Sacred Heart to launch master’s program in cybersecurity

Sacred Heart University has announced the launch of a new master’s program in cybersecurity, designed to provide students with an introduction to information security, risk and threat management and security architecture.

“It’s filling a need,” said Domenick Pinto, associate professor and chair of Sacred Heart’s Department of Computer Science and Information Technology. “The job market in this discipline is phenomenal, but there are not a lot of cybersecurity specialists. Moreover, there’s a severe shortage in Connecticut of graduate schools that are offering an education in this field.”

Students can study in Sacred Heart’s 36-credit cybersecurity program on a full- or part-time basis starting this coming fall. The courses will be offered in a trimester schedule with most classes held on weeknights or Saturdays, and the degree can be completed in as little at 15 to 24 months.

Courses include cryptography, systems security, digital forensics, securing the Cloud and ethical hacking. Most of the courses will be taught by working professionals — people in cybersecurity positions at organizations in the Fairfield County area, including a forensic specialist for a local police department.

One of those field specialists is Greg Kyrytschenko, an adjunct professor at Sacred Heart who will serve as associate director of the new program. Kyrytschenko has worked in the cybersecurity industry for 13 years, holding positions in security management and security architecture.

“Cybersecurity is a dynamic, ever-changing field,” Kyrytschenko said. “There’s a demand now, and there will definitely be an even higher demand in years to come, for skilled individuals to participate in this specialty within the IT industry. Studying cybersecurity is a tremendous stride toward building one’s future job potential.”

Pinto said that President Barack Obama has also weighed in on the need for more expertise in the field. In a 2009 speech, the president declared that the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” and that “America’s economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.”

On the jobs front, Pinto said the university’s computer science program is a frequent source for area companies looking to fill internships and salaried positions.

“If anything, we have too few students to send to jobs,” he said. “And I don’t imagine that’s going to be any different in the cybersecurity field. Local and New York City-based companies are expanding in the area of cybersecurity. It’s needed by all sorts of businesses everywhere.”

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