Carnegie Mellon University

The Rise of the Privacy Engineer

We live in a data economy. Nearly every product, service or process with which we interact collects and processes some data about us. This data goes on to feed machine learning algorithms designed to predict our tastes, our habits, our future behaviors, or future possible health ailments to name just a few of the many different ways in which our data is consumed. Along with this increasing dependence on personal data, we have seen the emergence of increasingly stringent regulations designed to keep organizations that collect and process our data accountable. Regulations such as GDPR and CCPA also come with steep penalties for organizations that fail to meet their requirements. These developments have in turn created unprecedented demand for professionals capable of operating at the intersection of law and technology and led to the emergence of Privacy Engineering as a highly desirable career and one for which there is a significant shortage today.

Because they are trained to interface with product managers, legal professionals, UX designers and software developers, privacy engineers play a unique role in shaping the development of new products and services, helping achieve business objectives while addressing consumers’ expectations of privacy.

Norman Sadeh
Co-Director, Privacy Certificate Program

A Hands-On Certificate Program for Fully Employed Professionals

In 2013, in response to this emerging need and anticipating rapid growth of the profession, Carnegie Mellon University launched a first of its kind one-year full-time program designed to train people with a technical background to become privacy engineers. Program graduates have been in high demand, with many hired to work for big name tech companies as well as smaller organizations, non-profits and government. Despite its success, the program is unable to accommodate professionals who cannot afford to leave their jobs and spend a year or more in Pittsburgh to retool as privacy engineers. The Carnegie Mellon University Certificate Program in Privacy Engineering, designed to accommodate students working in industry who cannot afford to leave their jobs, offers a condensed version of the University’s Master’s Program in Privacy Engineering.

Upon completing the intensive 8-week program with coursework offered remotely over weekends, students will have gained a deep appreciation and practical knowledge of the many facets of privacy engineering. The program revolves around a combination of mini-tutorials, class discussions, and hands-on exercises designed to ensure that students develop practical knowledge of all key privacy engineering areas. In the process, they learn about legal and public policy considerations, fundamentals of information security, privacy-by-design concepts, methodologies for engineering privacy in software, usable privacy and security, privacy enhancing technologies, as well as mathematical and logic foundations of privacy. The certificate program culminates with students working in small teams under the supervision of program faculty on a capstone project designed to capture many of the material they learned in the program. At the end of the program, students are awarded an official Certificate in Privacy Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

The program is available for individual enrollment and can also be offered to cohorts of students from a single organization. Cohorts are expected to range in size from 15 to 25. For more information about the program, contact us.