LAKELAND, Fla. – Florida Polytechnic University will offer the state’s first bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity engineering beginning in the fall 2021 semester. The degree was recently approved by the State University System’s Board of Governors.
The need for professionals in the cybersecurity field in the state is critical. CyberSeek, an online resource that tracks supply and demand in the cybersecurity job market, shows more than 460,000 cybersecurity openings nationally. In Florida alone, more than 21,000 cybersecurity professionals are needed. Additionally, a market analysis by Hanover Research projected that Florida would see a 20.4% growth in cybersecurity engineering-related occupations from 2016-2026.
“This new degree supports our mission to educate students in industry’s growing, most in-demand STEM disciplines,” said Dr. Terry Parker, Florida Poly’s provost and executive vice president. “We are excited to be able to prepare students in this new cybersecurity engineering degree program to meet the ever-present technological needs of employers of all sizes here in Florida.”
The new cybersecurity engineering degree will feature concentrations in industrial control systems security, smart-grid and cyber physical security, and hardware security. While other cybersecurity programs focus more on data and software, which traditionally fall under computer science, this new engineering degree will center mainly on securing entities’ hardware, networks, and platforms.
“Computer science deals with improving the security of software and the secrecy and integrity of the data. However, suppose the hardware and the network are not fully secure in terms of architecture and protocols. In this case, the security and trust of the whole information system are jeopardized, including the software and the data.,” said Dr. Youssif Al-Nashif, associate professor in Florida Poly’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and its Computer Science Department. “Without securing the hardware and the network, everything running on top of them will have no real security.”
There are only two ABET-accredited cybersecurity engineering bachelor’s degree programs in the nation, and Florida Poly hopes to soon join this elite group.
Dr. Muhammad Rashid, chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, said the new degree is the result of more than two years of hard work. He said the program will provide new opportunities for industry partnerships and open the door to new career paths for Florida Poly graduates.
“This is a dream come true,” Rashid said. “There is unlimited opportunity in this area. It is a new world in engineering.”
Editor's note: The number of available cybersecurity positions has been updated.
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