected to grow 32% by 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

About 65% of large U.S. companies have a chief information security officer, up from 50% in 2016, according to information systems nonprofit ISACA. A 2019 ISACA report showed 69% of the world’s cybersecurity professionals say their teams are understaffed, 58% report unfilled positions, and 32% say it takes them an average of six months or more to fill a position. The total number of unfilled cybersecurity positions across the globe is predicted to hit 3.5 million in 2021, according to a 2018 report from research firm Cybersecurity Ventures. 

ISACA reports that organizations frequently offer higher pay, career advancement and appealing work environments to lure cybersecurity talent. The mean annual wage for an information security analyst was $102,000 last year, according to BLS. 

MSIT Director Paul Witman and other representatives from Cal Lutheran’s School of Management met with industry professionals from companies including The Walt Disney Studios, Ford Motor Co. and PennyMac to design the one- to two-year program. The track covers both technical knowledge and managerial skills to prepare graduates to assess security risks and develop and implement solutions to protect systems through offensive and defensive planning and incident response. Electives include “Ethical Hacking,” “Digital Forensics” and “Cybersecurity Risk Management.” Students can also complete internships. 

“In a world with increased cybersecurity incidents and significant data and financial losses, it is critical for businesses to find individuals with in-depth knowledge and education in the field,” said industry advisory group member Carol Spector Riegert, vice president of technical services for Oxford Global Resources. “Having a cybersecurity track at Cal Lutheran will increase the talent pool needed to help businesses and consumers protect against these risks.