Cybersecurity Degrees and Careers Massachusetts Guide

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

Cyber security jobs in Massachusetts are more in demand than nearly any other job, in part due to the wide array of security companies in the state. An estimated $655 billion has been spent from 2015 to 2020 on initiatives meant to secure daily-use technology devices, according to the BI Intelligence: Cybersecurity Threats and Opportunities report. The actual market is expected to be worth $232 billion by 2022, which makes cyber security the fastest growing technology sector in the world. And there will be a 350% increase in available cyber security jobs by 2021, as stated by Cybercrimes Magazine. For anyone seeking long-term job security, whether you are an incoming freshmen or a non-traditional student, cyber security jobs offer top pay, stable positions, and potential for career growth.

Why an Advanced Degree in Massachusetts is Needed

A career in cyber security will most likely require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. You can, however, choose a number of different degree pathways to reach your ideal cyber security position. It will also be critical that you continue your education through certifications, graduate degrees, and professional workshops and conferences to stay current on the most pressing issues and trends in cyber-crime prevention. While cyber security degrees are still relatively new and many colleges and universities do not yet have cyber security degree offerings let alone a cyber security department, you can opt to complete an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in a computer science-related field and complete cyber security certifications as a way to break into the job market. A master’s degree is almost always required for top management and executive jobs in cyber security and keep in mind that the top colleges and universities will be regionally accredited and may even have cyber security programs that earn them approval as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE).

Massachusetts Cyber Security Education Degrees & Requirements

Associate’s Degree

An associate degree in cyber security can be found at many top community colleges throughout the US. In fact, several of the exclusive cyber security programs endorsed as CAE are offered at two-year community colleges, technical colleges, or vocational colleges. Whether you already have a four-year degree, or you are just starting your higher learning education, a cyber security associate degree can provide a substantial start to your education and career without breaking the bank. With this type of degree in cyber security, you can find entry-level work with smaller organizations and jobs in assistant or support positions. You can expect to take courses in an array of areas such as network security, penetration testing, and programming languages.

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree in cyber security is ideal for individuals who are graduating high school, have a GED, or are transferring from a two-year associate degree program. If you wish to earn over $80,000 a year, you will likely require a bachelor’s degree in this field. Many colleges and universities do not yet have a cyber security bachelor’s degree. Because of this, you’ll need to look for degrees in computer science, information technology, or a related field with a minor in cyber security if possible. This is acceptable if you are prepared to complete certifications or a master’s degree with a focus towards cyber security. If you plan to start your career with a bachelor’s degree, select a college or university that has a dedicated program. This will save you time and money in the end. It is also possible to select schools that offer combined majors and dual degree programs to save even more time and money, and to advance your career far more quickly from the beginning.

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree will be essential for top jobs with top employers. Despite the fact an enormous demand exists for cyber security professionals and such demand will remain for at least five years, there will always be a highly competitive market for the best jobs. A master’s degree will set you apart to increase your chances of landing jobs with the most desirable employers early in your career. Master’s degrees are also essential for career advancement to management and executive positions. You might choose an MBA with a cyber security emphasis, concentration, or specialization if you have leadership aspirations. Master’s degrees will often offer specialized programs in various areas of cyber security, such as systems security, e-commerce security, strategy and policy, security governance, compliance, and more.

Certifications in Massachusetts

Cyber security certifications can be completed in person or online. They are also available at all education levels and at many higher learning institutions such as community colleges and universities and from professional organizations and vendors. Certifications in cyber security are also available for both students and professionals. You can find cyber security certifications specifically for executives and leaders and you can complete various certificates in specialized areas of cyber security such as certified ethical hacker (CEH), and information systems auditor. Certification is an efficient and effective way to improve your cyber security skillset in order to increase your pay and your potential for career advancement.

Why is Accreditation Important?

Accreditation is essentially the quality assurance process by which all colleges and universities are measured to verify the level and quality of education you can expect from those who apply. Both the educational institution and specific programs can be accredited. The accrediting bodies of higher learning institutions are either regional or national. Regional accreditations have significantly higher standings and more rigorous evaluations than national accreditations. Regional accreditation in Massachusetts is provided by the New England Commission of Higher Education. Cyber security has its own set of endorsements. The Centers of Academic Excellence is the gold standard to which all other cyber security programs are measured. With CAE approval, this means that your program meets or exceeds the expectations of the NSA and Homeland Security in cyber security practices and education.

CAE Accredited Programs in Massachusetts

  • Boston University
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
    CAE-R / 2014-2021
  • Northeastern University
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
    CAE-R / 2014-2021
  • University of Massachusetts – Lowell
    CAE-R / 2016-2021
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    CAE-R / 2019-2024

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

  • Boston University

    Boston University does offer several computer science undergraduate degrees. They also have a master’s degree in cyber security. While part of the program, you will work closely with the Center for Reliable Information Systems & Cyber Security that is operated by the university. This is a CAE-endorsed cyber security program.

