Careers that Change the World: Cyber Security
Before choosing a career, you must acknowledge where the industry is headed. In the case of cyber security, the field is not only growing, but growing at a rapid pace. Current or prospective cyber security students feel confident in their job prospects, as the field is constantly hiring. The need is evident and the urgency continues to increase each year.
Rose State College has a wonderful Cyber Security program that provides connections, scholarships, and experienced professors to make sure each student is on the right path for success.
The Rose State College Cyber Security Scholarship Program offers a grant funded by the National Security Foundation (NSF). This nationwide fund covers fees for education in addition to awarding a stipend, which allows scholarship recipients to earn their degree at no cost. Rose State has offered this scholarship for the last 11 years, with typically 20 students per year receiving benefits.
Rose State’s strong partnership with NSF and the Department of Defense (DoD) is an opportunity for students to earn their associate’s degree, or higher, for free.
This new scholarship through the DoD is the “Scholarship for Service,” or SFS, a program funded through the University of Tulsa. This scholarship pays for students to earn their associate’s from Rose State and then proceed to the University of Tulsa to earn their bachelor’s degree. Because recipients of this program must take a full-time course load, SFS pays recipients an additional tax-free stipend to cover living expenses.
There are currently three Rose State students taking advantage of SFS, all of whom have been offered jobs by big agencies while still in school. The program has already been funded for seven new positions for the 2017-2018 academic year. Rose State is looking to expand the number of students who can receive this scholarship in future years.
Guidelines and recommendations become a little less clear when determining a career path and necessary steps to ensure your success. One of the toughest parts is figuring out how to reach your end goal of landing a great job, but in the cyber security field, many aspects lead to successful job placement.
“Networking, education, and certificates are all important,” says Kasey Mills, a Rose State student, in regard to what is crucial to getting your foot in the door.
The CompTIA Security+ is a worthwhile certification to earn while completing your degree. This certification is globally recognized as the standard cyber security certification and is a good way to show potential employers your dedication to the field.
There are many other valuable cyber security certifications, as well. “The CISSP, ‘Certified Information Systems Security Professional,’ is the holy grail that everyone wants,” says Ken Dewey, Cyber Security Program Director and Professor. “It’s hard to get and expensive. But you don’t need it to get started.”
“Getting certificates is always good because businesses like to see them,” says David Magar, Rose State student. “Rose also has connection with Mid-Del Technology Center so you get discounts on the certifications and don’t have to pay as much for the certificates.”
Magar explains having certificates in addition to your education will make you more eligible for positions that earn higher salaries.
“It’s beneficial to have a formal education,” says Dewey. “You can get a job without formal education, but it’s going to be harder to advance to management or supervisor roles.”
It’s important not to put too much focus on certificates because the industry standard can change at any given point, whereas a degree’s value remains the same.
“Education never changes,” says Dewey. “An associate’s degree will still be an associate’s degree in five years.”
Rose State has connections with several different companies to assist students in finding and securing jobs after graduation.
One of Dewey’s former students works at Tinker Air Force Base and regularly asks Dewey for job candidates from Rose State. Recently, Dewey recommended a student on a Friday, and the student was hired and began work that following Monday.
Many students begin their career at Tinker AFB or Dell. “The demand for employees is much higher than what we have today,” says Dewey. “There are not enough students.”
After gaining some experience, many Rose State students go on to work for the FBI, CIA, the Pentagon, or private businesses.
Employers also like to see involvement beyond education or certification. Rose State students have a fantastic opportunity to become involved with the Cyber Security Club. This club incorporates fun, interesting projects for students to work on and learn from outside of class. Cyber Security Club is also a practical way to begin networking with fellow students and professors who can help find you a job.
Past Rose State students have interned with the FBI and the State of Oklahoma. While some students have secured internships, other students have skipped internships and gone straight into an entry-level job.
Kasey Mills, a Rose State student, was a networks intern at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health while in school. Mills found this internship through networking with fellow students at the college. “Networking might be the highest up there” in terms of ways to find a job, Mills says.
Mills also mentions LinkedIn as a great resource for people in the cyber security field. There are also local IT conventions where people can make connections and network to help get their name out there.
The cyber security field is growing exponentially with plenty of job opportunities all around the country. If working with computers to protect individuals and businesses sounds interesting to you, Rose State can teach you the skills to turn this into a career. Does cyber security sound like the right industry for you? Learn more about the Cyber Security program at www.rose.edu/cyber-security or contact Ken Dewey at 405-733-7977.