Cyber Security Colleges In Illinois – Before We Get Into The Topic , Let’s Learn Some Basic Of This Topic
Anyone interested in cybersecurity will find a diverse range of degree programs and work opportunities in the Land of Lincoln. Visit our list of Illinois schools with cybersecurity programs to evaluate your options. Read this guide to learn more about what the state’s cybersecurity instructors and businesses have to offer in terms of scholarships, networking opportunities, and career possibilities.
Studying Cybersecurity in Illinois
Illinois’ colleges and institutions are the state’s primary sources of cybersecurity research. Annual conferences, such as the Cyber Defense and Disaster Recovery Conference at the University of Illinois at Springfield and ForenSecure at the Illinois Institute of Technology, discuss the topic.
Cybersecurity education is also offered at other public and private universities, as well as community colleges. Here are a few of the most popular:
- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the only Prairie State school on HP’s 2014 ranking of the finest cyber security schools in the US. The Information Trust Institute, which hosts a prestigious lecture series and weekly seminars on secured cloud computing, trust, and security, is a center of security-related activities. Energy systems, where it directs the US Department of Energy’s Cyber Resilient Energy Delivery Consortium (CREDC), and health information, where it directs the US Department of Health and Human Services Strategic Healthcare IT Advanced Research Projects on Security, are two of its main research areas (SHARPS).
- Illinois State University is one of six four-year universities in the state to be designated as a Center of Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In 2017, ISU will add a Cyber Security major to its existing BS in Information Systems with a focus in Information Assurance and Security. Trustwave, a local security firm, donates superior technology and software to its Center for Information Assurance and Security Education.
- Two Illinois community colleges, John A. Logan College and Moraine Valley Community College have been designated as Centers of Academic Excellence by the NSA and the DHS. In 2014, the latter hosted the first annual Community College Cyber Summit, which drew educators from all around the country. In 2017, it will host the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition’s Midwest Regionals.
- DePaul University offers standalone BS and MS Cybersecurity degrees, but security firm CloudPassage gives it bonus points for the number of security electives accessible to its Computer Science majors: nine. That’s the third-highest number of any of the country’s 121 top-rated tech institutions.
Online Cybersecurity Programs in Illinois
Unlike the majority of states, Illinois offers online cybersecurity programs at all academic levels, from bachelor’s to master’s degrees. Even though no single school dominates distance learning, the state’s public universities and community colleges collectively offer state students the opportunity to study the discipline while taking advantage of lower in-state tuition rates. In the meantime, private colleges pick up the slack in the graduate school category.
If you don’t want to commit to an entire online program but still want to take classes online, go to Illinois Community Colleges Online (ILCCO), which lists courses offered by the state’s nearly 50 community colleges.
Online Associate Degrees In Cybersecurity
Because an associate degree is typically the minimum requirement for an entry-level job in the field, it can be a good place to start for students interested in cybersecurity. For Illinois students seeking an online associate degree, there are two main options. The first step is to obtain a security degree. McHenry County College, unlike most schools, offers totally online programs. It offers an AAS in Network Security program for aspiring computer network architects, network support specialists, and systems analysts. It’s worth noting that none of those job titles include the term “security.” You’ll almost certainly need a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity if you want something more specialized.
If you’re already planning on going that route, the second option — an online transfer degree like the one offered by Shawnee Community College — is worth considering. Essentially, you’ll complete all of your general education requirements without having to take any major-related courses. The degree is designed to easily transfer to bachelor’s programs at Illinois universities like the ones listed below.
Online Bachelor’s Degrees In Cybersecurity
If you desire higher pay and a specific function in security, a four-year bachelor’s degree is recommended. But where can you acquire one in Illinois if you order one online? Examine two areas. The University of Illinois at Springfield is the first. You must have two semesters of Java programming expertise, as well as one semester of advanced arithmetic, calculus, and statistics, before being admitted to its BS in Information Systems Security program. That should give you a sense of the degree’s coursework requirements. The Bachelor of Information Systems Technologies with an emphasis on Network and Information Security offered by Southern Illinois University is a second option. Unlike the UIS degree, which has a solid computer science base, this degree focuses on practical applications, which implies less math.
