Computer Information Systems Program
Whatcom’s nationally acclaimed computer information systems (CIS) program is designed to prepare students for careers in technical support, network administration, or information security, needed within virtually all industries. The program has been developed in alignment with national industry standards and certifications. The program prepares students for the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification and several other certifications including Comp Tia’s A+ and Security+. The CIS program offers an associate in science degree in CIS, as well as an associate in applied science-transfer degree in cybersecurity. Certificate programs in technical support and network administration are available, as well as a short-term certificate of proficiency in information security professional.
Beginning fall 2017, the CIS program is offering a bachelor of applied science (BAS) degree in IT networking. The BAS degree includes courses infused with security topics and embedded certificates of proficiency in cloud computing, industrial control systems (SCADA), mobile technologies, and web development. The curriculum aligns with specific focus areas defined by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as part of their Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) program. Additionally, curriculum builds off of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education’s (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework and the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Cybersecurity Competency Model. As such, the program will help meet the national shortage of cybersecurity professionals.
WCC is one of the founding institutions of the CyberWatch West Center and in 2013 became the lead institution. Supported by a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF-ATE) grant, the mission of CyberWatch West is to increase the quantity and quality of the cybersecurity workforce throughout the western United States.
Confirming its stature as a national leader in cybersecurity education, Whatcom Community College was designated by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance / Cyber Defense 2-year education (CAE2Y) in 2014. Whatcom was among the first community colleges in the United States to earn this distinction, which recognizes colleges that are models of education and training in the information assurance field with curriculum mapped to the NSA’s latest requirements. The College was initially named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance / Cybersecurity in 2011. This new designation, which extends through the 2021 academic year, follows an extensive review of Whatcom’s program by the NSA that confirms the curriculum meets stringent, new standards.
CAE-CD National Resource Center
In recognition of its leadership and processes developed in collaboration with the NSA and through NSF-funded CyberWatch West and C5 (Catalyzing Computing and Cybersecurity at Community Colleges) grants, WCC has been designated by the NSA to serve as the Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) National Resource Center responsible for mentoring academic institutions nationwide preparing for application to the CAE program. In this role, WCC is helping the nation to more rapidly enhance and foster cybersecurity education programs resulting in a more plentiful and better prepared cybersecurity workforce.
The CIS program strongly recommends placement into Math 94 and English 92 or above prior to beginning CIS courses. Additionally, the Cybersecurity AAS-T degree requires completion of CIS 105 with a C (2.0) grade or better.
To be eligible for the BAS degree in IT networking, applicants must have:
- An associate’s degree in an information technology related field from a Washington State community or technical college* granted within the past five years or any prior degree plus relevant industry experience, personal statement and current resumé
- Cumulative minimum 2.0 GPA in associate’s degree and minimum 2.0 GPA in all IT-related coursework
*IT-related associate’s degrees granted from other institutions will be reviewed to verify suitable preparation for success in the BAS program.
Special application process
The lower division CIS program can be entered at the start of any quarter. There is no special application.
Admission to the BAS degree in IT networking is by selective entry application. For details about prerequisites, the application process, application materials and deadlines, visit the CIS program page on the College’s website or contact entry & advising or the CIS recruitment and retention specialist.
Additional requirements during/after course of study
Students must maintain at least a “C” (2.0) grade in all CIS courses and demonstrate professional work behavior exhibited through good class attendance, punctuality and timely completion of class assignments, in order to remain in the program. While not a requirement for the CIS program, students should be aware that there are special employment conditions in this career field that may include criminal background checks.
As noted above, beginning in fall 2017 Whatcom is offering a BAS degree in IT networking. Alternatively, students may plan their CIS course selection to maximize transferability of their credits through articulation agreements with some Washington 4-year colleges/universities. Advising assistance is strongly recommended.
Students who earn the AAS-T degree in cybersecurity may apply to Western Washington University’s bachelor’s degree program in computer and information systems security and transfer up to 91 credits; the AAS-T degree may also transfer into other Washington 4-year colleges/universities with which Whatcom has a direct articulation agreement for this program. Additional minimum academic requirements apply. Advising assistance is strongly recommended.
Visit whatcom.edu/cis for more information.
Computer Information Systems Degrees and Certificates
Computer Information Systems Classes
Introduction to the practical application of computers and communication technology. Includes the major components of computer systems, user interfaces, applications, networking, and societal issues surrounding computing, including ethics, privacy, security, and sustainability.
Introduces the fundamentals of computer operating systems including history, evolution and design, as well as support, maintenance and troubleshooting. Lab work included. Recommended preparation: CIS 100 or equivalent.
