Masters in Cyber Security Florida – Before We Get Into The Topic , Let’s Learn Some Basic Of This Topic
The state of Florida is known for its beaches and theme parks, not for its technological advancements. With the state government actively recruiting, educating, and retaining cybersecurity professionals, this could soon change. Hundreds of certificate and degree programs have opened across the state in the last several years. Right now, you can look at a list of Florida schools that offer cybersecurity degrees, or you can look at our guide to Florida schools, scholarships, and wages.
Studying Cybersecurity in Florida
With 14, Florida is tied with Texas for the second-highest number of NSA/DHS Centers for Academic Excellence (CAE) of any state. Eight of them are public colleges or universities, which is wonderful news for Floridians who seek a good education at a low cost. Several of these state universities are particularly active in the field of cybersecurity:
- Although the University of Central Florida is not a member of the Ivy League, its cybersecurity club frequently outperforms Harvard and other top universities. The UCF Collegiate Cyber Defense Club won first place in two of the three contests at the 2016 CyberSEED Competition, winning over $25,000 in the process. It isn’t merely a matter of chance. They’ve also won the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition three years in a row (from 2014 to 2016), defeating 175 other teams.
- Although the University of Florida does not offer any cybersecurity degrees, it is an excellent place to work as a postgraduate researcher. Because the Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research is based at UF (FICS). It has a strong emphasis on hardware, which is visible in the nanoscale imaging equipment at its SeCurity and AssuraNce (SCAN) Lab, unlike many other security research centers. That isn’t to say it doesn’t work on other aspects of information security; in 2016, FICS researchers said they had developed a viable ransomware antidote.
Online Cybersecurity Programs in Florida
Because cybersecurity is a relatively young academic topic, curricula of any kind are more difficult to come by than, say, traditional Computer Science degrees. If you search online, your selections become even more limited.
In Florida, like in most other states, a few private universities have carved out a niche in online cybersecurity degrees and are dominating the market. It’s Saint Leo University and St. Petersburg College in this example, both of which offer programs at various academic levels. However, the state’s public colleges are present. They’re simply more inclined to pick and choose whatever programs they put online. The majority of schools, including UCF, USF, and UWF, have decided to concentrate on their online master’s programs. They may also dominate graduate recruitment with the help of the Florida Center for Cybersecurity at USF (the state’s de facto cybersecurity workforce development program), which is available to students at any of those three schools.
Online Associate Degrees in Cybersecurity
Associate degrees are for students who do not have any prior knowledge of the subject. In the case of cybersecurity, this entails taking foundational courses in networking, programming, and computer hardware before moving on to topics like database and network security.
If you’re searching for something similar but in an entirely online format, there’s only one place to go in Florida: St. Petersburg College. SPC does not make any bold claims about where graduates of its Cybersecurity program would find work, instead stating that it trains students for one of four positions: help desk technician, network administrator, technical support specialist, or IT security specialist. Try SPC’s online Digital Forensics and Computer Investigations degree if you want something more CSI-like. It integrates criminal justice courses with the most important Cybersecurity modules.
Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Cybersecurity
Most employers prefer applicants with bachelor’s degrees, which can be obtained in a variety of ways. You can specialize in security if you already have an associate degree in another field. Many cybersecurity baccalaureate programs receive applications from computer science majors regularly, and many have procedures in place to help newcomers get up to speed.
There are a handful of campus-based programs available, but you won’t be able to be as picky if you choose to attend a Florida school entirely online. Students having an AS from an IT program who wish to use their expertise to researching computer-based crimes can enroll in Keiser University’s bachelor’s program in Cyber Forensics/Information Security. Another possibility is Indian River State College. Its information technology/cybersecurity bachelor’s degree is designed for individuals who are more interested in preventing security breaches than in analyzing them. Do you want to learn at a distance? In 2016, Saint Leo University launched a BS in Cybersecurity, and FAU announced the addition of a cybersecurity track to its Bachelor of Public Safety Administration program the same year.
Online Master’s Degrees in Cybersecurity
While online associate and bachelor’s degree options for Florida cybersecurity students are limited, distance education master’s degrees are many. That’s exactly right because that’s when the largest opportunities for specialization within the area present themselves.
Vanilla choices can be found at private colleges like Saint Leo University. Its MS in Cybersecurity program demands no prior knowledge of the subject (only a basic understanding of computers) and produces graduates who can work in government, business, or academia. Depending on how much security material you actually want, several of the state’s public universities offer basic programs, such as USF (MS in Cybersecurity) and UWF (MS in IT with Cybersecurity specialty).
