A new cybersecurity certificate could be available to students in Fall 2018, pending the approval of the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees.

The trustees will vote on the cybersecurity certificate program during their regular meeting next week.

Mike Borowczak, director of the Cybersecurity Education and Research Center, said that CEDAR helped to formulate the cybersecurity certificate. Borowczak said the new certificate program will be comprised of existing courses from the computer science department.

“We are basically taking existing courses and putting them together to value the work that students are already doing in their coursework to recognize that they have a background in cybersecurity,” Borowczak said. “It’s actually a pretty easy certificate in the sense that we are not talking about building anything new or developing anything that doesn’t already exist.”

Borowczak said the reason the certificate program is being formulated was because UW, the College of Engineering and department of computer science in particular, are looking to apply to become recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. One of the requirements, he said, is having a way to recognize students for having cybersecurity training.

“Many of our students are already able to do this, we are just emphasizing it a little bit more and making sure employers know our students are capable of doing it,” he said. “This is about making it more visible, what our students are capable of doing.”

The certificate will be comprised of about six courses and Borowczak said any student can achieve the certificate, even if they are not studying computer science. Learning outcomes will include basic data analysis, cyber defense, cyber threats and fundamental security design, among many others. Borowczak said the proposal before the trustees is pretty straight forward, with immediate benefits and no significant cost.

“There’s no direct costs that are required for this certificate, it’s a pretty nice, positive return on this immediately,” Borowczak said. “It’s incredibly valuable. But ultimately it’s about letting employers know what our students are capable of.”

Borowczak said that cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important.

“It’s super critical for us to realize that, as we continue to evolve with technology and continue to have technology driving our lives, essentially there is a big risk that we will be attacked through these internet devices or anything that it connected through cyber devices,” Borowczak said.