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Amazon Web Services offering scholarships for Cerro Coso students in Information Technology

Cerro Coso's Coyote Corner

A total of $17,300 in scholarships is now available for Cerro Coso students pursuing a cloud-based education in Information Technology (IT) for spring of 2024. Cerro Coso Community College was one of three California community colleges awarded scholarships to distribute from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Amazon Web Services has been a valuable partner to Cerro Coso in preparing students for careers in cloud-based computing, cyber security and information technology pathways. Through their partnership with AWS, Cerro Coso has distributed $42,500 in scholarships since fall 2022.

During academic year 2022-23, 31 Cerro Coso students received AWS scholarships to support their educational pursuits in information technology, and 44 students graduated with degrees or certificates in IT.

Cerro Coso College student and AWS scholarship recipient Julianna Gorduyn, who completed an Associate of Science degree in Cyber Security, writes, "This scholarship significantly alleviated the financial burden of pursuing education. I am graduating in 2024 with no student debt, due to scholarships like the AWS that enabled me to start my career on a more stable financial footing. I have the freedom to pursue my career goals in Cyber Security without being solely driven by the need to repay loans. Furthermore, the reputation associated with receiving a scholarship enhanced my resume, making myself more appealing to potential employers or graduate school admissions committees."

Degrees like Cyber Security are in high demand in the areas surrounding Tehachapi. Employers such as Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, Edwards Air Force Base, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, New Directions Technologies (NDTI), Saalex Solutions and private contractors have reported to Cerro Coso about the struggle to fill cyber security positions. There are simply not enough trained professionals, creating an extremely competitive environment. Tehachapi residents who complete degrees in IT could help fill this needs gap.

The need for cyber security professionals is essential to our world today. According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): "Cyber security is the art of protecting networks, devices and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity and availability of information."

With more and more information available online, the personal data of millions is at risk of hackers. Cyber security helps protect individuals and organizations from cyber attacks such as data breaches and identity theft and also help prevent harm from these attacks such as financial losses and reputational damage. Cyber security professionals are on the front lines of ensuring that data stays safe and secure.

Not only is it an in-demand job, cyber security is a high quality profession that pays above a living wage in Kern County. According to the Center for Excellence Labor Market report for 2023, at the associate degree level, hourly wage in our region ranges from $20.45 to $47.50 an hour, the latter of which is a salary of $98,800. At the bachelor's level, hourly wage ranges from $38.50 to $67.50, the latter of which is a salary of $140,400. An associate degree is typically required for job positions like computer network support specialists, and network and computer system administrators.

A bachelor's degree is typically required for computer systems analysts, software quality assurance analysts and testers, and information security analysts. This year, Cerro Coso submitted an application to the state of California to be able to provide a bachelor degree in Cyber Security and is midway through the approval process.

Cerro Coso offers eight different information technology pathway programs that are stackable toward a degree, to address the need and high demand for information technology professionals. All of the information technology programs are offered entirely online or through a hybrid of in-person classes.

Information Technology Degrees and Certificates at Cerro Coso Community College

• Cyber Security Technician Certificate.

• Cyber Security Technology Associate of Science.

• Data Analyst I Certificate.

• Information Technology Associate of Science.

• Information Technology Certificate.

• Information Technology Plus Certificate.

• Information Technology: Cloud Computing Certificate.

• Information Technology: Linux Operating System Certificate.

In addition to the AWS scholarship, Cerro Coso promotes over 300 scholarships available for students wanting to pursue their education. To apply for the scholarships, visit our website http://www.cerrocoso.edu under "Enrollment and Aid," and go to "Scholarships" to view a full list. Spring classes will start Jan. 16, 2024, so please enroll and apply before then if you are interested.

For more information or to enroll, call Tehachapi campus at (661) 823-4986 or visit our campus located at 126 S. Snyder Ave., Tehachapi.