Every day the threat from cyber-criminals grows and deepens. Black-hat hackers have been known to drain accounts of funds, pilfer identities, and hold databases hostage until they receive a healthy ransom. You may have already encountered hackers on social media or in email accounts.
For this reason, there is a large push to train and employ a workforce with top cyber security credentials. Government agencies see this as a top priority, and academia is responding by expanding their computer science offerings to include cyber security. Thus, if you love computers and would like to make computing safe for everyone, consider pursuing this growing, and richly-rewarded, career path.
Why an Advanced Degree in New Jersey is Needed
The world is changing. Where just a few years ago a bachelor's degree was sufficient for an entire career, employers are now looking for master's degrees and professional certifications. It's still a good idea to start your career with a four-year degree, since you not only need loads of knowledge specific to your field, but you also need the soft skills required to truly get ahead. After all, if you're a New Jersey cyber security professional, you will need to cultivate meaningful relationships with non-tech management and business majors and accountants write the budgets you need to thwart cyber-threats.
Your bachelor's degree will serve you well, but you may eventually want to advance into management or gain the added credentials you need to launch an independent consultancy. Depending on your specific goals, you could choose a New Jersey MBA that focuses on IT issues, including cyber security. You could also choose a dual MBA program alongside cyber security. However, if you simply love the technology, you can stick to a master's degree in cyber security.
New Jersey Cyber Security Education
Cybersecurity Associate Degrees
A two-year degree is a fantastic way to launch a career in cyber security. Every year, the National Security Agency accredits programs for cyber security. Though a CAE-accredited four-year degree is preferred, an associate degree with such credentials will still open doors for you. There are two-year degree programs available both on traditional campuses and online. Very often, traditional programs will still include a number of online courses. These sorts of options can help bring top quality programs to you, rather than necessitating a move across the state or nation.
Cybersecurity Bachelor's Degrees
A four-year baccalaureate degree is probably the optimum degree to start with. During these four years you will not only be steeped in cyber security and related topics, but you'll take other courses that will help round out your education. Many programs provide the option of taking on a minor course of study as well. You could thus craft the perfect degree program for you. For instance, you might minor in criminal justice, management, or accounting. You'll want to find the very best cyber security degree program available to you. Thus, consider online options that can bring far-flung programs to your desktop.
Cybersecurity Master’s Degrees
A master's degree will likely be the final degree that takes your career over the top. Cyber security professionals can earn a graduate degree in a range of subjects, including computer science and management. In fact, you might consider a dual master's degree program that combines your technical, hacker-busting skills with some other useful field. If you are aiming at the c-suites, then you might seek out at Dual-MBA program.
A graduate degree vital to success these days, and you should start thinking about your graduate work while still in your undergraduate program. One of the key factors is accreditation. You’ll want to make sure that your undergraduate credits will transfer and support your long-term academic and professional goals.
Certifications in New Jersey
While your academic credentials will launch your career, industry certifications will bolster your knowledge and multiply your job prospects. You can receive certification from a range of organizations. Many will earn credentials to work on Microsoft or Cisco products, for instance. Others can seek a certification from an industry association, which will teach them specific skills such as computer forensics techniques. For cyber security, you can join an association for benefits such as their journal and conferences, but many also offer continuing education opportunities. Their courses and exams will prove that your knowledge and skills are fully up-to-date with industry standards. Since hackers are learning and adapting more every day, cyber security experts must strive to stay a step ahead.
Why is Accreditation Important?
When you seek out an academic program for a degree or certificate, accreditation should be one of the top concerns in your search. Accreditation proves that the program has been audited and examined by an independent organization of education professionals. These professionals look at a program's student outcomes, faculty worthiness, and the school's facilities, among other features. Employer tuition reimbursement programs frequently have strict standards for accreditation, since they want to pay for the best training possible.
For cyber security students, the gold standard is probably accreditation from the Centers for Academic Excellence that are run through the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security. The NSA knows that our nation needs cyber security professionals that have the best training so that our infrastructure retains its integrity.
You can also seek out programs with ABET accreditation. This is a premier academic credential that is conferred on Computer Science, Engineering, and other STEM programs.
