Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Vol State Launches Cyber Defense Degree Program

The computer hacking of major corporations, government offices and banks is a growing threat. There is a solution: Cyber Defense. Companies across the world are expanding and refining their security systems. Volunteer State Community College is responding to the need for Cyber Defense expertise with a new degree concentration starting this fall.

“It impacts every person on the planet, from the home user with email and online banking to the corporate world and government agencies,” said Teresa Moore, associate professor of CIT-Cyber Defense. “This degree will provide students the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge required to protect information and assets.”

Cyber Defense can be a lucrative career for people with the proper training, and this is especially true because of the extreme shortage of qualified employees. Cisco estimates there are one million open cyber-related positions worldwide. Vol State offers a comprehensive program that combines the foundation of Computer Information Technology (CIT) with specific Cyber Defense courses. The Vol State degree allows a student to enter the workplace or expand their learning. Recent Vol State CIT graduate John Deering is taking his education to the next level by transferring with a full-ride scholarship to the well-respected Cyber Security program at Capitol Technology University.

“In cyber defense you’re looking for someone who is digging around where they’re not supposed to be,” said Deering. “You find them and you can go get them. If I can help protect people from having their lives turned upside down, that’s something I want to do.” Deering was voted Outstanding Vol State graduate for fall 2015.

Students in the Cyber Defense program can also choose to take certification courses, including Security+, Network+, Mobility+, A+, Cisco CCNA and Cisco CCENT. “Certifications provide an employer or prospective employer proof of specific knowledge and skills,” said Moore. “That’s a real bonus for our students headed out into the workplace.”

Cyber Defense work includes elements of computer detective work and relies heavily on problem solving. Students in the Vol State program will work in the specially designed Cyber Lab with network virtualization and other relevant hands-on tools. The lab was funded by a workforce development grant from the Tennessee Governor’s office.

The new Cyber Defense program starts with the fall semester, but students can join in any semester. Vol State has also announced that the associate of science degree in Computer Science is now a Tennessee Transfer Pathway program that connects to bachelor degree programs at several area universities with complete credit transfer. For more information on Cyber Defense visit

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

5 Tips to Help You Succeed As An Adult Learner

There's no doubt about it: going to college as an older adult student comes with its own challenges. So I'm offering some timely advice, whether you're about to start your freshman year or heading into your sophomore terms.

1. Stop thinking about your age. That’s easier said than done sometimes; especially when you’ve got a good twenty years on everyone in the class – including your professor. But no one cares as much as you do, and if you give it a chance you may even make some new friends.

2. Take online courses. As adults many of us remember when the first online college courses cropped up and seemed a little… scammy. Now even Harvard has online course options. While you probably won’t be able to complete your whole degree online, there are enough options at Vol State to give you a good start. You’ll be able to attend class on your own schedule, making the transition to college a little easier on you and your family. One word of advice, however: don’t expect to study less than you would for a physical class. It still takes discipline and dedication.

3. Embrace your village. Sure, you’re strong and independent. But getting through college when you have children and other responsibilities is not a one-person job. Remember those friends who are always saying “call me if you need something”? Identify which of them are serious, and call them. Sometimes you need a little extra help watching the kids so you can get that essay written.

4. Use your resources. Need help with math? There are instructors waiting at the Learning Commons in the library, and they’re pretty good at explaining the tough stuff. Does the thought of writing essays make you want to hide under your bed? Tutors in the Language Center are ready to help. They even have Rosetta Stone for those taking foreign language courses. The staff at Vol State work extra hard to make sure their student’s succeed. Check out Vol State's College Success Zone for a more comprehensive list of academic help.

5. Take the time, make the time.
No doubt about it, going back to school takes a commitment. It takes times out of your already busy life. But as you feel the crunch, remember that this isn’t forever, but a degree will last forever. It’s for your future, and your children’s future. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t give up!

Have you found your own keys to success? Please share them in the comments! 

You might also enjoy: 10 Reasons You Should Consider Community College Today!

Gaynell Buffinet Payne

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