Cybersecurity Degrees and Careers Colorado Guide

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

Cyber-thieves are stealing peoples’ identities. After getting into their accounts, they can empty bank accounts, gain access to credit card information, and even access health information and private computers. In 2018 over 3 million identity theft and fraud reports were received. Even with the unprecedented increase in cyber-threats, there are currently about 1.5 million cyber security job openings that are unfilled. CEOs and cyber security professionals know to worry about cyber-attacks; it’s estimated that around $6 trillion (trillion, with a “t”) dollars will be stolen around the world by 2021.

Why an Advanced Degree in Colorado is Needed

With Colorado being home to several military installations and many businesses, it’s especially important to earn an advanced degree if you want to compete for the highest paying positions. A certificate and self-taught skills can get you in the door of a company, but a bachelor’s or master’s degree will give you the leg up you need to move up the ladder within a company or gain a government position. A position that could take years of slowly gaining experience is entry-level when you start with the right credentials.

Colorado Cyber Security Education Degrees & Requirements

Associate’s Degree

As a graduate of an associate degree in cyber security, you’ll be able to work as a cyber security associate, network/IT security analyst, cyber security penetration tester, cyber security/threat analyst, or an information system security officer.

Example Courses:

  • System Administration
  • Programming Logic and Design
  • Business Law
  • Programming in C/C++
  • Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures

Bachelor’s Degree

With a bachelor’s degree in cyber security, you’ll have more tools, knowledge, and skills to help protect your employer’s sensitive information. You’ll also learn through hands-on experiences to develop and use a security mindset. This will allow you to think in terms of security and protection at all times as you are working.

One program uses systems thinking, which is an overall view of how every part of a system operates together. You’ll also learn about adversarial thinking, which allows you to “get into the minds” of hackers. This way, you’ll be able to think as they do.

Example Courses:

  • Introduction to Scripting
  • Introduction to Computer Networks
  • Cyber Security Foundations
  • Network Security

Master’s Degree

By entering into a master’s program in cyber security, you’ll be exposed to bot theory and practice. You’ll have the opportunity to focus your skillset and learn how to lead so that you can advance your career even further. Look for a program that offers a broad selection of subject areas or a dual degree program with an MBA.

Example Courses:

  • Introduction to C Programming or Low-Level Programming
  • Cryptography
  • Security Administration Linux or Security Administration Windows
  • Communication Networks or Business Data Communications

Certifications in Colorado

A professional graduate certificate in cyber security allows you to learn specific skills that you may need to earn or advance to a new position. There are a huge variety of certifications which cover vendor-specific subjects and various security skills. Wherever you plan to take your career, there are appropriate certifications for you. These range from learning to handle certain systems and their requirements to dealing with security issues on the internet or database administration.

Why is Accreditation so Important?

Accreditation communicates to your future employer that your education was of the highest quality. With accreditation, you may be offered a higher beginning salary, you will be eligible for Department of Education financial aid, and your degree or certification will be applicable for a higher level of education if you decide to pursue it in the future.

Knowing this, as you scan the various universities or colleges that offer computer-related degrees at any level, be sure to look for accreditation. The National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also accredited cyber security programs across the US. Programs that they deem acceptable are given the title of National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE). These universities have proved that they have the faculty and educational programs that you need in order to be successful and to gain a position in either of these government departments, who are the top employers of cyber security specialists in the US.

CAE Accredited Programs in Colorado

  • Arapahoe Community College
    CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
  • Colorado School of Mines
    CAE-CD / 2016-2021
  • Colorado State University, Pueblo
    CAE-CD / 2016-2021
  • Colorado Technical University
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
  • Pikes Peak Community College
    CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
  • Pueblo Community College
    CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
  • Red Rocks Community College
    CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
  • United States Air Force Academy
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
  • University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
  • University of Denver
    CAE-CD / 2014-2020
  • Regis University
    CAE-CD / 2017-2022

Computer Science & IT Bachelor’s & Master’s Programs in Colorado

  • Regis University

    Regis University’s cyber security program (bachelor’s and master’s level) allows you to obtain the knowledge needed for your eventual career in cyber security. Once you graduate, you’ll easily find employment, where you’ll be one of thousands of cyber security professionals to neutralize cyber-threats.

