IT pros look to community colleges for upgrades in cyber security training

11.04.2013 | By

IT pros look to community colleges for upgrades in cyber security training

Jeannie Peng-Armao -- November 5, 2013



PASADENA, Texas – When the social media account of the United States president is compromised, it begs the question, "what is safe?"

Part of the solution may now be in the hands of colleges, like San Jacinto College, that teach IT pros how to launch an online counter attack against the opposition. Professionals like Rob Rawlins of Pearland, who are already working in such areas as Web development and programming, are realizing how much industry needs them to go back to the drawing board for certifications in the one area of IT that is experiencing some serious news buzz.

"Information technology has always been high on my priority list," said Rawlins, who has worked with sensitive information before in the U.S. Air Force. "The Internet isn't going anywhere, and we are hearing more and more about security leaks, so this has led me to want to break into the cyber security world."

Rawlins recently completed a Security Plus course, part of a series of cyber security courses funded by a U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Information Technology Training for Tomorrow (IT3) grant, at San Jacinto College. The grant allows professionals, who are long-termed unemployed or underemployed, to receive free certification training in a number of information technology and business and professions courses.

Just about all industries are at risk of online security breaches in banking and finance, health, oil and gas, aerospace, manufacturing, and education. With Houston set as the nation's energy capital, the number of cyber attacks against nuclear, power, and water infrastructure more than doubled in 2012, citing 198 cyber security incidents, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

"Anyone with a connection to the Internet is fair game to a hacker, from a cell phone owner to a large company," said Jerelyn Hughes-Glenn, director of computers/IT training with the San Jacinto College Continuing and Professional Development division. "Several major companies have admitted to being hacked. Others have been but will not admit it. All of them are looking for people with these high level skills to become a part of their security team."

Through Global Knowledge, the College is able to offer more than 1,500 courses. High demand options include Certified Ethical Hacker, CISSP, CCNA, and Security Plus. Other courses include business and professions to give project managers an edge in the industry. Approximately 1,500 job ads for September 2013 requested candidates with hacker-like skills, a 17 percent increase to one year ago, according to Wanted Analytics. Within these ads, approximately 560 employers required the Ethical Hacker Certification.

Hughes-Glenn said the need for more professionals specializing in the area of cyber security is so great that even middle school students are starting to learn more about the security needs of industries.

"We are starting with middle school age children, trying to get them interested in security," said Hughes-Glenn. "We recently attended a session with Cyber Patriots,  an organization whose mission is to introduce high school age students to cyber security. We plan to work with high schools to help mentor these students so that they will be ready for our courses after graduation."

The cyber security courses at San Jacinto College address how to secure computers, servers, routers, firewalls, wireless connections, how to perform penetration testing- the testing of applications and websites for vulnerabilities or security breaches, security policy making, governance, compliance, and more.

Cyber security courses are being offered throughout the year at San Jacinto College. For more information, visit or email or

About the Continuing and Professional Development division

This noncredit division of the College provides training for both current and future employees in the professional and technical job sectors, as well as provides participants with open enrollment course options to enhance their lives. Professional and technical training is available through contract training, open enrollment and grant funding. For more information, call 281-476-1838.

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150 or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.