New program gives high school students a head start for cybersecurity career

New program gives high school students a head start for cybersecurity career

AIKEN, SC (WFXG) - There’s no denying that Silver Bluff High School senior Rebecca Snider is driven.

“I just love cybersecurity,” said Snider.

Snider knows exactly where that love will take her.

“Homeland Security, FBI, NSA, that’s really where I like to sink my teeth into,” said Snider

Snider and a dozen other high school juinors and seniors from across Aiken County are getting a head start thanks to a new cybersecurity program at Aiken Technical College.

“When I saw that Aiken Tech was offering this course, I was like oh that sounds perfect,” recalled Snider. “Just the idea of protecting people and also having a love for computers.”

Mark King, computer technology lead networking instructor at Aiken Technical College, adds: “They can come here as juniors and they will take two classes. Then the seniors, they take two more classes, actually four more if they finish in the following summer, and that will compete the cybersecurity certificate.”

The certificate puts Aiken County high school students like Rebecca on the fast track to entry-level IT jobs or an associate degree in computer technology networking.

“Cyber is all of the rage,” said King. “There are more jobs every day in that. The more students that can learn about IT, the better. And I can’t imagine any job, whether its law or medicine or IT to where there will not be a security and network security aspect to it.”

“It’s been fun,” said Snider. “Definitely a bit intimidating at times but I’ve enjoyed every bit.”

Rebecca plans to earn her cybersecurity certificate this summer then continue on to college toward her ultimate dream.

“A Homeland Security specialist with cybersecurity,” said Snider about her future career aspirations.

The cybersecurity networking certificate program is open to high school juniors and seniors in Aiken County.

Interested students can talk to their guidance counselor or apply through the Aiken County Career & Technology Center.

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