Computer Science, Software Engineering, and Computer Engineering are all degrees where we’ve seen graduates succeed in starting cybersecurity careers. In my experience, those students who have a solid foundation of computing (the “cyber” part) are in the best position to apply security principles to computer systems. This is a vague way of saying: those who can learn how computers work and fail will be in the best secure them.
The Computer Science degree here at Rose is a *very* good preparation for a career in cybersecurity; you will learn to think deeply not only about how computers work and how to write software, but also about the side-effects and broad-picture impacts of what you build. The Software Engineering and Computer Engineering degrees are also very good ways to build the foundation, though all approach computing from a different angle.
This minor is designed so all students at Rose can pursue it. All of our engineers should build cybersafe things to solve the world's big problems, not introduce new cybersecurity problems with their work. Rose-Hulman graduates engineers and scientists who have a broad view of their field and consider the societal impacts of their work. Our chemical and mechanical engineers should know how their designs are impacted by the computers that help automate the machines and critical infrastructure they build. This minor is intended to enrich their existing degree program so that they understand the safety implications of whatever they engineer or study so they engineer things that are, by default, secure from cyberattacks and safe for people to use.
Students at Rose-Hulman can pursue a minor in cybersecurity, which involves studying the ethical, societal, technical, and systemic aspects of securing computing and information systems. For more details, see Cybersecurity Minor Details.
At Rose, although we do not have a cybersecurity degree, we have lots of cybersecurity opportunities that can be woven into your course of study. Our club explores topics they find interesting and forms competition teams each year to compete in forensics, defense, and offensive security competitions. This year they’ve already participated in four, and won a forensics competition against some teams from Purdue (where they have a cyberforensics degree)! Right now we have a team getting ready to compete in the MITRE eCTF, an offense/defense competition with an automotive keyfob focus this year. They’re going to secure an electronic key design, then try to defeat the security of other teams’ solutions.
We also have regular seminars – speakers who we bring in from off campus to talk about cybersecurity. In the Fall of 2022 year we’ve had speakers talk about critical infrastructure (a retired cybersecurity professor), HTTPS (security engineering lead at Mozilla), usable security (Indiana University researcher), supply chain security (GitHub guy), and a couple others. Because of the small size of Rose, students often get small-group or one-on-one time with invited experts.
And of course we have cybersecurity electives you can take to fill elective spots in many degree programs. During your first term at Rose, you can take “Practical Security” and get a very light touch (~ 1 hour per week) introduction to some concepts and learn more about what other opportunities exist on campus. There’s a second in this class sequence offered during winter quarter, and then we have more exciting electives like a competition class, a "Cybercrime & Digital Forensics" class, “Foundations of Cybersecurity” class, a reverse engineering class, and more.
Our students end up doing a variety of things in cybersecurity. Some create startups, some go into defense contracting (or work for the military), some go to tech companies to work on security teams, some work for cyber consulting firms, and others pursue an advanced M.S. or Ph.D. degree in cybersecurity. The flexible nature of these opportunities at Rose enable all of these career paths.