    Programs Offered:

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

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $36,810
    Average Net Price: $26,273
    College Retention Rate: 79%

  • Colorado Technical University - Colorado Springs

    At the bachelor’s level, the cyber security program at Colorado Technical University strives to ensure that program graduates will have the skills to protect most cyber data for employers. Undergraduate students in the cyber security program are able to explore basic knowledge as they begin moving toward their eventual careers.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Information Technology – Bachelor’s Degree
    Information Technology Project Management – Master’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $11,960
    Average Net Price: $15,478
    College Retention Rate: full-time, 39%; Part-time, 28%

  • University of Denver

    Graduate students who have opted for a cyber security management concentration prepare themselves for a lifetime leadership role. The goals of each student should be to develop a strong understanding of all cyber security topics, such as best practices, risks, and needs. This program uses hands-on learning, exploration of the top security technologies, and the analysis of case studies.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Master’s Degree
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst – Bachelor’s Degree
    Information Science/Studies – Master’s Degree
    Information Technology – Bachelor’s, Master’s Degree, Undergraduate & Graduate Certificate

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $50,566
    Average Net Price: $34,337
    College Retention Rate: Full-time, 88%; Part-time, 38%

  • Colorado School of Mines

    This university’s Center for Cyber Security and Privacy (CCSP) exposes students to research and cyber security privacy in every environment. The program strives to meet its goals of promoting the individual strengths of the school in engineering, science education, and research. The school supports a high impact and high quality program of research.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $18,964
    Out-of-State: $38,584
    Average Net Price: $25,767
    College Retention Rate: Full-time, 92%; Part-time 100%

  • University of Colorado - Colorado Springs

    The Colorado Springs branch of this university offers students a four-year computer science learning program. Undergraduate students receive exposure to practical experience along with theoretical foundations. The provided educational experience is subsequently deep and broad.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $8,523
    Out-of-State: $20,067
    Average Net Price: $15,645
    College Retention Rate: Full-time, 69%; part-time, 40%

  • American Sentinel University

    American Sentinel University’s Distance Education program in Computer Science programs is a full, well-rounded offering, which allows students to choose classes that will let them choose a major that fits their eventual career plans. The university is located in a large city and offers degrees ranging from associate up to doctoral/research degrees.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer Science – Master’s Degree
    Information Technology – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $10,140
    Average Net Price: Not reported

Colorado Colleges Offering Certificates and Associate Degrees

  • Pikes Peak Community College
    PPCC is a nationally recognized Center of Excellence in cyber security education at the associate degree level. The NSA has certified the cyber security degree program here; as a result, PPCC strives to teach to the high standards of the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $3,840
    Out-of-State: $14,928
    Average Net Price: $8,858

  • Pueblo Community College
    The cyber security program at Pueblo Community College is set up to help students achieve a career in technology, focusing on cyber security. Faculty members educate students in operating systems and PC hardware. The students learn how to use Windows servers, routing, networking, virtualization, and security.

    Students also begin working toward industry certifications they will need as cyber security professionals: CEH, A+, Forensics, Network+, EIRD, and Security+. Students benefit from the high level of experience the faculty has; one instructor is a Certified CSEC Instructor.

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $5,179
    Out-of-State: $16,262
    Average Net Price: $11,934

  • Red Rocks Community College
    Red Rocks Community College uses the Cybersecurity Framework which is a part of the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST). The college offers two-year Associate of Arts and Sciences degrees and certificates in cyber security. Once students have earned their degrees or certificates, they will be able to find high-paying jobs in this sector of the job market.

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $4,158
    Out-of-State: $15,246
    Average Net Price: $8,493

  • Front Range Community College
    Front Range Community College offers several AAS degrees in Computer Networking, Cyber Security, and Cloud Computing. Students learn skills they can apply upon graduation as they are immediately applicable to the work environment in a cyber security setting.

