Wanted: ‘Cyber Ninjas’

...as attacks on vital computer systems proliferate, surveys show a serious shortage of talent to combat them. Banks, military contractors and software companies, along with federal agencies, are looking for “cyber ninjas” to fend off a sophisticated array of hackers, from criminals stealing credit card numbers to potential military adversaries.

“There is a huge demand, and a lot more schools have created programs,” says Nasir Memon, a professor at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University in Brooklyn. “But to be honest, we’re still not producing enough students.”

Mr. Memon’s school created a master’s degree in cybersecurity last fall. So did Indiana University, whose security degree is in “informatics,” an academic field in which students find new uses for information technology. Starting in the fall, Georgia Tech will offer a master’s degree in information security online; the program is aimed at computer professionals who want to learn to deal with computer threats. N.Y.U. Poly, whose master’s program is also online, prefers students with bachelor’s degrees in computers, math, science or engineering. But it will consider career changers who will take basic computer classes. Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh; Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind.; and George Mason in Fairfax, Va., are among other universities with master’s programs in cybersecurity.


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