Would you like to earn an average salary of $82K - $91K per year in the exciting field of cyber security, and spend every weekend and evening on the beaches of Hawaii? It can be done by graduating from a cyber security program at a Hawaiian college and getting a job on one of the islands. Hawaii is small, so the competition is tough, but with the right degree and career plan you can become a beach-bum with an income. It's all in choosing the best program to attend and building a network of contacts already working in the industry.
Why an Advanced Degree in Hawaii is Needed
Securing a spot as a Hawaii-based employee will likely mean having an end goal of achieving an advanced degree. A bachelor's degree is the bare minimum you will need to find a position and a master's degree or PhD puts you in the running for some of the top-level careers in cyber security. The good news is that there is a wide range of degrees that will open the door to your cyber security career.
Examples of possible bachelor’s or master’s degrees include:
- Computer Science
- Software Development
- Information Systems
- Computer Programming
- Database Administration
- Information Technology
- Web Development
Hawaii Cyber Security Education Degrees & Requirements
Community colleges (Junior Colleges) offer mostly associate degrees and 1-2 year certificates. An associate degree typically takes two years depending on whether you go part-time, full-time, or year-round. Many courses are offered online as well as in traditional classroom settings. In some cases, you can take hybrid courses, which are a combination of both methods. Admission requirements include proof of graduation from high school (transcripts), or evidence that you have obtained your general education diploma (GED). You may need to take and provide your final scores for standardized tests, such as the ACT or SAT. In some states, you are also required to prove your immunization is up to date if you were born after a certain year, such as 1957.
Example core courses to get your associates in the computer field might include:
- Introduction to Programming
- Computer Science
- Introduction to Linear Algebra
- Assembly and Computer Organization
In addition to the core/concentration courses you are expected to pass required general education classes as well that might include:
- Biology or Chemistry
- Public Speaking
- Behavior Science
If your plan is to get your associate degree and then transfer to a four-year school and complete your bachelor’s degree, it is important to work closely with your community college guidance counselors to choose only courses that are transferable to a four-year institution.
A bachelor's degree is obtainable in a couple of ways. You can earn your associate degree at a community college and transfer into a four-year school to finish your bachelor's requirements, or you can complete all four years through the college/university. The four year (total) time frame is flexible depending on how many credit hours you successfully complete each semester and whether you go full-time, part-time, year-round, or take summers off. As with an associate degree curriculum, you may be able to take some or all of your classes online if that is a better fit for you.
Examples of courses you may be required to take for your bachelor's degree include:
- Network Security
- Computer Forensics
- Project Management
- Computer Ethics and Privacy
Admissions requirements for a bachelor's degree program typically include transcripts from high school if starting as a freshman, or your community college if you’re transferring in. You need to have held a certain grade point average in those transcripts. In addition, there are residency, tuition, and other considerations for acceptance.
In most cases, the only way to a master's degree is through a bachelor's degree, so you’ll need to get that first. Once that has happened, you can go for your master’s. A master’s degree program in cyber security usually takes about 18 months – 2 years of full-time study or a bit longer part-time. While a master’s degree is a rigorous undertaking, it will make a significant difference in your pay scale and career opportunities.
Master’s degree coursework gets very specialized within your field; in this case, cyber security.
Examples of courses you might take include:
- Database Administration Management
- Cyber Security Management
- Information and Organization
- Cloud Management and Security
Certifications in Hawaii
If you aren't sure exactly which concentration to choose for your degree path, or perhaps want to try out working in the industry before committing to a lengthy career, you should consider completing a certification program.
Certification programs can typically be completed in about 12 months. Most programs require 12-18 credit hours and there are both master’s degree and bachelor's degree levels of certification programs. In addition, each program focuses on a specific concentration in the computer industry. This is a good opportunity to try one on and see how it feels as a career path.
This list of possible certificates is not inclusive, but will give you an idea of the concentrations you can choose:
- Information Assurance
- Cyber Security Policy and Privacy
- Cyber Law
- Healthcare Security
- Homeland Security Management
- Advanced Engineering
Why is Accreditation Important?
Graduating from an accredited school is always important, but in Hawaii it is paramount. While the islands are a beautiful place to live, work, and play, they are geographically limiting. Not only will many people from the mainland apply for the cyber security positions available, you will be competing with local graduates as well. With limited positions in a geographically challenged location, you want to graduate from an accredited school to be sure you are taken seriously.
In addition, consider attending a school that is considered a National Center of Academic Excellence. This designation is given by the National Security Agency (NSA). Schools apply for designation and must meet strict curriculum guidelines to succeed in receiving a CAE spot. The program was designed to provide assurance to employers that graduates have successfully completed cyber defense classes of the highest standard.
CAE Accredited Programs in Hawaii
- Honolulu Community College
CAE-2Y / 2014-2021
- Leeward Community College
CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
- University of Hawaii – West Oahu
CAE-CD / 2016-2021
- University of Hawaii at Manoa
CAE-R / 2019-2024
- University of Hawaii – Maui College
CAE-CD / 2019-2024
Computer Science & IT Programs in Hawaii
University of Phoenix – Hawaii
Two physical locations exist in Hawaii for University of Phoenix students. The Kapolei Learning Center allows students to attend classes in a classroom setting, take classes online or a combination of both. The Honolulu campus no longer accepts classroom-based students; however, they still provide meeting rooms, test proctor services, and tutoring.
