Cybersecurity Degrees and Careers North Carolina Guide

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

Cyber-crimes are increasing every year. Since much of our vital personal and financial data is now housed in electronic databases, it is increasingly vital to protect that data. We also must protect other parts of the global network, including the Internet of Things. Since public and private organizations have come to realize the full extent of this threat, the nation has responded by expanding our cyber security workforce extensively.

Now, you can find cyber security training in many, if not most, community colleges, four-year undergraduate universities, and graduate schools. If you graduate with a degree in cyber security or a closely-related field, you are sure to have plenty of opportunities for interviews and job offers. The government, military, and the private sector are all looking to hire professionals with cyber security training.

Why an Advanced Degree in North Carolina is Needed

Though you can surely land a top-notch job, and even pursue a fruitful career, with a four-year degree, an advanced degree is highly valued. This might be especially true in North Carolina, which is full of excellent colleges and universities. Because of the ease with which students can access higher education in the field, you’ll find that you need a higher degree level to land a truly competitive position.

Regardless of where you live, you will certainly need an advanced degree to land a position in the c-suites. Thus, you should start thinking about graduate school from the moment you begin college. Make sure you are taking the courses that will not only most benefit you in the job market, but that will also transfer and make a difference on your graduate school application. If you are pursuing cyber security, you might also want to add industry certifications and other continuing education courses to your resume. After all, the field is ever-changing, so you'll need to show your graduate school admissions office that you will be beneficial to the program.

North Carolina Cyber Security Education Degrees & Requirements

Associate’s Degree

It only takes two years to complete an associate degree from your local community college. Each college will offer a unique degree type and it might be difficult to find a cyber security degree at the associate level. However, North Carolina's community college system is quite strong and there is sure to be a program that suits you. In fact, you may be able to take your cyber security courses online from a remote location and then transfer those courses to your local community college.

Bachelor’s Degree

In North Carolina, in-state students have some of the best options for their bachelor's degree. The UNC system is full of top universities. The Tarheel State is also home to a swath of brilliant private colleges and universities, some of which are among the nation's oldest. You will need to have stellar grades and SAT scores if you want to attend many of these schools, but you'll graduate with a technology degree that is second-to-none.

Master’s Degree

To enter a master's program in North Carolina you will need to have a strong background in computer science and cyber security. It will also help to have a strong resume in the field. On top of that, you will benefit from industry certifications and other continuing education credentials. If you want to attend one of the state's top MBA programs and launch into the c-suites, you might benefit from extra courses in accounting, management, or communications. If you don't wish to take time away from your career, North Carolina offers many graduate programs online or in a classroom/online hybrid.

Certifications

Once you complete your associate or bachelor's degree and start working, consider earning certifications. For instance, if you are working a general IT degree, you might find a program for penetration testing or white-hat hacking. Other options include product-specific certifications from Microsoft or Cisco, for instance. Some of these certifications are offered through independent industry associations while others are provided through non-academic online educational organizations. Keep in mind that many certifications expire and thus require ongoing coursework to keep your credentials current.

Why is Accreditation Important?

North Carolina is home to some of the nation's top institutions of higher education, not to mention some of the best college basketball teams. However, when you embark on a search for the best cyber security degree program in the state, you must keep an eye on accreditation. You need to find a school that has been audited by an independent educational agency. Those agencies confer regional accreditation that can impact your later career.

For instance, if your cyber security program has been accredited by the Centers in Academic Excellence, your education will have been affirmed by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Homeland Security as being worthy of their standards. Their goal is to protect the nation's resources from cyber threats, so your education will thus be world-class.

Another accreditation comes from ABET, which generally accredits engineering programs, but which also assesses computer science departments. Even if your program has a regional accreditation, provided in North Carolina by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, you will have a peace of mind that your education meets certain higher standards.

CAE Accredited Programs North Carolina

  • East Carolina University
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
  • Fayetteville Technical Community College
    CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
  • Forsyth Technical Community College
    CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
  • Montreat College
    CAE-CD / 2017-2022
  • North Carolina A&T State University
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
    CAE-R / 2019-2024
  • North Carolina State University
    CAE-R / 2019-2024
  • University of North Carolina, Wilmington
    CAE-CD / 2018-2023
  • University of North Carolina, Charlotte
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
    CAE-R / 2014-2021

Computer Science & IT Programs in North Carolina

  • University of North Carolina - Charlotte

    UNCC is located in one of North Carolina's economic hubs. Charlotte is home to financial powerhouses such as Bank of America, so there are bound to be plenty opportunities to land an internship or an entry-level job. Their versatile programs are designed to help students at any stage of life, from the traditional student coming from high school to mid-career professionals seeking a second career.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Doctorate Degree
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Master’s Degree
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
    Information Technology – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $14,987
    Out-of-State: $20,287
    Average Net Price: $14,987
    College Retention Rate: 82% (Full-time Students); 44% (Part-time Students)