CAE Accredited Programs in New Jersey
- Brookdale Community College
CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
- County College of Morris
CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
- Fairleigh Dickinson University
CAE-CD / 2014-2020
- New Jersey City University
CAE-CD / 2014-2020
- New Jersey Institute of Technology
CAE-CD / 2014-2020
- Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
CAE-CD / 2014-2021
CAE-R / 2014-2021
- Stevens Institute of Technology
CAE-CD / 2014-2021
CAE-R / 2014-2021
Computer Science and Cybersecurity Programs in New Jersey
New Jersey Institute of Technology
The New Jersey Institute of Technology is a public institution devoted to teaching STEM subjects, including computer-related majors. While you work on your bachelor's or master's degree, you'll be conveniently located in Newark, which is close to New York city and all the opportunities in the NY Metro area.
Computer and Information Sciences - Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Master’s Degree
Computer Science - Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
Information Science/Studies – Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
Information Technology – Bachelor’s, Master’s Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
Average Net Price: $17,855
College Retention Rate: 88% (Full-time Students); 50% (Part-time Students
Stevens Institute of Technology
Stevens Institute of Technology is in the heart of it all. They offer seven degree or certificate programs in high-tech majors including computer science and information assurance. Since SIT is located in Hoboken, you'll be a quick train ride from Manhattan and endless opportunities all over the NY/NJ Metro area.
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor's, Master’s Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
Computer Science – Bachelor's, Master’s, Doctorate Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
Information Technology – Bachelor's, Master’s, Doctorate Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
Network and System Administration/Administrator – Postgraduate Certificate
Average Net Price: $39,862
College Retention Rate: 95%
Fairleigh Dickinson University – Metropolitan Campus
This private, four-year university's metropolitan campus is located in Teaneck, NJ, which is a short jaunt from NYC. Thus, when you are ready to seek internships and entry-level jobs, you won't have far to commute. On top of its comprehensive offerings in the technology sector, FDU's Metropolitan Campus can round out your education with a full range of business, science, humanities, and arts courses.
Computer Science – Bachelor's & Master’s Degrees
Information Science/Studies – Master’s Degree
Information Technology – Bachelor's Degree
Average Net Price: $13,974
College Retention Rate: 80% (Full-time Students); 43% (Part-time Students)
This public, four-year university's metropolitan campus is located in Union, NJ. Kean is dedicated to academic excellence and each of their academic undergraduate, graduate and online programs is designed to prepare you to launch a meaningful career.
Computer Science with a Cybersecurity option – Bachelor's Degree
Computer Information Systems (CIS) – Master's Degree
Criminal Justice With a Minor in Cybersecurity – Bachelor's Degree
Information Technology with a Cybersecurity option – Bachelor's Degree
Average Net Price: $17,067
College Retention Rate: 72% (Full-time Students); 46% (Part-time Students)
Rutgers University – New Brunswick
Rutgers is one of New Jersey's, and the nation's, most acclaimed academic institutions. The New Brunswick campus is the flagship of the Rutger's system, which claims over 150 undergraduate and 400 graduate programs. When you graduate with a Computer Science or IT degree, you'll be set to take on the world.
Computer and Information Sciences, Other – Master’s Degree
Computer and Information Sciences, General – Bachelor's, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
Information Science/Studies – Bachelor's & Master’s Degrees
Average Net Price: $16,295
College Retention Rate: 93%
Cybersecurity Associates Programs and Certifications in New Jersey
The following schools are community colleges that offer one and two-year certificates, on top of associate degrees. These schools tend to offer education at a lower price point, which is appealing to many. They also tend to offer smaller class sizes, accredited programs, and a strong foundation for later learning. Even if your goal is a bachelor's degree, you can start with a lower-cost two-year education that will cut the overall cost of your undergraduate education. Further, if you take this route, you will complete your core requirements in an optimal educational setting.
Brookdale Community College
Average Net Price: $7,518
College Retention Rate: 72% (Full-time Students); 53% (Part-time Students)
Camden County College
Average Net Price: $6,335
College Retention Rate: 57% (Full-time Students); 43% (Part-time Students)
Mercer County Community Colleges
Average Net Price: $6,611
College Retention Rate: 64% (Full-time Students); 49% (Part-time Students)
Essex County College
Average Net Price: $9,463
College Retention Rate: 52% (Full-time Students); 32% (Part-time Students)
STEM for Education Scholarship Program
Amount: $15,000/year for 3 years
Deadline: First come – First Served
STEM students are encouraged to apply for this excellent opportunity to not only cover much of your college costs, but to also serve your state in valuable ways. If you receive this award, you will receive $15,000 per year to offset your tuition costs. For each year of the scholarship, you will be required to work for two years in a high-needs New Jersey K-12 school.
