Hackers lurk everywhere. From the darkest hamlet in Russia to the Bayous in Louisiana, cyber-criminals are eager to empty bank accounts, hijack databases, and steal valuable data to trade on the dark web. Even if Louisiana isn't New York City or Washington DC, there are still numerous targets in Baton Rouge and New Orleans that virtual bandits would love to attack. This means that the state's private and public organizations need cyber security experts at the ready to ward off any future attacks.
Louisiana has many great schools that can turn you into the cyber security professional of your dreams. With the right skills, you can ward off attacks and perhaps track down the bad guys to ensure that your state is secure. This page is dedicated to providing the resources you need to launch a brilliant career in this vital field.
Why an Advanced Degree in Louisiana is Needed
Louisiana banks, businesses, and governmental agencies are all subject to attacks from foreign and domestic hackers. Thus, the state has a great need for cyber security professionals at all levels. However, cyber security professionals with advanced degrees are sure to rate higher with employers.
This is because security experts with advanced degrees simply have more knowledge and experience in the field. Even those with MBA degrees and cyber security specializations are more highly valued, as they can work as administrators. Further, a business degree can help bolster the communication and leadership skills that are so needed in cyber security. That is, a cyber security expert who can speak the language of business can help ease communications between the top brass and the tech workers who are on the front lines.
Louisiana Cyber Security Education Degrees & Requirements
A two-year degree is a fantastic place to start your career. An associate degree in cyber security or similar can help you land an entry-level job. There are a number of high-quality associate degree programs in the country. In particular, look for programs that are accredited by the Centers in Academic Excellence (CAE). CAE is a program run by the National Security Agency and any degree from one of their approved programs will show employers that you are among the best.
A four-year baccalaureate degree is the optimum foundation for a cyber security career. In four years, you will accrue the skills and knowledge to not only begin working in cyber security, but you will have the other soft skills you need to communicate cyber security protocols throughout your firm. You can also add to your degree with a minor or double major in fields such as Information Technology, Computer Science, or Database or Network Administration.
Nearly every top executive has a master's degree in some field. After a few years in the field you should start to consider an advanced degree in cyber security. There are many options, however. The most common master's degree in the c-suites is the MBA. As a cyber security expert, you should consider this degree, too. If you are able to take a few years off of work, you should consider a dual MBA program with a cyber security degree. With this type of degree program you'll be able to earn two graduate degrees, one MBA and one in cyber security, in the same amount of time it takes to earn a single degree.
Certifications in Louisiana
If you are working hard in cyber security, you might not want to return to school for a full degree program. Further, you might need to learn more about a specific product or sub-specialty in cyber security for your current position or company, or a prospective job you hope to earn. Certifications can help you gain added credentials without the burden of a full degree. You can receive credentials through a company like Cisco or Microsoft, or you can be credentialed by an independent professional association. Many certifications require ongoing education and, if you show employers that you have maintained certain credentials over several years, they are sure to find you all the more valuable.
Why is Accreditation Important?
Accreditation is a vital part of your education. This might be especially true for cyber security. That's because so much is riding on your skills and knowledge. You want to show potential employers that your education was approved and certified by an independent agency that applied rigorous standards when it assessed your degree program.
There are many agencies out there that assess cyber security and computer science programs in general. For computer security, the optimum accreditation comes from the Centers for Academic Excellence (CAE). CAE is a program run by the National Security Agency, so it has met the requirements of an agency charged with protecting national security. When your academic credentials come from an accredited institution, your employer will know that you can provide the same level of expertise that protects our highest military secrets.
Your Louisiana cyber security program should be accredited by the best available agency. That way you can land the best jobs and provide the best service to your firm, and the state in general. If CAE accreditation isn’t available at your school of choice, you should at least make sure it is regionally accredited. Regional accreditation is the next most prestigious form of accreditation and will be good enough for all employers except perhaps government entities looking for cyber security specialists. The regional accrediting body for Louisiana is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
CAE Accredited Programs in Louisiana
- Bossier Parish Community College
CAE-2Y / 2014-2021
- Louisiana Tech University
CAE-CD / 2014-2020
CAE-R / 2014-2020
Computer Science & IT Programs in Louisiana
Tulane University of Louisiana
Tulane is a private university in New Orleans that is renowned for its top academic standards. They have a wide range of STEM majors, including a full array of computer-related degrees. The price tag for the degree is rather steep, but a Tulane degree will always open the door to opportunity.