    Programs Offered:

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

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $53,948
    Average Net Price: $29,154
    Retention Rate: 94%

  • University of Massachusetts - Lowell

    The University of Massachusetts at Lowell offers a wide array of degrees dedicated to various areas of security studies, including cyber security. The university’s Cyber security Training for the NIST Network is groundbreaking and the programs are endorsed by the Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense Research. Master’s degrees are offered both online and in the classroom.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Doctoral Degree, Undergraduate & Postgraduate Certificate
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Postgraduate Certificate
    Computer Programming, Specific Applications – Undergraduate Certificate
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    Information Science/Studies – Associate, Bachelor’s Degrees & Undergraduate Certificate
    Information Technology – Master’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $15,180
    Out-of-State: $32,827
    Average Net Price: $18,257
    Retention Rate: 85% (Full-time Students); 56% (Part-time Students)

  • Brandeis University

    Like many top universities in Massachusetts, Brandeis University offers a quality computer science education to undergraduates. There is also a cyber security-related degree available at the master’s level. The program is committed to ensuring graduates are prepared to work in the demanding, always-changing, and stressful environment of cyber security. The cyber security master’s degree at Brandeis University also focuses on teaching leadership so that graduates are prepared for management and executive careers.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Master’s Degree
    Computer Programming – Master’s Degree
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management – Master’s Degree & Postgraduate Certificate
    Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration – Master’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $55,395
    Average Net Price: $39,735
    College Retention Rate: 92%

  • Northeastern University

    Northeastern University is another university in Massachusetts that allows you to complete a degree at all three levels. You can also choose from various combined majors and dual degrees in undergraduate and graduate degrees to save time and money. These types of programs also fast-track your career advancement opportunities and earning potential.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Information Science/Studies – Bachelor’s & Doctoral Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $51,522
    Average Net Price: $34,245
    College Retention Rate: 97%

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    Worcester Polytechnic programs focus on preparing students to find solutions to complex problems with real-life company and organization scenarios. You will also work in teams and fine-tune your research skills in classrooms with a fantastic student-to-faculty ratio or 13:1.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
    Information Technology – Master’s Degree & Postgraduate Certificate

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $50,530
    Average Net Price: $43,815
    College Retention Rate: 96%

  • Harvard University

    The cyber security focus at Harvard University is aimed at students, professionals, and everyday Internet users. While cyber security-specific degrees are not available, you can complete computer and information science degrees and a graduate certificate in cyber security. The Ivy League school also offers an executive training course in cyber security for business leaders and a short online cyber security course that is open to anyone who qualifies.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Master’s Degree
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Information Technology – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $50,420
    Average Net Price: $17,590
    College Retention Rate: 99%

Massachusetts Colleges Offering Certificates and Associate Degrees

If you are not ready to spend four years earning a degree before you begin your path toward a prosperous future in cyber security, the following community colleges also offer associate degrees and undergraduate certificates that will help you get started. An associate degree in cyber security, computer science, or information technology can land you entry-level jobs and generally only take two years to complete. A certificate could take between one year and two years; it will depend greatly on the level of certificate and the program. If you have completed a four-year degree in another field and wish to change to a more stable and relevant career in cyber security, certificates and associate degrees are a great way to make such a transition successfully.

  • Bunker Hill Community College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $4,464
    Out-of-State: $9,408
    Average Net Price: $7,232
    Retention Rate: 61% (Full-time Students); 48% (Part-time Students)

  • Massachusetts Bay Community College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $5,088
    Out-of-State: $10,032
    Average Net Price: $12,614
    Retention Rate: 54% (Full-time Students); 46% (Part-time Students)

  • Quinsigamond Community College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $5,586
    Out-of-State: $10,530
    Average Net Price: $7,254
    Retention Rate: 56% (Full-time Students); 51% (Part-time Students)

  • Northern Essex Community College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $5,136
    Out-of-State: $10,920
    Average Net Price: $8,272
    Retention Rate: 56% (Full-time Students); 40% (Part-time Students)

Scholarships

  • DoD Cyber Scholarship Program

    Amount: Varies
    Deadline: January 31
    Link: https://dodcio.defense.gov/Cyber-Workforce/CySP/Scholarship/
    The DoD Cyber Scholarship Program is available to Northeastern University students who are participating or plan to participate in cyber security programs endorsed by the Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Education and the National Center of Academic Excellence Cyber Operations. You must be a US citizen to qualify and a current resume will be required to apply along with letters of recommendation.

