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NSA and DHS Honor NOVA for Excellence in Cybersecurity Education

Local students interested in a career in cyber security now have an academic option that has been lauded by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The agencies designated Northern Virginia Community College as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance 2-Year Education.

To receive the honor, NOVA had to met standards for cybersecurity education that included integrating security concepts into other academic programs and hiring faculty who hold credentials recognized by the industry. NOVA officials say that the designation will better prepare students to transfer into four-year cyber security programs.

The CAE2Y designation begins in the fall and is good through 2015.

“I think this [is] recognition that community colleges aren’t off doing their own thing. [The] designation is a testament to the strength of the cybersecurity program at NOVA,” said Dr. Margaret Leary, an information technology professor at NOVA-Alexandria. “We recognize that 95 percent of the cybersercurity positions require a bachelors degree. We have an advantage that we can prepare students for four-year programs.”

NOVA has offered a cybersecurity career studies certificate since 2001. Students can continue their education by earning an applied associate of science degree in information technology using the credits accumulated from the certificate.

Students at NOVA also complete internships with federal agencies and are encouraged to take internship opportunities and take part in National CyberWatch Center competitions.