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Liaquat Hossain

Training Cyber Defense Professionals

Kearney, Nebraska is Home to the Next World-Class Cyber Systems Program

May 2019

You can expect most major companies to have IT teams. But at a time when businesses—and the U.S. government—are more protective than ever of sensitive information and money, many organizations are seeking expert help. Businesses and national security groups want cybersecurity professionals on staff—immediately—and they’re willing to invest in hiring top talent.

student at computer
UNK student Kylie Longwell works in a cybersecurity classroom inside Otto Olsen building.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is meeting the demand by offering students a cybersecurity operations major. It’s one of only a handful of learning institutions in the Midwest to do so. Liaquat Hossain, chair of the UNK cyber systems department, believes the university has the potential to create a world-class educational program. He’s so confident in the potential of the program, he left his position at the University of Hong Kong to take the position at UNK.

Liaquat has good reason to be positive. UNK is scheduled to complete a new STEM building in spring 2020. The $30 million, 90,000-square-foot facility will promote collaboration and innovation across numerous academic departments in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Liaquat is imagining a transformational cyber systems department involving all three academic colleges at UNK. After all, he argues, technology impacts every occupation, from cyberbullying and online education in K-12 schools, to national cybersecurity, to GPS-guided machinery on Nebraska farms.

“Companies are offering an average salary of $100,000 for cybersecurity professionals.”

UNK’s cybersecurity operations major prepares students with hands-on, in-depth, technical training. Because professionals in this field are in such high demand, companies are offering them an average salary of $100,000. UNK’s cyber systems department includes more than 150 students pursuing a major or minor in the field. Most of them will complete an internship during their time at UNK and many will have a job lined up before graduation. The program had a job placement rate of 100% in 2018, with three quarters of those grads choosing to stay in Nebraska.

With an impressive new facility, a strong career outlook for students, and world-class potential, UNK is continuing to keep the University of Nebraska at the front of the pack in a competitive security field. As the University continues to receive support from its state, the future looks bright for cybersecurity job training.

Discover our Podcast Series

“Leading Nebraska” tells the stories of researchers, students and staff who are making a real impact. Join us in March as we follow Chris Kratochvil, UNMC’s Global Center for Health Security Distinguished Chair. He discusses the world-renowned infectious disease center and how UNMC is providing solutions needed to face the next pandemic.

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