  • NSF Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service

    Amount: $32,000 plus extras
    Deadline: March 15
    Link: https://www.sfs.opm.gov/
    The National Science Foundation offers scholarships students for graduate students participating in information assurance and cyber security. Graduate students receive financial assistance for two years. Students pursuing a dual degree BS/MS or PhD program could qualify for financial assistance for varying amounts. You might qualify for two academic semesters tuition, living expenses, health fee coverage, two years of employment with a federal agency, travel expenses, and mentorships.

  • CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service at WPI

    Amount: $22,500 (Undergraduates); $34,000 (Graduate Students)
    Deadline: February 28
    Link: https://www.wpi.edu/academics/departments/cybersecurity/cybercorps
    The CyberCorps: Scholarship For Service at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is available for both undergraduate and graduate students. Both will qualify for full tuition, health insurance, professional development, textbooks, living expenses and more. Applicants must pursue a degree in line with cyber security, complete an internship, be able to pass US security clearance, and take a position with the government upon graduation.

  • UMASS at Amherst Scholarship for Service Program

    Amount: $25,000 (Undergraduates); $34,00 (Graduates) plus extras
    Deadline: Varies
    Link: https://infosec.cs.umass.edu/content/umass-amherst-scholarship-service-program#:~:targetText=National%20Science%20Foundation%20(NSF)%20to,based%20threats%20to%20national%20security.
    The UMASS at Amherst Scholarship for Service Program is similar to others in that you will receive full tuition, a living stipend, travel expenses, health insurance, and more. Undergraduates will receive less of a living stipend that graduate students. You will be required to work for a government agency upon graduation. Applicants must be in pursuit of computer science or related degrees and you must be a US citizen or a permanent resident.

  • Cyber Security Scholarship

    Amount: $1,000
    Deadline: July 31
    Link: https://massbay.academicworks.com/opportunities/1026
    The Cyber Security Scholarship was established by MassBay Community College and Towerwall. Applicants must be in pursuit of a cyber security certificate or associate degree from MassBay Community College as a full-time student. You must also be a resident of Massachusetts, provide a letter of recommendation from an individual involved in the college, and provide an essay.

Conferences and Workshops

2020 Student Symposium in Cybersecurity Policy

Tufts University will host the first of what they hope to be many student symposiums in cyber security policy. The goal is to unite young academics to learn, discuss, and network over topics involving cyber security. Topics will address all cyber security issues ranging from military and government to private businesses and private citizens.

The Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum

The Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum is hosted by the Baker-Polito Administration and part of Massachusetts Cybersecurity Week. The aim of the forum is to gather all members of the cyber security community, including students, researchers, industry leaders, companies, and more. Individuals will listen, discuss, network, and collaborate throughout their time working to make the world a better place.

Massachusetts Cybersecurity Week

Like most cyber security events in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Week is a new affair aimed at improving the state of cyber security and awareness throughout the state. Throughout the event, attendees can learn about the current state of the cyber security environment in Massachusetts including education, innovation, strengths, weaknesses, policymakers, vendors, and businesses.

Massachusetts Cyber Security Jobs and Salary

  • Information Security Analysts -
    Information security analysts currently hold roughly 3,260 jobs in the Massachusetts workforce with a median income of $108,400. Some daily tasks for these professionals might include business network analyzation, preventing cyber-threats, repairing damage from attacks, and following daily industry updates.
  • Computer Systems Analysts -
    Computer systems analysts currently comprise roughly 14,790 jobs in the Massachusetts workforce and have a median income of $94,510. Some daily tasks they perform might include creating systems, reviewing current design practices, and improving performance.
  • Computer Programmers -
    Computer programming positions currently comprise roughly 4,420 jobs in the Massachusetts workforce with a median income of $95,380. Some daily tasks they perform might include learning various programming languages, testing and writing coding, analyzing code for errors, and working on collaborative projects.
  • Database Administrators -
    Database administrators currently comprise roughly 2,900 jobs in the Massachusetts workforce with a median income of $98,620. Some daily tasks might include implementing efficiency improvements, merging databases, application database administration management, or systems database administration management.
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators -
    Network and computer systems administrators currently comprise roughly 8,880 jobs in the Massachusetts workforce with a median income of $91,470. Some daily tasks for these professionals include completing computer system upgrades, implementing security practices, providing solutions to issues, and end-user training.

Resources

  • The Massachusetts Government
    The government of Massachusetts offers extensive resources to help both state agencies and private companies and organizations in their fight against cyber-crime. They provide a step-by-step process to help each type of entity in a customized manner.
  • MassCyberCenter at MassTech
    The MassCyberCenter at MassTech offers an entire cyber security ecosystem designed to help protect both private and public communities from cyber-criminal activities. The center supports organizations and institutions to help keep the whole of Massachusetts safe from cyber-crime.
  • Northeastern University
    Northeastern University offers various cyber security workshops for business and organizational leaders such as executives and boards of directors. The workshops vary in scope and include trends in cyber-attacks and cyber security, risks to companies, liability and cyber insurance, and strategies and best practices.
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