DFW Universities Rev Up Cyber Curricula


A heatmap — built by Cyberseek to illustrate the need for cybersecurity talent — shows Texas ablaze with nearly 25,000 cybersecurity openings, among more than 300,000 open jobs nationwide.

“This chart doesn’t [even] reflect the fact that many security programs are underfunded,” writes Wayne Reynolds, advisory chief information security officer at Kudelski Security Inc., an international cybersecurity firm that has substantial operations in Dallas. “Sadly … organizations wait for a breach, then when that ‘large emotional event’ happens, they knee-jerk and overspend on security.”

Universities in DFW are working to fill that talent void.

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT DALLAS: Cyber Security Research and Education Institute

UTD’s Computer Science Department serves as the base for the Cyber Security Research and Education Institute, which comprises one of the nation’s largest research groups dedicated to cyber-protection. The institute has garnered nearly $50 million in extramural funding for research and education in the last 14 years. The institute team serves as a national resource by conducting advanced research in cybersecurity threats and solutions, offering an education in all aspects of cybersecurity, and training students with the capability to carry out cyber operations.


If triathalons measure athletic fitness, Capture the Flag competitions — where online security savants attempt to outwit and outhack each other — represent a team’s fitness in the cyber arena. UTA hosts and competes in hackathons across the state and DFW Region — and has done extremely well. A team with UTA students Aaditya Purani and Jonathon Kirkpatrick finished sixth in the world at the Cyber Security Awareness Weekend cyber-security Capture the Flag finals in November 2019.

THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS: Recognized Cyber Defense Excellence

Much of UNT’s cybersecurity work is carried out on campus by the affiliates of the Center for Information and Cybersecurity. The center brings together individuals and organizations with an interest in information security, computer security, information assurance and cybercrime.

UNT’s cybersecurity research and education is recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research, as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security.

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY-COMMERCE: Rising Stars in CyberSecurity

TAMU – Commerce has assembled a team of the rising stars in cybersecurity teaching and research. TAMU – Commerce’s faculty has industry and teaching experience that gives it the background to tackle the gnarliest problems, particularly in the areas of resilience, cyber-physical security and risk awareness.

SMU: Educating Cyber Defenders

As a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense SMU is committed to helping close the 21st century cyber security skills gap. Cybersecurity research and education have long been a focus of SMU’s Computer Science Department, bolstered by the launch of the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security in 2014. The institute researches new ways to secure information technology, even as the nature of this technology continues
to evolve.

This article is part of the 2020 Higher Education Review Magazine.