Computer and Information Sciences – Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s Degree
Computer Programming, Specific Applications – Associate, Bachelor’s Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
Computer Science – Bachelor’s Degree
Average Net Price: $37,692
Retention Rate: 94%
Southern University and A&M College
Southern University is a public institution in Baton Rouge that offers degrees in everything from Agriculture to Visual and Performing Arts. Their Computer Science degree offers a choice of four concentrations: Cyber Security, Information Systems, Data Analytic & Sciences, and Mobile. Once you have completed your baccalaureate degree, you can stay on campus for your master's degree.
Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor's & Master’s Degrees
Average Net Price: $15,856
Retention Rate: 64% (Full-time Students); 12% (Part-time Students)
University of New Orleans
The University of New Orleans is located in Louisiana’s most exciting city and offers the most exciting career training. As a university, they offer a wide range of academic programs, including Computer Science. If you choose CS, you can concentrate in Cyber Security, Bioinformatics, or Game Development.
Computer Science – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degree
Average Net Price: $9,859
Retention Rate: 71% (Full-time Students); 50% (Part-time Students)
Louisiana Tech University
Louisiana Tech University can help you pave the way to a brilliant career in the tech industry. Their Computer Science degree is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of ABET. After your undergraduate degree, you can move into a profession as a computer programmer, software developer, or database engineer, among other options. LA Tech also offers a master's degree in CS.
Computer Science – Bachelor's and Master’s
Computer and Information Sciences and Support – Doctoral Degree & Postgraduate Certificate
Average Net Price: $9,795
Retention Rate: 79% (Full-time Students); 44% (Part-time Students)
Louisiana State University - Shreveport
Louisiana State is more than a big football school. They offer a wide range of degrees in the liberal arts, sciences, and business. Their high-tech offerings include two computer-focused bachelor's degrees and one graduate degree.
Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor's Degree
Computer Science – Bachelor's Degree
Information Science/Studies – Master’s Degree
Average Net Price: $8,622
Retention Rate: 63% (Full-time Students); 50% (Part-time Students)
University of Phoenix – Louisiana
This for-profit university has made its mark in the world of online education, but it also has traditional classrooms for students who prefer that experience. Since the university is primarily online, they can more easily offer a wide range of degree programs. For instance, their computer degree offerings is up to eight so far.
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor's Degree
Computer Programming/Programmer, General – Bachelor's Degree
Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst – Bachelor's Degree
Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications – Bachelor's Degree
Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration – Bachelor's Degree
Network and System Administration/Administrator – Bachelor's Degree
Average Net Price: N/A
Louisiana Colleges Offering Certificates and Associate Degrees
The following Louisiana colleges are all community colleges, or otherwise institutions that primarily offer two-year degrees. Most, if not all, also offer certificates. These degrees may not garner the same salary levels available to those with bachelor's degrees, but they are a great stepping-stone to a brilliant career. With a two-year degree from a community college you’ll pay less for your credits and can still land a terrific entry-level cyber security job.
Bossier Parish Community College
Average Net Price: $10,065
Retention Rate: 50% (Full-time Students); 37% (Part-time Students)
SOWELA Technical Community College
Average Net Price: $8,207
Retention Rate: 60% (Full-time Students); 40% (Part-time Students)
South Louisiana Community College
Average Net Price: $8,711
College Retention Rate: 53% (Full-time Students); 38% (Part-time Students)
Delgado Community College
Average Net Price: $8,957
College Retention Rate: 47% (Full-time Students); 36% (Part-time Students)
South Central Louisiana Technical College
Average Net Price: $13,253
Upsilon Pi Epsilon
Deadline: July 1
If you are a member of UPE, you are welcome to apply to this scholarship fund. In the past, computer science students from Louisiana Tech have won this prestigious scholarship. Make sure that your application reflects your passion for computing and computer science.
BHW Women in STEM Scholarship
Deadline: April 15
To help encourage more women in STEM fields, including cyber security, the BHW Group is offering an annual scholarship for women who are working towards careers in engineering, computing, or some other science/technical fields. If you are a high school senior or higher, you are encouraged to apply. Each application must include a formal or informal essay that relates to an application.
William Curran Scholarship
Deadline: Application through financial aid office
Southeastern Louisiana University Computer Science students who have been inducted into the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and who have a minimum GPA of 3.0, are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. You can apply through the financial aid office. Keep in mind that, if you are a freshman, you need to be planning to join the ACM.
Quoc-Nam and Le-Bui Tran Scholarship in Computer Science
Deadline: Application through financial aid office
Computer Science and Information Technology students who can demonstrate financial need are encouraged to apply to this scholarship. That is, you must be able to show that the scholarship is vital to your attendance. Your GPA must also be at least 3.0. You can find more information through the financial aid office of Southeastern Louisiana University.
