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Information Technology Professionals – the Sheriffs of the new Wild West

Adirondack Community College student staring at computer screen

If you are a nightly news watcher, you are all too familiar with stories of data leaks, identity theft, computer hacking, and cyber attacks. In the last year, data breaches were reported in major companies including Sony, UPS, and Home Depot, among many others. Additionally, the US Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that 16.6 million people over the age of 16 experienced one occurrence of identity theft in 2012.

In a recent story on the Sony attack, CBS “60 Minutes” reporter Steve Kroft interviewed Jon Miller of computer security firm Cylance. Miller described the current landscape as “For the most part, the Internet is completely unregulated. It’s the Wild West, it truly, truly is the Wild West right now. What we’re seeing are people getting pulled out onto the street and shot, and it’s like, ‘Where’s the sheriff?’ There’s no sheriff.”

With more of these kinds of sophisticated hacks expected in the future, more and more IT professionals are needed to protect sensitive personal and corporate data in new and different ways.

The New Sheriffs in Town

The number of educated workers in information technology has been on the decline from its peak 59,488 Bachelor’s degrees conferred in 2004 to 37,994 in 2009 (National Center for Education Statistics). Which is why now, more than ever, jobs in information technology are so readily available.

According to employment prospect data from the New York State Department of Labor, of the nearly 7,800 jobs average available in computer and mathematical operations, all of them have either favorable or very favorable employment prospects, with the most jobs available being in software application development.

To help better provide the needs of cyber-security in New York and beyond, SUNY will be the home of the nation’s first college of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity, housed at the University at Albany. The college will make New York and SUNY major players in state and national security education.

Like business degrees, degrees in computer science and information technology have applications in many other fields, like engineering, finance, law enforcement, design, communications, and education.

To help fulfill the growing IT infrastructure needs in New York State, 6 Open SUNY+ programs were selected to address how New York protects its data. The full list of Open SUNY Computer Science and Information Technology degrees include:

Nearly 300 online students will benefit from the additional supports and services provided to them as an Open SUNY+ student.

For students who are not ready to enroll in a degree program, or students who take traditional courses on a campus, individual courses are also available for viewing through the Open SUNY Navigator.

Information technology degree programs aren’t the only programs that Open SUNY+ supports. Open SUNY+ also supports degree programs in: health care, business, criminal justice, education, and many other areas. These programs by Open SUNY provide access to high-quality higher education options with the tools and experiences needed to be successful after graduation, all elements and options for a path to success.

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    Written by Emily Schwartz

    Emily Schwartz is the Coordinator of Open SUNY Communication and Projects.

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