New online professional master’s from Purdue can boost careers in information security and cybersecurity

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A new online professional master’s degree in information security from Purdue University is designed for early and mid-career computing professionals who want to enhance their skills, expand their educational credentials and advance their careers in organizations large or small.

The 30-credit-hour degree – aimed at individuals looking to amass applied technical  knowledge in the hot field of information security and cybersecurity – also is a natural progression for new graduates with a bachelor’s degree in a computing-related major. Participants don’t need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, but they should know how to develop software, whether learned through an undergraduate major or minor or gained from work experience.

The online master’s program prepares learners to take on roles as information security, cybersecurity and privacy specialists. They learn foundational principles for building, evaluating and maintaining secure systems, while earning a Master of Science degree in computer science with a concentration in information security.

Students in the program work on real-world examples in course lab assignments and projects, requiring them to respond to simulated security challenges and to develop secure systems with appropriate defenses and cutting-edge software tools.

“Anyone can take a master’s in CS at another university and take a security course or two or maybe even three, but this whole program is specifically designed to cover the broad spectrum of topics related to security,” said Randy Bond, assistant department head of computer science at Purdue. “Our degree is very broad and deep in information security courses.”

Two required foundational courses in information security and six security-related computer science courses, along with two electives, give participants in the program the opportunity to learn about cryptography, network security, software security, security analytics, and social, economic and legal aspects of information security.

“We’re not teaching them just today’s technology, today’s security problems and fixes, “ said Sunil Prabhakar, professor and department head of computer science at Purdue. “We’re imparting to them fundamental knowledge they need to understand concerns and challenges that are yet to surface, to continuously understand and counter future threats.”

The online professional master’s program, offered through Purdue’s Department of Computer Science and Purdue Online, is taught by Purdue faculty who are worldwide leaders in the field of information security and cybersecurity, including three Association of Computing Machinery and four IEEE fellows. The curriculum includes far more than video lectures and readings, heavily incorporating online interaction with faculty members and fellow students to offer an experience similar to being on campus.

“You would be learning from faculty members who are helping identify and solve major cybersecurity challenges,” Prabhakar  said. “These individuals have an understanding and knowledge of where the field is and where it is going in a way that’s not matched at most institutions.”

Graduates of the program will be in demand for jobs in banking, retail, government agencies, the military and forensic crime units, among other fields. They’re ready to serve in positions such as cybersecurity and information security specialists and analysts, digital forensics analysts, network and software security engineers, privacy advocates and more. The master’s degree prepares them for duties such as performing risk analyses, simulating attacks to look for vulnerabilities, developing security standards for an organization and investigating security breaches and violations.

With breaches, compromises and intrusions a daily occurrence, information security professionals are in great demand as organizations battle cybercrime and work to make sure their systems and data are secure and protected. These jobs average annual salaries of $108,000 based on graduate survey data and information provided by the Department of Computer Science’s Corporate Partner Program.

For more information about Purdue’s online professional master’s degree in information security, visit the program website.

Writer: Greg Kline, 765-426-8545, [email protected] 

Sources: Sunil Prabhakar, [email protected]

Randy Bond, [email protected]


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