University of Denver launches one-year cybersecurity master's program

Some estimates show that there are roughly 12,000 cybersecurity job openings in Colorado. The University of Denver is stepping in with a new accelerated MS program in cybersecurity at a 50 percent discount aimed at helping fill some of these positions.

"The average salary for a cybersecurity engineer is roughly $170,000 and very few master's programs in cybersecurity currently exist, this unique degree offering is an attractive option for those wishing to switch careers and improve their earning potential," according to a statement from the University of Denver.

The master's program is being offered through the University of Denver's Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science and classes will begin in the fall. While a computer science background isn't required for the program it says that strong analytical and quantitative skills are required for the program. The university also is offering bridge courses in computer science to help those without a background in computer science.

Still it's difficult to tell just how many positions are really available in the field in Colorado. Erik Mitisek, executive director of the university's nascent Project X-ITE, recently told The Denver Post that Colorado Springs may have the highest concentration of cybersecurity experts in the country. He added that it's hard to know because many employees in the field may have special clearances or can't talk about the programs they're working on.

Project X-ITE launched last fall as a collaborative initiative between DU's Engineering/Computer Science, Law and Business Schools to promote entrepreneurship at the university and across Colorado. Project X-ITE hosted its first event, the Cybersecurity Summit at the Cable Center on April 19. "We anticipate hosting additional cybersecurity-focused events through Project X-ITE that students from the cybersecurity master's program will be able to organize, lead and/or attend," JB Holston, Dean of the Ritchie School.

Holston says they anticipate having up to 20 students per cohort beginning the fall. "This will be an ongoing offering," he adds.

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Chris is a Denver-based freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. He covers sustainability, social issues and other topics.
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