Umpqua Community College has created a program for those interested in actual and virtual job security beginning this fall.

UCC recently joined forces with Mt. Hood Community College to take on hackers, both state and nationwide, by offering a two-year degree in cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity is a hands-on, highly-interactive program. Computer Information Systems instructor John Blackwood took two years to create the program after researching hundreds of schools across the country. He said jobs in this field can earn up to $175,000 per year.

In this program, UCC will train workers known as white hat hackers (good guys) to defend against gray and black hat hackers (bad guys) who try to worm their way into your everyday life. Each year, black hat hackers cost consumers and companies between $375 and $575 billion. This number is expected to grow as online information stealing expands .

Cybersecurity graduates will learn how to prevent hacks and also how to respond and repel hackers once they get into a network. Students will also learn theory and how to ethically hack into computers and networks. This program also incorporates real-life scenarios with hands-on training.

UCC’s newest program is on the cutting edge of technology. Only four community colleges in the country offer two-year degrees in cybersecurity. Job experts claim employment in this area is expected to grow nearly 20 percent over the next few years. For more information, visit www.umpqua.edu/cybersecurity.

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Education and Arts and Entertainment Reporter

Vera Westbrook is the education, nonprofits, and arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4216 or by email at vwestbrook@nrtoday.com.

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