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AU News

Opportunities Abound for Cybersecurity Students

February 4, 2020
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Founding director of the Anderson University Center for Cybersecurity, Dr. Kenneth Knapp, shares his thoughts on this emerging field and how AU will prepare a new generation of professionals to fight cyberattacks.

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The cybersecurity field is a new one, emerging alongside the growth of the Internet and ‘digitalization of everything.’ While technology gives us wonderful advantages, it has come at a cost. The same technology that benefits society is used to attack us.  

From ransomware to network infiltration and data theft, cybercrime will cost the world economy $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015, according to research firm Cybersecurity Ventures.  

To meet this challenge, companies are spending more to protect themselves. According to Gartner research, information security spending will exceed $124 Billion in 2019, growing at nearly nine percent annually.

The Calling to Serve and Protect Cyberspace

Cyber assailants routinely target all types of businesses:  banks, hospitals, retailers, schools, governments and the military, along with and small and large companies and individuals as well.

According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, since 2005, more than 11 trillion data records have been breached from about 10,000 separate security incidents. That’s a lot of sensitive data leaked. It’s the job of a cybersecurity professional to defend and protect people and organizations from attacks. Organizations need help, and they are actively looking for people with the right skills.

Cyber Skills Shortage 

A well-documented skills shortage exists in the cybersecurity field. This shortage is driving salaries up.  

According to recent estimates, there will be as many as 3.5 million unfilled positions in the cybersecurity industry worldwide by 2021. This shortage has been called ‘an industry crisis.’  Moreover, the growth outlook for the industry over the next 10 years is 32 percent, which is ‘much faster than average.’ (The average growth for all occupations in the U.S. is five percent.)

Today’s cybersecurity salaries are attractive, too. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median annual wage for information security analysts in 2018 was $98,350.

Zip Recruiter reports the average cybersecurity salary (as of mid-January, 2020) was about $112,000 in the U.S. and $110,000 in South Carolina.  

These figures are averages and require sufficient years of experience, but they represent what cybersecurity professionals earn today. 

Zero Unemployment Rate for Cybersecurity Professionals

With a reported zero percent unemployment rate, getting a good paying job after graduation in the cybersecurity field looks promising. This is great news for Anderson University students who earn a cybersecurity degree or finish a minor or certificate program.  

The Anderson University Center for Cybersecurity offers four different undergraduate majors, each with a different focus. A minor and a professional certificate are also offered.  

A ‘pure’ cybersecurity major is offered, as well as three interdisciplinary majors that combine cybersecurity with courses in analytics, criminal justice and mathematics, all designed to meet a market demand.

Dr. Ken Knapp is a Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) and a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). He earned his Ph.D. from Auburn University and has over 20 years of computer and technology experience. To learn more about the Anderson University Center for Cybersecurity and the academic programs available, contact Dr. Knapp, at


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