Cybersecurity Degrees and Careers California Guide

Learn About Studying Cyber Security in California, Requirements and Job Growth Careers Guide

Making sure your company/department has specialists with knowledge of, and experience in, cyber security is more important today than it has ever been before. Cyber-crimes are being committed more and more often and companies and government agencies are investing in security software and cyber security professionals like never before. If you are planning to go to school in California, you’ll be able to find a good mix of programs, from associate degrees up to the doctorate level.

Why an Advanced Degree in California is Needed

The higher you go in your studies, the more valuable your experience and knowledge will be. While an associate degree is vital can get you into this field, when you earn your master’s degree future employers will be giving you serious consideration.

This country faces a severe skills gap in cyber security, which means that too few applicants for cyber security jobs have the most needed skills. To further complicate the matter, it often takes up to six months to find the best candidate for a position.

Education Degrees & Requirements

Associates's Degree

Some community colleges are looking for future students who are interested in learning about cyber security. Some programs are even introducing an apprenticeship role to make sure their students graduate with the skills and hands-on experience they need to succeed. Many of these programs require you to have A+ certification and be older than 18. However, basic associate degree programs still only require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent and some might expect SAT or ACT scores.

Sample Classes:

  • Network+
  • Introduction to Security (Security+)
  • Introduction to Python Programming
  • Cyber Security Analyst+

Bachelor’s Degree

You’ll want to choose a university that is a national leader in cyber security education. Ideally, you’ll be accepted into a program with the designation of National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE), which provided by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). However, you don’t have to have much more than the same requirements as an associate degree: a high school diploma and ACT/SAT scores. You also don’t have to get into a CAE school, one with regional accreditation will get you into most jobs, though many government positions will require extra certification if you do not attend a CAE program.

Sample Courses:

  • Security Systems Management
  • Cyber Defense
  • Computer Forensics
  • Advanced Systems Analysis and Design

Master’s Degree

A master’s program will provide you with technical courses, real-world exposure, and business courses if you choose an MBA degree. Your courses and labs may include intrusion detection, incident response, network protocols, encryption algorithms, security management, risk analysis, ethical hacking, and more.

Some of these programs are even available fully online, with new class cohorts scheduled to begin each fall semester. If you choose an online program, you likely won’t be required to take the GRE.

Sample Courses:

  • Introduction to Cyber Security
  • Security in Computer Networks
  • Secure Features in Operating Systems
  • Cryptography

Certifications in California

A good cyber security certificate program benefits several groups of professionals. People in the technology field who are interested in learning about defending against cyber-attacks, infrastructure, and security networks; entrepreneurs; and cyber security managers who want to increase their understanding of cyber security.

Sample Courses:

  • Fundamentals of Cyber Security
  • Cyber Security Lab
  • Information Systems Infrastructure Security Management
  • Network, Operating System, and Database Security

Why is Accreditation so Important?

Accreditation is important for any degree field; for a cyber security degree, it’s vital. Not every university or college will deliver the high level of education you need. As you explore each program you’re interested in, don’t forget to check their accreditation. If you notice an accreditation designation that looks like this: NSA/CAE IA/CD then you can expect the program to offer instruction that can earn you a position with NSA or the Department of Defense (DoD). If this isn’t available, you should expect to find regional accreditation from WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) or the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC). If none of these accreditations are held by the school, you should keep looking for a different program.

CAE Accredited Programs in California

  • California State University, San Marcos
    CAE-CD / 2019-2024
  • City College of San Francisco
    CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
  • Coastline Community College
    CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
  • Ohlone College
    CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
  • Sierra College
    CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
  • University of California, Irvine
    CAE-R / 2019-2024

Computer Science or IT Bachelor’s & Master’s Programs in California

  • University of Southern California

    USC’s Department of Computer Science offers degree programs at the bachelor’s and master’s level; and a graduate certificate in software architecture. The Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering is the degree that graduate students earn; when they complete their program, students will be qualified cyber security professionals.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences - Postgraduate Certificate
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Master’s Degree
    Computer Science - Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration - Master’s Degree
    Informatics - Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $56,225
    Average Net Price: $36,161
    College Retention Rate: 97% (Full-time Students)

