Cyber Center

Cyber Center

About the Program

Houston Comunity College’s Cyber Security program is nationally recognized by the National Security Agency (NSA) & Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education (CAE2Y) though 2022.

AWARD TYPES: Associate of Applied Science, Certificate Level 1, Certificate Level 2

AREA OF STUDY: Science, Technology, Engineering & Math

Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense

HCC had over 400 students in its Cyber Security programs during the Spring 2020 semester.

Degrees and Certificates

Computer Systems Networking - Cyber Security Specialization AAS / Hybrid Option

ASSOCIATE OF APPLIED SCIENCE


 

Computer Systems Networking - Cyber Security Certificate Level 1 / Hybrid Option

CERTIFICATE LEVEL 1


 

Computer Systems Networking - Cyber Security Certificate Level 2 / Hybrid Option

CERTIFICATE LEVEL 2


General information about Cybersecurity

 

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a broad term used to describe the protection of people, data, and processes as it relates to all industries that make sure of IT systems (hardware, software, and data). The shortage for cybersecurity workers is a global critical issue that is causing issues such as the loss of lives, monetary burdens, career implications, political problems, and infrastructure outages.

What does the job market look like?

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing areas in the Information Technology (IT) sector. According to the latest data from cyberseek.org (last updated on Nov 16, 2020), there are over 500 thousand Cybersecurity job openings in the United States and around 1 million employees are currently employed. There are 43K job openings in Texas and current workforce of over 83K employees. The Houston, Woodlands, and Sugarland combined area now has 6720 job openings and 16.5K employees. 73% of metro areas have significant labor supply shortages. Several reports predict 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs by 2021, up from one million positions in 2014. The growth from 2013 to 2021 is 350%. Cybercrime is expected to cost the world $6 trillion by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015 (Source). HCC is helping the nation fill that gap and is contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure.

 

What are some of the job roles a cybersecurity professional could fill?

Entry-Level: Cybersecurity Specialist / Technician, Cyber Crime Analyst / Investigator, Incident Analyst / Responder, IT Auditor.

Mid-Level: Cybersecurity Analyst, Cybersecurity Consultant, Penetration & Vulnerability Tester.

Advanced-Level: Cybersecurity Manager / Administrator, Cybersecurity Engineer, Cybersecurity Architect.

Cybersecurity graduates from HCC are well trained to land a job in Entry-Level and Mid-Level.

 

What would students learn in HCC’s programs?

Students will start with a solid core foundation in the areas of Operating Systems (such as Linux, Windows), Networking Fundamentals, Security Fundamentals, Computer Virtualization, and Programming/Scripting with a heavy emphasis on Server Administration & Hardening, Network Security & Analysis, Computer Forensics, and Ethical Hacking. Students would learn valuable knowledge from its seasoned professors and through interactions with classmates.

As a workforce program, every technical course offered under the Cybersecurity program aligns either directly or very closely with high demand industry certifications from our academic partners including CompTIA, Microsoft, Red Hat, VMware, and Cisco.

 

Programs and Certifications pathways

Students can take the certificate route to jump directly into technical courses without taking ENGL 1301 Composition 1, MATH 1313 College Algebra, and other electives (For the AAS). Students pursuing the Certificate Level 2 would only need to be TSI ready.

 

An HCC student can start with two tracks:

  • Track 1: Level 1 Certificate (16 credit hours) + Level 2 Certificate (37 credit hours). Level 1 and Level 2 can transfer into an AAS.
  • Track 2: Associate in Applied Science (AAS) (60 credit hours).

 

Main differences between the AAS and Certificate routes:

This is a good solution for students that have existing degrees or for students that are wishing to quickly find a job. Students that start with a Certificate can transfer those courses to an AAS.

Students that are seeking to transfer to a Bachelor’s degree should choose an AAS.

Please note that the Year / Semester structure is a recommendation. Students may go at their own pace and take longer, but must follow the recommended pre-requisites.

 

Certificate Level 1 track:

First Year / First Semester

(3 credits) ITSC 1307 UNIX OS 1 – UNIX Operating System 1 --- prepares for →  (Linux Professional Institute Linux Essentials Certification, CompTIA IT Fundamentals)

(3 credits) ITMT 1358 Windows Client Operating System – prepares for → (Microsoft Technology Associate – Windows Operating System Fundamentals Exam 98-349, CompTIA IT Fundamentals)

OR

BCIS 1305 Computer Business Applications – prepares for → (Microsoft Office Specialist Certification Word 2016 Exam 77-725, Excel 2016 Exam 77-727, PowerPoint 2016 Exam 77-729, Access 2016 Exam 77-730, Outlook 2016 77-731).

