By Sharon Stevens, Education Reporter
CLAYTON, Mo. (KSDK) - The threat of cyber attacks is a sign of the time in this age of computers and smartphones.
Cyber security has been in the forefront with recent stories surrounding U.S. military leaks. A local university is training students to be on the frontline of this cyber war.
Starting this fall, Fontbonne University will be one of only two Missouri schools offering a bachelor's degree in cyber security.
Educators say the idea is to use mathematics and computer science and other courses to help students understand the science behind the threats.
Fontbonne is hoping at least 15 students will enroll in the initial program that begins in August.
Program Director Yi Yang says labor analytics predict that buy the year 2020, there will be a 22-percent increase in the hiring of cyber security majors.
"Any company, institution or organization needs the protection for their data and also they want to minimize their information from the risks," said Yang.
NSA, Schnucks, the Wildey Theatre are all victims of cyber theft.
Karl Faust,a recent Fontbonne graduate, sayssafety and security are the wave of the future for colleges and universities.
Just down the street from Fontbonne at Washington University, students will be able to study for a master's degree in cyber security management. The program also begins in the fall.
The recent rash of high-profile security breaches including allegations against fugitive Edward Snowden, is a big part of the reason for educators and companies to push the CS major.
The Snowden factor will be part of Fontbonne's first-year curriculum.
"We will teach students how to prevent this kind of incident in the future and how to defend themselves against this kind of event,"Yang said.
The other undergraduate degree program in Missouri is at Southeast Missouri State University.
Local companies are also working with Fontbonne on the new degree program, including Master Card, Edward Jones and Emerson Electric.