April 13, 2024
Mastering the Cyber Industry
Professor Eman El-Sheikh leads University of West Florida's Center for Cybersecurity, which aims to help fill the cybersecurity talent pipeline with its undergraduate and MBA offerings.

Photo: Conland Taylor/UWF

Mastering the Cyber Industry
MBA student Kentin Wallace values the facetime he gets with experienced professors and classmates. He says the fast-paced program is preparing him to take and pass the certifications he'll need to succeed in the cybersecurity field.

Photo: Bernard Wilchusky/UWF

MBA Programs

Mastering the Cyber Industry

Carlton Proctor | 3/21/2024

UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA | CYBERSECURITY MANAGEMENT

In the global cybersecurity wars there are no borders, no battlefield front lines, no rules of engagement and there is no immunity from attacks.

Hackers’ free range of prey includes major corporations, governments large and small, hospitals, individuals and even non-profits. Ransomware attacks in 2023 increased by 50% over the previous year, according to the latest reports from the FBI and the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Not surprisingly, the demand for highly trained cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. is enormous and growing apace, says University of West Florida professor Eman El-Sheikh, who leads the school’s Center for Cybersecurity.

“There is a huge need globally for more cybersecurity professionals, and, in fact, it’s one of the few professions that has not declined due to recent economic downturns,” says El-Sheikh. “In the U.S. today, there are an estimated 700,000 open jobs in cybersecurity, and I think that may be a low estimate.”

Established in 2015, UWF’s Center for Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing academic programs on campus, and recently the discipline has been added to its MBA program to further address the pressing workforce issue.

“We’re trying our best to educate and train our students and to even leverage artificial intelligence to help with some of this deficit, but the workforce gap isn’t shrinking,” says El-Sheikh.

Hoping to soon do his part to fill that gap is MBA student Kentin Wallace. “Most positions in the cybersecurity field require certifications and clearance levels, but based on my courses so far, I should be well-positioned to take and pass any needed certifications,” says Wallace.

Wallace says he appreciates the face-to-face interactions he has with his professors and fellow students in a classroom setting. “What’s more, many of my professors have real world cybersecurity experience and this has been very helpful to my learning,” he says.

And the best single piece of advice he would offer to any undergraduate student thinking of pursing an MBA in cybersecurity?

“The MBA program at UWF is designed in a way that you must learn a lot of required course material over short periods of time. So, be prepared to work hard,” he says. 

Tags: Education, Feature, MBA Programs

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