That's right! Tampa is the country's destination city for advanced, diversified, and cutting-edge cyber security. While you don't necessarily have to reside in Tampa Bay, you must be a resident of the neighboring counties to participate in the mentorships with local Tampa Bay area businesses and organizations.

As a result of the success and flourishing popularity of the Cyber Security Training program, it will eventually be offered at other locations throughout the state. In addition, Tampa will remain as the flagship city for launching this advanced training and serve as the blueprint for cyber security training throughout the country.

Here's a comprehensive look at Tampa's phenomenal cyber security training program:

The Cyber Foundations Pilot Program

Cyber Foundations is the inaugural program launched by the National Center for Cyber Studies. It's a fast-track, online training program developed around the renowned and highly-respected Information Security and Information Security Certificate programs already offered at Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida.

The brains, brawn, and beauty behind the program initiative

The National Center for Cyber Studies is an educational initiative created by the not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) National Cyber Partnership. There are three other entities that have collaborated in partnership with the National Center for Cyber Studies:

  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) ~ providing $750,000 in start-up funding.
  • TEKsystems ~ a leading international IT recruiting firm securing jobs throughout North America and Europe for 80,000+ IT candidates and offering one-on-one job-placement coaching for graduates of the Cyber Foundations Pilot Program.
  • Saint Leo University ~ a liberal arts, Catholic college founded in 1889 and the second largest provider in the world of academic degree programs for military personnel.

The Purpose of the Cyber Foundations Pilot Program

This one-of-a-kind, workforce development program in cyber security training was launched in Florida for several reasons.

To spark economic development

Cyber Foundations began in Florida to help ignite the state's economy and the development of Florida's fast-growing cyber industry in both the Tampa Bay area and across the state. Rick Michaels ~ Chairman and CEO of the National Cyber Partnership explains, "Helping veterans who often have security clearances but difficulty finding good jobs embark on great careers where qualified cyber personnel are in short supply is a win-win." 

To assist veterans and active-duty military members

The sunshine state is home to nearly 1.5 million veterans, the third largest population of military veterans in the country! The Cyber Foundations Pilot Program was initially designed to help these veterans and current military personnel receive elite cyber security training and then secure gainful and engaging employment in the Tampa Bay area, throughout Florida, and across the country.  "This program will provide Tampa area veterans with the skills needed to obtain high-wage jobs in the growing information and cyber security industries," shares Jesse Panuccio, the Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

To assist non-military individuals

While primarily designed to serve as a fabulous opportunity for United States veterans and the active military population, the Cyber Foundations Pilot Program was also created to provide superior, advanced training to all interested American citizens who want to further enhance their education and hone their skills in cyber security. There are, however, currently limited openings for non-veterans who would like to enroll in the program.

To help fill the countless available jobs in cyber security

Cyber security careers for military veterans are in high demand and include over 30 areas of specialty. There are various positions available at lots of different levels, with jobs ranging from entry level to expert. In fact, many cyber security-related jobs still remain unfilled in the Tampa Bay area, across Florida, and throughout the nation. This challenging and high-in-demand field requires highly-skilled, well-rounded, and qualified personnel who have completed rigorous cyber security training. Cyber Foundations strives to provide that.

The Program's Curriculum

All classes are online. This fast-paced platform of learning encompasses weekly lectures, weekly reading assignments, and weekly practice exercises and quizzes. The pace is just as demanding as the content, and all work must be completed each week in order to keep up with the program and get the most out of it. Each class is 8 weeks. The complete program typically takes 18 weeks. If you have the time to devote, you can finish in 12 weeks by taking take 2 class simultaneously.

There are four facets of the Cyber Foundations Pilot Program's next generation curriculum that contribute to its uniqueness and success:

Studies in the human factor

While other universities and IT training companies throughout the country may also offer classes on the ever-important technical aspects of cyber security, the state-of-the-art curriculum offered exclusively by the Cyber Foundations Pilot Program soars far beyond these critical aspects of the industry to encompass the profoundly significant human factor involved in cyber security.  By providing an in-depth look into the behavior and actions of the people literally behind the computers and IT systems, participants in the Cyber Foundations Pilot Program are able to garner a unique understanding of and insight into not only how everyday computer users at their jobs, businesses, and homes can unintentionally compromise the integrity of their IT systems (by opening email attachments, sharing passwords, or executing other seemingly-harmless routines on their computers), but also how the hackers themselves think, plan their sophisticated attacks, and target the systems.

