Cyber Talk Radio: Center for Information Technology and Cyber Security at Texas A&M University - San Antonio

Bret Piatt, CTR Host and Dr. Akhtar Lodgher, Chair, Department of Computing and Cyber Security; Director, Center for Information Technology and Cyber Security at Texas A&M University San Antonio - Episode 113 of Cyber Talk Radio

This past Sunday, November 25, episode 113 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Dr. Akhtar Lodgher, Chair, Department of Computing and Cyber Security; Director, Center for Information Technology and Cyber Security at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, to discuss the university's unique information technology and cybersecurity bachelor's degree programs.

The university is doing some unique and different things with their cybersecurity program, especially since we last had Dr. Barton on the show. TAMU-San Antonio has grown a lot in the last several years, now offering a four-year degree for the past 3 years and over ten years in operation in San Antonio. Cybersecurity knowledge is now important for everyone to have a basic understanding so the university is incorporating the education in many different degree programs including Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences. All of these programs have the NSA cyber defense certification. Students not only get a degree but also a certification which is a great advantage. Experience-based learning is also very important to the university so they have cybersecurity labs, a Security Operation Center (SOC) and other facilities to give students hands-on experience. They also work with businesses around town to partner on internships so the students are ready for real world challenges with industry experience. Previously, the computer science and cybersecurity program was spread out among various buildings on campus. Now, they have consolidated into a new $63 million, 140,000-square-foot Science and Technology Building, which just opened in September 2018.

How did the university build a partnership with a Silicon Valley giant like Facebook? Facebook plans to sponsor a three credit-hour cybersecurity program at the university starting fall semester 2018. High-performing students will go on to intern at Facebook and be eligible for scholarships to attend conferences such as the Black Hat Briefings and DEFCON, two of the top cybersecurity conferences in the world. It’s a selective program and TAMU San Antonio is the 9th university to be a part of it. When traditional technology companies collaborate with universities, it helps solve problems in a manner that will have a high quality solution.

For high school students on Cyber Patriot teams or interested in cybersecurity, what do they need to do to prepare for applying to college? Dr. Lodgher gives a few pieces of advice:

  • Remember, cybersecurity is not just for those interested in computer science.
  • Start taking electives in cybersecurity or computer programming.
  • Math and STEM education is important for learning the simple concepts of computing.
  • Be sure to study and take the ACT and SAT for college applications.

What concepts are you teaching students about incident management when a cybersecurity incident occurs? Do you teach business processes and incident management? TAMU-San Antonio is working to incorporate cybersecurity in all of their programs and prepare every computing student to have a general cybersecurity knowledge. The university has an NSA grant that they have used to build learning modules to teach other topics such as cryptology. These modules are publicly available and completely independent including an instructor guide, lab exercise and lab solution for download. The whole idea is to bring cybersecurity education to anybody and everybody. Be sure to check out the modules and take advantage of this great resource!

Listen to the full episode replay to learn more about Texas A&M University San Antonio and the Center for Information Technology and Cybersecurity.

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