Cyber Security Degree In Pennsylvania – Before We Get Into The Topic, Let’s Learn Some Basic Of This Topic
Pennsylvania is close to many governments and business centers that are in desperate need of cybersecurity professionals, making it an ideal place to get a degree. To peruse the state’s campuses, visit our list of Pennsylvania schools with cybersecurity programs. Keep reading to see a list of scholarships, degree tracks, and professional communities available for Keystone State students.
Cybersecurity Education in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has a whopping three schools in the top 10 of HP’s rankings of the best schools for cybersecurity: Carnegie Mellon (#4), University of Pittsburgh (#8), and West Chester University of Pennsylvania (#10). The Indiana University of Pennsylvania is honored at number 36.
How are Pennsylvania’s schools performing in comparison to other universities? Here are some things:
- Adobe. Amazon. Google. Tesla. Those are just a few of the spots where the 2016 class of Carnegie Mellon University’s MS in Information Technology-Information Security ended up after graduation, where they pulled in a median starting salary of $110,000.
- The Army Research Laboratory selected Penn State in 2013 to lead the Cyber-Security Collaborative Research Alliance. This body studies methods to quickly detect and analyze risks. Over a period of ten years, the alliance will receive funding up to $48 million.
- Drexel University was one of six cybersecurity experts contracted by the Army Reserve to train soldiers in cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity Programs Online in Pennsylvania
A mix of private and public colleges in Pennsylvania have put their cybersecurity degrees online, just like many other states. They put only a few degrees online. This leaves some students with very few options, as is the case at the baccalaureate. Students can choose from many more certificate and master’s programs at the graduate level. Associate degrees are a notable absence on the online menu. This is a problem that the state’s community college will need to fix, as they don’t offer traditional associate degrees in this field.
Cybersecurity Associate Degrees Online
Distance learning students can earn a general associate’s degree online. They will work with the college to arrange transfer credits. This assumes that you intend to continue your bachelor’s in cybersecurity. You can be creative if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degrees Online
To become a cyber-security specialist, a bachelor’s degree would be the best qualification. One can be obtained in as little as four years. Two universities in Pennsylvania are the best places to find an online degree that qualifies for most security jobs.
Penn State’s online learning platform is called World Campus. Many of the programs offered at State College are also available online, such as the Bachelor of Science degree in Security and Risk Analysis – Information & Cyber Security. You will need to be proficient in math and have completed Advanced Placement calculus to get into the program. The school can enroll you in courses to help you get up to speed. After being accepted, you will learn programming basics, be able to use statistics, and then go into-depth about network security. Our goal is to make you a great security problem solver.
The Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET has accredited RMU’s online/on-campus BS in Cyber Forensics & Information Security. You will need to take general credits in science and art. You can also take 30 credits in computer science, such as programming, operating systems analysis & design, etc. programming, operating systems, systems analysis & design, network security, etc.) 21 credits in IT security and forensics. Digital evidence analysis, IT governance, assurance, security, and mobile forensics are all included. You might also consider the RMU one-year undergraduate certificate for Mobile Forensics and Security. This allows students to transfer course credits into their BS.
Cybersecurity Master’s Degrees Online
A master’s degree in cybersecurity is not required to be able to enter the field. However, it can help both professionals who are looking to make more money and tech workers who want a jump into this role.
Two programs are offered by Penn State World Campus for different types of students: the Master of Professional Studies (Handyman Security) which provides options in Information Security & Forensics OR Cyber Threat Analytics and Prevention and the MPS Information Sciences – Cybersecurity & Information Assurance. Both programs are for students with a bachelor’s in math or tech. However, the former will give students a solid understanding of U.S. government policy and frameworks to approach threats to U.S. security. The latter is more difficult.
- Carnegie Mellon’s reputation for cybersecurity is online with its MS in Information Technology – Information Security & Assurance. This program is for those with at least three years’ work experience. The asynchronous delivery format makes it ideal for part-time students who wish to continue working.
- The online MS in Cybersecurity at Drexel University is designed for professionals in this field with a background in engineering or computer technology, but there are no work experience requirements.