Tampa Bay area mentorships

The curriculum of the Cyber Foundations Pilot Program also incorporates input from both area businesses and local government agencies to enable students to connect their academic-based studies with real-world scenarios. Through mentorships already in place with many of these Tampa Bay businesses and organizations, students enrolled in the Cyber Foundations Pilot Program will have the opportunity to acquire hands-on experience in the community. It is this component of the program, in particular, that makes it a perfect opportunity for Tampa Bay area residents.  

Saint Leo University offers "traditional" cyber security training

An integral part of the Cyber Foundations curriculum is offered through Saint Leo University's already-established graduate online Cyber Security Certificate Programs. In addition to studies in operating systems, network security, and firewalls, some of the specific courses include:

  • Cyber Security Compliance and Legal Issues
  • Database Security
  • Software Security
  • Management of Information Security
  • Cyber Security Risk Management
  • Cloud Computing Security
  • Systems Security Risk Management
  • Network Security Management
  • Web Security Management
  • Ethical Hacking
  • Advanced Networking and Protocols
  • Strategic Planning for Information Security

"Nontraditional" cyber security training

By collaborating and remaining in ongoing communication with Tampa Bay employers and industry recruiters, the Center for Cyber Studies has identified areas of cyber security in the real world that aren't normally addressed in depth (or at all) in traditional academic courses of study. As a result, the Center has developed courses of study to meet the needs of today's employers. These nontraditional, relevant, and exciting courses include:

  • Human Process Augmentation for Cyber security Professionals 
  • Risk Assessment and Management 
  • Global Perspectives

The Price of This Priceless Training

Saint Leo University works with individual veterans and current military personnel to identify the absolute best way for them to utilize their military benefits to help them cover the cost of earning their cyber security certificate. While the National Center's fees are comparable to those offered at other educational facilities, the Cyber Foundations Pilot Program does offer significantly reduced tuition rates.

If you want to use your 9/11 GI Bill benefits to cover tuition at Saint Leo University, and if you attend only online classes, you'll be entitled to a housing allowance (BAH) equal to ½ the national average per month. The current BAH rate, also referred to as the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) for those enrolled full-time through the post 9/11 GI Bill at any online college, school, or distance learning program is $754.50; this amount is available through July 31st, 2015. The rate can change so be sure to review the VA website for the latest rate information. While traditionally the BAH Rates are effective as of January 1st, 2015, the effective date for the adjustment of the MHA received under the Post-9/11 GI Bill is at the beginning of the academic year, August 1, 2015

If you are looking to receive full housing allowance, the only way to do that is to attend at least one traditional brick-and-mortar classroom-delivered course. Since all of the Cyber Foundations Pilot Program's classes are offered online only, this program wouldn't be able to meet your goal of obtaining full housing allowance.

For assistance in determining your eligibility for veteran's benefits, please contact the graduate or undergraduate Admissions office at Saint Leo University  (800) 334-5532.

Completion of the Cyber Foundations Pilot Program and credit hours

Once you've completed all the cyber security training courses in the Cyber Foundations Program, you will be required to take an industry certification exam from (ISC)2, CompTIA, or another similar leading certifying entity (the Cyber Foundation Pilot Program provides a voucher towards the cost of the certification exam). Successfully passing this exam will demonstrate your expertise and knowledge of the field. You will then be awarded your Cyber Foundations Certificate of Completion.

While you'll earn a formal Certificate of Completion, your courses do not currently carry academic credit toward an undergraduate or graduate degree.

Don't Delay. Get Started Today!

The current session of the Cyber Foundations training program is filled and applications are closed as of March 2nd 2015. Make sure you stay informed of the next open application date by requesting a notice for the next session. To enroll in the next session of online classes, you'll need to first apply online and submit the required documents requested. Carefully review the academic requirements to make sure you can qualify for the program.

Good Luck!