Online Master’s Degrees In Cybersecurity
The average master’s degree-holding cybersecurity professional earns more than the average bachelor’s degree-holding specialist. That’s because the more abilities you have — and the more professional credentials you have to show for them — the further up the career ladder you may climb. In Illinois, there are three main places to seek an online degree that will help you advance your career.
- An online Master of Science in Computer Science with a Cyber Security focus is available from Lewis University. You’ll enter with a technical background and leave with a deeper understanding of systems, theory, and programming.
- Look at DePaul’s MS in Computer, Information, and Network Security if you don’t have computer experience – or even if you do. Its initial curriculum is designed to introduce you to programming and systems, although it is low on theory (i.e., you might get away with less math).
- For those without a strong background in IT or computer science, Northwestern’s online Masters in Information Systems Specialties (MSIS) with a focus in Information Systems Security is a good option. It covers both technical and managerial subjects, such as safeguarding network systems and creating secure systems (e.g. risk management, disaster recovery, policy development, etc.).
Online Certificate Programs In Cybersecurity
Enrolling in a certificate program is beneficial for two reasons. First, you have a bachelor’s degree in technology and wish to further your profession by taking a year of cybersecurity training. Second, you don’t have a bachelor’s degree and want to get a job in cybersecurity as soon as possible, perhaps while still in an associate or bachelor’s program. The graduate certificate in Computer Security offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an example of the former. There are three classes in total, and no prior understanding of computer security is required. Elmhurst College’s undergraduate certificate in Cyber Security is an example of the latter option. It is organized as a five-course overview of the subject and assumes no prior security knowledge. Its goal is to train students towards industry-recognized professional credentials.
Cybersecurity Scholarships in Illinois
There are various scholarships available for cybersecurity students specifically, as well as many more for students studying technology or STEM in general. You won’t have to look for all of them, though. This is because colleges frequently utilize standardized scholarship application forms that examine students’ names for institutional awards they are eligible for. Here are some examples of cybersecurity scholarships offered by schools:
- Tarik Bicakcic Memorial Scholarship: Deutsche Boerse Systems, Inc. This grant is for senior students in Computer Science, Information Systems, Information Technology, or Network Engineering and Security who have a 3.0 GPA with a financial need. DePaul’s Scholarship Connect service allows you to apply online.
- Rubinow Endowed Scholarship: This scholarship is for graduate students enrolled in the Computer Information and Network Security department who have financial needs. Visit apply, go to Scholarship Connect.
Eastern Illinois University
- Caterpillar Homeland Security Scholarship: Caterpillar is interested in assisting you in building your future. Apply for the scholarship before the end of March if you’re enrolled in a graduate certificate program linked to homeland security and your FAFSA shows you have financial needs.
- Cliff and Kate Strandberg Graduate Assistantship in Technology: Students at the School of Technology can receive $8,100 in exchange for nine months of teaching, research, or service to the school. You will, however, be responsible for completing your own schoolwork.
- Seniors and graduate students in the School of Technology who have a 2.75 GPA and are enrolled in at least six credits are eligible for the School of Technology Alumni Scholarship.
Illinois State University
Tuition Waiver for Graduate Trustees: Have you been denied funding for graduate school? A tuition waiver from the School of Information Technology is the final possibility. To apply, send an email to the IT graduate advisor with your application.
Graduate Assistantship at the School of Information Technology: An assistantship is your best bet for graduate funding in the MS in Information Systems program. You’ll get tuition remission and compensation in exchange for 10 to 20 hours of teaching. Apply for a position with the Office of Human Resources by filling out an online application.
