Davenport’s cybersecurity program prepares students for high-paying, in- demand jobs

If you’ve ever considered a career in cybersecurity, there is no better time than the present. The demand for cybersecurity graduates has never been greater and organizations are willing to generously compensate their employees for their service.

So, what is driving this demand? According to Davenport University College of Technology professor Lonnie Decker, it’s our society and its ever-increasing reliance on technology.  

“More devices connect to the internet each day, including smartwatches, thermostats, appliances, doorbells and home security systems,” said Decker. “If you add emerging technologies, such as self-driving cars and artificial intelligence, the challenges we face with outages due to equipment issues, network outages, and deliberate cyber-attacks become increasingly costly.”

Decker says that years ago, individuals carried out cyber attacks for personal achievement or small groups with a grudge against a particular company. But times have certainly changed. Today, an overwhelming number of cyber attacks are carried out by nation-states against their rivals for political gain, espionage, financial damage, or disruption of critical infrastructures, like pipelines or power grids.  

“We are accustomed to doing business online, paying bills, subscribing to entertainment, and communicating with friends,” said Decker.  “Organizations that don’t proactively protect themselves to maintain their ability to do business online won’t be in business long.”

This daily reliance on technology makes U.S. citizens and organizations vulnerable and makes cybersecurity professionals not only in demand but essential.

Those who would like to join this critical workforce will find the education and training they need to be successful at Davenport. Individuals who want to boost their resume can earn a cybersecurity management certificate or a cyber defense and security certificate. Those who wish to learn how to protect data integrity and defend against cybersecurity attacks can earn either an Associate’s in Cyber Defense or a Bachelor’s in Cyber Defense. And those who want to become a highly sought-after leader in cybersecurity can continue to earn a Master’s in Information Assurance-Cybersecurity. Click here to learn more about these exciting career opportunities. 

This specialized field is appealing to prospective students for many reasons, especially because it is highly diverse and provides opportunities for those interested in coding, networking, cybersecurity and more. 

Coding experts are needed to take a deep dive into programming languages, networks and operating systems to ensure an organization is protected. Networking experts are needed to install networking and cybersecurity devices and monitor policies to keep networks safe.   Cybersecurity management experts are also needed to put systems in place with the policies and personnel required to manage them. 

The good news for students contemplating a career in cybersecurity is that in addition to being valued and highly sought after, they will also be well compensated. Cybersecurity is among the most lucrative and fastest-growing segments of the IT workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor statistics, cybersecurity and cyber defense professionals have the potential to earn an average annual salary of $85,941 – $139,643. This long-term income potential certainly adds to the attractiveness of a cybersecurity degree. 

Decker says Davenport’s cybersecurity program is unique in several ways. 

First, it provides students with a hands-on approach to learning and access to state-of-the-art software that prepares them to be productive on their first day of employment. 

“It’s difficult to get the full appreciation for how to implement technology and cybersecurity into an organization without a hands-on approach to allow students to learn by doing,” said Decker. “We don’t learn to drive a car by reading the owner’s manual, so we can’t expect students to learn how to implement routers in a network or implement cybersecurity tools unless they’ve actually done it.”

Davenport’s cybersecurity program is also unique in integrating business and management approaches into its curriculum. This prepares graduates with the knowledge needed to acquire and allocate necessary equipment, software, and personnel resources within budget constraints. 

And perhaps most importantly, at Davenport, students learn from industry experts, those who are highly credentialed and accomplished in their field. This is true of Decker, who has worked in IT since the 80s and has a networking, network security and cybersecurity management background.  

The cybersecurity field has changed since Decker graduated. One notable difference is in how students pay for their degrees. At Davenport, many pathways exist to help ease the financial burden of earning a technology certificate or degree. In fact, most students in the College of Technology receive a generous financial aid package, with some earning a full-tuition scholarship through the National Science Foundation or the Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program. This scholarship covers the total cost of tuition, books and required fees, plus a stipend for food and housing if needed. To learn more about this scholarship opportunity, visit here

Something else that has changed over the years is the process in which students land their first job after they graduate. Thanks to the National Science Foundation and Department of Defense Cybersecurity initiatives, students in cybersecurity programs are actually guaranteed employment after they graduate. What an incredible opportunity for students!

When choosing a career path, cybersecurity professionals have plenty of options, like computer operations manager, internet technology manager, information system director, and management information systems director, to name a few. 

Opportunities definitely abound for those embarking on an exciting career in cybersecurity. To learn how to take the first step to becoming a cybersecurity professional, click here.


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