Want job security? Pursue San Jac’s new cybersecurity bachelor’s degree

Mar 5, 2024Courtney Morris
Cybersecurity Bachelor of Applied Technology Degree

Can a community college give you industry certifications, experience, and a bachelor’s degree for an exploding tech field?

Check. Check. Check.

Beginning in fall 2024, San Jacinto College is offering yet another higher degree at a lower cost: the Bachelor of Applied Technology in information technology with an emphasis in cybersecurity.*

If you’d enjoy protecting individuals and companies from ever-increasing cyberthreats, get the knowledge and skills you need to enter the high-wage, high-demand cybersecurity field.

Why this new bachelor’s degree?

Many students graduate with a bachelor’s degree and no experience or have experience but no higher degree, so the Bachelor of Applied Technology meets the top requirements of most cybersecurity job postings.

While many tech companies hire based on skills, some still require a bachelor’s degree for good starting positions and better promotions. So said industry members on San Jac’s tech advisory committees.

“It still remained a barrier for some of our students to promote or even get entry-level positions with less than a bachelor’s, so it made sense,” said Kevin Morris, South Campus dean of business and technology. “Why don’t we cover all the bases?”

San Jac decided to expand its cybersecurity training from certificates and an Associate of Applied Science to a bachelor’s degree, increasing graduates’ marketability and meeting industry need.

From cloud and smart technology to e-commerce platforms, technology is advancing at breakneck speed. With that growth come skyrocketing cyberthreats and attacks. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 35% job growth in the cybersecurity field from 2021 to 2031 — higher than the average for all occupations.

What does the program offer?

The Bachelor of Applied Technology program will include…

  1. Face-to-face & online learning

  2. Daytime & evening courses

  3. Extensive hands-on experience

  4. Network security, cryptography, & ethical hacking

  5. Broader legal & ethical issues

Entry-level courses will be available College-wide, with program-specific courses at the South Campus.

You may complete the bachelor’s degree in two years if you’ve already earned San Jac’s Associate of Applied Science in cybersecurity. A related associate degree — like networking, cloud computing, or help desk — may require some foundational cybersecurity courses.

San Jac’s information technology services staff are creating a security operations center at the South Campus Engineering and Technology Center for hands-on, real-life cybersecurity and analytics experience. Whether you’re pursuing the associate or bachelor’s degree, you’ll analyze live data alongside the College’s cybersecurity staff to practice monitoring, detecting, and responding to real cyberthreats.

“Students will gain a working understanding of how cybersecurity enables the business to achieve success,” said Joshua Dray, San Jac chief information security officer. “This is missing in traditional cybersecurity training, as students are not usually trained to understand how cybersecurity fits into a business context.”

Cybersecurity courses will include a hands-on component in the security operations center, including an optional semester-long internship. Eventually, students may even partner with the College’s LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy, & Technology to learn about the cybersecurity needs of operational technology environments.

“As Houston has a large oil and gas industry, this would be a prime target for students to specialize in, providing more career opportunities,” Dray said.

Why should you pursue this degree?

The College’s newest bachelor’s degree will give you a flexible pathway to enter the cybersecurity field:

  • Start as a security analyst or security operations center analyst
  • Specialize in network/cloud security, threat intelligence, incident response, and more
  • Advance to high-level positions like chief information security officer

Plus, you’ll pay the same tuition as a community college freshman or sophomore for upper-level courses.

If you’re looking for versatile training to match a versatile market, look no further. With a cybersecurity degree, you can find a job that aligns with your unique interests and strengths.

Cybersecurity jobs are popping up as fast as new cyberthreats, and the field offers plenty of opportunities for career advancement. According to texaswages.com, information security analysts earn a median annual salary of $110,512 in the Gulf Coast region.

“The demand for cybersecurity experts is expected to continue growing as businesses and governments invest more in digital security,” Morris said. “This program ensures students are well-prepared to enter a field with abundant career prospects.”

Read More About BAT Degree

*Pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

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