COD Receives National Recognition in Cyber Defense Education

By: Angela Mennecke

Tony Chen and Jason Wagner stand on a stage accepting their cyber security certificate

The Center for Cyber Defense Education at College of DuPage continues to be a leader in cybersecurity academic programming.

COD recently was redesignated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-C) through academic year 2027 by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The redesignation follows a comprehensive review of the College’s curriculum, courses, program improvement and professional development plans by an external peer review team of cybersecurity practitioners, government representatives and academics.

"This designation puts COD on a national map and brings well-deserved recognition to the Computer Information Technology program in addressing the critical shortage of professionals with cybersecurity skills," said COD Computer Information Technology Professor Tony Chen.

In the face of increasing threats, skilled cybersecurity professionals are expected to be in great demand in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field is projected to grow by 28 percent in the next decade. And according to Cyber Seek, there currently are more than 600,000 position vacancies. 

“We are trying to prepare our students to bridge the gap in our national cybersecurity labor shortage,” said Chen. “Students coming through our program will be well equipped with the critical knowledge and skills they need to succeed in this in-demand and high-paying field.”

Housed within COD’s Computer Information Technology (CIT) program, the Center for Cyber Defense Education is dedicated to the development, promotion and support of education, collaboration and innovation in security technologies and management, information security assurance and digital forensics across multiple academic and professional disciplines.

Recently ranked 29th in the nation for the Best Online Associate in Cyber Security by University HQ, COD offers a Cyber Security and Defense Associate in Applied Science degree as well as a six-course training program aligned with core knowledge units required by the NSA and DHS. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a certificate from COD on the behalf of the NSA and the DHS.

The CIT program also offers students a seamless pathway to continue their education with established transfer agreements with four-year universities to complete a bachelor’s degree. The program currently has articulation agreements with Lewis University, Illinois Institute of Technology, DePaul University and Northern Illinois University.

Center for Cyber Defense Education

Pictured: COD Computer Information Technology Professors Justin Wagner (holding certificate) and Tony Chen (to his left) with representatives from NSA and DHS.