IT Family and Friends Scholarship: Everyone chipped in — faculty, staff, and supporters of the university — and put together $1,000 for outstanding students in the School of Information Technology, including those studying information assurance or network security. Use one application to apply for this and four other schools of IT honors.
Scholarship from the State Farm Companies Foundation: Here’s another of those awards. It’s worth $4,000 to first-year students. Why should you apply? There are two reasons for this: To begin with, there are five of them, so you have a good chance. Second, they’re searching for students who specialize in specific fields, such as security/network defense, which increases your chances even further.
Dana Dominiak is a writer and entrepreneur. Computer Science Scholarship: Would you be willing to pay $1,000 towards a Computer Science degree? You would, of course, especially if you had a documented financial need. To qualify, you must have a 3.14 GPA and apply using the school’s single scholarship application.
The Raymond E. Klump Memorial Scholarship is awarded to deserving students. Another $1,000 prize is available for undergraduate Computer Science majors who are financially disadvantaged. To be eligible, you must have a 2.75 GPA.
The William and Nanci Greene Computer Science Scholarship: The Greenes add a little extra to make it $1,250 for Computer Science majors with financial needs. A 2.75 qualifies you once more.
FSC Endowed Scholarship, William L. Walz Most Computer Science majors desire this one, but you’ll have to wait until your senior year to apply. It’s worth $5,650 and goes to students who have demonstrated leadership on campus and want to apply that spirit to an internship with Christian Brothers Services.
McHenry County College
McHenry offers a few scholarships for cybersecurity students, but you’re asked to apply for the John and Marilyn Krenger Scholarship, where you’ll compete for $4,000 with other students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines. Financial need, academic standing (3.0 GPA necessary), and a personal essay are all factors considered by the Friends of MCC Foundation. Please apply via the link provided above.
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Scholarship for Boeing Information Systems and Applied Technologies: You’re here because you’re curious about information security. Now you can get compensated from Boeing in Illinois to continue your undergraduate security studies at SIU’s School of Information Systems and Applied Technology (e.g., a BS in Information Systems Technologies with a Network and Information Security specialization). To apply for this and the Phelix Scholarship below, register with Academic Works and complete the SoISAT Scholarship General Application Form.
Camille W. Logan & Sonia Veronica Phelix Scholarship: Ms. Logan is looking for students who want to pursue a profession in information systems and have the necessary academic credentials. It is not required to have a financial need.
The University Of Illinois At Chicago
UIC’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Didn’t know there was a cybersecurity program at UIC? It isn’t the case. Undergraduate Computer Science majors who aim to fill their elective course load with security-related studies can get their tuition and fees canceled, as well as a hefty stipend, in exchange for agreeing to work for a federal agency in the field of information assurance after graduation.
Computer Science graduate students have their own award, the HS-STEM Scholarship. Their tuition and costs are covered, and they are paid a monthly stipend, just like the SFS. They are not, however, required to work in the sector following graduation.
The University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Illinois Cyber Security Scholars Program: This full scholarship (plus stipend) is available to both undergraduate and graduate students — even law students — but it’s only for students who commit to working in cybersecurity for a federal agency after graduation.
Cybersecurity Events in Illinois
Cybersecurity Meetups & Communities In Illinois
- What do you want to gain from participating in a cybersecurity community? Do you merely want to meet some individuals in the field for a beer and a bite to eat? If that’s the case, join a CitySec group. Under the Burbsec umbrella, there are four in Greater Chicago. Residents of Springfield can attend the similarly themed spices. If you’re looking for something more substantive, such as lectures or structured networking events, at least one of the meetups listed below should fit your expertise and interest level:
- Chicago Security Meetup: The self-proclaimed ninjas, hackers, and pirates of the Chicago Security Meetup meet every two months at 6:00 p.m. to listen to a professional outside speaker. “Mr. Human: Vulnerability Management from the Attacker’s Perspective” and “A Data-Centric Approach to Information Protection” are two examples of session titles. Anyone who hits the “join” button becomes a member.