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $3,986
    Out-of-State: $15,074
    Average Net Price: $8,941
    College Retention Rate: Full-time students, 59%; part-time students, 46%

Scholarships

  • The Daniels Fund Cyber security Training Scholarship

    Amount: Full Tuition
    Deadline: November 15
    Link: https://www.danielsfund.org/scholarships/daniels-scholarship-program/overview
    Students who hold veteran status are eligible to apply for this scholarship, which provides full tuition for the SANS Cyber security Training Program. Students must already have a bachelor’s degree and one year of information technology experience or they must have an associate degree with three applicable years of experience. Students must have an aptitude for cyber security, and they must be residents of Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, or Colorado.

  • Richard E. Dakin Cybersecurity Scholarship/University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

    Amount: $5,000 to $7,000
    Deadline: March 1
    Link: https://www.coalfire.com/About/Richard-Dakin-Fund
    The Richard E. Dakin Scholarship was created to honor Dakin, who was a co-founder of Coalfire. This scholarship supports cyber security majors at several universities and colleges, including the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. These universities were selected due to their high-quality cyber security curricula, as well as the investments they made in advancing this discipline.

Conferences and Workshops

ISC2 Secure Summit Denver

Cyber security professionals are able to earn educational contact hours through this conference. It features keynotes, instructional sessions, and opportunities to network with governmental, academic, military, and industrial cyber security leaders.

FutureCon Denver Cybersecurity Conference

This conference takes place at several locations throughout the US and Canada. Thousands of cyber security professionals get together to learn more about cyber security from other C-Suite level executives who work within this profession.

Rocky Mountain Information Security Conference (RMISC)

This conference is solely related to cyber security events, knowledge, and professionals located in the Rocky Mountain region. Attendees have the chance to learn new material and obtain more opportunities that will be beneficial to their success in this field.

PSA Security Network TEC

Organized by PSA Security Network, which is the largest consortium in the world, offers the most up-to-date security and audio-visual system integrators in North America. This conference is highly suggested for cyber security professional systems integrators.

Colorado Cyber Security Jobs and Salary

Colorado (particularly the region in and around Colorado Springs) is one of the states with the highest population of cyber security professionals – there are around 3,590 cyber security positions in the state. The annual mean wage of cyber security professionals in Colorado is $102,820.

In computer systems design and other, similar services the employment of cyber security professionals is expected to grow by 55% from 2018 to 2028. The increase in businesses and individuals who rely on cloud services along with the burgeoning Internet of Things is encouraging cyber-thieves in their efforts to steal information. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the employment of cyber security professionals (information security analysts) will grow by 32% in between 2018 and 2028, which is much more rapid than for any other US occupation.

Because cyber-attacks have begun to take place much more frequently, these professionals are needed to develop new solutions that stop hackers from stealing private or critical information from companies and individuals. Banks, other financial institutions, hospitals, and healthcare practices will have to harden their cyber security protections so that their data is safe from hackers. Larger numbers of information security analysts are needed to help develop new tools and methods to detect and stop cyber-attacks before they freeze a business, school district, or healthcare facility in their work.

Resources

  • National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE)
    Available resources within NICE include access to one pagers, which cover various topics within cyber security in one page. Some of these are infographics that allow people to digest the information quickly and topics include Workforce Demand, Cyber Security Competitions, NICE Cyber Security Workforce Framework, Cyber Security Apprenticeships, and Value of Certifications.
  • Student Organizations
    University students majoring in cyber security programs can join one of several student organizations created around cyber security. These include CU Blockchain, housed at the University of Colorado at Boulder in which students learn about blockchain technology and participate in projects. Other organizations include Cybersecurity Club, Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) Team, and Defense Industry Student Union.
    At the University of Colorado at Boulder, cyber security professionals are able to take part in professional development opportunities. They can enroll in courses in cyber security, technology, policy or economics as non-degree students. CU Boulder’s ACCESS program enables interested individuals to take part in cyber security or technology classes in an online or distance education format. Scholarships are available through continuing education for courses scheduled in Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters.
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