Cyber Security Degree Massachusetts – Before We Get Into The Topic , Let’s Learn Some Basic Of This Topic
Massachusetts is home to some of the world’s most inventive technology companies. When you combine it with a list of prominent research universities, you have a fantastic location for learning about cybersecurity and getting ready for the workforce. Don’t care about the specifics? Go straight to our state’s list of academic programs. Continue reading our comprehensive guide to cyber degrees in Massachusetts to learn more about scholarships, salary, and resources.
Studying Cyber Security in Massachusetts
Four Massachusetts institutions made the top quartile of a list provided by HP in 2014 of the best schools for cybersecurity degrees: University of Massachusetts Amherst, Boston University, Brandeis University, and Worcester Polytechnic University. Those institutions are active and well-regarded in the field, but there’s more going on in the state:
- The Institute of Information Assurance at Northeastern University is a multidisciplinary facility with linkages to four campus labs: Systems Security, Energy-Efficient and Secure Systems, Computer Architecture Laboratory, and Network and Distributed System Security. The National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and the Defense Advanced Research Studies Agency all fund active projects at these labs (DARPA). DarkDroid, a DARPA-funded project that looks for harmful code in Android apps, is one such continuing project.
- In 2014, the National Science Foundation awarded Boston University’s Center for Reliable Information Systems and Cyber Security (RISCS) a $10 million grant for the Modular Approach to Cloud Security (MACS) project, which aims to create systems with multi-layered security.
- Although it lacks a specialized cybersecurity lab, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is one of the world’s most well-known research universities, with lots of money for security studies. If you study in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), you may have the opportunity to work on research with Dr. Ronald Rivest, a member of the National Cyber Security Hall of Fame’s inaugural class, or his colleague and fellow Hall of Famer, Dr. Butler Lampson.
- Dr. Susan Landau is arguably the country’s foremost expert on cybersecurity policy. She’s also a National Cyber Security Hall of Fame inductee. She might be your lecturer at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).
- Cybersecurity is a hub of work at some of the state’s two-year universities. Middlesex Community College in Lowell received a grant from the governor’s office in 2016 to create a specialized cybersecurity lab at the college’s Lowell campus as it expands its certificate and associate-level offerings.
Online Cyber Security Programs in Massachusetts
At all levels, Massachusetts colleges offer a diverse range of online cybersecurity programs. Boston University is probably the state’s biggest player in online education (at least in this discipline), with graduate programs in criminal justice and computer science. Bay Path University, a private women’s college, offers relevant programs for undergraduates and graduate students, but only the latter is coeducational.
Visit Massachusetts Colleges Online (MCO) for a complete listing of programs at the state’s 15 community colleges and nine state universities, as well as to keep up with new distance learning options. It’s especially useful for locating associate degrees and certificates for undergrads. Campuses of the University of Massachusetts are not included in that database; instead, you must use UMassOnline.
Online Associate Degrees in Cyber Security
You won’t be able to earn an associate’s degree in Cyber Security online in Massachusetts, but you can get close. Distance learning is available for 95% of Mount Wachusett Community College’s Computer Information Systems program, including courses that count toward the school’s Cyber Security Certificate. Quinsigamond Community College, on the other hand, offers a Computer Systems Engineering Technology degree with a Computer Forensics concentration. The majority of the coursework is completed online. The AS in Computer Forensics at Middlesex Community College is also mostly online.
If you want to take all of your classes online and plan to transfer to a four-year university, look into Bristol Community College’s Computer Information Systems Transfer program. The school has previously offered an Associate in Science in Computer Information Systems (Computer Forensics) program online, though the degree is not always available.
Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Cyber Security
With so many Massachusetts universities focusing on graduate-level cybersecurity degrees, the state has a serious shortage of online cybersecurity programs, with just Bay Path University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity-Digital Forensics to speak of. It’s designed for students interested in working as digital forensic examiners, who investigate offenses such as identity theft and cyberbullying.
Online Master’s Degrees in Cyber Security
In terms of cybersecurity education, you won’t find much variation until you go to graduate school. With two separate paths: an MS in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity and an MS in Computer Information Systems with a concentration in Security, Boston University offers the most diverse online possibilities. It’s difficult to make a mistake. The U.S. Both the online MS in Criminal Justice and the online MS in Computer Information Technology programs are consistently ranked among the finest in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
Is there anything else out there? For those having a foundation in mathematics and IT, Northeastern University offers an MS in Information Assurance. Other than that, the main courses of UMass-Master Lowell’s of Science in Security Studies: Cyber Security Concentration are mostly theoretical, with students supplementing their education with technological electives.
