Information Communication Technologies & Digital Media Sector Team

There are more than 40,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs throughout the U.S., many of which require Bachelor’s degrees. Thanks to work being done across the state, students can extend their career pathway from middle and high school through community college and to a four-year degree.

A recent webinar organized by the ICT-DM sector covered the basics of the IT Technician Pathway and articulation agreements between community colleges and four-year universities.

Shawn Monsen, a faculty member at Sierra College and ICT-DM Sector Subject Matter Expert, was the lead on developing the IT Technician-Cybersecurity Pathway and articulation agreements with National University, Western Governors University and Southern New Hampshire University. Articulation agreements with additional universities are in the works.

The pathway specifically prepares students for jobs like cybersecurity analyst, computer forensic investigator, and network security specialist by providing courses and certifications related to each field.

Eight community colleges have articulation pathway documents in place for National University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity. The goal is to have 13 additional community colleges with cybersecurity programs articulated to National by the end of the year.

During the webinar, Chris Simpson from National University provided some details about their program that instructors and counselors can pass along to their students. It’s set up as an accelerated format with classes that are four weeks in length, with students focused on one topic at a time.

“This seems to resonate with students, especially those that are working,” said Simpson. “We have classes in the evening twice a week, plus one Saturday a month. There’s an online component, too.” 

Both the pathway and the articulation agreements will create a smoother path for students from high school to a stable, high-paying cybersecurity career.

“The industry has a desperate need for these skilled workers,” Monsen said. “The pathway provides a means for students to get those skills, earn those industry certifications and move into those jobs. Articulation agreements make it possible to translate that coursework into a bachelor’s degree without losing progress or duplicating any coursework.”

Steve Linthicum, ICT-DM Deputy Sector Navigator in Orange County, is already working on bringing colleges into the pathway and articulation agreements.

“In the Orange County region, I will be focusing my attention on Fullerton College, Irvine Valley College, Orange Coast College, Saddleback College, and Santa Ana College, to see if I can get a similar arrangement in place for their students,” Linthicum said. “The more universities that offer these degrees and provide articulation pathways that lead to those degrees, the better positioned California will be to meet its current and future IT needs.”

A recording of the cybersecurity articulation webinar is available here.