  • Naval Postgraduate School

    Graduate students enrolled in the cyber security defense certificate program will be equipped the ability to understand and construct systems so they will function in real-life situations. If you are enrolled in this program, you’ll obtain the depth of knowledge you need to be ready to deal with attacks and respond proactively.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences - Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Master’s Degree & Postgraduate Certificate
    Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management – Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Information Technology – Master’s Degree & Postgraduate Certificate
    Network and System Administration/Administrator – Master’s, Doctoral Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $0

  • National University

    National University, in La Jolla, California, offers several computer science and cyber security degree programs at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels. You’ll be able to choose careers ranging from computer science, computer network defender, and security analyst once you graduate with your degree.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Master’s Degree
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
    Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration – Master’s Degree
    Information Technology Project Management – Bachelor’s, Master’s Degrees & Undergraduate Certificate

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $13,320
    Average Net Price: Not available
    College Retention Rate: Full-time students – 50%; Part-time students – 24%

  • Azusa Pacific University

    The Department of Engineering and Computer Science offers both computer science and cyber security programs that will challenge students who want to work in this field. Degree programs are widely varied.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences, General – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $38,880
    Average Net Price: $29,152
    College Retention Rate: Full-time students – 81%; Part-time students – 22%

  • City College of San Francisco

    The Computer Networking and Information Technology (CNIT) Department is fully equipped to educate cyber security majors so that, upon graduation, they will be ready to find successful positions in cyber security. Students can also take courses leading to certificates (Cisco CCNA, CompTIA A+, CISSP, EMCISA, or CEH).

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences, General – 1-Year Certificate
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – 1-Year Certificate & Associate Degree
    Computer Programming/Programmer, General – 1-Year Certificate
    Computer Science – Associate Degree
    Information Technology – Associate Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $1,696
    Out-of-State: $10,372
    Average Net Price: $5,850
    College Retention Rate: Full-time students – 73%; Part-time students – 40%

  • Mt. Sierra College

    The Department of Information Technology at Mt. Sierra College offers a strong Information Security program. The faculty is committed to ensuring that computer-based data within government agencies and private companies will be held securely. Their student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1 ensures small, personalized lessons.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Systems, Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $15,588
    Average Net Price: $18,893
    College Retention Rate: 77% (Full-time students); 100% (Part-time students)

California Colleges Offering Certificates and Associate Degrees

While the majority of the previous list covered universities and colleges that offered bachelor’s or higher-level degrees, it’s certainly possible to get into a cyber security career with only an associate degree, or even appropriate certification. Sometimes it may even be preferable to earn a lower-level degree or certification and get into the workforce so that you can get as much experience as possible and possibly even save money on a higher degree when your employer offers to pay for some of your courses or certifications for you. Here are some schools that offer accreditation and a degree to get you started in your cyber security career asap.

  • Los Medanos College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $1,312
    Out-of-State: $8,564
    Average Net Price: $6,798
    College Retention Rate: Full-time – 77%; Part-time – 57%

  • Ohlone College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $1,164
    Out-of-State: $6,828
    Average Net Price: $12,077
    College Retention Rate: Full-time students – 80%; Part-time students – 46%

  • Monterey Peninsula College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $1,176
    Out-of-State: $7,368
    Average Net Price: $9,266
    College Retention Rate: Full-time students – 69%; Part-time students – 41%

  • Cuyamaca College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $1,386
    Out-of-State: $7,196
    Average Net Price: $5,340
    College Retention Rate: Full-time – 72%; Part-time, 42 percent

  • California Institute of Arts & Technology

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $14,040
    Average Net Price: $33,159
    College Retention Rate: Full-time students – 77%; Part-time students – 100%

  • Sierra College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $1,144
    Out-of-State: $6,214
    Average Net Price: $6,043
    College Retention Rate: Full-time students – 72%; Part-time students – 51%

Scholarships

  • Information Security Undergraduate Scholarship

    Amount: $1,000-$,5,000
    Deadline: February
    Link: https://iamcybersafe.org/s/undergraduate-scholarships

    Interested students must be ready to pursue or be pursuing a degree that focuses on information assurance or cyber security. At the time they apply, students are required to be either a high school senior or an undergraduate university student.

