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From Community College to an Elite Cyber Program

Cameron Williams, smiling. Computer code in the background.

One Wildcat shares how he transferred from Cochise College to the highly-ranked Cyber Operations program at the University of Arizona’s Sierra Vista campus.

About Cameron Williams

Major: Cyber Operations: Cyber Engineering Emphasis

Graduating in: 2022

From: Sierra Vista, Arizona

While working on his associate's degree at Cochise College, Cameron believed going further meant transferring to a university far away. Then the red hot field of cybersecurity came calling, leading him to the University of Arizona's Sierra Vista campus, home to CAST (College of Applied Science & Technology) and one of the top cyber programs in the country.

Transferring from Cochise College to University of Arizona Cyber Operations Program 

Describe your academic journey so far.

I started my educational career at Cochise College, aiming for an associate's in computer science, thinking I'd transfer to a university in Phoenix or California for my bachelors. As I progressed in my degree plan, many of my professors often placed emphasis on cybersecurity. I realized there were greater opportunities and a nationally acclaimed cyber program just a few feet from my college [Arizona's Sierra Vista campus is adjacent to Cochise College]. I immediately switched to Arizona.

Why did you choose Sierra Vista over the main campus?

More than anything: location, location, location! Aside from affordability – travel and living costs, going to school in the same town I live in has been THE deciding factor. 

What do you like most about your experience at CAST?

I've found nothing but great courses, experienced teachers with long histories to share, excellent student job openings, and scholarship opportunities, which I've had even better luck with than those offered through Cochise College. The courses here have also given me mountains of practical experience with modern tools and best practices.

Future Job Opportunities in Cybersecurity

What does your future look like now?

I plan on graduating in May 2022, but I'm also considering my master's in cybersecurity, which may push that off an extra year. I've already had a few job and internship offers from local and national cybersecurity companies. By the time I graduate, I'll be spoiled for job choice. Either way, I'm aiming for working at the NSA or another cyber division under the Department of Defense, where the work I do can have a major, direct, and positive impact on the world.

What will earning your degree mean to your family? 

My family is phenomenal – we're extremely close and supportive of each other, and I don't doubt for an instant that I'd have never come this far without their love, support, and the upbringing they gave me. Earning my bachelor's will be a tribute to them, and I hope to inspire my younger nephews and cousins to take college on as well. 

Any helpful insights you'd like to share with other Wildcats?

I spend a lot of time tutoring other students in the school, and I've learned that most people are very capable with many subjects they struggle in, and they just need some extra support to keep learning and improving. Usually, the real obstacle anyone faces in school is themselves, and eventually, I see the people I help helping themselves once they get the hang of it.

With the convenience of ten locations across the state, the University of Arizona's Near You Network offers transfer students no-compromise, hands-on learning experiences, and top-rated programs taught by field-leading faculty. Change the world from right where you are. Become a Wildcat.

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Learn About Cyber Operations in Sierra Vista


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