Safety first! Learning to prevent cybercrimes.

Cybercrimes pose a real threat to many businesses worldwide. At HS Offenburg, a group of international students learns to help enterprises to put up strong defenses.

Cyber-attacks, data theft, ransomware and phishing scams present enormous challenges to enterprises around the world. At the University of Applied Sciences Offenburg, students learn how to develop solutions to these challenges in the international master’s program “Enterprise and IT Security” (ENITS).

No doubt: Cybercrime is on the rise. The research firm Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that global cybercrime costs will increase by 15 percent per year over the next five years, reaching $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025. These figures are alarming, and something needs to be done to curb cyber-attacks, ransomware crimes and phishing attempts.

At the University of Applied Sciences Offenburg, also known as HS Offenburg, students from all over the world learn how to prevent cybercrimes. In the international master’s program “Enterprise and IT Security” (ENITS), the students analyze and safeguard data and implement strong cybersecurity measures. Since this field is extremely dynamic, the curriculum is currently updated, and the contents focus on business-related and highly applicable issues.


Real-world projects rest on a solid theoretical foundation


One of the students is Abhishek Singh (25) from India. After two modules in encryption and data security during his bachelor’s program in India, he realized the importance of keeping data safe and decided that this was something he wanted to learn more about. He gained valuable practical experience in his first IT job working on a government-related project before he took action to pursue his master’s degree.

With the help of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), Abhishek Singh quickly identified HS Offenburg as the place he wanted to study. Not only matched the curriculum what he was looking for, he also believes the ENITS international master’s program is the right starting place for his future as an international risk, vulnerability and cybersecurity manager.

“We learn about data mining, data and risk analysis, mobile security, different ethical frameworks, cryptoanalysis, software security andEU law for a better understanding of the legal aspects of cybersecurity, and much more”, he says. All these skills and knowledge will help him find solutions to increase a company’s IT security in the future. As cybercrime knows no borders, being in an international program and learning intercultural competencies along with EU law were other advantages of the ENITS program for Abhishek Singh.

A highlight of his studies so far was the practical project he worked on with four teammates. “In this project, I didn’t only learn how to implement data security software, but also to manage a team and a real-world project within six months from start to finish.”

What surprised Abhishek Singh about the HS Offenburg was that he received so much support finding a work-study position in the industry where he could apply his theoretical knowledge and contribute to a company’s success. The fact that the HS Offenburg organized a career fair was a definite plus in his eyes. “You can find a good job and then learn from your colleagues how to solve real-world problems,” he says.


Intercultural competencies are important to meet global challenges


His class of 25 students is very international. “There are people from Pakistan, Ghana, France and Lebanon, just to name a few,” he says. This has many advantages: “It’s good to be a part of the international community on campus. You learn about other cultures and other traditions.” The HS Offenburg actively encourages this: On international day, people share traditional meals from their countries of origin as well as some customs and traditions from their culture. For the HS Offenburg, this is a pretty big event: Of the approximately 4000 students, a good 500 come from abroad, from more than 70 countries.

For Abhishek Singh, being a part of the international community has another benefit: “You learn how people from other cultures think about the same subject. So you can always broaden your mind, broaden your thoughts and learn from other students as well.”

Support for international students in practical and cultural matters

Learning from others has played a big part in his studies in Germany right from the start. In HS Offenburg’s buddy program, he was paired with a student from a higher semester to help with his first steps in Germany, both to find his way around campus as well as in practical matters such as registering with the city, getting a SIM card for his phone, and finding a good supermarket nearby. “That really helped me a lot”, Abhishek Singh says. Because the experience had been so valuable for him, he became a buddy himself this year. “I helped two students, one from Ghana and one from Pakistan.”

Diversity and integration play a big role at HS Offenburg. “The people here are very welcoming,” says Abhishek Singh. He is especially fond of the senior service. The senior service started in 2002 and is the oldest program of its kind in Germany. It is organized by the HS Offenburg and the city of Offenburg.

Local senior citizens who are interested in supporting intercultural understanding can volunteer and take part in tours and events with international students. During these events, they discuss everyday topics and current events and learn about different cultures. The international students, in turn, learn about the German culture and the local culture in Baden-Württemberg. For many, this has led to friendships that lasted much longer than their time at HS Offenburg. The program has won several awards, most recently a prestigious prize from the German Foreign Office for excellent support of international students in Germany.

In addition to mutual cultural understanding through nature hikes and cultural events, one aspect of the senior service program has been especially enjoyable for Abhishek Singh. “I love to cook,” he says. And with the help of the senior service, he learned to make traditional food like “Kässpätzle”, a special kind of cheese noodles, pretzels and lemon cake. What the regional food tastes like? “Very good,” Abhishek Singh says. “But you have to come to Baden-Württemberg to really experience it.”


Tip for interested students from abroad:

For more study programs in the field of Information Technology in the German Southwest, check out our  study search and enter "Information Technology" as a search term.

Author: Siri Schubert