Note: ITSC 1425 Personal Computer Hardware (CompTIA IT Fundamentals) is also accept as course credit in-lieu of ITMT 1358 / BCIS 1305.

(4 credits) Fundamentals of Networking Technologies  -- prepares for → (CompTIA Network+, Microsoft Technology Associate Networking Fundamentals Exam 98-366).

OR

ITCC 1414 CCNA 1: Introduction to Networks – prepares for → (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician, Microsoft Technology Associate Networking Fundamentals Exam 98-366).

 

First Year / Second Semester

(3 credits) ITSY 1342 Information Technology Security – prepares for → (CompTIA Security+, GSEC: GIAC Security Fundamentals, GSEC: GIAC Security Essentials, GISP: GIAC Information Security Professional, Microsoft Technology Associate – Security Fundamentals Exam 98-367). Students should take ITSC 1307, ITMT 1358, and ITNW 1425 (or ITCC 1414) before ITSY 1342.

(3 credits) ITSY 2330 Intrusion Detection – prepares for → (CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst CySA+, GCIA: GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst, GNFA: GIAC Network Forensic Analyst). Students should take ITSC 1307, ITMT 1358, and ITNW 1425 (or ITCC 1414) before ITSY 2330. ITSY 1342 is recommended before ITSY 2330 but can be taken in tandem.

Note: The Level 1 certificate can be completed in one semester by following 8-weeks structures. First 8 weeks would include: ITSC 1307, ITMT 1358, ITNW 1425/ITCC1414. Second 8 weeks would include: ITSY 1342, ITSY 2330.

 

Certificate Level 2 track (Level 1 track continued)

(3 credits) EDUC 1300 Learning Framework

Second Year / First Semester

(3 credits) ITNW 1313 Computer Virtualization – prepares for → (Comptia Cloud+, Microsoft Technology Associate Cloud Fundamentals Exam 98-369, VMware Certified Associate, Microsoft Technology Associate Mobility and Devices Fundamentals Exam 98-368)

(4 credits) ITSY 2401 Firewalls and Network Security – prepares for → (Any CompTIA beginner and intermediate certifications)

(4 credits) ITSY 2443 Computer System Forensics – prepares for →(IACRB Certified Computer Forensics Examiner (CCFE), IACRB Certified Mobile Forensics Examiner (CMFE), GCFE: GIAC Certified Forensics Examiner, GCFA: GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst, GNFA: GIAC Network Forensic Analyst, GASF: GIAC Advanced Smartphone Forensics)

 

Second Year / Second Semester

(4 credits) ITSY 1491 Special Topics in Computer Systems Network & Telecommunications: Ethical Hacking, Industrial Control Systems Security, Intro to Blockchain, Application Security) – prepares for → (EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker, CompTIA PenTest+, GIAC Global Industrial Cyber Security Professional)

(4 credits) ITSY 2471 Cyber Competitions (Capstone Course) -- prepares for → (EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker, CompTIA PenTest+, CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst CySA+, GCIA: GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst, GNFA: GIAC Network Forensic Analyst).

 

In addition to the classes listed under the Level 2 certificate, AAS students would take the following courses:

  • EDUC 1300 Learning Framework.
  • ENGL 1301 Composition 1.
  • MATH 1314 College Algebra
  • COSC 1436 Programming Fundamentals I
  • ITMT 1357 Administering a Windows Server Operating System
  • XXXX #3## Humanities/Fine Arts/General Education Elective
  • XXXX #3## Social/Behavioral Sciences Elective
  • XXXX #3## Social/Behavioral Sciences Elective

 

Opportunities for HCC students

  • Be part of a Cyber Security club mentored by resident faculty advisors and student officers.
  • Be part of a CAE community which includes career fairs tailored specifically to CAE students.
  • Work with Texas A&M to improve its TAMU Capture the Flag scenarios for its yearly global competition.
  • Receive financial assistance in the form of certification vouchers and travel accommodation.
  • Volunteer for various conferences in Houston and beyond.
  • Participate as members of organizations and meetups such as Infragard, HouSecCon, Cyber Houston, HaHa, ISACA, and more.
  • Be part of new & upcoming thrilling opportunities.