- Robert Morris University offers an online MS in Cyber Security and Information Assurance that is tech-oriented. It was designed for IT professionals. You can choose to take 9 credits in specializations or concentrations in Enterprise Systems in addition to the core courses in network security, secure programming, and database systems.
Cybersecurity Certificate Programs Online
Certificates can be used to quickly explore a topic in between four and six courses. One can be earned as an undergraduate before you decide to pursue a two- or 4-year degree. You can also wait until later in your academic career to use the certificate to increase your opportunities for employment in cybersecurity. As an example, the Robert Morris University undergraduate certificate in Mobile Forensics and Security can be transferred directly into the BS program.
Penn State World Campus offers an online certificate program, which is not surprising. The undergraduate certificate in Security and Risk Analysis was designed for beginners and can be transferred into many associates and bachelor’s degree programs in this field. IT professionals who are looking to improve their security skills through a year of coursework can apply for the postbaccalaureate certificate in Information Systems Cybersecurity.
The graduate certificate in Cybersecurity at La Salle is a great option. It’s open to students not only with IT degrees but also with business and criminal justice backgrounds. You don’t need credit. Just the information. Villanova University offers a master’s degree in Information Systems Security.
Cybersecurity Scholarships in Pennsylvania
The U.S. government has provided scholarships to encourage colleges to increase their degree offerings and to incentivize students interested in cybersecurity, recognizing that it is a new topic on college campuses. Four Pennsylvania universities offer the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service. This is perhaps the most prominent example. As alumni numbers increase, college computer science and IT departments have more donors for cybersecurity scholarships. These are some examples of what you will find in the state.
Carnegie Mellon University
- American Security Professional Fellowship: One of a handful of fellowships reserved for students in the Master of Science in Information Security Policy and Management program, the American Security Professional Fellowship is worth at least $10,000 per semester and goes to the strongest scholars. There is no need to apply – all Heinz College students are eligible for the awards.
- Cisco Scholarship: Two of the Information Networking Institute’s (INI) four-degree programs are related to cybersecurity. Cisco grants $5,000 per year to INI students. Find the connections and apply. Other awards are available through the INI, such as the Director’s Fellowship which covers tuition. All INI awards require a minimum 3.0 GPA.
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Students in the MS in Information Security and MS in Information Security Policy and Management programs both qualify for this prestigious award funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which covers the complete cost of graduate education and provides a $34,000-a-year stipend. The recipient must have completed a two-year internship and a work placement at a federal agency. Apply through Carnegie Mellon CyLab
- MSIT Program Scholarship: Students in the Information Security Track of the MS in Information Technology also have funding options just for them. This is only one. You don’t have to do anything to apply for this program or others. Simply enroll in the program.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus
- Cyber Catch Information Assurance Scholarship: Got a 3.2? Minoring in information assurance? Are you open to working for the federal government for at least a few more years after your graduation? Apply for this scholarship through the NSF CyberCorps Scholarship For Service. This scholarship covers all your educational expenses and provides $20,000 per year for living expenses. This is a great undergraduate scholarship.
- Outstanding Freshman Scholarship: The Department of Computer Science, which teaches the university’s cybersecurity courses, wants to recruit top high school students. For more information, please contact the department.
Montgomery County Community College
- Thompson Family Endowed Scholarship: Administered through the Montgomery County Community College Foundation, this scholarship is for students with financial aid, but it’s a bit generic: Anyone in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program can apply. This includes students enrolled in Cyber Security certificate programs. You can apply online for this award and other Foundation awards.
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
- Anthony M. and Jeanette A. Agnone Trustee Scholarship for the School of Information Sciences and Technology: The College of Information Sciences and Technology, which houses the BS in Security and Risk Analysis, gives out more than 50 scholarships that students can qualify for, depending on their own academic and personal qualifications. You can apply for all the scholarships by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid before April 15th.
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: One scholarship you’ll have to apply for separately is the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service funded by NSF. It will take you longer to complete it but it will help you stop accruing debt. Graduate students and upperclassmen studying in cybersecurity programs may be eligible to apply.