However, not everyone wants to go too technical:
- The MS in Cybersecurity Management at Bay Path University is geared toward those with little or no computer experience, though a Digital Forensics concentration is available for those who spend their days hunched over a keyboard.
- The MS in Information Security Leadership at Brandeis University offers comparable goals, but different requirements for entering students, who must hold a technical degree before beginning study. This is because the program’s mandatory courses are primarily theoretical, while the electives emphasize practical skills.
- You can get a Network & Cybersecurity Certificate without completing any additional classes by choosing security electives in Harvard’s Master of Liberal Arts in Information Management Systems. Networks, hardware and software, privacy, governance, strategy, and other skills you might need to secure and manage systems in global businesses are covered in those electives.
Online Certificate Programs in Cyber Security
Massachusetts Bay Community College’s hybrid Certificate in Cyber Security prepares students for the CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, and CISCO ICND1 certification examinations in just five courses, making it ideal for undergrads who want to dabble in cybersecurity without committing to a full degree.
However, the majority of Massachusetts’ online certifications are graduate-level. The Graduate Certificate in Network Security from UMass-Lowell is aimed at IT and networking professionals with some math and programming experience, whereas the Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity from Worcester Polytechnic Institute is more comprehensive, covering software design and risk management as well.
Boston University offers two graduate certificate programs that can be used in conjunction with its online master’s degree programs. The first is in Information Security, which is a flexible program that allows students to select any four of the six classes available. The Graduate Certificate in Cybercrime Investigation & Cybersecurity, on the other hand, is less flexible, with only four required courses that can be applied to the online Master of Criminal Justice program.
Cyber Security Scholarships in Massachusetts
The National Science Foundation has awarded three Massachusetts colleges funding to sponsor the CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service, the holy grail of cybersecurity prizes. We’ve covered these, as well as a few smaller (but still useful) scholarships at other Bay State schools, in the sections below.
Bay Path University
- Scholarship for Women in STEM Honors Program (WiSH): Information Assurance majors are qualified for admission to the WiSH program. If accepted, WiSH undergrads will be mentored, participate in hands-on research, and earn $2,500 each year in tuition assistance.
- Megan McClung Memorial Scholarship Fund: The Megan McClung Memorial Scholarship is only awarded once a year to students enrolled in the online Master of Criminal Justice program (with a focus on Cybercrime Investigation and Cybersecurity). When it is, it is awarded to a student with a 3.5 GPA who also has a financial need.
Massachusetts Bay Community College
- Information Security Summit (Cyber Security) Scholarship: Each year, four students in the Cyber Security Certificate program — two full-timers and two part-timers — earn $1,000 in tuition assistance thanks to private donations from area businesses.
Mount Wachusett Community College
- Carl Tammi Award: Students pursuing a Cyber Security Certificate at Mount Wachusett frequently continue to pursue a full Computer Information Systems degree. If that’s the case, they might be qualified for the Tammi Award, which is given to second-year Computer Information Systems students who have a 3.0 GPA.
- Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service: Graduate and undergraduate students majoring in Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Information Assurance, or Information Science can apply for full tuition, healthcare, professional development funds, free textbooks, and an annual living stipend worth $22,500 to $34,000. Every year, Northeastern aims to hand away at least ten prizes. Those who are awarded the scholarship must work for an approved government agency for two to three years after graduation.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Undergraduate and graduate students interested in cybersecurity can apply for the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service, which covers tuition, health insurance, travel, textbooks, and living expenses. In exchange, participants are required to participate in government internships and work for a local, state, or federal agency following graduation.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
WPI’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: WPI’s version of the Scholarship for Service includes tuition, living expenses, books, health insurance, and professional development for computer science and electrical and computer engineering students.
Cyber Security Events in Massachusetts
Cyber Security Meetups & Communities in Massachusetts
Get out of the house and chat with others who share your passion in your profession if you want to develop your career and gain a better understanding of what’s going on in a fast-paced field. The Greater Boston area is home to the majority of gatherings and groups. Here are six things to think about:
- Amherst’s: AmherstSec is a laid-back security forum that meets every other month to discuss a broad theme or provide input on other members’ projects.
- Every third Wednesday of the month in a Cambridge bar, grab a pint and discuss shop with beans. BeanSec is more of a social gathering than a meeting, and it is open to professionals, academics, and students that enjoy a good time.
