Value of a CISS Degree

There is an urgent need in the global community for trained personnel in the cyber security field. President Obama has declared that “the cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.” Western’s Bachelor of Science degree in Computer and Information Systems Security (CISS) responds to this serious and expanding need by preparing graduates to fill high-demand jobs in four distinct but related roles in the computer security industry: computer network security administrator, secure software development specialist, and proactive and reactive digital forensic practitioner.

According to Dirk A.D. Smith, of Network World, “83 percent of federal hiring managers in a recent survey said it was extremely difficult to find well-trained cyber security professionals and a projected shortfall of 20,000 to more than 40,000 people is expected in the years to come.” The Department of Labor reinforces this projection by stating that cybersecurity is one of the top three growth fields of the next decade. Choosing a career in cybersecurity is timely and exciting!

Career Focus: Computer and Information Systems Security Roles

There are four different roles that may be filled by graduates of the program.


  1. Computer network security administrator. This is a system administration role with emphasis on establishing and implementing a security policy for an organization. Personnel in this role use available tools to protect the network against intrusion, monitor the system to detect intrusion, and provide strategies for recovery. This “cyber defense” role is fundamental to any computer security training program.

  2. Secure software development specialist. Personnel in this role are concerned with the production of secure, robust software. Ideally, all software developers would have some knowledge of these matters, but more typically, a software development organization may have just a small number of these specialists. Personnel in this role work in association with software development teams, advising on risk mitigation for common security vulnerabilities and monitoring or auditing software for proper use of security tools and techniques.

  3. Reactive forensic practitioner. Personnel in this role person are called upon after a computer system has suffered a serious security breach. Their task is to:
    • Help with recovery of the organization's assets and operability
    • Determine what happened during the security breach.
    • Help strengthen defenses to prevent similar events.

      This role could be relevant in a large corporation that can afford to go beyond role 1, or within a service company specializing in computer security and incident recovery for clients.

  4. Proactive forensic practitioner. Personnel in this role actively search for potential problems before they happen, capturing and analyzing malware before it has a widespread impact, identifying its characteristics so that it may be recognized elsewhere and determining the effect it is likely to have on an infected system. Personnel working in this role need extensive knowledge of computer systems and would normally need years of experience to be effective. It is hoped that the proposed program will help to accelerate the acquisition of the required knowledge and students' interest and motivation in this role.

CISS Degree gives you:

  • A competitive edge in the job market
  • Greater employment security
  • Increased earning potential
  • Career advancement

CISS Brochure

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Page Updated 10.22.2015