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Bachelor of Science in Computing, Cybersecurity Concentration

Cybersecurity: Stopping Hackers in Their Tracks

The Department of Homeland Security has estimated that 47 percent of American adults have had their personal information exposed by cyber criminals.

Deemed as one of the fastest growing security threats in America, cybercrime creates an intense demand for professionals who can ensure data, infrastructure, and network security. Technology plays a key role in modern life, making cybersecurity a high priority.

The cybersecurity concentration at Pensacola Christian College strives to meet today's need for security engineers. Students learn to anticipate the moves of sophisticated cybercriminals, using both defensive and offensive strategies to combat their tactics. Programming classes train students to spot trouble areas and to write software with solid infrastructure. With several courses taught by professionals currently working in the cybersecurity field, this program gives cybersecurity students up-to-the-minute, real-world perspective and experience in the classroom.

Cybersecurity students gain extensive knowledge of the latest tools and techniques available to combat cyberattacks and implement safeguards for networks. Teaching software development and security management techniques, the cybersecurity concentration emphasizes continual learning in this constantly changing field. Students develop a strong foundation of logical thinking, problem-solving skills, and attention to detail, learning to detect patterns and discover potential areas of vulnerability. Graduates will be equipped to create secure networks and stop hackers in their tracks.

Faith-Based Cybersecurity

The mission of PCC's cybersecurity concentration is to produce excellent, highly skilled Christian leaders who bring a moral and ethical approach to cybersecurity challenges. Alongside their computer security courses, students complete Bible classes and other liberal-arts courses that ground them in their faith and biblical worldview. Not only training students to be well-equipped professionals, the cybersecurity program also shows students their opportunity to help those in need.

Guy coding

Computing Program Educational Objectives

Within the first five years after graduation, our computing alumni are expected to make measurable contributions in the following spiritual and professional objectives:

  • Entry-Level Employment—apply computer knowledge, professional ethics, and Christian principles in the workplace.
  • Christian Ministry—support a local church and other Christian ministries.
  • Leadership—demonstrate Christian leadership through career, church, or community opportunities.
  • Lifelong Learning—advance intellectually through activities such as continuing education or industry certification.

Cybersecurity Concentration Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of the cybersecurity concentration, you will be equipped to demonstrate:

  • Problem Solving—analyze a complex computing problem and apply principles of computing and other relevant disciplines to identify solutions.
  • Technical Skill—design, implement, and evaluate a computing-based solution to meet a given set of computing requirements in the context of the program's discipline.
  • Communication—communicate effectively in a variety of professional contexts.
  • Ethics—recognize professional responsibilities and make informed judgments in computing practice based on legal and ethical principles.
  • Teamwork—function effectively as a member or leader of a team engaged in activities appropriate to the program's discipline.
  • Security Awareness—apply security principles and practices to the environment, hardware, software, and human aspects of a system.
  • Security Analysis—analyze and evaluate systems with respect to maintaining operations in the presence of risks and threats.

Program Highlights

Ethical Hacking

Junior cybersecurity students take CS 379 to learn principles, methods, and techniques related to ethical hacking and penetration testing. Today’s information systems are only as strong as their weakest points—ethical hackers test those systems to find vulnerabilities before non-ethical hackers exploit those same vulnerabilities. Using a virtual lab environment, you will analyze network traffic, identify and remove malware from a computer system, exploit workstations and servers, audit a network for vulnerabilities, and perform other activities to help harden an organization’s defenses. Emphasis is also placed on both the legal and ethical implications related to engaging in these types of activities.

Information Security Management

In CS 471, you’ll learn the fundamentals of security from a managerial perspective with regards to design, implementation, maintenance, and disaster recovery. Security is just as much the responsibility of management as it is for IT personnel. Using NIST frameworks, projects will give you insight into developing a security strategy, assessing potential risks, creating a security incident playbook, planning physical security installations, and more. You’ll learn the impact of security across a business and how to manage that impact to make cybersecurity implementation successful across an organization.

Your Cybersecurity Future

What can you do with a cybersecurity concentration?

The cybersecurity career field is one of the fastest growing job markets in today’s economy. Since the cybersecurity program’s beginning in spring 2019, students have studied to meet the job market’s growing need for cybersecurity professionals. With a strong computing foundation paired with specialized cybersecurity courses, graduates will be equipped to succeed in graduate studies and their career—well prepared to use their degree to make a difference. Since technology plays a part in almost all businesses, the career opportunities for cybersecurity graduates are almost endless.

Here are a few of the countless career opportunities available to you.

  • Ethical Hacker
  • Information Security Analyst
  • IT Security Consultant
  • Penetration Tester
  • Security Architect
  • Security Manager
  • Software Security Engineer

Faculty Highlight

Joe Kennedy

Mr. Joe Kennedy

B.S., Pensacola Christian College
M.S., University of West Florida

“A great thing about the cybersecurity field is that it provides a broad array of career paths. Digital forensics analysis, penetration testing and ethical hacking, secure coding, malware analysis, and information security management are just a few of the opportunities afforded to graduates as they enter the workforce. It is an exciting time to be a cybersecurity professional, as demand has never been higher!

Our students must demonstrate a passion for learning with the ability to think critically, as cybersecurity personnel often use creative problem-solving techniques to address never-seen-before issues. And because they could become some of the most trusted people within an organization and be given high-level access to most systems, it’s critical that students develop a desire to always do the right thing, even in difficult situations. Our goal is to instill a mindset of continual learning as the field of cybersecurity is constantly evolving, and professionals need to adapt to new challenges and technologies. Learning will not stop once the degree is conferred. In fact, one could argue that it has only begun!”

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Alumni Spotlight

Samuel Helwig
Samuel Helwig ’23

Technology Product Analyst at Navy Federal Credit Union

“I am working as an analyst in IT architectural security for a large organization. Assigned immediately to a high-priority project, I could quickly grasp business goals and streamline several processes within a short time. Due to this, we managed to achieve a previously uncommitted objective, which has drastically improved our momentum going into this quarter for similar work. If it weren’t for the thinking skills, drive, connections, and capabilities my cybersecurity degree provided me, I wouldn’t be where I am. Given the ever-increasing relevance of technology in our daily lives, I consider this field an exceptional choice for students who feel open-ended about their interests and are looking for a long-term career choice that won’t let them down.

The cybersecurity degree at PCC is generalized enough to give a foundation for different specializations that pique your interest later. The connections, discipline, and emphasis on a biblical worldview all provide a solid backbone for a successful and fulfilling career.”

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About the Cybersecurity Concentration

The purpose of the cybersecurity concentration is to prepare students to develop, operate, and secure computing systems capable of operating within today’s complex digital world and its continual evolution of cyber threats. Students are trained to solve problems logically and apply tools and techniques to combat various types of potential security threats.

Recommended high school preparation for a cybersecurity concentration is two units of algebra. Opportunities are available to make up this deficiency. In this case, time required to complete a cybersecurity concentration could be expected to increase.

Coursework in this program helps prepare students for the Certified Ethical Hacker and CompTIA Security+ certifications and for the hardware component of the CompTIA A+ certification.

Cybersecurity students can apply for scholarships to receive financial aid.

Psalm 90:17 Computer Science Scholarship
$500 scholarship awarded to students with a computing major who have a financial need, to be applied over one semester.

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Students taking computer apart

Computing Career Support

With Career Services and Career Link, students can start making connections with employers while on campus during Career Fair events. These services provide tools and resources designed to empower you for your career in cybersecurity.

Need help? Career Services staff are ready to assist you in researching employment opportunities, exploring job qualifications, and providing mock interviews and résumé support.