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Profiles
Profiles
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11

C
omputer hackers are a growing
omputer hackers are a growing
global concern, and Middlesex is
global concern, and Middlesex is
growing and adapting its Computer
growing and adapting its Computer
growing and adapting its Computer
Science Program to keep up.
Science Program to keep up.
Recently updated and expanded, MCC's
Recently updated and expanded, MCC's
Computer Science Transfer Program now
Computer Science Transfer Program now
features two tracks. In addition to the original
features two tracks. In addition to the original
features two tracks. In addition to the original
associate in science degree program, a new
associate in science degree program, a new
associate in science degree program, a new
Secure Software Development (SSD)
Secure Software Development (SSD)
Concentration opened this spring.
Concentration opened this spring.
"It's no longer good enough to write code,"
"It's no longer good enough to write code,"
"It's no longer good enough to write code,"
said Sanaz Rahimi, Associate Professor of
said Sanaz Rahimi, Associate Professor of
Computer Science. "Now, you need to know
Computer Science. "Now, you need to know
Computer Science. "Now, you need to know
how to write secure code."
how to write secure code."
Intended to prepare students for transfer
Intended to prepare students for transfer
to a bachelor's degree program in computer
to a bachelor's degree program in computer
to a bachelor's degree program in computer
science, the new SSD track focuses on developing
science, the new SSD track focuses on developing
science, the new SSD track focuses on developing
secure software that performs only its intended
secure software that performs only its intended
secure software that performs only its intended
functions without the presence of vulnerabilities
functions without the presence of vulnerabilities
functions without the presence of vulnerabilities
that hackers or others with malicious intent
that hackers or others with malicious intent
that hackers or others with malicious intent
can exploit.
can exploit.
"Security of the nation's computer systems and
"Security of the nation's computer systems and
"Security of the nation's computer systems and
infrastructure is a critical and rapidly growing
infrastructure is a critical and rapidly growing
infrastructure is a critical and rapidly growing
field," said Rahimi. The U.S. Department of Labor
field," said Rahimi. The U.S. Department of Labor
field," said Rahimi. The U.S. Department of Labor
projects there will be approximately 43,700 new
projects there will be approximately 43,700 new
projects there will be approximately 43,700 new
jobs for computer/software programmers by
jobs for computer/software programmers by
jobs for computer/software programmers by
2020, she added.
2020, she added.
"Given the great national importance of
"Given the great national importance of
cybersecurity and its expansive growth, it's
cybersecurity and its expansive growth, it's
imperative to train and prepare community
imperative to train and prepare community
college students in this area," said Rahimi.
college students in this area," said Rahimi.
"Companies and businesses like to see these
"Companies and businesses like to see these
kinds of courses and programs on resumes."
kinds of courses and programs on resumes."
Like MCC's new IT Cybersecurity Program,
Like MCC's new IT Cybersecurity Program,
the Secure Software Development Concentration
the Secure Software Development Concentration
conforms to the framework for cybersecurity
conforms to the framework for cybersecurity
education developed jointly by the U.S.
education developed jointly by the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security and the
Department of Homeland Security and the
National Security Agency (NSA). Program/
National Security Agency (NSA). Program/
curriculum development was funded by a grant
curriculum development was funded by a grant
Innovating with a New Secure
Software Development Program
COMPUTER SCIENCE
from BATEC, in consultation with MCC's
from BATEC, in consultation with MCC's
Information Technology Advisory Board.
Information Technology Advisory Board.
Keeping up with industry demands and
Keeping up with industry demands and
standards is huge, Rahimi said. News stories
standards is huge, Rahimi said. News stories
about hackers breaking into major banks' or
about hackers breaking into major banks' or
retailers' computer systems and stealing
retailers' computer systems and stealing
customers' personal information are becoming
customers' personal information are becoming
more and more common.
more and more common.
"Those breaches in security are usually not
"Those breaches in security are usually not
just one thing," she said. "There are a lot of
just one thing," she said. "There are a lot of
different pieces involved software, the
different pieces involved software, the
network, the hardware and they all have
network, the hardware and they all have
security requirements.
security requirements.
"It's very complicated and it's constantly
"It's very complicated and it's constantly
changing. So, we have to keep changing what
changing. So, we have to keep changing what
we teach each semester."
we teach each semester."
MCC's new SSD concentration is one of the few
MCC's new SSD concentration is one of the few
secure-software development programs offered at
secure-software development programs offered at
a community college, she added. "Other two-year
a community college, she added. "Other two-year
colleges offer cybersecurity courses, but a degree
colleges offer cybersecurity courses, but a degree
program with this concentration is fairly unique."
program with this concentration is fairly unique."
In fact, Rahimi, who was hired in 2011, was only
In fact, Rahimi, who was hired in 2011, was only
introduced to the topic in graduate school. "I took
introduced to the topic in graduate school. "I took
my first cybersecurity course as part of my Ph.D.
my first cybersecurity course as part of my Ph.D.
program! When I came to Middlesex, I really
program! When I came to Middlesex, I really
wanted to offer cybersecurity courses to under
wanted to offer cybersecurity courses to under-
graduates," she said. "There is such a need."
graduates," she said. "There is such a need."
--
Kathy Register
Kathy Register
FACULTY
Focus
Why is STEM important? The ultimate goal of knowledge is improving human lives. To that end, the single most important field of knowledge is
discovering the laws of nature (science and math) and using them to control nature (technology and engineering). STEM has been responsible for
extensively improving human lives during the past centuries. Moreover, advanced nations use STEM to create more efficient, competitive,
innovative and vibrant economies.
What do you like best about teaching? Teaching is an investment in the next generation. Training minds, seeing them grow, seeing those "Aha!"
moments in students' eyes and educating future leaders, engineers, scientists and experts are the most rewarding moments of my life.
Favorite classroom moment? At the end of a class last semester, a student stopped by to tell me she was successful in her job because of the
skills she learned in my class! That is what we strive for.
Sanaz Rahimi
Associate Professor of Computer Science
Computer Science Professor Sanaz Rahimi teaches
how to write secure code in the Secure Software
Development Program.