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Four in-demand cybersecurity jobs

Going into cybersecurity? Good timing. According to EMSI, a labor analytics company, U.S. employers have less than half the qualified cybersecurity candidates they need. When you minor in cybersecurity at The University of Tulsa, you’ll have your pick of cool jobs. Here are four you might find especially intriguing.  

Become an ethical hacker.

young woman seated in front of a computer terminal with graphic images floating in the foregroundWhen you think of a “hacker,” what comes to mind? You might imagine someone in a darkened lair, breaking into secure networks to steal data or wreak havoc. But now envision someone who uses their hacking skills for good. These “white hat” ethical hackers are employed by companies and the government to find weak spots in computer systems before their less-scrupulous counterparts hack their way in. (A subset of the field, known as penetration testing, simulates cyberattacks.) To thrive in this field, you’ll need knowledge of programming languages, networks and databases – not to mention an aptitude for solving problems and a passion for privacy and the public good. 

Protect the institutions that keep the country running.

The federal government considers cybersecurity such a major threat that it’s hiring cybersecurity experts to work with public institutions in every state in the country. What’s at risk? Ransomware attacks that shut whole city agencies down. (There have been more than 2,400 ransomware complaints since the start of the pandemic, according to the FBI.) Email intrusions that expose confidential data. Threats to critical infrastructure that could affect the electrical grid, water treatment plants and other vital parts of daily life. If you’re looking for a way to combine your technical skills with a love of public service, TU’s cybersecurity programs can prepare you for that mission. 

Follow the demand. The rewards will follow.

Today, the two most in-demand cybersecurity skills are application development security (+164%) and cloud security (+115%). According to an October 2020 report from Burning Glass Technologies, those careers carry a hefty salary premium, too — up to $15,000 over the going rate for cybersecurity experts. As a TU alum, you’ll have the skills to pivot to whatever the big threat of the day is. Our students have even been included on several cybersecurity patents, as a result of the work they’ve done to identify new threats. 

Become an entrepreneur. Build your own cybersecurity company.

By the time you graduate from TU, you will have put your problem-solving skills to work in cyberdefense competitions, internships and research projects. These experiences give you a close-up view on real-world challenges. As a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education for 20 years, we’re on the cutting edge of industry research. So it’s no surprise that many TU graduates have gone on to establish cybersecurity companies, putting their insights to work. Avansic provides digital forensic services to law firms. TRUE Digital helps organizations in health care, energy and other sectors where security is paramount guard against attacks and comply with regulations. TokenEX is a cloud-based data security company. In fact, our extensive alumni network means you’ll have a chance to meet some of these entrepreneurs and ask how they built their careers. 



Cybersecurity careers in 2021: Big threats, bigger opportunities

Curious what’s keeping business leaders awake at night? Google the phrase “cybersecurity threats” and you’ll get a good idea of the vulnerabilities they see lurking in 2021. 

Ransomware that targets home offices.  

Phishing scams that convince employees to turn over sensitive information, like passwords.  

Hackers who turn seemingly innocuous Internet of Things devices into vehicles for malware.  

computer system screen with yellow alert triangle and words System HackedAs the security risks grow, so do the job opportunities for graduates of cybersecurity programs. In the U.S. alone, there’s already a shortage of 500,000 cybersecurity pros — and the gap is only getting wider. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for information security analysts is expected to increase by 31% through 2029, a jump that dwarfs most other professions. And these are high-paying jobs: Median pay is $103,590 a year. 

But that pales next to what businesses stand to lose from weak security. In 2021, worldwide cybercrime losses are expected to amount to $1 trillion, according to a study released in December by McAfee. And the COVID-19 pandemic is only exacerbating the threat. The FBI has said that cybercrime attacks quadrupled last spring. 

As you look at the cybersecurity landscape and assess why this field will grow for years to come, consider these factors: 

Working from home reveals new threats. Businesses have enough trouble guarding their offices against cybersecurity attacks. But when COVID-19 shutdowns resulted in millions of employees suddenly working from home, the risk blossomed. Poorly configured remote networks make it that much easier for hackers to make their way into corporate systems. At the same time, while cloud computing has made it easier than ever for workers to access resources online, that also requires new defenses to protect the data stored there. 

Always connected = always at risk. By 2025, more than 30 billion Internet of Things devices are expected to be in use. And every one of those light switches, refrigerators, televisions and doorbells represents a possible vulnerability. Bots that commandeer devices to launch distributed denial of service attacks, pump out malware and tunnel their way into our home computers — exposing our most private information — are already a threat. 

Every industry is hiring, because no industry is immune. Quick, name an industry that doesn’t rely on technology. You can’t, which is why every industry needs cybersecurity professionals. As a graduate of a cybersecurity program, you’ll find opportunity almost everywhere you look.  

Hacking is an arms race. For every step forward taken by cybersecurity experts, hackers are already looking for another weakness. More and more, the enemy is backed by powerful interests: Governments are ramping up their support of cyber sleuthing and hacking to disrupt economies (and worse). Last year, in the notorious Solar Winds hack, Russian spies infiltrated thousands of government agencies and businesses by piggybacking malicious code onto a frequently used network management tool. And earlier this winter, hackers sponsored by the Chinese government targeted email software made by Microsoft.  

While the potential costs are enormous, businesses stand to lose something of even greater value when their cyber defenses fail: The public’s trust. If they sense companies aren’t good stewards of their private information, they’ll turn elsewhere. 

Minor in cybersecurity at The University of Tulsa 

The threats are real and TU students can get a head start on facing them down with a minor in cybersecurity. The minor, offered through the Tandy School of Computer Science, is open to students from other disciplines. This 12-credit minor includes courses in computer science, security, computer networks and more. You’ll also have the chance to participate with faculty on ongoing cybersecurity research projects that help protect wearable devices, critical infrastructure and more.