Are you a problem-solver who loves puzzles and riddles? Do you have a knack for seeing hidden patterns in numbers and images?
Then a career in cybersecurity may be for you!
Even in times of economic insecurity, demand for cybersecurity professionals remains high—it typically takes companies 21 percent longer to fill cybersecurity roles. Cybersecurity professionals work in a variety of organizations from government to banks to tech companies. They investigate cybercrimes, protect sensitive national intelligence and military assets, and safeguard the privacy and security of company data, including employee and customer information, intellectual property, and proprietary information.
A PATHWAY TO JUMPSTART YOUR CAREER IN CYBERSECURITY... AND BEYOND
You can make the most of your high school years by receiving guided career exploration, developing real-world practical skills, and gaining work-based learning experiences. Whether you go to college right after graduation, a few years later, or decide not to go, you can be career-ready and positioned for success. That’s why we offer career pathways that maximize your options for life after high school.
Here’s how our Cybersecurity Pathway prepares you for a bright future, whether or not you decide to go to college.
First, we offer a rigorous, project-based learning curriculum designed to hone your problem-solving, communication, critical thinking, and team collaboration skills. This curriculum is taught by experienced IT professionals and includes a foundation in computer science principles and two semesters of in-depth cybersecurity study.
Second, our Cybersecurity Pathway prepares you to take the exams for the necessary credentials to embark on a career as computer support specialist right after graduation, making upwards of $40,000 per year††—without the hassle or expense of additional training or degrees. The curriculum includes exam prep for the NOCTI Computer Networking Fundamentals certification exam, a highly regarded industry credential. We also jumpstart your job search by helping you create a professional résumé, cover letter, and profile on Tallo—the leading professional networking platform for Gen Z. Plus, you connect virtually to IT professionals through Nepris.*
Third, our program positions you to go even further in the cybersecurity field. You could continue to work as computer support specialist, or you could gain additional certifications after a few years of on-the-job training to become a network and computer systems administrator. Or you might want to earn a bachelor’s degree and pursue a career as an network and computer systems administrator, with a starting salary of over $70,000 per year! †† No matter which path you choose, our program provides an excellent foundation to cybersecurity and networking and serves as a springboard for success.
OUR CYBERSECURITY CURRICULUM IN DETAIL
All of our students take the core courses required for high school graduation in their state. The chart below shows the additional classes you’ll take as a Cybersecurity Pathway student, and the industry-recognized certification exams you can prepare to take. You can see the rest of the curriculum by viewing the full course list.
Don’t see your state? Check out the tuition-based option here for Cybersecurity? There are also tuition-free options in related pathways like: Networking [LINK], Game Design and Programming [Link], and Programming [link]!
Computer Support Specialist
Computer network support specialists, also called technical support specialists, analyze, troubleshoot, and evaluate computer network problems. They play an important role in the routine maintenance of their organization’s networks, such as performing file backups on the network. They may also staff help desks that document and resolve users’ IT-related issues.
Typical Entry-Level Education: Certification such as NOCTI Computer Networking Fundamentals
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts safeguard their employers’ IT systems by monitoring the organization’s networks for security breaches; limiting the risk of unauthorized access and security breaches by performing security testing and installing firewalls, data encryption systems, and other security measures; documenting and assessing any security breaches that do occur; developing and implementing IT security standards and protocols; and training and assisting staff with IT security issues.
Typical Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree
Network and Computer Systems Administrator
Network and computer systems administrators install, manage, and support their employers’ computer networks, hardware, and software. They made necessary upgrades or repairs, evaluate and optimize network performance, manage user accounts and permissions, and train users.
Typical Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree; some employers may accept relevant certifications in lieu of a bachelor’s degree
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I get a job in cybersecurity with only a high school degree?
Generally speaking, it is difficult to get a job in cybersecurity with only a high school diploma. At a minimum, to become a network and computer systems administrator, you would need to study and pass relevant industry exams. A bachelor’s degree is necessary to get a job as an information security analyst.
That said, if you graduate from our Cybersecurity Pathway program, you may be able to go right into a job as a computer support specialist after graduation.
How can I prepare for a job in cybersecurity while still in high school? What classes should I take?
Classes in computer science, computer networking, and cybersecurity are helpful. In addition, you can compete in hackathons, participate in IT-related student clubs, and take relevant industry certification exams. And if you can, get an internship! While it may be difficult to secure an internship in cybersecurity while in high school, you may be able to secure an internship as a software tester, which is excellent preparation for a career in cybersecurity.
If you enroll in our Cybersecurity Pathway, you’ll study computer science and cybersecurity. We’ll also prepare you to take the NOCTI Computer Networking Fundamentals certification exam. Membership to Business Professionals of America (BPA), the leading CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organization) for students pursuing careers in IT and business is included in our tuition-free program.* BPA’s Workplace Skills Assessment Program (WSAP) allow students to develop and demonstrate their IT and other problem-solving skills at regional, state, and national conferences, including specific competitions dedicated to computer security, network design, systems administration, and network administration. BPA also offers students the ability to assume leadership positions and compete for scholarships.
††Burning Glass Labor Insights, accessed October 19, 2020. Data is median salary for job postings with that job title, with typical minimum education requirements for that job title (as shown in chart on this page) and 0-2 years of experience, from October 1, 2019, to September 20, 2020. (For software developer, data includes two professions: Software Developer, Applications, and Software Developer, Systems Software).
†††Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook. Website last modified date: Wednesday, September 1, 2020.