Cybersecurity: Virtual Crime-Fighting, Real-World Rewards

January 27, 2017

This academic year, Piedmont Technical College launched a new cybersecurity program to fill a growing need for this skill set in information and computer technology professions.

“We do a lot of research to stay on the cutting edge,” said Lesley Price, information technology department head. “The new cybersecurity program came out of those efforts. Anyone can look at the news headlines to see the growing need for these skills.”

Students in PTC’s computer technology program can now choose a concentration in cybersecurity. With this new concentration, those students can begin building a foundation for entry-level positions in this emerging field.

The concentration will provide students with the concepts and skills of cybersecurity, including security of systems and infrastructure in business and industry. Students will learn how to protect networks and defend information systems from attack. Students who complete the program will also be prepared to test for a professional certification in the field—Certified Ethical Hacker.

“As an IT professional at any company, you have to know the loopholes,” said Price. “You have to know the backdoors that exist within your company’s technology infrastructure. Our program will show students how to discover and address these vulnerabilities.”

The need for professionals with this skill set is very real. Fraud and identity theft are among the crimes identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as serious issues, and trained experts are needed to track down perpetrators and prevent illegal activities.

Because of the growth in cybercrime, the field of cybersecurity is still evolving right along with technology, generating jobs at a much faster pace than the national average. For instance, employment opportunities for Information Security Analysts are expected to grow by 18 percent over the next decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Because technology spans all industries, being skilled in computer data analysis opens up dozens of career doors beyond the government-related fields you might associate with cybersecurity. The specialized training required for these positions leads to jobs that are not only in demand but high-paying. In fact, the average pay for security analysts in South Carolina is $71,600 according to BLS.

“We have high expectations for our students,” said Price. “We want to graduate the best students, with the right skills to meet the needs of employers in our region. This emphasis on security will help students develop a skill set that would benefit many businesses throughout our state.”

Contact Lesley Price at (864) 941-8746 or visit www.ptc.edu/cyber to learn more.