Degree Spotlight: Cybersecurity at Full Sail University
Published on Jul 1, 2020 by Bridgette Cude
The Cybersecurity bachelor's degree program at Full Sail University
Full Sail University's undergraduate degree program in Cybersecurity is designed for a rapidly evolving industry where critical thinking and adaptability prevail. In this bachelor's program, students build the skills they need to defend against cyber crime and protect data, while also learning the business savvy and tech culture skills they need to succeed in the real world.
Program Director Jay Bunner-Sorg explains that Cybersecurity at Full Sail starts with a strong foundation in information technology. In fact, graduates of the Cybersecurity degree also earn an associate's degree in Information Technology along the way to their bachelor's. This first portion of the program includes learning how to virtualize systems, cloud networks, and storage as well as how to automate and distribute at scale.
"In order to really accomplish a lot of security tasks and understand some of the impacts of those types of things, they need to have a good technical basis and a good technical background first," says Jay.
Once students have a deep understanding of cloud technology and the system architecture they'll be working with, they'll move into more security-specific curriculum. That includes cryptography, security planning, identifying threats, and system life cycles.
Along the way, Cybersecurity students have the opportunity to earn professional certifications like Amazon Web Services' Cloud Foundations, CompTIA's IT Fundamentals+, Security+, and Cybersecurity Analyst+ through free voucher programs.
One way the Cybersecurity degree program teaches these concepts is through hands-on simulations within a virtual, walled-off environment, or sandbox. The sandbox area will be a platform students can access remotely which replicates the kinds of systems they could encounter in the real world. It helps students learn to work around cybersecurity with pre-existing infrastructures, users, and servers – the types of things cybersecurity professionals see every day.
These courses go beyond just the technical know-how for handling cybersecurity threats to also explain how they function in the real world. Students learn marketable skills in how business policies, regulatory compliance, and other factors impact security threats. This is where the technical side meets the business side of cybersecurity.
Jay says this business focus is an aspect of cybersecurity which might differentiate cybersecurity students from those who want a career in information technology. He explains that people who prefer to look at the bigger picture of how information security affects an entire system would be more interested in earning a degree in Cybersecurity.
What other kinds of student will do well in this program? Someone who likes a challenge. Jay says that while problem solving and critical thinking are important for any tech career, cybersecurity, in particular comes with the challenge of having no "one size fits all" solution.
"There can be multiple solutions to the problem, and I think that constructive creativity side of things is something that really motivates people," Jay says.
As the industry evolves, Full Sail's Cybersecurity grads are prepared to evolve with it. Adaptability is built into the degree program with courses that reinforce not just the technical processes behind information and data security but also the "why." Students learn motivations behind cyber crime and the reasons why certain defense strategies work.
"We're creating lifelong learners. We're trying to create people that understand the culture of the industry," Jay says. "We're trying to prepare students to be leaders in the field for that second, or third, or fourth job out. We're trying to prepare them to understand how to manage other people, how to manage the situations, and be able to grow in their career."
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