Cyber security program takes byte out of cybercrime

Has this happened to you in the last month? You open your inbox only to be greeted by the subject line “Data Breach.” A cybercriminal has targeted your bank, mobile phone carrier, or another company you do business with and stolen private data -- your data.

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Protecting digital infrastructure and personal information from cyberattack is 24/7 work, and the demand for cybersecurity specialists is exploding. That’s why San Jacinto College has offered cyber security training for the past 15 years.

“We have seen facilities, financial institutions, and even a pipeline getting shut down due to cyberattacks,” said Dr. Roger Watkins, South Campus department chair of business and computer technology services.

San Jac offers three cyber security specialty options: a certificate of technology (33 credit hours/three terms), an Associate of Applied Science degree (60 credit hours/four terms), and an advanced occupational certificate (18 credit hours -- for those who already have industry experience). Students learn how to keep hackers, viruses, and cyberterrorists from damaging computers and networks.

Although the North Campus offers most computer information technology courses, the full cyber security program is available at the South Campus. Courses cover…

  • Operating systems
  • Networking
  • Software applications
  • Programming logic
  • Firewalls
  • Computer system forensics
  • And much more

The training prepares students for entry-level certifications such as Security+ and lays the groundwork for advanced certifications. In addition, the College helps students find internships and pays for some industry certification tests.

“Students who find a way to get experience while in school and earn certifications will be at an advantage for getting a position in the industry,” Watkins said.

Cyber security graduates can land entry-level jobs that lead to advancement opportunities. In the Gulf Coast region alone, information security analysts draw six figures a year ($104,643 median annual salary,

Some Texas universities also offer cyber security bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, but students should consult San Jac’s computer information technology department chair and the transfer institution for the best transfer degree plan.

San Jac focuses on student success, and the cybersecurity program is no different, offering the best instructors and training environment to set students up for industry success.

“We offer high-quality instruction from qualified, skilled cybersecurity faculty,” Watkins said. “We also recently relocated the program to our new Engineering and Technology Center, where students have access to the latest state-of-the-art equipment.”