Northwestern adds new cybersecurity certificate


Northwestern Oklahoma State University's Mathematics and Computer Science Department is launching a new cybersecurity certificate for students, working professionals and job seekers starting in fall 2023.

The certificate requires 24 hours of computer science classes and includes courses in networking, information security, hacking & network defense, ethics, data modeling and digital forensics. The cybersecurity certificate is available via ITV at all campuses (Alva, Enid, Woodward and Ponca City).

“Over the last several years, we have tested student interest by offering courses in digital forensics, information security and cybersecurity,” Dr. Tim Maharry, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science chair, said. “These courses attract large enrollments even though they are not required. Students routinely request more information and course offerings in this area of study.”

Northwestern’s application to the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education stated the proposed cybersecurity certificate program will prepare students to take the industry certification exams in the data, system, network, and cybersecurity fields as well as the digital forensics field.

CyberSeek, a joint project between CompTIA, labor analysis firm Lightcast, and the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), shows that there are over 714,500 job postings in the United States requesting cybersecurity-related skills. Many of these openings are for dedicated cybersecurity positions such as cybersecurity analysts or penetration testers. CompTIA’s State of the Tech Workforce report shows that demand in those areas will remain strong, with 4% growth expected in 2022 and growth that is expected to be 253% above the national rate over the next 10 years. According to Lightcast, the overall U.S. labor market is expected to grow by 1% in 2022 and 7.8% over the next 10 years.

"Computer science is a rapidly changing field of study, and course content must be continually updated to reflect the needs of students entering the field," Mark Bagley, instructor of computer science, said. “Cybersecurity has become an area of great concern with billions of U.S. dollars stolen annually and national security at risk due to the looting of advanced technologies from U.S. companies and various governmental agencies.

“Students who earn our new cybersecurity certificate will have prepared themselves for entry-level positions as cyber security analysts. They will also be qualified to pursue additional certifications developed by the industry and our government.”

For more information about Northwestern’s cybersecurity certificate contact Maharry at 580-327-8583 or [email protected]. Students interested in taking classes in the fall should schedule an appointment with their adviser to get the classroom accommodations that best suit their individual learning needs or visit for specific classroom information


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