- Evolve Security Academy: EvolveSec tries to have something for cybersecurity aficionados of all levels, even people who have never touched a keyboard, with everything from workshops to presentations in an open mic night format. It holds its meetings in Chicago.
- ISSA Chicago: The Chicago chapter of the Information Systems Security Association meets once a month for a drink and to hear from intriguing experts. Previous speakers have included the FBI’s Chief Information Security Officer.
Cybersecurity Conferences & Workshops In Illinois
- Year-round communities are provided by meetups and chapter gatherings. Conferences, on the other hand, offer the chance to earn CEUs and network with people who aren’t in your personal circle. Here are six events that showcase the best of what Illinois has to offer:
- The ending cocktail mixer is sponsored by a cigar manufacturer, in case you didn’t know this one-day event is aimed at senior executives. You’ll get there eventually.
- The Chicago Suburbs Tech-Security Conference is a free, easy way to see what’s going on in the sector, with a mix of exhibition booths and speaker sessions. The daylong Cyber Defense and Disaster Recovery Conference, hosted by the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance, should appeal to both students and security professionals. Choose from a variety of tracks throughout the day to attend the presentations that most interest you.
- ForenSecure: The Illinois Institute of Technology’s annual event highlights IIT’s work in cybersecurity and forensics while also providing opportunities for professors and professionals from throughout the country to present.
- Thotcon: You can attend this Chicago hacker convention, but first you must locate it. The location is a closely guarded secret.
Cybersecurity Jobs in Illinois
With almost 2,600 information security specialists, Greater Chicago ranks fourth in the US. According to Burning Glass Technologies, it is eager for more, with 9,623 job listings in 2014. It ranks fifth on the list, with a 164 percent increase in job posts from 2010 to 2014, indicating that its already robust market for cybersecurity specialists is far from saturated. Competitors such as Washington, D.C., New York, and Silicon Valley can’t say the same.
Although Illinois does not have as many cybersecurity companies as other states, there is a handful to keep an eye on. Simcoe (#75), NowSecure (#124), Trustwave (#157), Flexera Software (#174), and Kenna (#338) made Cybersecurity Ventures’ list of the hottest 500 businesses in the area. Even if they aren’t household names, you should look into working for them because they may be looking at you, literally. Trustwave, for example, sponsors the Illinois Technology Association’s annual Tech Challenge in part to snare the top participants for internships.
Are you still looking for bigger names? Boeing. United. Discover. State Farm is a company that specializes in insurance. Allstate. All Fortune 500 firms having information – financial or otherwise — that needs to be protected from hackers that are based in Illinois. Is there anything else you’d like to add to this list? It includes two of the country’s largest insurance businesses. In fact, insurance is the state’s most important industry. Insurance companies are now offering cyber plans worth billions of dollars in premiums as a result of corporations getting attacked left and right. However, to insure against security breaches, they must first understand the risks they pose, according to TechCrunch, which predicts that the insurance business will be a key growth area for cybersecurity professionals in the coming years.
Cybersecurity Salaries in Illinois
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median average income for information security analysts is $87,690 per year, which is somewhat less than the national average of $90,120. There’s hardly much to be concerned about, though, considering Illinois’ cost of living is several ticks below the national average.
But that may be too broad; most cybersecurity experts will work in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, which is a little more expensive to live in than the rest of the state. Despite this, Indeed.com discovered that after correcting for the cost of living, Chicago came in the sixth position for average compensation among the site’s 15 most popular tech job search destinations. That outperforms rivals New York, Washington, and Los Angeles.
The organization of the NCC Group Security Open Forum is as follows: Meet once a quarter and listen to three half-hour presentations from other members. Meetings are generally held in well-known Chicago companies like Basecamp and Braintree, indicating the networking opportunities available.
The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) has chapters all over the world. OWASP Chicago, like the NCC Group, holds meetings at local tech companies. Members of OWASP mingle, conduct chapter business, and then discuss topics ranging from random number generation to DevOps.