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San Diego City College to offer first four-year degree

Students at the downtown campus of San Diego City College will soon be able to earn a four-year degree in the field of cybersecurity.

The community college recently won approval from the California Community Colleges board to offer the first bachelor’s degree in its 108-year history. It is now the second campus in the San Diego Community College District to offer a baccalaureate program. San Diego Mesa College was among the first in California in 2015 with its health information management degree program. Miramar College recently submitted a proposal for a bachelor’s degree program in public safety management.

“The bachelor’s degree program in Cyber Defense and Analysis will provide a pipeline that not only leads to an above-livable wage career in an industry that is clearly in demand, but will also help diversify the cyber security workforce by allowing more women, military veterans, and people of color to find good jobs,” said City College President Ricky Shabazz in a statement.

City College’s Cyber Defense and Analysis Baccalaureate Program is projected to launch in fall 2024. Applications will begin to be accepted next fall through next winter. The college now offers an associate degree in cybersecurity.

The average pay for cybersecurity analysts in San Diego County reached $111,590 annually as recently as May 2021, with related jobs paying similar salaries, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau also projects that the need for computer security analysts will grow 35 percent from 2021 to 2031. Up to 90 percent of local cyber companies reported having trouble finding qualified workers, according to a June 2021 report from the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

California’s 116 community colleges received legislative approval to begin offering bachelor’s degrees via Senate Bill 850, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in fall 2014. The legislation allowed baccalaureate pilot programs that met workforce needs at up to 15 campuses, so long as they didn’t duplicate programs at the state’s public universities. In 2021, the state legislature extended and made the pilot program permanent, authorizing up to 30 bachelor’s degree programs at state community colleges per year.

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