Title III brings cybersecurity to QU

By Alexa Low

Quincy University has developed new majors for students through a federal Title III grant.

The $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education helped fund the new Cybersecurity major.

Dr. Lavanya Mandava was hired as the new cybersecurity professor and coordinator of cybersecurity. She holds a Ph.D. in clectrical computer engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where she previously earned an M.S. in computer engineering.

“From the new grant, we have a cybersecurity lab, a new network room which is completely separate from QU’s network so that cybersecurity students can play on that network. So we have the network room, the new lab, and we’re also going to have a new robotics lab,” Mandava said.

Cybersecruity is a career focus in computer science with strong demand that is predicted to grow rapidly in the future.

“There is step-by-step information on how to easily attack your Facebook, attack your data on your personal computers, and there are also videos which are available for all these. Attackers don’t have to be smart, they don’t have to have good computer skills, they can just go through these steps and start trying to hack your data,” Mandava explained.

Attacking is easy, however protecting yourself is the hard part. This is where cybersecurity comes into play.

Students start with intro courses such as codes and cyphers and cryptology where they learn simple codes then graduate to more advanced classes where they learn how to send and receive codes.

Some other courses in the Cybersecurity major include:

  • Intro to Databases
  • Applied Networks and Security
  • Fundamentals of Information Assurance
  • Network Interconnection Technologies
  • Introduction to Local Area Networks
  • Fundamentals of Network Security

“We start adding step-by-step on how to decrypt the messages and how to send your own message in an encrypted way so that no organization can understand your message if you don’t want to make it available,” Mandava said.

Mandava appreciates that this field is evergreen and that there are so many jobs available in the market for cybersecurity professionals right now.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • The median pay is $98,350 per year and $47.28 per hour
  • Entry level education is a bachelor’s degree
  • No on-the-job training
  • 100,000 jobs in 2016
  • Job outlook from 2016-2026 is 28 percent

The new robotics lab will be in Francis Hall room 241.

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