After 22 years of working in the hotel business and becoming a food and beverage manager, 42-year-old Marc McCarthy came to the realization that “very few opportunities for advancement existed,” he says. “Basically, I had to find something economically feasible to pursue a higher education.” He decided to enroll in classes nearby at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), where he began studying in three different fields: databases, web design and programming. Then he took an introductory cybersecurity course and made what he calls “a dynamic pivot in my education direction,” ultimately earning an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in cybersecurity.
The married, current stay-at-home dad of twin baby boys graduated summa cum laude from the NOVA program in 2014 and was awarded a scholarship into George Washington University’s (GWU) bachelor’s program in Integrated Information, Science and Technology, designed for community college graduates. Set to graduate this May, he has already accepted a paid summer internship with a multinational data analytics company. His starting hourly internship wage is 30 percent higher than his ending hourly wage as a food and beverage manager. The internship, he says, “encompasses cybersecurity, information science, statistics, analytics, communication and technical writing. It is my dream job.”
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