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Steve Chaplin
IU Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spinning door for students in IU's security informatics program powered by jobs, jobs, jobs

Master's program seeks techies with broader experiences in political science, psychology

Feb. 13, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University professor L. Jean Camp has a problem in that she can't keep her security informatics students in class: They keep finding jobs before they finish the master's degree program that IU initiated just five years ago.

Camp, director of the School of Informatics' Master of Science in Security Informatics program, counts about one-fourth of her students as having left for jobs before completing the program. And the remaining students, almost to the number, have jobs waiting upon graduation.

Enrollment, MSSI

Security informatics students at IU are finding jobs waiting for them upon graduation; up to one-quarter are taking jobs before completing the program.

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"You hear a lot right now about under-employed and over-qualified college graduates, that the workplace is saturated. This is absolutely not the case in security," said Camp, a researcher whose work at the intersection of security and society has pulled in over $3.3 million in tech security grants for IU in the past 60 days.

"Security is about trust, and it is difficult to outsource trust and oversight," she said. "Security, because it is about who to trust and how to manage risk, has an inherent human component. That's why we're looking for students with backgrounds in psychology, business, political science, as well as from computer science and math. This is an area when being well-rounded is an asset."

With Internet technology-related occupations among the fastest growing of all occupations, the need for security and privacy are part of that wave. And the jobs pay well.

Average median salary in the U.S. for a new employee with a master's degree and no job experience is $45,000, but Camp's students are entering the job market averaging about 50 percent more, at over $68,000 annually for their first job. The National Association of Colleges and Employers just released its list of college majors with the highest salaries, and three in the top 10 were technology-based. And last month, leading IT labor analyst Foote Partners said 14 percent of the 157,000 jobs created in the U.S. were information technology-based.

"I graduated with my Master of Science in Security Informatics on Dec. 14, 2012, and I started by new job three days later," Evan Julian said. "As I was completing my degree, I applied for several jobs all over the U.S. and in several other countries. In every case, I heard back from each company and interviewed with them all before going with Apparatus Inc. out of Indianapolis."

Another MSSI student, Michael J. Keel, won't graduate until May, but he already has a job in information security with the world's largest professional services company, PwC (formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers).

"MSSI has allowed me to interview with a wide variety of jobs," he said. "The hiring potential with MSSI is more than I could have asked for, as I was able to land interviews with several different companies and had multiple offers to choose from. The program allowed me to be put in a career position that exceeded my expectations."

Since the first MSSI graduates began hitting the workforce less than two years ago, they've been gobbled up by the likes of General Motors, the U.S. government's National Security Administration, Apparatus, Cerner Corp., Cigital, InCNTR, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Wellpoint and Wireless Generation, according to Kate Caldwell, director of career services at IU's School of Informatics and Computing.

Camp still sees myriad opportunities for students interested in research that can be supported by a large contingent of associated IU assets like the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, the Global Network Operations Center, the Research and Education Networking Information Sharing and Analysis Center, and IU's Pervasive Technology Institute.

The school offers a Ph.D. program in security informatics to benefit those interested in long-term research, but the focus for the master's degree program is about jobs.

"This is designed as an internship-focused program, with no thesis requirement," Camp said. "The focus of the MSSI is on foundational knowledge, technical skills and professional practice. Students earn real network skills and real work experience while they are in the program."

Paid security informatics interns have worked across a broad stroke of the economy, including with Wellpoint, Cigital, NSA, Microsoft, PARC and the Brookings Institute, and through international internships in Japan.

Camp said the deadline for international students to register for the Fall 2013 MSSI program is March 15; for U.S. students it's June 15.

For more information or to speak with Camp, please contact Steve Chaplin, IU Communications, at 812-856-1896 or