MIDWEST CITY -- Joyce Schwartz worked in retail and other hourly jobs for 30 years before deciding it was time to try for a college degree.
She didn't know much about computers, only what she needed for her job. But despite her lack of expertise, Schwartz thought she'd try her hand at cyber security.
Three years later, she is getting ready to graduate from Rose State and working at a securities consulting firm. After graduating, she hopes to go to work for Chesapeake, Boeing or Tinker Air Force Base.
The CIA, IRS and FBI are looking to hire cyber security graduates, and they all recruit at the Midwest City community college.
Rose State offers all six levels of federal cyber securities certification with most students earning those levels in two years. It has also been recognized by the National Security Agency as a “center for excellence in cyber security,” according to a news release.
The program began in 2004 and has been sending graduates across the country ever since to work in government security jobs and for some of the largest corporations in the state and country.
“I always tell students, as long as you don't have background issues, you'll have no problem getting a job,” said Ken Dewey, director of the program.
The cyber security industry has been budding for years, and the demand for people with skills in this area has never been greater, with President Barack Obama calling for the government to ramp up its security efforts in Tuesday's State of the Union address.
The Washington Post recently reported that the Pentagon is increasing its cyber division from 900 to 4,900 employees in an attempt to limit the risk of cyber attacks from foreign enemies.
Dewey said the program at Rose State is as full as it has ever been and is in the middle of an expansion to keep up with students and technology.