PPCC launches cybersecurity degree

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Pikes Peak Community College will offer a cybersecurity degree, starting in spring 2018.

The Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Security is being introduced in addition to the non-credit cybersecurity test prep courses PPCC has offered since 2016.

“We know how essential cyber security is to our country and our region,” PPCC President Lance Bolton said in an email. “Nobody else is better positioned than Pikes Peak to get the number of trained professionals needed into those jobs and growing that vital workforce.”

According to a news release from PPCC, there are currently 1,434 open jobs for people with a Security+ certification in the Pikes Peak region, making it one of the nation’s highest-need regions for cybersecurity.

The new degree program prepares students for for the Cisco Certified Network Associate Security (CCNA Security) certification test or the Computing Technology Industry Association Security+ (CompTIA Security+) certification test, according to the release, and graduates can pursue careers as cybersecurity analysts, information systems security engineers and systems design engineers, among others.

With two new cyber labs at its Rampart Range and Centennial Campuses and a pending lease agreement for an additional cybersecurity lab facility at the Catalyst Campus, PPCC can provide hands-on training to 75 qualified students, according to the release.

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In addition, PPCC’s hands-on, non-credit cybersecurity courses aim to give both experienced hobbyists and IT professionals the skills and knowledge they need to pass the Network+, Security+ and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) exams, which are the industry standards for professionals working in cybersecurity.

Using brand new cybersecurity ranges, students work through realistic scenarios in the lab. According to the release, the PPCC fast-track courses cost significantly less than most test prep boot camps and, while they don’t count toward a college degree, they come with a voucher to take the industry certification exam at no additional charge.