 

Additional opportunity for students - Scholarship for Service

HCC received a National Science Foundation grant as a subrecipient in partnership with Texas A&M. The CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Texas A&M $4.4 million grant award titled; “Developing Cyber Leader and Scholars for our Nation”. Texas A&M University and HCC provide scholarships to outstanding students studying in the field of Cybersecurity. HCC in partnership with Texas A&M award a scholarship to a graduating HCC student to attend Texas A&M. Scholarship For Service (SFS) is a unique program designed to recruit and train the next generation of information technology professionals, industrial control system security professionals, and security managers to meet the needs of “the cybersecurity mission for Federal, State, local, and tribal governments”. This program provides scholarships for up to 3 years of support for cybersecurity undergraduate and graduate education. The scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation. In return for their scholarships, recipients must agree to work after graduation for the U.S. Government, in a position related to cybersecurity, for a period equal to the length of the scholarship. Scholarship benefits include: Coverage of tuition and fees, annual stipends ($22,500 undergraduate and $34,000 graduate), annual book allowance, health insurance reimbursement, and professional development allowance required for travel and training. Contact Scott Hillman (PI) scott.hillman@hccs.edu and/or Trevor Chandler (CO-PI) trevor.chandler@hccs.edu for information. Texas A&M SFS application portal

 

Scholarship for Service Program (SFS)                                                      

Scholarship for Service  

CyberCorps ®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) is a unique program designed to increase and strengthen the cadre of federal information assurance professionals that protect the government's critical information infrastructure. This program provides scholarships that may fully fund the typical costs incurred by full-time students while attending a participating institution, including tuition and education and related fees. Additionally, participants receive stipends of $22,500 for undergraduate students and $34,000 for graduate students. The Service element is satisfied by the students working at the federal, state, local and/or tribal level of a time equal to the scholarship duration. The scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation.  For more information, visit https://www.sfs.opm.gov/   

As a part of their existing Scholarship for Service grant, Texas A&M University has partnered with Houston Community College to offer community college students the opportunity to complete their degree at the community college and have their final year fully funded, and transfer to Texas A&M University to complete a bachelor’s degree before entering federal service. 

Eligibility Requirements  

  • United States citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • 18 years or older
  • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0
  • Ability obtain a security clearance, if required
  • Able to attend the community college as a full-time student (12 or more credits) Fall 2020 semester
  • Currently hold –OR– be able to earn an Associate’s degree by May 2021

Benefits of Program   

Fall semester 2020 APPLY NSF SFS– Houston Community College  

Fall semester 2020 – Spring semester 2021 APPLY for NSF SFS Houston Community College  

  • APPLY for NSF SFS Scholarship will pay for courses (tuition & fees) at Texas A&M in Fall of 2021
  • Scholarship will pay for textbooks
  • Student will receive $22,500 stipend
  • Student will receive $4,000 professional development allowance

 

Spring 2021 – Houston Community College  

  • Scholarship will pay for courses (tuition & fees) at Texas A&M
  • Scholarship will pay for textbooks at Texas A&M
  • Student will have access to community college faculty advisor for support in transition

Fall 2021 to Spring 2022– Texas A&M University  

  • Scholarship will pay for courses (tuition & fees) at Texas A&M University
  • Scholarship will pay for textbooks
  • Student will receive $22,500 stipend
  • Student will receive $4,000 professional development allowance
  • Student will have access to community college faculty advisor for support in transition

Summer 2022  

  • Assistance in obtaining an internship (required)
  • Scholarship will pay for courses (tuition & fees) at Texas A&M University
  • Scholarship will pay for textbooks
  • Student will receive $22,500 stipend
  • Student will receive $4,000 professional development allowance

Fall 2022 to Spring 2023 – Texas A&M University  

What does it mean for Houston Community College students?  

In which degree program do I have to be enrolled at Houston Community College to qualify?  

This scholarship opportunity is best suited for students in Houston Community College’s Cybersecurity AAS degree program.  However, all degree programs will be considered. 

Will I automatically be accepted to Texas A&M University?  

  1. Every effort will be made to select scholarship recipients that have a good chance of being accepted to Texas A&M University. However, admission is not guaranteed.  Most universities recommend that undergraduate applications have a 3.0 GPA (or higher). 
  2. Read the information under “Students” at https://www.sfs.opm.gov/  
  3. Read the FAQs at https://www.sfs.opm.gov/StudFAQ.aspx  
  4. Contact Professor Scott Hillman at hillman@hccs.edu for application information.

 

What program/degree will I transfer into at Texas A&M University?  

Students will transfer into a Engineering and/or Technology degree program at Texas A&M. More information about the degree programs are available at https://cybersecurity.tamu.edu/ https://cybersecurity.tamu.edu/education/undergraduate/ 

Do I need to have completed a programming class to be considered?  

