WHITEWATER, Wis.— UW-Whitewater began offering a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity this year. It is one of two University of Wisconsin colleges with this program, along with UW-Stout.

“It’s important to protect people’s personal information,” said UW-Whitewater senior, Jeremy Angles. “Cybersecurity is always growing as technology grows.”

Angle is pursuing a major in computer science and a minor in cybersecurity at UW-Whitewater. He said he hopes his expertise will set him apart to employers when he graduates this month.

“I hope to go into software development, but anything in the tech industry is my goal,” Angles said.

Job openings in the cybersecurity field are growing at a 20-25% rate each year, according to UW-Whitewater’s Kevin Kaufman. Kaufman is the director for the college’s Cybersecurity Center for Business.

“Just in Wisconsin right now, there are about 5,000 open cybersecurity jobs,” he said. “In the country, it’s over a million.”

As hackers become more skilled, the need for cybersecurity experts is only going to increase. 

“If you combined all the money from all the hacks out there, it would equate to the seventh largest economy in the world,” Kaufman said.

UW-Whitewater currently does not have enrollment data for its cybersecurity bachelor’s degree track, due to its newness. 

The college’s master’s degree program is three years old and has grown by 125% in one year. It currently has 36 students. There are 28 students studying cybersecurity as a minor, a 40% increase from 2020.

“Knowing whatever they [hackers] have access to is protected, hopefully gives people a bit of peace,” Angles said.

Cybersecurity is linked to the college’s Department of Computer Sciences.  According to Dean Frank Goza, it is one of the fastest growing departments on campus.

“Cybersecurity is so important to every enterprise you can possibly think of,” Goza said. “Hopefully, our students can go out and protect as many businesses as they can in our part of the world.”