Information Assurance and Security

Information Assurance and Security is offered as both a concentration for those seeking a computer science degree within the Mike Cottrell College of Business and as a minor for any student studying at the University of North Georgia (UNG) Dahlonega campus.

This pathway provides students with necessary skills to enter the field of information security by learning how to manage and protect against risks associated with the use, processing, storage and transmission of information. Potential jobs in this field include working as an information assurance analyst, database administrator, IT security engineer, or computer network architect, among others.

“I would recommend this concentration to any computer science student because it enforces the need to take computer security courses,” Ethan Hills, senior computer science major, said. “I believe that my knowledge of computers has improved by understanding security and how to secure a network.”

Computer science students wishing to pursue this concentration are required to complete four elective courses: Information Security (CSCI 3050), Computer Security (CSCI 3250), Computer Forensics (CSCI 3350) and Network Security (CSCI 4650).  An additional course, Management of Information Security (CSCI 3550), is required for those pursuing the minor.

“I chose the IAS concentration after I wanted to get a minor in cybersecurity,” Hills said. “I wanted to focus my major on computer security as I found a passion for understanding how to protect a network from malicious attacks.”

When encouraging students to consider this concentration, Dr. Ahmad Ghafarian, professor of computer science, explains to them the nature of the market and high-demand for graduates to fill jobs in information security. He also points out to students that these jobs pay well.

In fact, the average information security analyst with a Bachelor’s degree makes $92,000-$93,000 a year. Job growth in this field is projected to grow at a rate of 28% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the 7% average for all other fields.

Hills’ favorite courses have been Computer Forensics (CSCI 3350), Intelligent Systems (CSCI 3450), and Information Security (CSCI 3550). Ghafarian and Dr. Bryson Payne have been two of his favorite professors, as they have “a strong commitment to teaching students new topics and challenging the way the approach computer science,” Hills said.

“Through all my studies, research projects, programming assignments and security labs, I have developed the foundation needed to assist my community in perfecting the way we view computers and how we secure them,” Hills said “I am truly blessed to have called UNG my school for the past four years.”

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