It is not a requirement but is recommended. Houston Community College’s Cybersecurity AAS degree does include programming courses. Houston Community College’s Cybersecurity AAS old degree does not include programming courses. If you are selected for the scholarship and do not have a programming class completed, you might be expected to take one during the Summer prior to transferring to Texas A&M.           This will be discussed on a student-by-student basis. 

What are the math requirements?  

If you are selected for the scholarship, you might be expected to take a math course during your Spring or Summer term if you do not already meet the math recommendations. This will be discussed on a student-by student basis. 

Will Texas A&M University accept all my community college credits?  

There may be no formal agreement between the institutions on transfer credits.  Credit evaluation will occur on a student-by-student basis.  The ability to complete the BA degree within 2 years at Texas A&M University will be considered during the application process. HCC and TAMU will consider course swaps, additions, and deletions, that need to be made to this program for SFS students to meet the requirements to transfer into TAMU as juniors on an individual basis as needed. 

Do I incur an obligation by receiving this scholarship?  

Yes. In return for their scholarships, recipients must agree to work after graduation for a Government agency or, subject to approval of the NSF program office, for a State, Local, Tribal, or Territorial Government; or a Federally Funded Research and Development Center, in a position related to cybersecurity for a period equal to the length of the scholarship. An academic year (i.e., the fall and spring semesters) is equivalent to a calendar year of employment. If you are funded for three academic years, you must serve at a Federal, State, Local, Tribal or Territorial Government organization in a covered position for three calendar years. If you are funded for one academic year or less (e.g., only one semester), you must serve for one calendar year. The postgraduate employment obligation must be fulltime employment.  You are also required to serve an internship, typically between your Junior and Senior years. 

Where will the jobs be located? 

Jobs will be located throughout the United States. Historically, most positions have been in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Therefore, participants will be required to be available for placement nationwide.  At what grade level will I be appointed when I serve the internship and when I am placed after graduation? 

The grade level at which you will be appointed depends on your qualifications at the time of appointment. In general, students with a bachelor's degree and superior academic achievement may be appointed at the GS-7 level. It is important to note that the pay rates for information technology professionals are higher than for other jobs. 

How many students will be selected for this opportunity?  1-2 students will be selected from Houston Community College. 

If I am interested, what are my next steps?  

Revised on:  9/13/2018 

 

Internal News and Achievements

May 2020: HCC is very proud to have ranked as a top performer in the National Cyber League’s Spring 2020 competition. HCC is currently ranked #21 in the US out performing Texas A&M (37) and other top schools. HCC had a participation ranking of #9 and individual ranking of #32 overall.

  • HCC’s Cyber Security team is currently part of the core ABET Cyber-2-Year team and working on developing core curriculum requirements & criteria for the ABET 2-year Cybersecurity program accreditation.
  • HCC ranked #2 in Texas and #36 nationally during the SANS 2019 Cyber FastTrack competition. HCC reached the Top Tier (top 3%) of US colleges in identifying students with a natural aptitude to excel in cybersecurity.
  • HCC’s Cyber Security club was formed in Spring 2020 and currently has over 80 members.

It was announced on April 24, 2019, that HCC had reached the Top Tier (the top 3%) of US colleges in identifying students with a natural aptitude to excel in Cybersecurity after the 2019 Cyber Fast Track competition. HCC’s efforts play a pivotal role in the national initiative launched by Governor Abbott and 24 other governors to close the elite cyber skills gap with China and Russia. 

After 17 days of Cyber FastTrack competition, Houston Community College was ranked Number 5 in Texas and Number 29 in the nation, out of 5,200 US colleges, in the number of students discovering their aptitude for cybersecurity careers. HCC ranked #2 in Texas and #36 in the nation during the quarterfinals with 70 total students attempting the Cyber Fast track competition and 12 placing into the quarterfinals. HCC had two students in the finals out of 500 total participants in the nation.

According to Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, "The leadership shown by Houston Community College is commendable. Without the talent being discovered in Cyber FastTrack, shortages of elite talent will put the United States at a severe disadvantage in protecting power systems, financial systems and military systems in times of conflict, and protecting businesses and personal privacy in peace time.  Houston Community College has set a high bar for other schools in Texas and in the nation." SANS Institute partnered with the 25 state governors to launch Cyber FastTrack.

Cyber Security student and Cyber Fast Track 2019 finalist Jason Quick received a $1000 scholarship during the Houston Cyber Summit on Feb 27, 2019.

 

Resources

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Scott Hillman

Cyber Center

Hours of Operation: Mon.-Fri. 8am-5pm