Hands-On Cyber Education

Freshman Computer Science and Cyber Engineering students at Louisiana Tech are Living with Cyber. Modeled after our highly successful Living with Lab engineering courses, the freshman computing curriculum utilizes a unique hardware platform the size of a credit card to provide students hands-on projects in learning the intricacies of computing that results in an immersive learning environment. At its core, Living with Cyber is about cultivating problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Students look at problems (typically in the cyberspace domain), design algorithms and propose them as solutions, and analyze them. The solutions are then implemented using the unique hardware platform. Ultimately, the curriculum provides students with an overview of computing, forms the foundation of their academic degree, and helps prepare them for the numerous career opportunities in many computing fields.


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For admission information to Louisiana Tech University, call the Admissions office at +1-800-LATECH-1 or e-mail

For more information on admissions, please visit our Study with Us page.


The following three courses taught at Louisiana Tech are part of the Living with Cyber curriculum:

  • CSC/CYEN 130 – The Science of Computing I
    An introduction to computing, algorithm analysis and development, computer programming, data structures, computer architecture, and problem-solving. This is the first Living with Cyber course.
  • CSC/CYEN 131 – The Science of Computing II
    Intermediate algorithm analysis and development, object-oriented programming, high-level data structures, computer architecture, and problem-solving. This is the second Living with Cyber course.
  • CSC/CYEN 132 – The Science of Computing III
    Additional coverage of algorithm analysis and development, object-oriented programming, data structures, computer architecture, and problem-solving; applications of computing. This is the third Living with Cyber course.

Scope and Opportunities

Software Developer and Computer Systems Analyst are #1 and #2 Best jobs.
— US News & Report 2014

800+ new IT professional positions in infrastructure, application development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing in Bossier City, LA.
— CSC Corporation announcement on February 18, 2014.

In the past five years, demand for cybersecurity jobs has grown 3.5X faster than computer jobs and 12X faster than any other job in the labor market.
— Burning Glass Technologies, Labor market firm

Device Requirements

To participate in the Living with Cyber curriculum, students are required to have an appropriate laptop and the curriculum’s hardware platform. Students participating in the 2020-21 Living with Cyber curriculum will be provided the Raspberry Pi based hardware platform at no cost at the beginning of the first course (CSC/CYEN 130). Note that students are required to purchase their own laptop (in fact, this is a College of Engineering and Science requirement).

Laptop Requirements

A laptop is REQUIRED for all students in the College of Engineering and Science (COES). Recommended laptop specifications for Living with Cyber may slightly differ from COES specifications and are listed below:

Recommended System

• PC with a recent version of Windows (8 or 10 is recommended) or a Debian-based Linux (Linux Mint is recommended) – 64-bit operating system required

• Intel or AMD with SSE2 support (e.g., Intel Core, Core 2, i5, i7; AMD K8, Phenom CPUs)

• 8 GB of RAM (minimum)

• 240 GB hard disk (or solid state) drive (minimum)

• 12-inch display (or larger) recommended

• 2 USB ports (recommended)

• WiFi capability*

• SD card reader* (recommended)

• Ethernet port* (recommended)

• Netbooks are not recommended

Instructor’s System (in case you’re curious)

• PC with Linux Mint 17.3 “Rosa” (Xfce desktop); see

• 2.5 GHz (dual core) processor

• 8 GB of RAM

• 512 GB solid state drive

• 17.3-inch display

• 5 USB ports

• WiFi capability

• SD card reader

• Ethernet port Notes:

1. Please remember that your laptop will often go wherever you go, so think twice before purchasing a heavy laptop. However, the space of a larger laptop is often useful when programming. Also, it may be worth the investment to purchase a battery that provides extended life. Note that, when running on battery power, a laptop is considerably slower.

2. If you will be purchasing a new laptop, models starting around $500 are acceptable. Purchasing a $1,500 laptop will generally not help you be more successful. Upgrades that make sense: increasing RAM, upgrading to a solid-state drive.

3. If you come to Louisiana Tech with an Apple (e.g., a Mac), please note that software installation and hooking up to the Raspberry Pi may be more involved and perhaps even problematic. In some COES courses, booting into Windows is required, since much of the software is Windows-based. If you do have an Apple, please note that technical support from your instructor will not be possible nor provided.

4. If you plan to use an older laptop, we recommend that you arrive at Louisiana Tech with a fresh installation of a recommended operating system. A computer service center in your town or a computer savvy friend should be able to help you with this installation if you have difficulty.

5. We recommend that you use your computer primarily for academic purposes. If you choose to load a variety of games, movies, and other media files, you may experience diminished computer performance.

6. The installation of anti-virus/anti-malware software is strongly encouraged before students arrive, particularly if you select Windows as your operating system. There are many free options.

* If your laptop does not have this internally, a USB adapter (purchased separately) works fine.

Software: Word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software are required. Of course, MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint work if using Windows; however, LibreOffice Writer, Calc, and Impress are recommended FREE alternatives (for Linux, Mac, and even Windows). These should be installed before coming to Louisiana Tech.