RRCC Leads the Way in New Software Cybersecurity Degree

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Wren Barnes
Director, Marketing and Communications
August 18, 2020

RRCC Leads the Way in New Software Cybersecurity Degree
A New and Affordable 4-Year Degree Available
LAKEWOOD, CO - Recognizing the burgeoning market for secure software development, Red Rocks Community College (RRCC) faculty member Candace Garrod has spent the last four years developing and proposing an affordable 4-year degree option for software developer and cybersecurity students. As a result, the new Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Security Software Development is now available for students to pursue at the Lakewood campus of RRCC. The degree is now another option for students, beyond the current Associates of Science degree. Already, more than 40 students have declared the subject their major.
"The journey was extremely challenging, as I wrote all of the curriculum myself," says Garrod, who presented the proposed program to both the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) and the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) for their approval. Garrod is quick to credit her colleague, fellow faculty member and department chair Julie Schneider, for critical collaboration. "Without Julie's support and input, the degree would not have happened," Garrod explains.
"The Bachelor's Degree in Secure Software Development was developed at Red Rocks from the ground up," Julie Schneider says. "We did not want to simply apply existing curricula, but to ensure that current and evolving technology standards were addressed. This meant a great deal of investment in both human capital and other resources, but ultimately resulted in a highly regarded and unique program that will provide a strong talent pipeline in cybersecurity and programming for our regional employers."
Dubbed "the software side of cybersecurity," the Secure Software Development degrees at RRCC teach students to design, develop, and test secure software applications. The degrees produce well-prepared secure software programmers who can not only provide recommendations for reducing computer security risks, but who can conduct software penetration testing, and develop applications and systems using the latest software, tools, and technology.
The timing of this new degree couldn't be better for job-seekers in the industry. Unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide will reach 3.5 million by 2021, and there will be over 500,000 new jobs occupations added in the US alone in computer and information technology (IT) in the next 6 years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the median annual wage for computer and IT occupations was $86,320 in 2018, which is almost $50,000 higher than the median wage for all other occupations tracked by the BLS combined.
According to the official description of the program, the degree is about preparing students for a successful career: "As a community college, it is our mission to bridge the gap between students and the employment community, and to provide opportunity for both. The Secure Software Development Degree, in addition to a thriving NSA-certified Cyber Defense Center at Red Rocks, does just that, preparing our students to become Secure Software Programmers, IT Tech's, Network Administrators, and Cybersecurity Analysts, among other key occupations in secure software and computer technology." 
"To drive greater employability for our cyber students, Red Rocks believes not only in a great education, but in strong pre-employment opportunities that provide hands-on, real-world experience. To that end, Red Rocks has developed the first ever Registered Cybersecurity Apprenticeship in the State of Colorado," said Mary Ann Tillman, Coordinator for the Cybersecurity Apprenticeship at Red Rocks. Developed with the help of employment partner Northrop Grumman and led by Tillman, this apprenticeship, along with internship opportunities, provides Red Rocks students a critical element to finding full-time employment.
For more information about this new 4-year degree program, please visit https://www.rrcc.edu/computer-technology/secure-software-development-BAS.
More about Red Rocks Community College:  Established in 1969, Red Rocks Community College delivers high-quality, affordable education programs leading to degrees or professional certificates. The college serves over 10,000 students per year online and at campus locations in Lakewood and Arvada.  www.rrcc.edu.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020