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October 3, 2019

IT students can graduate with the cyber defense skills employers are looking for.

JCCC Information Technology students now have one more impressive line to add to their résumé, making them even more valuable to local, regional and national employers.

The College has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) through academic year 2024. The goal of the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security program is to reduce the United States’ vulnerability to cyberattacks.

National credibility

This means JCCC is one of the top schools in the country for cyber defense education (visit the Cyber Center webpage) and for producing professionals ready to work in cybersecurity. “As part of our yearlong application process, we mapped our curriculum to things we had to cover, no exceptions. Our graduates are getting the newest and best training in cyber defense,” says Andrew Lutz, Information Technology Chair.

IT students who complete certain courses receive a CAE-CDE certificate, in addition to their Information Technology-Networking Associate of Applied Science degree. Students take courses in Digital Forensics, Ethical Hacking and Cybersecurity Fundamentals that teach them how to protect computers, networks and data from unauthorized access or destruction.

With hackers coming up with new ways – almost daily – to steal information and break into networks, it is critical to stay on top of the most current cyber defense techniques. JCCC's specialized coursework provides the skills that industry leaders such as Microsoft, Cisco and Linux are looking for in new hires. “There are a lot of jobs in cybersecurity right now, and not enough people to fill them,” Lutz said.

Experience puts résumés on top

Lutz recommends IT students join the Cybersecurity Club, which competes in national cyber defense competitions and gives students practice in fighting cyber criminals. The competitions use puzzles and capture-the-flag types of games to challenge students to identify hackers, protect vulnerable websites and recover from ransomware attacks. After these skill-building exercises, students receive their own performance report to share with future employers.

Students also can get involved in several other cyber activities, hear from guest speakers and network with local groups.

Andrew Lane, IT Networking student and President of the Cybersecurity Club, is excited about the opportunities this designation gives him and others studying IT. “This will make our résumés really stand out to employers,” he said. “It feels good knowing I’m in a program that provides the best possible cyber defense training in the U.S.”

Make safety your priority

If you’re interested in a career fighting cyberattacks and helping to keep important information safe, investigate JCCC’s nationally recognized Networking and Cybersecurity program.