University Of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: There are two routes to this full-ride scholarship and the $32,000-per-year stipend it comes with, and they both involve studying information security at the graduate level. First, you can enroll in the Master’s of Science in Telecommunications. The second step is to apply for the Masters of Science Information Science degree. After graduation, successful applicants will be hired by a federal agency for two years.
Cybersecurity Events in Pennsylvania
Cybersecurity Meetups & Communities in Pennsylvania
The more education and professional certifications you rack up, the more opportunities you’ll have to join organizations of your peers, such as ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association), which has chapters in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. You don’t need to have professional certifications to join meetups and communities. They only care about your interests. Here are some:
- OWASP Philadelphia: The Open Web Application Security Project is a global initiative with local chapters. You don’t need to be a member of the association to attend their meetups. They feature talks by local security experts.
- OWASP Pittsburgh: Surprise! A chapter is also available in Pittsburgh. Although it meets occasionally, the group plans to hold four meetings per year. These meetings will include educational presentations and chapter business.
- Philly Security Shell: With at least one event a month, the Philly Security Shell is a great bet for both professional edification and socializing. Membership in the Security Shell is about more than just attending interesting presentations. It’s about building a community.
- Steel City Information Security: This users’ group alternates informal social events with hands-on labs. It’s open to all, so you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy a drink or give a presentation.
Cybersecurity Conferences and Workshops in Pennsylvania
Colleges are the best place to find seminars, workshops, and conferences in Pennsylvania. Though often small, events such as Pitt’s half-day Computing Services and Systems Development Technology Conference and the irregularly scheduled Penn State Security Conference allow you to network and keep on top of the latest research. These are just a few of the larger annual events that adhere to these standards.
- BSides Philadelphia: BSides conferences are local events meant to give the security community a chance to engage on issues important to them. BSides Philly is a great opportunity to meet other professionals and researchers in the community and learn how you can collaborate.
- Philadelphia Tech Security Conference: Half tech expo, half speaker forum, this daylong Data Connectors event can earn you continuing privacy education (CPE) credits if you’re looking to maintain professional certification.
- Plumpton: Decidedly unserious, PumpCon attendees meet in a bar for the weekend and listen in on talks with such playful titles as “The Fault in Our Logs” and “Something About Cars.” Does the entrance cost? You get whatever you want to drink.
- SecureWorld Philadelphia: SecureWorld runs annual events in 14 U.S. cities, including Philadelphia. You can also find a variety of speakers and exhibitions from security companies. The basic admission fee is very affordable, but you will need to pay more if your goal is to attend workshops or CPE-qualifying pieces of training.
Cybersecurity jobs in Pennsylvania
The cybersecurity jobs market in Pennsylvania is still not fully thriving. According to Burning Glass Technologies, it lands squarely in the bottom half of states for job demand — the rate is just 59 percent of the national average.
Pennsylvania could retain more cybersecurity professionals by introducing state government and business initiatives. The state has enough tech and corporate presence to make this possible. The financial sector is a good place to search for cybersecurity jobs within the corporate world. PNC Financial Services Group or Lincoln National are good options. These companies are all Fortune 500 and in the business of investing customers’ money. They are among the largest employers of cybersecurity professionals in the country. However, only PNC is one of the top 50 employers in Pennsylvania. The state is home to a few large tech companies that are known for their security services such as Unisys or Sungard.
While Pennsylvania’s higher education institutions offer opportunities for teaching and research, these positions are reserved for doctoral and master’s degree holders. CyLab at Carnegie Mellon is one example. It claims to be the “largest university-based cybersecurity education and research institute in America.” However, it only has around 50 faculty members and 100 graduate students.
Cybersecurity salaries in Pennsylvania
The median salary for information security analysts in the United States was $90 120 as of May 2015. It was $84,360 in Pennsylvania, which places it outside of the top 20 states regarding salaries. This disparity may explain the low number of cybersecurity jobs in Pennsylvania, which also has a higher living cost than the national average. Another reason is that the state is right in the middle of two high-paying markets in cybersecurity: New York and Washington DC. It’s also easy for commuters to travel from Philadelphia to reach the latter in less than 90 minutes. You don’t need to travel far to find a job that pays well, regardless of whether you live in Pennsylvania or move to another state after graduation.