You can be very particular if you know what type of work you desire when you finish your degree. The Digital Forensics MS program at UCF is designed for tomorrow’s investigators who want to work for the government. If you want to pursue a career in business, the Florida Institute of Technology offers an MBA in Cybersecurity. It’s all about identifying and mitigating the risks of security breaches in the workplace, and it doesn’t require any programming experience. Those fresh to the field will find it interesting, but anyone with a certificate or degree in the discipline will find the cybersecurity sections of the curriculum repetitious.
Online Certificate Programs In Cybersecurity
Certification differs from a degree or a specialization in that it allows you to try your hand at cybersecurity without committing to a year of study. Students without a degree and those with a baccalaureate are the two kinds of students who might accomplish this. Online certificates are also great for individuals who can commit to doing courses after their 9-to-5 jobs due to their short timeframes.
Florida has something to suit practically any taste or requirement. For people without a higher degree, St. Petersburg College offers a Cybersecurity certificate. It can be used to get an associate’s degree, but it’s sufficient to prepare students for the CompTIA Security+ professional certification exam on its own. Other programs at Saint Leo include a Graduate Certificate in Information Security Management, which is designed for existing government employees or businesses who must manage computer-based hazards as part of their profession. It’s aimed at those who manage cybersecurity rather than those who work at a computer, so expect more principles than practice.
The University of West Florida, on the other hand, is the biggest participant in online cybersecurity credentials simply because it offers the most programs. Information Security Management certificate programs are available to both undergraduates and graduates, and the school also provides an Intelligence Analysis certificate program for undergrads who want to learn how to evaluate computer data in a law enforcement scenario. It also offers a unique program: the Geospatial Cybersecurity certificate (undergraduate or graduate), which combines geographic information science and cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity Scholarships in Florida
Cybersecurity is a relatively recent field of study. As a result, college departments haven’t had as much time to solicit endowed scholarships from wealthy alumni and professional associations. However, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) courses in general, and cybersecurity pupils in particular, are attractive to funders. The following section covers a few cyber security-specific awards (typically funded by government bodies) as well as several pertinent STEM and tech scholarships for students at certain colleges:
Florida State University
- The CyberCorps Scholarship for Service is the holy grail for cybersecurity students, and being the only Florida institution with it gives FSU a tremendous recruiting advantage. Why? Its recipients pay no tuition or fees and are paid a yearly stipend of $20,000 (undergraduates) or $32,000 (graduates) (graduate students and Ph.D. candidates).
- The Department of Defense Information Assurance Scholarship is another full-ride scholarship that is a deserving consolation prize. It also provides stipends of $17,000 for upperclassmen and $22,000 for graduate students, in addition to free tuition.
Nova Southeastern University
- The Edward Lieblein Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a deserving student. Are you a government employee enrolling in Nova’s College of Engineering and Computing as a graduate student? You might win $500 to $2,000 toward your Master of Science in Information Security if you have a 3.0 GPA and a few letters of recommendation.
- Emerging Technology Professional Scholarship: Star students in one of the College of Engineering and Computing’s master’s programs, such as MSIS, who have already taken a few classes can receive $1,000 to help pay for their next few classes. Students must have a 3.0 GPA and solid recommendations, and they must be financially needy.
- The Laurie Dringus Scholarship is awarded to a deserving student. Don’t allow a lack of cash to keep you from continuing after one semester at the College of Engineering and Computing with a 3.0. Send letters of recommendation and an application for this $1,000 award.
Pasco-Hernando State College
- American Data & Computer Products is a company that specializes in data and computer products. Scholarship: Tech students can compete for a scholarship from the same-named Tampa company. Veterans and/or students from ethnic minorities are given preference by the scholarship committee.
- Coopers, Richard, and Eileen Scholarship: This award requires two basic criteria. The first requirement is that you must have a documented financial necessity. You most likely qualify if you’re reading this. The second requirement is to major in a computer or technology subject, which the school’s IT Security degree satisfies.
St. Petersburg College
- The St. Petersburg College Foundation offers a $ 10,000-degree program scholarship to computer and information technology students. The amount varies depending on the year and the candidate.
- Scholarship in Information Technology (IT) Security: This award’s name pretty much says who it’s for. Additional information: It’s worth $2,400 each year and is only available to students with financial needs who have a 2.5 GPA.
- Honors College STEM students who are one year away from completing their degree (associate or bachelor’s) can apply for a $1,000 scholarship.
- The Tampa Bay SEEDS in STEM Scholarship is SPC’s most prestigious award for STEM students. It’s worth $6,500 over three semesters and goes to students who are underrepresented in science, such as women, minorities, and low-income students.
- Tampa Bay Area Network Scholarship from Women in Technology International (WITI): WITI wants more women to pursue careers in technology, and they’re backing it up with a $1,000 scholarship for top-performing female students pursuing a Computer & Information Technology degree.
