By Amy Taylor
Cybersecurity is a growing field that will need more experts in the coming years. Northern Virginia Community College’s (NOVA) Woodbridge campus is helping prepare students to go into this field by partnering with George Washington University, to offer an Applied Associate of Science degrees in Cybersecurity.
With their proximity to D.C., Northern Virginia residents are close to many job opportunities with government agencies and contractors once they have completed this program.
AAS in Cybersecurity
This degree prepares students for real-world job scenarios in the field of cybersecurity. The curriculum is mapped to Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency education standards. It is designated by the agencies as a Center of Academic Excellence for two-year institutions.
“All the courses are practical, very hands-on,” said Walter Pehrsson, associate professor of information technology at the Woodbridge Campus. “As far as internships go, we have a few students get internships at GWU, but more have gone right into the field and gotten jobs.”
This program differs from the Information Science Technology Program, which is currently offered at the Arlington campus. “Although they overlap, cybersecurity is more about locking down your network and your computer. IT is more of the administrative side. Also, forensics is in the cybersecurity program,” Pehrsson said.
GWU is making the transition to a four-year university nearly seamless for students in this degree program with its pathway program. “GWU accepts up to 60 credits and will accept AAS degree. Some [universities]want the AS degree because of the higher level of math and science required. GWU requires a 3.0 grade point average,” Pehrsson said.
This program is for students who want to enter the field of Cybersecurity, students who are presently in IT or a security field who want to update their skills and increase their knowledge, or for students in other fields who want to augment their abilities with information security knowledge and skills.
Students who want to prepare for the Security+ and CISSP certification exams can opt to take the Career Studies Certificate in Cybersecurity. The curriculum prepares students who are already networking specialists for careers as network security specialists or Internet security specialists.
Though GWU is making the transition to a four-year institution, students can attend any four-year university they wish to after graduation. NOVA has Guaranteed Admission Agreements and Articulation Agreements with many universities. For more information on agreements for the Cybersecurity Program, visit nvcc.edu/cybersecurity/transfer.html.
Tuition assistance is available for active duty service members and veterans through the Yellow Ribbon Program and for Virginia residents transferring from a two-year institution through the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Grants. For more information on the Yellow Ribbon Program, visit military.gwu.edu/.
Amy Taylor (Ataylor@princewilliamliving.com) is a freelance writer and editor. She earned her BLS in English from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.