Just like every other state, residents of Idaho have embraced the Internet. Whether it’s banking online, shopping online, or signing up for medical insurance, people are using the Internet daily. And, when they do so, they are often providing sensitive data that, if it were hijacked by someone with nefarious intentions, could create a horrible mess for an innocent person. This is where cyber security comes in. Those who work in this field strive to keep the Internet as safe a place as possible by recognizing threats, writing programs that are as impermeable to possible threats as possible, and in the event of a breach, knowing how to stop the breach and track the threat back to the originator. If you think you want to be on the front lines of this new and exciting field, keep reading.
Why an Advanced Degree in Idaho is Needed
Technically you can start a career in cyber security without any sort of degree or formal training. However, to advance to any level of management or greater responsibility a degree will likely be required. Also, to get the certifications needed to advance in your chosen career, degrees are also often required to take certification exams. So, with that in mind, it’s a good idea to find a program that will reinforce the knowledge and experience you already have. The further you want to advance in your career, the more education you’ll need. For example, to advance from an administrator position into an analyst or engineer position, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree. To pursue an architect or management position a graduate degree or higher may be required.
Idaho Cyber Security Education
Requirements for each degree level grow as you move through the levels. For the most part, requirements for online and on-campus programs are similar, but in some cases, there are some differences. Also, each school has its own requirements, so the information below are the requirements that most schools have for admission.
Cybersecurity Associate Degrees
An associate degree is enough to get you an entry-level position in certain areas of the cyber security industry.
Requirements for entry into an associate degree program include:
- High school diploma or equivalent
- ACT/SAT scores (if required)
- Completed application
- Transcripts from all school attended
Cybersecurity Bachelor's Degrees
You will have all the same requirements for a bachelor’s degree that you do for an associate degree. Some schools may also require an essay and a minimum score on the SAT/ACT exam. Furthermore, some schools have minimum GPA requirements, so you’ll want to keep this in mind when selecting possible schools and programs.
Cybersecurity Master’s Degrees
If you want to move into upper-tier positions or go into management, a graduate degree is often required.
Requirements for entry into a master’s degree program include:
- Bachelor’s degree
- Transcripts from all schools previously attended
- GRE scores (required in most cases but some online programs might not require it)
- Letters of recommendation
- Essay of intent
Certifications in Idaho
The requirements for certification programs depend on the level of the certification. Lower-level certification programs typically fall under the associate degree requirements. Upper-level programs often have the same or similar requirements of graduate programs.
Why is Accreditation Important?
When you are selecting a school for a degree or certification program, it’s important to select a school that is accredited. Accreditation means that the US Department of Education has approved the school and program. This is important for several reasons. First, if the school or program isn’t accredited, a student cannot receive federal financial aid. Second, many employers require that potential employees hold degrees from accredited schools. There are several accreditation agencies that offer accreditation for colleges throughout the United States, and each covers a certain geographical part of the US. Finally, there are several levels of accreditation, the two major ones being national and regional. National accreditation is acceptable, but if you want to eliminate any doubt regarding accreditation, selecting a school with regional accreditation is ideal. The regional accrediting agency for Idaho is The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
CAE Accredited Programs in Idaho
- Idaho State University
CAE-CD / 2014-2020
- North Idaho College
CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
- University of Idaho
CAE-CD – 2014-2021
Computer Science and Cybersecurity Programs in Idaho
Idaho State University
Idaho State University is a public college located in Pocatello, ID. The school has a population of 12,363. The school offers certificates and associate through doctoral degree programs. Their student-to-faculty ratio is a low 13:1, so you’ll have to opportunity to reach out to your instructors.
Computer and Information Sciences - Bachelor’s Degree
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Bachelor’s Degree
Computer Programming/Programmer - Associate & Bachelor’s Degrees
Computer Science – Bachelor’s Degree
Informatics - Bachelor’s Degree
Information Science/Studies – Bachelor’s Degree & Undergraduate Certificate
Average Net Price: $13,349
College Retention Rate: 63%; Part-time: 42%
Boise State University
Located in Boise, Idaho, Boise State University is a public university that offers certificates, two-year, four-year, and graduate degree programs to its 25,000 students. The faculty-to-student ratio is a comfortable 17:1, so you can get the benefit of fellow student interaction while still communicating with your instructor.
Computer Science – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degree
Information Technology - Bachelor’s Degree
Information Science/Studies - Bachelor’s & Master’s Degree
Average Net Price: $12,558
College Retention Rate: Full-time – 79%; Part-time – 45%
University of Idaho
The University of Idaho has a student population of 11,891, with the majority of the students enrolled in undergraduate programs. However, students can also get certificates, master’s degrees and doctorate degrees. The public school has a student to faculty ratio of 15:1, so there’s an opportunity for peer interaction and getting to know instructors.
Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
Average Net Price: $15,061
College Retention Rate: Full-time – 81%; Part-time 10%
Cybersecurity Associates Programs and Certifications in Idaho
If you prefer to start with a certificate or two-year degree before making the financial and time commitment for a bachelor’s or master’s, these schools all offer certificates and degrees in computer and information sciences. In case you weren’t sure, a community college is a post-secondary school that usually only offers certificates and two-year degrees. If you decide you want a four-year degree, you’ll have to go to a college or university that offers bachelor’s degrees such as the ones listed above. In many cases, as long as you’re careful to attend an accredited college and look for colleges that have transfer agreements, if you get a two-year degree and then decide to pursue a four-year degree later, the credits earned from the two-year degree will apply to the four-year degree.
College of Western Idaho
Average Net Price: $4,883
College Retention Rate: Full-time – 52%; Part-time – 41%
North Idaho College
Average Net Price: $7,503
College Retention Rate: Full-time – 53%; Part-time – 35%
CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program
Amount: $22,000 (Undergraduates); $34,000 (Graduates)
Deadline: Spring Semester – October 1; Fall Semester – February 1
This program is for University of Idaho undergraduate or graduate students majoring in information security and computer science-related fields. Each student will be assigned a faculty-led research project that deals with investigating cyber security issues and threats. All tuition and student fees are paid.
ISACA Boise Chapter Scholarship
Deadline: March 15
The Information Systems Audit and Control Association - Boise chapter, offers a scholarship to students who intend to computer science, information systems, cyber security, or accounting. Students must be upper level undergraduates or enrolled in a graduate program.
Kount Ada Lovelace Computer Science Scholarship
Deadline: February 15
The Ada Lovelace scholarship is available to undergraduate and graduate students studying computer science. To qualify students must be enrolled full-time, have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and provide an application and resume to describes career goals, volunteer service and any experience in the computer science field.
Center for Cyber Safety and Education
Amount: VRIES (Up to $5,000
Deadline: February 17
This scholarship is funded by security-oriented trade groups such as JPMorgan Chase and Raytheon. It offers scholarships in the area of cyber security to approximately 20 undergraduate and 20 graduate students. To qualify, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.3 and attend an accredited college or university while majoring in a computer security field.
Deadline: Spring and Fall of each year
The Snort scholarship is offered by Cisco and is offered to several qualified computer science or computer information security majors. Students can be enrolled in undergrad or graduate programs, must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and meet the requirements and provide all required information as detailed on the application.
Conferences and Workshops
BSides - Idaho Falls
This conference occurs annually, usually in September, but other events occur throughout the year. The conference includes a series of events created by information security community members. It is sponsored by CompuNet, College of Eastern Idaho, ISC2 - Idaho Chapter, CRI Advantage, Gravwell, Thought Networks, Dragos, and Herjavec Group.
This is an annual event, usually held in August. Interface Boise is a conference for IT Security professionals. It offers the best and latest hardware and software solutions to combat ransomware and other security threats. It is sponsored by CompuNet, TrendMicro, Unitrends, Vanguard, Malwarebytes, Quest, ISSA - Boise Chapter, and others.
Idaho Cyber Security Interdependencies Series
This is an annual event, usually held in April. The series is a collaboration between the Idaho Office of Emergency Management and the Pacific Northwest Economic Region’s Center for Regional Disaster Resilience. It helps businesses become more cyber security resilient by informing them of the latest threats and technologies to combat cyber-threats.
Idaho Cyber Security Jobs and Salary
There are roughly 4,400 people employed in the field of cyber security in the state of Idaho. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for employees in the information security and technology fields is supposed to increase over the next decade. Jobs in this sector are expected to experience growth of up to 32% between 2018 and 2028, much faster than other fields. Below is a breakdown of the major fields in Information Technology, how many are employed in the field in Idaho, and each position’s average salary.
Information Security Analysts - They analyze the security for an organization’s information systems such as databases and user interfaces and look for current or potential threats. This is an upper-level position.
Average Salary: $86,590
Percentage of workforce: 9%
Computer System Analysts - These individuals analyze computer systems looking for threats. This is a mid to upper-level position.
Average Salary: $78,550
Percentage of workforce: 34%
Computer Programmer - Programmers write code for computer hardware and software. This is a low to mid-level position in the cyber security field.
Average Salary: $76,500
Percentage of workforce: 14%
Database Administrators - Build and maintain databases. A lower-level position.
Average Salary: $69,280
Percentage of workforce: 11%
Network and Computer System Administrators - Build and maintain computer systems and networks. This is a lower-level position and where many cyber security professionals start their careers.
Average Salary: $66,930
Percentage of workforce: 32%
Most colleges that have IT, Computer Science or cyber security programs have groups dedicated to the subject, so check out what your local campuses offer. Beyond school organizations,
here are three more resources that those working in cyber security in Idaho can utilize:
The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium is an organization comprised of cyber security, information security, and information technology workers and experts from around the world. The ICS2 has a chapter in Idaho.
The Information Systems Audit and Control Association is an organization for auditors, assessors, and administrators. There are several branches of the organization in Idaho.
The Institute of Internal Auditors is an organization for auditors and administrators in the cyber security field. They have a Boise chapter.