The University Of West Florida
- IT Performance Scholarship: The UWF Center for Cybersecurity offers these scholarships to students in a variety of degree programs, but the BS in Cybersecurity program receives a few extras. The cost ranges from $2,000 to $2,500, including further assistance with professional growth.
Cybersecurity Events in Florida
Cybersecurity Meetups and Communities In Florida
Get out and meet some people who share your interest in cybersecurity when you’ve finished staring at the screen. Citysearch is the most relaxed of the information security groups, valuing beer and informal networking over formal lectures and discussions. In Florida, there are three: SoFloSec in Fort Lauderdale, CitrusSec in Orlando, and CigarCitySec in Tampa. Try one of the following meetups if you’re looking for something meatier:
Defcon813: Defcon813 is a hacking collective based in Tampa that organizes its members to attend cybersecurity events across the state. It throws its own events, but the specifics are kept under wraps until you join.
HackMiami: HackMiami is the largest and most active information security group in South Florida. Members take turns giving presentations on issues they know about, such as online applications or surveillance law.
IT Server Group in Jacksonville, Florida: Despite having a broader focus than the normal cybersecurity meetup, the JAX IT Server Group incorporates network security concerns into nearly every meeting.
South Florida Chapter of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA): Members of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) meet regularly at Nova Southeastern University to hear from guest speakers and to welcome newcomers. The annual Hack the Flag/Chili Cook-Off event is a wonderful place to start.
Though tiny in terms of meetups, this group of “cyber warriors” is very active, gathering approximately 15 times a year to discuss their specific security concerns or engage in larger Tampa events.
Cybersecurity Conferences and Workshops In Florida
It should come as no surprise that the beaches of Florida are a big magnet for conference attendees. At least once every ten years, a large conference comes to town. If you live in Florida and are searching for a yearly event to mark on your calendar, there are a few alternatives. B-Sides is the TEDx version of cybersecurity, and it uses local experts to host conferences all over the world, including in Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville. There are also more typical conferences conducted by universities, society chapters, and large vendors, which your firm may pay for you to attend. Here are five things to keep an eye out for:
The Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research invites renowned businesses, government officials, and academics to speak about industry difficulties and their aspirations for the future at the FICS Conference on Cybersecurity.
Every year, the University of South Florida in Tampa presents the Florida Center for Cybersecurity Conference. It’s a full day of breakout sessions led by government officials and technology officers.
HackMiami Information Security Conference: HackMiami is more than a coffee and discussion meetup. Every year, they put on their own show on the state’s Atlantic coast for three days.
INFILTRATE Security Conference: As the name implies, INFILTRATE is a security conference that focuses on offense. You won’t find any talks here; instead, you’ll find plenty of hands-on activities.
InfoSecWorld: Half conference, part exhibition, InfoSecWorld is where you can witness live demonstrations of the latest apps and participate in expert-led workshops.
Cybersecurity Salaries in Florida
The Florida Center for Cybersecurity is at the forefront of cybersecurity training. It was established in 2014 by the Florida legislature to make the state a national leader in cybersecurity. While it isn’t quite there yet — Virginia, Texas, California, and New York all have built-in edges — it is planning for development strategically. For example, it has teamed up with JPMorganChase and the state’s Office of Veterans Services to provide free cybersecurity training to veterans and place them in positions once they graduate.
A few Florida businesses are also in desperate need of cybersecurity graduates right now. One of them is Fidelity National Information Services in Jacksonville. It’s a Fortune 500 corporation that offers financial services to businesses, necessitating the hiring of personnel who can ensure that transactions run smoothly without being hampered by cybercriminals.
There are also a few corporations whose entire business model revolves around cybersecurity. Easy Solutions, Veriato, KnowBe4, Appriver, INFO SIGHT, Harris, and Citrix are among the Cybersecurity 500, a list of the world’s greatest companies in the area compiled by Cybersecurity Ventures.
However, the general career outlook for cybersecurity graduates remains uncertain. On the one hand, the state is far from overburdened with specialists, with demand for cybersecurity professionals ranging from two-thirds to three-fourths of what it is nationwide (depending on the source). However, from 2010 to 2014, two Florida cities — Miami (6th) and Tampa (8th) — rated in the top ten for cybersecurity job growth.
Cybersecurity Salaries in Florida
Increased pay is one method for Florida to become a cybersecurity hub. In 2015, the average compensation for information security analysts in the state was $83,710, compared to a nationwide average of $93,250. And, while the state’s cost of living is slightly lower than the national average, it’s still a significant salary disparity, especially when you consider that the majority of the state’s growth is concentrated in coastal areas like Miami and Tampa, where higher rents come with better vistas. However, $80K+ a year for a job near the water doesn’t seem so horrible, does it?