All posts by Marilyn Shaw

Cybersecurity Degree Promises Lucrative Careers

cybersecurity student works on computer

Now that many businesses have swiftly migrated online due to the impact of COVID-19, the need for qualified, skilled employees in the cybersecurity field is great. In response, St. Petersburg College has launched a fully online Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity.

Working closely with the College of Computer and Information Technology (CCIT) Advisory Committee, SPC projected the need and started moving forward with the new degree with support from the Department of Education (DOE). In 2018, the college received an $83,450 grant as part of the DOE’s Pilot Program for Cybersecurity Education Technological Upgrades for Community Colleges initiative. SPC enhanced its existing cybersecurity program and created the new program, with development spearheaded by SPC’s Dean of CCIT Dr. John Duff. SPC’s B.A.S. in Cybersecurity, the first of its kind at the state college level in the Tampa Bay region, provides students with an affordable, flexible option for high-wage, high-demand sustainable careers in cybersecurity.

Great Expectations

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of information security analysts in Florida will soar by 38 percent through 2026. The Tampa Bay region is home to 19 global corporate headquarters, four major military installations, and thousands of corporations and infrastructure agencies, all of which are vulnerable to cyberattack.

“Across the U.S., there’s increased demand to fill upwards of 500,000 positions. In Florida alone, there are 24,000 jobs,” Duff said.

SPC’s new bachelor’s degree meets this need and offers current and future IT professionals the opportunity to retool and expand their skills. The program builds on students’ core knowledge in cybersecurity and technical areas like computer networking, digital forensics and computer security. These upper division courses focus on technologies and practices designed to protect information and physical resources such as computers, networks, programs and data from damage or unauthorized access. With entry-level salaries starting at $50,000, graduates can explore careers as security analysts, security engineers, security software developers and more.

Cybersecurity student Lionel Plaisance said he is excited about the program and prepared for the workforce.

“I’m excited for my future career,” he said. “There are so many opportunities available.”

Read more about SPC’s program in the Summer issue of SPC Magazine.

City grant program inspires college pursuits

Cell Phone Repair Pic for Article

It has taken Quincy Youngs two years to start getting his life back on track. What’s another couple of hours?

A two-hour bus ride takes the 20-year-old St. Petersburg resident from the homeless shelter where he regularly currently resides in north Pinellas Park to the St. Petersburg/Gibbs campus at St. Petersburg College (SPC), where he thrives as a participant in the PITCH program.

Funded through an Educational and Entrepreneurial Training Program grant from the City of St. Petersburg, SPC’s PITCH program is a part of the Cohort of Champions training program under the My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper initiative. SPC’s PITCH program is designed to help at-risk African American men gain work readiness skills, obtain workplace certifications and enroll in postsecondary education. They also receive guidance regarding career and entrepreneurship options.

SPC’s second cohort of PITCH students is expected to complete their CompTIA A+ IT hardware and software certification course this month. The College also is offering a Cell Phone and Tablet Repair Technician course for PITCH students. The grant pays for the students’ tuition and certification test fees, as well as providing a free college and career readiness courses, mentoring and support services.

Youngs was a graduate in the inaugural PITCH CompTIA A+ class that wrapped up this summer. His success in the program has led to a position as an assistant to the instructor of the current PITCH cell phone repair course. His instructor created the position specifically for Youngs, impressed with his student’s enthusiasm and growing IT interest.

“A technical and rapidly changing field such as cell phone repair requires students to think outside of the box. Quincy is that type of student – he is not afraid to take the time to tackle a new challenge,” said Dwayne Josephson, SPC instructor.

“After observing how well Quincy was excelling in the PITCH A+ class, I was glad to give him the opportunity to attend the cell phone repair classes as my student assistant where he exceeded my expectations again.” Josephson added.

Youngs first heard about the program while at the Pinellas County Justice Center, where he was slated to appear before a judge for a previous missed appearance.

A worker from a community health center approached him and told him about the PITCH program offered at SPC. Youngs was intrigued. While waiting for his case to be called, he reviewed the program brochure, detailing opportunities in IT.

SPC worked with the City and regional businesses to identify careers and industries where a criminal record did not preclude an applicant from being hired. In addition, high demand careers were targeted for the PITCH program.

Youngs, who has a misdemeanor conviction, is optimistic about his future.

“I want to try to apply for a job at Apple; get my foot in the door there,” he said. Youngs also is looking at spring classes at SPC.

Higher education is no longer an impossible dream for Youngs, who admitted to being nervous on his first day at SPC.

“Knowledge is power,” he said.

Participants in PITCH are taking the opportunity seriously, according to Youngs.

