Low to zero chances of unemployment. Solid compensation—think an average of over U.S. $100,000 per annum. Endless opportunities to learn and grow. These and more are all part of what is in store for those considering working in today’s and tomorrow’s hottest field in tech: cybersecurity. It’s not hard to understand why companies are creating more cybersecurity jobs than they can fill. According to Web Arx Security, 300,000 new pieces of malware are created daily. In the U.S., the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) recorded 791,790 cybercrime-related complaints in 2022, a 69% increase from 2019.
Rupesh Gorrepati had these numbers in mind when he decided to pursue a Master of Science (M.S.) in Cybersecurity at Western Michigan University (WMU). “It includes both computer science and business information systems, and I think this combination of disciplines is beneficial to achieve better positions in the industry, such as information security officer, which is my goal,” he explains.
Both of WMU’s cybersecurity degree programmes unlock this career path, among many others. The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Master of Science in Cybersecurity prepare students to effectively prevent data breaches, cyberattacks and online threats. These programmes were designed with industry feedback, ensuring students remain informed about the latest global regulations and threat landscapes to identify and recommend specific solutions for evolving and emerging cyber threats. Lessons are delivered through interactive training, real-world projects and security-related certifications—a combination designed to nurture career-ready cyber heroes.
Available online or onsite, the four-year undergraduate route is an ideal pick for students keen on building their cybersecurity knowledge and skills from the ground up. The programme is delivered by the Haworth College of Business and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, enabling students to enjoy twice the resources, career events, services, professional organisations and more.
The 30-credit-hour postgraduate route covers the advanced application of cybersecurity principles and concepts derived from real threats. Such exposure equips professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to protect their organisation’s data. At the same time, students develop key skill sets in communication, project management and collaboration—virtually, too, for mid-career professionals in need of flexibility.
“All our cybersecurity classes are offered in both online and in-person formats,” says WMU lecturer Jason Johnson. “The in-person option allows international students to fulfil their visa requirements while still being able to interact with domestic and international online students. International students who wish to remain in their home countries can take the online option, as well. Our cybersecurity programmes were designed to accommodate whatever situation our students find themselves in.”
That’s not the only reason why international cybersecurity aspirants love WMU. Recently, both WMU programmes experienced a boom in international applications, which has naturally translated to classrooms with a diverse mix of perspectives. Discussions are equally passionate whenever the Bronco Cybersecurity Club gets together to participate in technical competitions and service-oriented learning. “These experiences provide members with connections in the community and with industry partners,” says professor of business information systems, Dr. Alan Rea.
Student Gorrepati has never felt overwhelmed by the array of opportunities that surrounded him—a level of confidence he credits to the warm WMU welcome he received upon arriving in the U.S from India. “The university welcomed us by setting up orientation for two straight days, which included guided tours of labs and classrooms, as well as interactions with professors to mingle and get to know them,” he reminisces.
This orientation was set in place to ensure every international student starts their WMU journey on a positive note. Camaraderie continues throughout thanks to the multiple professional development programmes hosted annually, including a year-long security project, and TechNext, an immersive course that transports students to Silicon Valley and Seattle. Since opportunities like these and core courses are offered in accordance with what is transpiring in the industry, graduates with a WMU cybersecurity qualification are sure to enter or re-enter the workforce with outstanding job opportunities to choose from.
“The WMU cybersecurity programme opens a gateway to many internship and job opportunities all over the globe,” enthuses Gorrepati. “It does an excellent job of helping to build exciting and rewarding futures for international students like me.”
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