  • Scholarship for Service

    Amount: Full Tuition, book allowance, health insurance reimbursement, and $20,000 stipend
    Deadline: March
    Link: https://www.sfs.opm.gov/

    Eligible students must be enrolled in an NSA/DHS Center of Academic Excellence. The SFS program trains students who are majoring in cyber security, helping them to succeed in a rewarding and challenging career, and working to strengthen our vital national information infrastructure.

  • Information Security Women’s Scholarship

    Amount: $1,000-$6,000
    Application Deadline: February
    Link: https://iamcybersafe.org/s/womens-scholarships

    Female students majoring in cyber security or information assurance are eligible to apply for this scholarship. They must be a high school senior or an undergraduate student from freshman to senior. They must also hold a 3.3 GPA.

  • Department of Defense (DoD) CySP Scholarship

    Amount: Full tuition plus a stipend ($25,000 for undergraduates; $34,000 for graduates)
    Application Deadline: Not Specified
    Link: https://www.csusb.edu/cyber-security/scholarships

    Eligible students must be citizens of the US who are 18 years of age or older, full-time students of the institution they are attending while receiving the DoD CySP scholarship, and must be enrolled in the last one or two years of either their bachelor’s or master’s degree.

  • Central Intelligence Agency Undergraduate Scholarship Program

    Amount: Up to $16,000/year
    Application Deadline: Not Specified
    Link: https://www.cia.gov/careers/student-opportunities/undergraduate-scholarship-program.html

    This scholarship is based upon financial need, providing undergraduate students with an education in an inclusive environment. The CIA offers scholarships to students as an investment. This means recipients will be required to work for the agency for 1.5 times the period during which they receive the scholarship.

Conferences and Workshops

  • FutureCon Orange County Cybersecurity Conference

    This conference is held in October annually and is organized around approximately 20 events. Cyber security professionals who are currently working within the discipline of cyber security will be able to learn from C-suite cyber security executives.

  • USENIX Security Symposium

    Scheduled for two days, this conference takes place in August. The organization that created this conference (The Advanced Computing Systems Association) brings together practitioners from all levels of professional development to offer technical sessions and access to the organization’s research.

  • ShellCon

    This conference takes place for two days in October. The conference takes place in Los Angeles, where participants present papers and research, which enables contributors and participants to discuss the practicality of proposed innovations and their effect on real-world use.

California Cyber Security Jobs and Salary

Looking at a map of the US that shows the available jobs for cyber security professionals California is ahead of other states. As of 2018, this state had more than 60,000 cyber security jobs available for those with degrees and prior experience. At the top end of job availability, California has more than 337,000 openings.

Employers in California hire computer specialists at a high rate. In computer systems design and related services alone, the state counts almost 8,300 employees in the profession. This is just over 15% of the total employment for the entire state. Given that California boasts one of the largest workforces in the US, it’s easy to figure out that computer security graduates will easily have their pick of jobs in the state.

Looking at several other employer types, cyber security graduates will be able to send their resumes to employers in various industries, from universities and colleges to data processing, legal services, healthcare, and others.

Resources

  • The Cyber Security Club

    Link: OnGuardOnline.gov
    Obtain usable pointers provided by the federal government and sectors of the technology industry. These pointers discuss protecting yourself and others against internet fraud. Visitors can also learn about securing their computers and other devices.

  • California Department of Technology administers a list of agencies that create and send out information security alerts. Cyber security specialists can use these alerts, at home or on the job, to help protect personal and employer information.

  • California’s Department of Technology also makes available other resources, such as the California IT Directory, an information security audit, and a list of samples, templates, and guidance for cyber specialists to use.

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