Cyber Security specialization puts IT student David Corley ahead of the curve

David Corley started taking online classes at Gaston College while he was still in high school, and, at 19 years old, he is now halfway to earning his associate degree in Information Technology, with a focus on Cyber Security. The courses he is taking will prepare him to acquire multiple professional certifications, such as CompTIA Sec+, CCNA, and Azure AZ-900 and AZ-104, before he graduates in August 2023.

Cyber Security complements David’s desire to have a career in technology that will allow him to assist people in the safe facilitation of commerce and entertainment. “The great thing about IT,” he says, “is that it’s a very diverse field. Because a lot of people are trying to get their start in that field, it’s important to decide which of the many relevant sub-specialties you want to specialize in so you can get ahead of the curve and stand out to potential employers.” A recent class tour of AvidXChange, a fintech company based in Charlotte, inspired David to want to work in Cloud security and/or DevOps, two relatively new and challenging fields of IT.

Taking classes on campus instead of strictly online has been David’s best experience at Gaston College, because it enables him to interact with the hardware, course material, and his peers. “Gaston College has provided me a learning experience I could have only dreamed of,” he said. “The College’s environment and educators have allowed me to learn what I want to learn, do what I want to do, and feel accomplished in my work. Not only is Gaston College increasing the ‘momentum’ of my development, it lets me control it and gives me a sense of ownership over my achievements.

Gaston College’s Information Technology Networking and Cyber Defense program received a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense designation from the National Security Agency in 2022. To learn more about the program, visit

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