As an accredited school, its graduates are assuring potential employers of a quality education in the cyber security industry. To this end, the school consistently seeks input from area employers as to what skill sets are important for students to master.
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Bachelor’s Degree & Undergraduate Certificate
Computer Programming/Programmer - Bachelor’s Degree & Undergraduate Certificate
Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst - Bachelor’s Degree & Undergraduate Certificate
Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration – Bachelor’s Degree
Information Technology – Bachelor’s Degree
Average Net Price: $13,118
College Retention Rate: 67%
Hawaii Pacific University
Located on the Honolulu island, the Hawaii Pacific University prides itself on showcasing the best of Hawaii–based life. With smaller intimate class enrollment numbers, the students are given opportunities to develop skill sets with a hands-on approach. The school offers programs in several areas of computer science to help you earn the degree you need.
Computer Science – Associate & Bachelor's Degrees
Information Systems – Master’s Degree & Postgraduate Certificate
Average Net Price: $27,688
College Retention Rate: 60% (Full-time Students); 30% (Part-time Students)
University of Hawaii at Manoa
The University of Hawaii at Manoa offers bachelor's, master’s, and doctorate programs in computer science, making it a one-stop school, regardless of the level you wish to achieve. There are just under 20,000 students attending online and traditional classes. The campus boasts an authentic Japanese tea room, as well as a study center and other student-centered activity buildings.
Computer Science – Bachelor's, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s Degree
Computer Engineering – Bachelor's Degree
Average Net Price: $15,712
College Retention Rate: 79% (Full-time Students); 68% (Part-time Students)
Hawaii Colleges Offering Certificates and Associate Degrees
If you are interested in getting trained and into the cyber security/computer industry quickly, you might consider completing a certificate program or earning an associate degree from a community college. Certificate programs are typically based in studying the core courses in your specific area of interest. An associate degree will do the same but also require you to pass at least some general education requirements.
Each of the following colleges offer one- or two-year certificates or associate degrees in computer science or cyber security. The primary difference between a college and a university is that you can typically only earn a certificate or an associate degree at a college. In a university you can earn a bachelor's degree, master’s, or PhD, depending on that universities offerings.
Honolulu Community College
Average Net Price: $7,897
College Retention Rate: 59% (Full-time Students); 39% (Part-time Students)
Leeward Community College
Average Net Price: $4,548
College Retention Rate: 63% (Full-time Students); 45% (Part time Students)
The Open Phil AI Fellowship
Amount: $40,000 Stipend - $10,000 Research Support - All tuition and fees also paid each year
Deadline: December (May Vary)
If you are going for your PhD in artificial intelligence, you can apply for the Open Phil AI Fellowship. This program will provide $10,000 for research, $40,000 stipend for living expenses, and all of your tuition and fees will be paid for each year until the end of your 5th year .
University of Hawaii System Common Scholarship
Amount: Full Tuition
Deadline: March 2
These scholarships are open to students who plan to attend, via traditional classroom or online, one of the following colleges:
- UH-West Oahu
- UH Hilo
- University of Hawai'i
- UH Manoa
Gordon T. and Florence Y. Furuto Endowed Scholarship
Deadline: March 22
If selected for this scholarship, you will be awarded $500 to study for a degree or a certificate. It also includes those who are working toward converting their Telecommunications Security certificate to a master’s degree in Information Systems.
AES Hawaiʻi Scholarship at UH West Oʻahu
Amount: Full Tuition
Deadline: March 2
This scholarship focuses exclusively on technology, science, math, engineering or Hawaiian studies. You must attend the University of Hawaii at the West O'ahu campus to receive this scholarship.
In addition, you had to have graduated from one of the following:
- Campbell High School
- Kapolei High School
- Nanakuli High School
- Waiʻanae High School
- Waipahu High School
Conferences and Workshops
LocoMoco Security Conference
This annual conference is rotated to a different Hawaiian island each year and allows Hawaiian citizens who work in or are interested in cyber security to network and share current information with each other. Started by citizens of Hawaii, there is an organization committee that puts it together every year.
Hawaii's Annual ISSA Security Conference
This yearly two-day conference began in 1993. Participants network and attend workshops aimed at helping them improve security at their organization. The conference is organized and hosted each year through the Information Systems Security Association.
This annual conference puts cyber security experts from the government, independent industry workers, and educators together to brainstorm the latest trends and problems in cyber security. Attended by people from around the world including security managers, IT managers, and network engineers, among others; it is a great place to build or continue your network contacts.
Hawaii Cyber Security Jobs and Salary
Jobs in cyber security continue to expand in Hawaii. The following examples from the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrate an approximate number of current positions and average salary for each position in Hawaii as of 2018.
- Information Security Analysts - $95,700
- # of Jobs - 50-390
- Computer System Analysts - $80,940
- # of Jobs - 40-1,670
- Software Development – Systems - $82,050
- # of Jobs - 90-950
- Computer Programmers - $77,190
- # of Jobs - 230-900
- Database Administrators - $89,400
- # of Jobs - 140-410
- Computer Network Architects - $100,540
- # of Jobs - 60-420
- Computer Network Support Specialists - $60,350
- # of Jobs - 40-710
Given the small population of Hawaii compared to some of the states on the mainland, this list illustrates a promising future for those who get an education from an accredited college/university in cyber security.