Education - Page 2 - Innovative technology degrees on the rise

- Page 2
Innovative technology degrees on the rise
Maryland schools take the lead on cybersecurity, UX and data science

By Sarah Cavill, Contributing Writer

It won’t send shockwaves through any community to learn that technology degrees are becoming more and more commonplace. From social media directors to programmers, there isn’t a field that doesn’t require smart and savvy computer knowledge. But while much of this expertise comes from native users, who’ve never lived a life without email, there are other areas of growth presenting new challenges and opportunities for students from all academic backgrounds. These multidisciplinary approaches to cybersecurity, data science and user experience (UX) have lead to the creation of degree programs at a number of Maryland schools.

At the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), the master’s of professional studies in UX Design (MPS UXD), was created in late 2016 as a response to the growing need across all industries for more nimble, efficient and effective user experiences. UX encompasses interactive and visual design, information architecture and human-computer interaction.

“The UX Design program was designed with visual artists and designers in mind who have an interest in translating their existing skills and knowledge to various industries where user experience design enhances daily functionality. The basic principles/objectives of the program were based on the increased focus on user experience across a large variety of industries that span consumer and industrial products and services,” says Crystal Shamblee, graduate program director for the program at MICA.

Most of the students pursuing the MPS UXD are already in the workforce, and can directly apply the skills they are learning to their daily work experience. “The program is focused primarily in UX Design, the curriculum doesn’t include traditional foundations art courses, which is one of the unique aspects of a master of professional studies – students are taking course content that is directly related and focused on their field of interest,” says Shamblee.

Yao Adantor, who graduated from UMBC in 2014 with a degree in industrial psychology, is a student in the MSP UXD at MICA. He previously worked in the start-up and consulting world, teaching himself some of the basics of UX design, but he wanted to take his knowledge further and grow his career. Adantor appreciates the program’s integrative approach. “The field of industrial psychology primarily focuses on the use of science backed data and human behavior fundamentals, to both study and improve workplace as a whole. The UX experience is using those same fundamentals of human behavior to curate and

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UMUC works closely with the nation’s security agencies

The programs offered at University of Maryland University College (UMUC) Center for Security Studies (CSS), are designed to offer a range of options for students interested in cybersecurity, forensics and cyber investigations, cyber policy, and software development.

With classes taught online, UMUC prides itself on degree programs that are easily accessible for working students, and those already in established careers looking to enhance their knowledge or complete a degree.

At CSS, students get an opportunity to learn in “the backyard of prospective employers,” located between the Department of Defense’s Cyber Command in Maryland and the Cyber Corridor in Virginia, taught by seasoned professionals, and by offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees and certifications, CSS at UMUC is cutting edge.

It also boasts the UMUC Cyber Padawans, an award-winning cyber security team, competing in cyber games all over the world. To ready for battle, students track and defeat cyber attacks at the UMUC Virtual Security Lab and navigate case studies in the online classroom.

UMUC has received many honors, including a designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security and as a National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence by the Defense Cyber Crime Center Academic Cyber Curriculum Alliance.

The close relationship between CSS and the cyber community offers research and educational resources, networking opportunities and a chance to work with industry insiders to meet the nation’s homeland and security needs. •