- Boston CompSec: Despite taking a hiatus for the majority of 2016, Boston CompSec remains the world’s largest meetup for white hat hackers. When it’s up and running, Boston CompSec is a well-oiled monthly presentation series with big names in tech like Akamai’s CSO and OkCupid’s founder.
- Every month, join a community of security practitioners for a series of lightning talks and mingling. Because the organizers are anti-marketers and recruiters, don’t expect any sales pitches — just subject discussion.
- InfoSec at Your Service: A Framingham-based cybersecurity group, InfoSec at Your Service is available to both novice and experienced experts in the sector. Join as a member to hear from outside speakers and participate in member-led conversations.
- OWASP Boston: The Open Web Application Security Project’s lone chapter in Massachusetts, OWASP Boston holds monthly chapter meetings and offers paid pieces of training on topics such as penetration testing. The Boston Application Security Conference, hosted by OWASP, is a one-day annual event.
Cyber Security Conferences & Workshops in Massachusetts
Boston is a large city, so big events like the 2018 Infosecurity Magazine Conference and executive conferences like the Boston Fed Cybersecurity Conference and the Boston Cyber Security Summit are unsurprising. However, if you’re still looking into degree options, you’ll probably need something more accessible. The following are five annual cybersecurity events in Boston. We recommend bookmarking the Advanced Cyber Security Center to keep up with all of the state’s upcoming events.
- The Boston Conference on Cyber Security (BCCS) was founded by Boston College in 2017 to make it an annual gathering of experts from government, business, and academia.
- BSides Boston: For $20, you can attend the conference or pay a little more to attend training the day before. The schedule is jam-packed with talks that could easily fit on a TedX stage.
- The state Attorney General’s Office sponsors this three-day event, which includes lectures, workshops, and certification courses for prosecutors, criminal investigators, and digital forensic examiners.
- SOURCE: A two-day conference for professionals in the for-profit sector, SOURCE has all the usual presentations and networking opportunities, but its real focus is on daylong pieces of training, which typically cover either how to communicate highly technical information with non-techies or how to understand highly technical information as a non-techie.
Cyber Security Jobs in Massachusetts
Graduates of the Massachusetts cybersecurity program can work for a variety of Fortune 500 companies after graduation. According to the Boston Business Journal, Dell EMC, which sells secure data storage, is the state’s largest employer of cybersecurity professionals. Raytheon, a major defense contractor with cyber as one of its key competencies, is also based in the state. In the end, IBM Security is based in Waltham.
However, don’t overlook the following lesser-known Massachusetts-based companies: Veracode, Rapid7, Sophos, and Carbon Black. According to the Boston Business Journal, each employs 200 to 400 Massachusetts cybersecurity professionals and is a constant in the top 50 of the Cybersecurity 500, a ranking of the best companies in the area compiled by Cybersecurity Ventures. Add in local players Mimecast, RSA, Black Duck Software, and Threat Stack, and you’ve got a thriving security ecosystem in the Bay State. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Boston has more information security analysts than all but five metropolitan regions as of mid-2015. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a government agency that collects
The Advanced Cyber Security Center (ACSC) is working to improve the security workforce in the state. ACSC, a group of research universities, financial and healthcare institutions, and technology companies, has created a data-sharing agreement between industry and universities for the latter to develop solutions to issues that are vital to the former. They’re also setting up internships for students from these universities to gain experience in the fields they want to work in.
Cyber Security Salaries in Massachusetts
The good news is that Massachusetts businesses advertise a large number of cybersecurity job openings each year. You will not make as much as you would elsewhere in the country as a result of this trade-off. According to government data, the going rate for information security analysts was $89,100 in 2015, $1,000 less than the national average. That’s unfortunate because the state’s cost of living is almost 33% more than the national average, implying that your money won’t stretch as far. The results vary depending on the job title, but you’ll always be close to the national average. According to Indeed.com, Massachusetts IT security specialists earn $113,000 per year, which is around $1,000 less than the national average. At the executive level, where information managers earn $105,000 per year, you’ll likely earn more than your counterparts around the country.
There are, however, alternative perspectives on salary possibilities. One method is to consider the return on investment. Although the tuition may appear to be too expensive, Massachusetts computer science graduates hold very desirable degrees. MIT, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Northeastern University, Boston College, and Boston University all made the top 50 on PayScale’s 2016 list of schools with the best 20-year net returns.