SBVC Gets a Top Ranking For Computer Science Education

Droids, drones, data mining, and cybersecurity, whatever the occupational question – Computer Science and Information Technology may well be the answer. Students seeking careers in computer technical professions can sharpen their industry skills at San Bernardino Valley College, which recently ranked in the top 50 for offering affordable quality education for one of best online software engineering programs in the nation. 

 
In its selection, AffordableCollegesOnline.org considered data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the availability of career and academic counseling, and student access and awards to direct financial aid.  "284,000 California students earning graduate and undergraduate degrees are taking at least one online course,” Dan Schuessler, CEO and Founder of AffordableCollegesOnline.org. "The institutions featured on our ranking acknowledge the importance of online learning and are making higher education accessible to a broader group of students.” 


SBVC offers a wide variety of computer science programs and software certificates to help students meet increased demand for high tech careers. Many advanced tech industry degrees are now pushing at, or above, six-figure salaries. Students can get the basics with an introduction to computers and software up to more advanced training, such as networks, programming and computer facilities management. They can also pursue a computer science certificate program, or a full computer science associate degree. 


Students can earn an associate degree in Office Technology with a foundation in word processing, advanced computer literacy, and data management. Or, they can train through a variety of certificates, including Cisco Certified Network Associate, Computer Network Support Specialist, Computer Support Specialist, Information Security, and Cyber Defense. Other offerings include Management Information Systems, Medical Coding, and Billing, as well as a noncredit certificate in Office Technology Fundamentals. 


There are very few places these days where computer science is not utilized and implemented, whether Google and numerous other software companies, or the government that amasses data. Dr. Stephanie Lewis, Dean of Mathematics, Business & Computer Technology at SBVC, said in one form or the other, information technology has taken off in nearly every sector of society. “It’s everywhere,” she said. “Having the information, having the data and being able to acquire it, data mining is huge in this environment.” 


Computer Science and information technology span a wide swath of top paying fields, especially for advanced degrees, according to government labor statistics. A network specialist with an associate degree, many start out upwards of $70,000 a year. Lewis said some of the best choices for top paying fields are not only software development, but how to acquire information, and how to analyze and use it. “This field is ripe for those individuals willing to dive in,” she said.  


Designing programs that achieve specific tasks and goals show promise for future technology careers. She feels that students pursuing an associate, or a more advanced degree, will not be disappointed. “Whether we are using these technical utilities to help us problem solve or forecast for long-range challenges, [including] environmental, medical, there’s a litany of things that technology is now used for,” she said.  


Fast-tracked certificates are typically completed in six months to one year.  Recently, their CIT program developed certificates in forensics, yet another fast-growing field with classes to help prepare students successfully complete exams like C++. “Students will be able to get information from phones, computers. We will be creating labs for that. It’s a huge field,” she said.  


Students coming in with a bachelor’s degree in non-stem fields can also become proficient in computer technology.  Taking prerequisite courses like networking, and certified in C++, along with some newer courses, can help them get up to par to apply to a graduate program. 
SBVC Cyber Security courses feed into IAMS, Information Assurance Management Systems, a four-year program at Cal State San Bernardino. Students train in a number of backgrounds as network specialists to secure cyberspace. For the western region of the U.S., Lewis said CSUSB is one of the best feeders into the governmental system looking to fill cybersecurity positions. 


All SBVC computer systems graduates that are accepted into CSUSB are offered employment opportunities across a variety of fields. “There is great opportunity to be successful, even if they didn’t start out in that computer science or technical area,” she said. “There is a place within cybersecurity in finance at the government, the CIA, or the FBI."