USFSM upgraded its IT degree to Cybersecurity and Information Technology.

USF Sarasota-Manatee to debut cybersecurity program in fall

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: August 07, 2018

SARASOTA, Fla. (Aug. 07, 2018) USF Sarasota-Manatee this fall will upgrade its Information Technology degree to Cybersecurity and Information Technology, a new combined program that will teach students how to manage technology projects and stay one step ahead of the hackers.

Ehsan Sheybani usf usfsm

Dr. Ehsan Sheybani

“Cybersecurity is becoming a specialty by itself,” said Dr. Ehsan Sheybani, associate professor of information systems and decision sciences at USFSM’s College of Business, where the new program is offered. “The landscape of cyber threats is always evolving, so our students need to know the best course of action at any given time.”

Experts predict jobs in cybersecurity will grow nearly 30 percent through 2026, with a median salary for information security analysts at more than $95,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The growing need for cybersecurity experts reflects what’s happening in society.

“Identity theft and hacks into e-commerce result in billions of dollars in financial losses every year,” Dr. Sheybani said.

To facilitate the upgrade, USFSM will use a combined $100,000 grant to USFSM and Florida International University from the Florida Center for Cybersecurity, a statewide research facility at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

USF Sarasota-Manatee receives grant to help girls explore IT careers

Dr. Giti Javidi

Dr. Sheybani will manage grant operations at USFSM, where the funds will go toward programs to teach cybersecurity classes and create an advanced cybersecurity laboratory, including a database and mobile forensics lab to specialize in forensics involving databases, laptops, cell phones and other mobile devices.

Dr. Giti Javidi, an associate professor of information technology, will help with curricular activities and introducing new courses to the program.

“This research effort coincides with one of the most sensitive times in our country’s history, when our democratic way of life is under attack with the most sophisticated cyber-weapons,” she said. “That is why this program is so important and necessary now. If we do not train the cyber workforce of tomorrow today, we run the risk of losing our democracy.”

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