UNO Scholarship for Women in Computer Science
BSCS alumni Sabrina D. Farmer founded this scholarship fund to help UNO women thrive in Computer Science. To apply, you should be female, have completed CS2125, and be able to exhibit a dedication to Computer Science. Not only can you win $3,000 per semester to offset your tuition, but you can opt to receive a mentorship from Ms. Farmer, who is an Engineering Manager with Google.
Conferences and Workshops
Since 2013, Bsides NOLA has been helping to advance the cyber security community in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana. The 2019 conference was held in the Hyatt Centric French Quarter New Orleans and topics included Blockchains, the Chrome OS, and Decoupled Components for Automated Ransomware Testing, among many others.
Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience Americas
This critical conference will be held in the Crowne Plaza New Orleans-Airport at the end of April, 2020. Past keynote speakers include top officials from the Department of Homeland Security, and administrators from FEMA. In fact, the conference is billed as a Homeland Security event.
SANS Security East 2020
This cyber security training in New Orleans will offer over 25 two-day courses. If you are a student, or new to the field, you can take the Intro to Cyber security course. More advanced professionals will study Defense Security and Architecture, Cloud Security, Penetration Testing, Tactical Analysis, and much, much more. The event takes place in the Hilton New Orleans, Riverside.
ACM Conference on Data and Application Security and Privacy (CODASPY)
This annual conference has been held for ten years and is still going strong. In fact, the 2020 will mark the inaugural Workshop for Women in Cybersecurity Research. The conference spans the dates March 16 - 18, 2020 and will host a large number of presenters. Come to learn more about topics including, but not limited to: Securing Electronic Commerce, Secure Auditing, Privacy-preserving techniques, Data Forensics, and Web Application Security.
Louisiana Cyber Security Jobs and Salary
Cyber security is a rapidly growing industry and Louisiana is certainly seeing growth in its high tech sector. Currently, there are 500 information security analysts in the state, but that number is bound to grow over the next ten years or so. Nationally, ISAs are projected to grow by 32% through 2028, which is a phenomenal rate of growth. The median rate of pay for information security analysts in Louisiana is currently over $74,000.
A related field, that of computer systems analysts, currently boasts over 2,000 workers in Louisiana. Their median rate of pay is close to their information security colleagues, garnering a median salary just over $72,000 per year. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Louisiana database administrators number just under 500 in the state, but they are paid a mean annual wage of over $90,000 per year.
All told, the state of Louisiana currently employs 20,000 Computer and Mathematical professionals. These workers are found in the public and private sector as regular employees, contract workers, and business owners. Their annual mean wage is approximately $67,000 and their numbers are growing.
Keep in mind when looking at salaries for Louisiana that the cost of living in the state may be less than where you are. If the national mean wage seems to outstrip what's available in Louisiana, consider that rents and home prices elsewhere have been skyrocketing. A one-room studio apartment in Manhattan or San Francisco can be over $2,000, so workers must earn more to simply survive.
IEEE-NOLA Computer Society
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) computer society boasts approximately 85,000 members nationwide. The Computer Society offers certifications for members and holds regular meetings in New Orleans. You can join their group on Meetup.com and attend meetings free of charge. Each meetup will be announced well in advance and you can determine which topics interest you the most.
Baton Rouge Cyber Security for Control Systems
This is a highly specific meetup.com group that meets on a regular basis to discuss security issues related to Operating Technology, Industrial Control Systems, SCADA Systems, and the Industrial Internet of Things. In fact, the Baton Rouge group is but one subset of the national group, the Control System Cyber Security Association International – (CS)2AI.
Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission
This commission is dedicated to helping Louisiana practice safe computing. Given that every computer system is subject to hacking, malware, and other cyber difficulties, the state government is trying to help everyone secure their data. Their website contains helpful pages where you can find trainings, tips for cyber hygiene, and other resources. In fact, the average citizen is more than welcome to explore the web page to get a start on keeping themselves and their families safe in this new hyper-technical world.
K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center
In 2019, Louisiana was rocked by a major threat to its cyber security. The Governor issued an Emergency Declaration, as several government agencies were impacted. The incident prompted him to form the Cybersecurity Commission, and the K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center is a part of the state's rapid response to this security threat. Currently, the School Cybersecurity Resources page is a comprehensive list of related links, but it is sure to develop as we learn more about how to protect ourselves in this new world.