According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, the world will face a shortage of 1.5 million cybersecurity professionals by the year 2019. This situation is problematic considering that cyberattacks cost the U.S. billions of dollars annually, threaten the security of bank accounts and the safety of power grids, contribute to identity theft, and more.
While many colleges and universities offer cybersecurity degree programs, most of them are expensive and take four years to complete.
To improve access to the six-figure jobs available in this field, Western Governors University of Washington (WGU Washington), a WGU satellite campus based out of Kent, Wash., developed an innovative online program that allows students to complete their degrees at a lower cost in approximately half the time. The price tag for most four-year cybersecurity programs is between $23,000 and $61,000, whereas WGU Washington’s costs approximately $13,000 and can be completed in as little as two years.
The remote program is part of a larger effort by WGU Washington to recruit more veterans and active-duty military to its student population by expanding its College of Information Technology. Partnering with local employers to design cutting-edge curricula, WGU Washington recently created several new bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.
In addition to cybersecurity, the university now offers degrees in fields such as data management and cloud and systems administration. Composed of competency-based courses, these programs allow students to test out of subjects they’ve previously mastered — an appealing feature, especially for student-veterans and active-duty military. The offerings allow these individuals, many of whom possess a wide range of work and life experience, to progress through the curriculum at a faster pace than traditional programs.
Furthermore, because they are online, these degrees provide military students and their families the flexibility to achieve their educational goals while working full time or caring for children from anywhere in the world.
Ginger O’Donnell is a staff writer with INSIGHT Into Diversity. This article ran in our September 2018 issue.