From Theory to Practice: The Value of an Online Education

Capella Information Assurance Program Offers Convenience and Quality to Working Students Fred Johnson, a senior manager, global application security at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, graduated from the master's program in Information Assurance at Capella University last year. Soon after, he was promoted to his current job, responsible for worldwide application security within the company. "The academic degree from Capella played a significant role in acquiring this position," he says.

Johnson was so impressed with the whole education experience, in fact, that he enrolled for the PhD program and is currently a doctoral program student at the university.

Capella University is among five 100% online universities to be accredited by the National Security Agency (NSA) as a centre of academic excellence in information assurance (IA) education. "However, Capella is one of the very few online universities that offers a true Information Assurance specialization at the bachelor's, master's and PhD level," says Dr. Steve Brown, CISSP-ISSAP, Core Faculty and Program Director Information Assurance & Security at Capella University.

Being online is a huge selling point for working adults, who seek convenience and a quality education in information assurance, Brown says. "Our education is for students who want to get their hands dirty and for whom being online is 2nd nature," says Brown.

Among the programs offered:

  • BS in IT with Specialization in Information Security;
  • MS in IT with specialization in Information Security;
  • PhD in IT with specialization in Information Security;
  • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and Security.

The Capella Difference

As a working adult, Johnson loves the convenience and online experience that Capella offers. He finds the instruction and course deliverables very informative and in depth. The faculty members are approachable and experts in their fields of study. "They are constantly challenging students to think innovatively," he says, "which pushes each of us to maximize our performance in conceptual thinking and practical application of security principles."

Among the qualities that appeal to students such as Johnson:

  • Industry Best Practices: The curriculum in each program level is mapped to industry best practices, and both the undergraduate and graduate programs incorporate the framework for specialization in Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP®) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) body of knowledge developed by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2).

  • Advanced Research: The Information Assurance and Security PhD specialization provides opportunities for advanced skill development and doctoral research in such topics as information confidentiality, integrity, governance, compliance, and risk management. "Going forward someone in the authority for security will need a doctorate degree with the ability to think and talk security," says Brown.

  • Social Sciences element in Information Security: There is also a conscious effort by the department to include an understanding of the social sciences element of human behavior in all Information assurance (IA) program curriculums, which is such an integral part of information security. Students learn about the psychology and mindset of criminal hackers, identity thieves and much more.

  • Real-World Exposure: At all program levels, students are required to work in real world projects and engage actively in class discussions and assignments. The university is well connected both within the government and private sector that helps students in acquiring internships and prospective jobs through their professional and alumni network.

Johnson has seen immediate payback on the job, saying the program has helped him to introduce new ideas, foresee trends and make better on-the-job decisions.

"The program at Capella is designed for a professional to think and be creative in security and its applications," Johnson says.

For more information on Capella University's Information assurance programs, visit the website.

About the Author

Upasana Gupta

Upasana Gupta

Contributing Editor, CareersInfoSecurity

Upasana Gupta oversees CareersInfoSecurity and shepherds career and leadership coverage for all Information Security Media Group's media properties. She regularly writes on career topics and speaks to senior executives on a wide-range of subjects, including security leadership, privacy, risk management, application security and fraud. She also helps produce podcasts and is instrumental in the global expansion of ISMG websites by recruiting international information security and risk experts to contribute content, including blogs. Upasana previously served as a resource manager focusing on hiring, recruiting and human resources at Icons Inc., an IT security advisory firm affiliated with ISMG. She holds an MBA in human resources from Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa.

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