Unique major offers hands-on experience

PNW’s new cybersecurity major is unique.

The only four-year Chicago area school program designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, the major emphasizes hands-on experience.

Manghui Michael Tu, director of the Center for Cybersecurity, said the cybersecurity program prioritizes hands-on activities and most classes include a two-hour weekly lab. The hands-on experience also includes demonstrations and projects, he said.

“Our cybersecurity program considers interactive learning as the key to promote student learning and proficiency in cybersecurity, to better prepare students for their future career in IT and cybersecurity,” Tu said. “It provides a state-of-the-art course curriculum … which consists of the fundamentals of IT, network, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, as well as more advanced topics in security management, computer forensics, ethical hacking, and security system design.

“The cybersecurity undergraduate program provides student learning with the innovative cyber range technology NDG Netlab+ and other commercial and open-source cybersecurity technologies,” he said. 

NETLAB+ is a remote access software that allows students to complete labs anywhere and anytime, according to NDG, its developer.

The Center of Academic Excellence credential, sponsored jointly by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, further distinguishes PNW’s program.

“The joint CAE designation sponsorship from the two government agencies demonstrates the high quality of the education and learning for PNW’s cybersecurity program,” Tu said. “The designation will also provide more opportunities for us to engage with government, industry, and K12 community to address the cybersecurity challenges through projects and collaborations.”