UMSL Business Blog

Cybersecurity Certificate Offers Job Security

By Jennifer Rothweiler

In college it’s easy to lose focus of your end goal. We are asked, “What do you want to study?” In reality, we need to decipher a more important question: “What do you want to do for a living and which degree program will best qualify you in this field?”

A Cybersecurity certificate at the University of Missouri-St. Louis can provide job security during the Pandemic. We know that “just having a degree” doesn’t guarantee a respectable job as our parents and grandparents say it did…back then. Typing was a technical skill! Consider these programs instead of just going through the motions. 

They seem difficult, and I was nervous about taking INFSYS 6800, but found the information incredibly relevant and the learning felt natural, with computers being part of my education from a young age. Accept the challenge that tech classes provide and make yourself a desired employee. In 2019, UMSL introduced the Master of Science (MS) in Cyber & IT Security, which has an intensive 10 IT course requirement in addition to some of the core Master of Business Administration (MBA) courses. A cybersecurity certificate was also added to those seeking an MBA with an emphasis in Information Systems, which I will come back to discuss. In Fall 2020, the UMSL Business School examined curriculum, changing requirements for an emphasis in addition to an MBA and added certificates students can earn with specific courses in an emphasis.

Created by Jennifer Rothweiler

These additions to the Graduate UMSL School of Business couldn’t be timelier. COVID became the determining factor of our lives about a year ago. Almost immediately the internet felt the effects of COVID. According to Statista, a business data platform, in-home data usage immediately increased by 18 percent. This was just the beginning, as many schools did not have remote learning set up for elementary and secondary education. The spike was caused by people signing into work on any variance of secure connection, college students viewing lectures, everybody streaming videos either on TV or spending more time on YouTube, and the influx of online shopping. Amazon Prime could not guarantee subscribers ($120/year plus taxes) the two-day service which was the original benefit of signing up. At least 9% of consumers purchased an item online for the first time. 

Knowing my baby boomer parents and relatives, many fear the security of online shopping, that their identity will be stolen, and they will be responsible for charges made by someone in another country. But the fear of not being able to go to the grocery store for food and household items was more intense, so they ordered Omaha Steaks, signed up for Instacart, purchased household supplies on Amazon while they could. 

Internet use has increased, and the importance of information transmitted has increased exponentially. We see our doctors online, we shop online, our prescriptions are ordered online, we log in to work and manage customer data with varying degrees of identifiable information. How many of us have thought about ensuring our data by increasing internet security with a software program to detect and remove malware and other viruses or a VPN to protect our identities? Not Enough.

Many people have lost jobs, lost hours, or had to quit working because of childcare situations or other family reasons. Thousands signed up for unemployment for the first time throughout 2020. According to Glassdoor, the field of cybersecurity has a zero percent unemployment rate, with demand expected to continue to increase through 2024.In addition, cybersecurity analyst jobs pay above the national average, in Missouri close to $70k a year, and even higher in other parts of the country.

Dr. Dinesh Mirchandani, Professor and Chair of the Information Systems department in the UMSL school of business, expressed how cybersecurity really does affect everyone and organizations in all industries report a shortage of candidates trained in modern cybersecurity techniques. He said the 12- credit hour certificate, “gives students skills in cybersecurity principles, security of data networks, testing, and risk management.” This is an excellent opportunity to go from, “I want to be able to move upward in my career,” to deciding to take on the challenge Information Systems and Technology, and to assure yourself you will have an exceptional working knowledge of cybersecurity and management and be certain of employment for many years to come.

The Graduate School of Business offers other Information Systems and Technology specific degrees that will develop talent to keep our date safe and improve online user experience. If you are an undergraduate now, with any business or non-business degree, someone has told you the benefits of having an MBS in addition to your bachelor’s degree. If not, consider this being told. It’s always mentioned an emphasis can be added later, but it’s better to have a path set to graduation than aimlessly taking classes. I encourage any new MBA student or MBA candidate to take the required Information Systems course as early as possible. You’ll find IT work is the CSI of the 2020’s. You will monitor systems, investigate intrusions or abnormal activity, identify culprits, and develop solutions to keep the data of the organization you work for safe. Sounds exciting? Learn more at Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity | UMSL.