Fundamental management of open source systems from the command line, user administration, file permissions, software configuration and management of clients. Prerequisite: CIS 105 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
Basics of Computer Security, including identifying threats, planning for business continuity, and preparing for various security attacks. Prerequisite: CIS 105 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
Implementing virtualization techniques and technologies. Prerequisite: CIS 105 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
Advanced study of computer operating systems and platforms. Prerequisite: CIS 105 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
In-depth study of computer components and their interrelationships. Lab period with hands-on experience in installation, upgrading, removal, configuration, and troubleshooting of software and hardware. Prerequisite: CIS 105 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
In-depth study of computer components and their interrelationships. Lab period with hands-on experience in installation, upgrading, removal, configuration, and troubleshooting of hardware and software on various platforms. Prerequisite: CIS 206 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
Network security fundamentals including defining a security policy, attack methods, intrusion detection, firewalls, identifying risks, and securing networks. Prerequisite: CIS 106, CIS 110, CIS 116 and CIS 226 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
This course is a continuation of Network Security I, with added emphasis on defense in depth. Prerequisite: CIS 214 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
Securing Industrial Control Systems including identifying risks, configuring devices and protocols, attack methods, and security ICS networks. Prerequisite: CIS 215 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
This is an introductory course to computer forensics and investigations. Topics include: forensic tools, computer forensic analysis, investigations, and preparing written reports. Prerequisite: CIS 105 and 206 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
First in the four quarter networking sequence. This course introduces the fundamentals of networking, including introduction to the OSI and TCP/IP network models, and IP addressing and sub-netting. Other topics include: network design, topologies, protocols, wiring, and network devices. Prerequisite: CIS 105 with minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
Continuation of four quarter networking sequence. Topics include routing protocols and concepts including static and dynamic routing. Students will gain hands on experience in the lab configuring and troubleshooting multiple routing protocols, including OSPF. Prerequisite: CIS 226 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
Topics include LAN Switching and wireless communication, configuring, verifying, and troubleshooting VLANs, inter-VLAN routing, VTP, and trunking on Cisco switches. Students will learn to configure wireless networks and common implementation issues. Students will gain hands on experience in the lab. Prerequisite: CIS 227 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
Topics include voice and video over IP and WAN technologies including PPP, Frame Relay, and broadband links. WAN security concepts are discussed in detail, including types of threats, how to analyze network vulnerabilities, and general methods for mitigating common security threats. Prerequisite: CIS 228 with a minimum grade of C or permission of program coordinator.
Students will learn about database management systems (DBMS) and how to utilize them to solve specific problems. Prerequisite: program admittance or permission of BAS program coordinator; CIS 205 with a minimum grade of C or Server+ certification or equivalent.
Analyze and apply the various technologies and services that enable cloud computing, interpret different types of cloud computing models, and analyze the security and legal issues associated with cloud computing. Compare each type of service/model of cloud computing, local resource requirements, local controls, networking requirements, and security. Prerequisite: program admittance or permission of BAS program coordinator.
Students will be able to install, administer, configure, and upgrade a Linux system in enterprise environments. Students will be able to analyze the tools and explain the concepts needed to build and manage a production Linux infrastructure, including integrating the infrastructure into a Windows environment. Prerequisite: program admittance; CIS 106 with a minimum grade of C.
Students will learn about the hardware, communications, management, and programming environments associated with mobile technologies. Students will be able to interpret and explain coordination, energy efficiency, self-organization, and security within a wireless sensor network and be able to identify methods for isolating and/or obfuscating RF transmissions. Prerequisite: program admittance or permission of BAS program coordinator; and CIS 229 with a minimum grade of C or; Network+ certification or equivalent.
Students will learn to evaluate and configure cyber physical systems including embedded system architectures, analyze real time OS issues including concurrency and synchronization, and apply real time resource management. Prerequisite: program admittance of permission of BAS program coordinator.
Develop and maintain a web site, incorporate e-commerce and database components into a web site, and employ appropriate security measures. Create scripts/programs to automate and perform operations. Implement basic security practices in developing scripts/programs (e.g., bounds checking, input validation). Prerequisite: program admittance or permission of BAS program coordinator; CIS 301 and CS 140 with a minimum grade of C.
Topics covered include: cloud based storage, virtualization, service oriented architecture (SOA), high availability, scaling, mobile devices, the role of open source cloud software such as Hadoop, OpenStack, and others. Prerequisite: program admittance or permission of BAS program coordinator and; CIS 305 with a minimum grade of C.
Designing a supply chain including all of the components and the associated security issues. Students will learn about issues related to outsourcing supply chain components, apply mitigation methods, analyze transport and logistics of components, and evaluate third party development practices. Prerequisite: program admittance and; CIS 308 with a minimum grade of C.
Students will learn about local area networks in the master station and in the field; reliability, redundancy and safety issues; features of the RTU; PLCs and industrial computers; instrument and equipment interfaces; features of the MTU/HMI; security; data historian/back end systems; and planning and managing SCADA projects. Prerequisite: program admittance or permission of BAS program.
Students will be able to apply a concept taught in the IT networking BAS program, and develop additional expertise and knowledge through an approved industry focused project. Prerequisite: program admittance and; 50 upper division credits in BAS program.