Penn State Berks offers new cybersecurity analytics and operations degree

September 30, 2020

WYOMISSING, Pa. — In today’s digital world, information security is more important than ever. Many big-name corporations have fallen victim to hackers, while entire health networks have been disrupted by ransomware attacks and threats to sensitive patient information. In fact, cybersecurity is of such importance that October was named National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Penn State Berks is launching a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity analytics and operations to train students to fight cybercrime and to meet the growing need for cybersecurity professionals across industry, government and other organizations. Penn State Berks is the only institution of higher education to offer the degree in Berks County.

“High profile cyberattacks make the news daily, and information privacy and security issues are concerns for both organizations and individuals alike," stated program chair Tricia Clark. "Our graduates, with the knowledge and skills they acquire, will be highly qualified to address these threats. Cybersecurity professionals are very much in demand by industry and government entities working to protect their organizations.”

With a foundation in mathematics and computer programming, students enrolled in the degree program will learn the essential concepts of cyber defense and the analytical fundamentals of cybersecurity, and they will acquire the knowledge and skills needed to critically assess and respond to modern information security threats.

Graduates of the degree program will be prepared to join the rapidly growing cybersecurity workforce deployed across organizations of diverse sizes and missions to prevent cyber criminals, hacktivists, and persistent nation-state actors. In addition, students gain real-world experience by conducting research with faculty members, participating in capstone projects, and completing one or more internships. Past internship employers have included the federal government, Cisco, and Deloitte.

Students at Penn State Berks have the advantage of a new online cyber range simulation environment, which will provide extensive "hands-on" application of tools and techniques.

Michael Bartolacci, professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State Berks, developed the course that uses this platform for Penn State's master's degree in cybersecurity analytics and operations.

“It is the cybersecurity equivalent of an aircraft simulator for pilot training where a student must deal with various types of simulated security breaches and issues," said Bartolacci. "The analyses will be collated with a final analysis to form a portfolio of issues/content from the course for the student to present during employment and graduate school interviews."

According to the "Bureau of Labor and Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook" and the CIA’s Career Opportunities website, graduates can potentially expect to earn a median salary of approximately $100,000 working as cybersecurity officers or information security analysts. These are just two of the many lucrative careers that students will be able explore with a bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity analytics and operations.

For additional information on the Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations degree program, contact program chair Tricia Clark at 610-396-6349 or TKC3@psu.edu.

Last Updated October 01, 2020