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This article was originally published in the TODAY Magazine Winter 2018 issue.
Now more than ever, the need for computer information science experts is high. The field, which covers a wide range of areas from digital forensics and cybersecurity to database and game design, is quickly growing and constantly changing. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information security occupations are expected to exceed a 25% growth rate over the next eight years.
Gwynedd Mercy University responds to this demand by continually monitoring and updating the Computer Information Science program so students are learning cutting-edge technologies. GMercyU’s CIS program has always been respondent to the needs of industry, giving students the opportunity to shape their degree according to their interests with concentrations in business, computer forensics, and web design and multimedia. But this year, the program offers several brand new student-centered spaces where students can apply what they are learning in the classroom in order to develop tomorrow’s technologies.
“The ability to pick my concentration was a big part of why I chose GMercyU,” Junior Patrick Timlin said. “Now with the new lab spaces, my classmates and I are able to put what we learn in the classroom into action.”
As part of the many new construction projects happening on campus, GMercyU recently added an Innovation Research Lab. Here, students can conduct hands-on research including robotics and software development.
This spring, GMercyU is launching an on-campus Hacking & Countermeasures Lab where students can learn hands-on about cyberattacks and cyberwarfare. The philosophy behind the Hacking Lab is relatively simple. If we don’t know how attacks are occurring, how can we deter or mitigate them? The lab will also serve as a place where students with a concentration in computer forensics can perform in-depth incident response exercises.
“With cybercrime and cyber-attacks on the rise, students need to learn the latest methodologies and software if they are going to compete in the job market,” CIS Interim Coordinator Cindy Casey said. “This space gives students a safe, hands-on environment where they can learn about the techniques hackers use and how to guard against, detect, and mitigate attacks.”
Students also have the opportunity to share what they have learned with the next generation of CIS students by volunteering at GMercyU’s after-school Girls Who Code Club where they mentor teens in programming, app development, and web design.
Initiatives like these not only give students additional skills, they provide resume-building experiences that aid in landing internships. Students have interned at both private and public institutions spanning a variety of industries such as IBM and L’Oreal Cosmetics. This summer, GMercyU Junior Patrick Timlin will be interning with The Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP).