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.
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.