Richard E. Merwin Student Scholarship
Amount: $1,000 and up
Deadline: April 30 and September 30
Though this program offers two application deadlines, you may only apply once per year. You must also be a member of the IEEE Computer Society. Your membership, plus being a Merwin Scholar will distinguish your resume for many years to come. Applications are judged based on your activities in the Society, extracurricular activities, a letter of recommendation from your chapter advisor, and your vision statement.
Women Techmakers Scholars Program Scholarship
Deadline: December 5
This is a highly prestigious scholarship that is aimed squarely at women who excel in technology. This is a one-time scholarship that is open to women who are studying computer science, computer engineering, or any closely related field. You may also apply if you are in pursuit of a career in video gaming. Winners will not only receive a handsome reward but will also be invited to the Google Scholars Retreat.
Cra-W Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security
Amount: Up to $10,000
Deadline: February 1
To apply for this prestigious scholarship, you need, among other items: an essay that describes your interest and activity in the information security field, a letter of recommendation, current transcripts, and a resume/CV. This is a national scholarship that has so far been awarded to 75 women who are hard at work advancing the field of cyber security.
Conferences and Workshops
FutureCon New Jersey Cybersecurity Conference
In late April, FutureCon brings its cyber security conference to New Jersey. The 2020 conference features Joel York, the Chief Marketing Officer for Accellion, who will speak on the subject of Autonomous Cyber Defense. The conference also features networking events and educational sessions that cover topics that include but are not limited to Identity Assurance, Incident Response, Supply Chain Security, and problems with Antivirus Software.
This two-day annual event is held in early January 2020 and kicks your year off with a head full of knowledge. Conference topics include but are not limited to Enterprise Design and Integration, User Experience Innnovation, Big Data, and Cyber Security. The conference is aimed at a wide range of professionals. Higher and primary/secondary educators, government officials, and healthcare executives are all invited.
Jersey City Cybersecurity Conference
Cyber security professionals from Jersey City and the surrounding area, including Manhattan, are invited to this one-day event. The 2019 event was a rousing success and featured topics such as Awareness Training, Email Security for Office 365, Ransomware, and Cloud Security. On top of the panels and lectures/presentations, the conference included plenty of opportunities to network with your fellow cyber security professionals.
New Jersey Cyber Security Jobs and Salary
The jobs and salary outlook for computer-related professions, including cyber security, is looking very good indeed. This sector has long been a top employer for fresh graduates and seasoned professionals alike. These days your resume will be even more in demand if you are focused on cyber security. That's because every firm in the nation is clamoring to safeguard its finances and intellectual properties.
In New Jersey, the outlook for computer and mathematical occupations is quite rosy. In fact, most job types within this broad sector are expected to grow significantly through 2026. According to the New Jersey State Data Center, the broad sector is expected to grow by nearly 10% with an annual growth rate of .9%. That translates into 14,510 new jobs projected for 2026, raising total employment for computer professionals to 161,510. The two counties expected to grow the most are Bergen and Middlesex, with Essex and Morris counties not far behind.
The bulk of this growth is projected to be among software developers, with positions expected to increase by 10,000. Interestingly, computer programmers are expected to experience negative growth in the future. However, those with the expertise may be re-titled as software developers or engineers. The title that most closely evokes cyber security, information security analyst, is a job that's projected to increase by 700 New Jersey professionals through 2026. However, keep in mind that cyber security professionals may still be categorized under nondescript titles such as consultant.
Another job title you might work under, computer systems analysts, is currently employing over 13,000 New Jersey professionals. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that this job type earned a mean wage of over $107,000 in 2018 and the expectation is for that number to grow as demand for cyber security professionals increases.
- New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell
The NJCCIC is a division of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness. As such, their website endeavors to educate ordinary computer users, businesses, and government officials in the field of cyber security. They facilitate information sharing, threat analysis, and incident reporting. Their website includes a wealth of tips for average users which you could use to educate members of your extended team.
- New Jersey Cybersecurity Meetups
While we often think of meetups as a great way to meet people to play backgammon or to engage some other hobby or interest, there are many meetup groups throughout the state that endeavor to gather cyber security professionals for networking, seminars, and cyber security education. If you live in Northeast New Jersey, you might even research meetup groups in NYC.
- New Jersey School Boards Association - Webinars
The NJ School Boards Association hosts periodic webinars that focus on cyber security. These webinars are geared toward education, but they may offer insights for professionals in other fields. Topics have included: Ransomware, the Cyber-threat Landscape, and Preparing Staff Against Cyber Attacks. Since these webinars are free, they should be part of your cyber security education toolkit.