CS Classroom

Students in class with Assistant Professor Tom Austin, one of nine recently hired faculty members focusing on cybersecurity and big data (Christina Olivas photo).

The cybersecurity workforce of the future is taking shape at SJSU.

In the Student Union this summer, more than 75 students spent a week building skills, networking with tech leaders, and battling to win a capture-the-flag competition at the 2013 Western Regional Cyber Security Boot Camp.

And in classrooms across campus this fall, nine new faculty members are joining 20 veteran instructors to teach more than 40 courses in cybersecurity and the related field of big data.

The camp and cluster hires are major components of SJSU’s initiative to strengthen the nation’s defense against hackers, like those who made headlines last week by taking down The New York Times.

“As the largest public university serving Silicon Valley, San Jose State must take the lead in providing students with opportunities to become immersed in cybersecurity,” President Mohammad Qayoumi said.

Multidisciplinary Approach

CS Classroom

Assistant Professor of Computer Science Tom Austin, an SJSU graduate, returned to join a campuswide cybersecurity initiative (Christina Olivas photo).

The entire academic team — with expertise in a wide range of fields from computer science to psychology — is working together on research and new certificate and degree programs.

Professors are also connecting with industry, federal agencies and national laboratories on internships, research and a road map for addressing emerging issues in security and data science.

All of this work is positioning SJSU for future certification as a National Center of Academic Excellence for Information Assurance.

For now, the nine new hires, like the vets they join, are focusing on training SJSU students to attack the problem from every conceivable angle.

Here’s a quick introduction.


Tonia San Nicolas-Rocca of the School of Library and Information Science is teaching a new cybersecurity course offered to SLIS graduate students enrolled in the school’s fully online master’s program.

David Schuster, of the Department of Psychology has conducted research focusing on the cognitive aspects of cybersecurity, situation awareness in human-automation teams, and perceptual training for real-world pattern recognition.

Jeremiah Still of the Department of Psychology has conducted research revealing implicit cognitive processes that can be used to help designers develop intuitive interfaces.

Younghee Park of the Department of Computer Engineering conducts research focusing on network, software and system security, with an emphases on malicious code detection, botnet analysis, insider threat, and traceback to determine attack origin.

Meikang Qiu of the Department of Computer Engineering focuses on embedded systems, cybersecurity and trust computing, and high performance and cloud computing.

Tom Austin of the Department of Computer Science is an SJSU graduate whose interests include security and programming languages, web security and malware analysis.

Big Data

Michelle Chen of the School of Library and Information Science is teaching information visualization and developing curriculum on big data analysis for SLIS students.

Thanh Tran of the Department of Computer Science holds a master’s in entrepreneurship and management, a master’s in business information systems and a doctorate’s in computer science.

Scott Jensen of the Department of Management Information Systems focuses on the management, integration, discovery and strategic use of data within enterprises and across organizational boundaries.

Read more about SJSU’s cybersecurity initiative.