“A lot of us were on the same track,” Youngs said of his classmates. “It’s nice to see other people take advantage of PITCH and improving their lives.”

The students’ instructor was equally impressed.

“All of the students in the Cell Phone Repair class have given 110 percent to the program. With each repair came a new real-world challenge they had to solve to be successful,” Josephson said. “Each day I see them putting in the hard-work needed to be a success in the field. It has been my honor help these young men get the real-world experience they need.”

Praising the program, SPC and the City of St. Petersburg, Youngs encourages individuals to contact officials on PITCH.

“Keep your head up. Bury your heads deep in those books,” he said.

Technology internship leads SPC grad to full-time job

Information technology graduate Amy Mitchell recommends St. Petersburg College’s computer technology program for its “ease of access and affordability.”

SPC degree programs offer a clear path from a certificate to a two-year degree to a bachelor’s degree, increasing your earning potential as you go.  During her transition from a career in the culinary world to computer networking, Mitchell got real-world job skills through her technology internship with Revel Systems. Watch her success story.

Technology internship leads to employment

SPC’s partnership with employers, give students real-world experiences in the workforce. Graduates, like Mitchell, are able to enhance their skills through a technology internship and ultimately land a job in their field. Revel Systems looks for talented professionals to help their company as it grows.

SPC technology program supports the growing industry

The information technology industry in Florida is expected to grow quickly over the next 10 years. In the Tampa Bay region, the median hourly wage in 2011 was $29.55. SPC is supporting the expected increase in demand by establishing partnerships with employers and equipping students with the knowledge.

SPC College of Computer and Information Technology offers individuals the best options to advance their careers at an affordable rate and with flexibility. Students can earn three technology development and management degrees (A.A., A.S., and B.A.S) for only $10,000. Some of the degree options include:

Learn more and enroll today in SPC’s College of Computer and Information Technology.

Information technology program prepares students for workforce

St. Petersburg College’s Information Technology program prepares their students to enter the workforce right after graduation. SPC’s IT students can look at Vology, a company in the business of reselling IT infrastructure products and services, as possible employers. Organizations like Vology, look for individuals coming out of school that are passionate about information technology.

Vology’s CEO, Barry Shevlin, believes that SPC is doing a great job for their students. “The folks that are coming out with the CCNA degree — that experience aligns very well with a number of positions in our organization,” explained Shevlin.

Watch Vology CEO, Barry Shevlin video.

SPC graduates are qualified industry professional

Besides championing SPC’s efforts for their IT students, Shevlin emphasizes that it’s the specialized, manufacturing-focused education that works really well for information technology organizations like Vology.

The quality of students from SPC attracts information technology industry leaders. SPC graduates are able to go directly into positions in local IT departments with confidence, and apply the experience and knowledge they gained at SPC.

Spc offers a variety of IT programs

SPC’s Information Technology programs include:

  • Bachelors of Applied Science
    •  Technology Development and Management B.A.S. Degree.
  • Associate in Science degrees
    •  Degrees in Computer Networking
    • Computer Programming and Analysis, I.T. Security
    • Technology Management
    •  Web Development

All of the A.S. degrees transfer to the B.A.S. Degree in Technology Development and Management.Also a variety of Certificates are available for students in:

  • Computer Support Certificate
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Certificate
  • Linux System Administrator Certificate
  • Computer Programmer Certificate
  • Computer Programming Specialist Certificate
  • I.T. Security Certificate
  • Web Development Certificate

Learn more about SPC’s College of Computer and Information Technology at

Technology leader Tech Data employs SPC graduates

St. Petersburg College partners with Tech Data to employ recent Computer and Information Technology graduates.  The College of Computer and Information Technology (CCIT) creates a learning environment that helps students to excel in the workforce. Watch this video about SPC’s partnership with Tech Data.

With many industries and business requiring the need for digital information, SPC’s CCIT program gives a guided pathway for degrees and certifications in a number of areas and a bachelor’s degree in Technology Management. Some of the degrees include:

Employment with Tech Data

Tech Data, a distributor of technology advanced hardware and software, is an industry leader that is seeking college graduates from SPC. Angie Beltz, VP of Cisco Solutions at Tech Data, highly recommends SPC’s College of Information Technology. Beltz acknowledges that individuals are successful through the training received at SPC which closes the talent-skills gap in the industry.

Recently, 35 graduates were employed by Tech Data and two-thirds received several promotions. Across Florida and the Tampa Bay region,  careers in Information Technology are expected to grow at a much higher pace over the next 10 years than other jobs.

To advance your career in Information Technology, explore St. Petersburg College’s Computer and Information Technology offerings.