  • East Carolina University

    Eastern Carolina may be far from the I-85 corridor, but they maintain strong academic standards. You can choose between three different computer-related majors and complete master's work in two specialty areas. Your ECU degree will help you land the job of your dreams or prepare you for a professional graduate degree.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer Science – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
    Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management – Master’s Degree
    Information Science/Studies – Bachelor's Degree
    Information Technology – Bachelor's Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $7,188
    Out-of-State: $23,465
    Average Net Price: $13,746
    College Retention Rate: 81% (Full-time Students); 82% (Part-time Students)

  • North Carolina A & T State University

    NC A&T is an historically black university located in Greensboro, NC. The university's strong academic traditions have evolved to now include technology degrees that will launch you into the workforce with a strong foundation. In fact, you can start with a bachelor's degree in computer science and never leave campus until you've completed doctoral work in the department.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer Science – Bachelor's, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    Information Technology – Bachelor's Degree
    Network and System Administration/Administrator – Master’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $6,612
    Out-of-State: $19,822
    Average Net Price: $9,378
    College Retention Rate: 77% (Full-time Students); 38% (Part-time Students)

  • University of North Carolina - Greensboro

    UNCG is located minutes from NC A&T and likewise offers an outstanding education in computer science, among other programs. In fact, their information science program may offer coursework that broadens your education in exciting ways. As this school is part of the UNC system, you can be assured of a top-notch education no matter what your major.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer Science – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $7,331
    Out-of-State: $22,490
    Average Net Price: $10,396
    College Retention Rate: 77% (Full-time Students); 30% (Part-time Students)

North Carolina Colleges Offering Certificates and Associate Degrees

North Carolina not only has a top University system, but the state is also home to community colleges that will help you launch a career in technology fields, including cyber security or software development. The following schools all offer certificates at the one- or two-year level. You can also complete a two-year associate degree. The advantage of a two-year degree from one of these schools is that they cost far less than two years in a university. Thus, you can receive training in your field of choice and launch a career in two years or take care of your first two years of college with far less impact to your wallet.

  • Wake Technical Community College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $2,768
    Out-of-State: $8,912
    Average Net Price: $6,922
    College Retention Rate: 66% (Full-time Students); 49% (Part-time Students)

  • Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $2,632
    Out-of-State: $8,776
    Average Net Price: $6,893
    College Retention Rate: 60% (Full-time Students); 46% - (Part-time Students)

  • Forsyth Technical Community College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $2,199
    Out-of-State: $7,215
    Average Net Price: $4,629
    College Retention Rate: 61% (Full-time Students); 46% (Part-time Students)

  • Durham Technical Community College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $1,958
    Out-of-State: $6,566
    Average Net Price: $7,759
    College Retention Rate: 58% (Full-time Students); 45% (Part-time Students)

  • Gaston College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $2,704
    Out-of-State: $8,848
    Average Net Price: $9,012
    College Retention Rate: 70% (Full-time Students); 44% (Part-time Students)

Scholarships

  • NSF Carolina Cyber Defender Scholarship

    Amount: Full Tuition plus a stipend of $22,500 (Undergraduate), $34,000 (Graduate)
    Deadline: Varies
    Link: https://www.ncat.edu/coe/departments/comp/graduate-programs/scholarship.html
    If you attend NC A&T, you can receive a top scholarship from the Federal Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service. The award will provide your tuition and fees for up to two years. You will also receive a healthy stipend so that you don't have to worry about working while completing your studies. In return, you must complete summer internships with the government. Upon graduation you must work for the federal government in a cyber security position for a time equal to that of your scholarship.

  • Women Techmakers Scholars Program Scholarship

    Amount: $10,000
    Deadline: December
    Link: https://www.womentechmakers.com/scholars
    There are too few women in STEM departments and professional life. Thus, this Google-affiliated program seeks to support women studying to be computer professionals. To be eligible, you can be involved in a computer science/engineering program or even a gaming-related major. Winners will be invited to the annual Google Scholars Retreat.

  • Richard E. Merwin Student Scholarship

    Amount: $1,000 and Up
    Deadline: April 30 and September 30
    Link: https://www.computer.org/volunteering/awards/scholarships/merwin
    IEEE Computer Society membership is required to qualify for this scholarship. You should include a letter of recommendation from your society advisor and show the judges that you are active and engaged as a member. The minimum GPA is a low threshold of 2.5. Only one application per year is allowed.

  • Albert Morgan, Jr. and Olivia E. Morgan Scholarship

    Amount: $1,000
    Deadline: April 1
    Link: https://www.womensfundws.org/document.doc?id=660
    This scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors from Forsyth County in North Carolina. The funds are specifically for those students who wish to attend one of the many historically black colleges and universities in the United States. The award will be given according to a balanced decision based on merit and need.

  • Cra-W Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security

    Amount: Up to $10,000
    Deadline: February 1
    Link: https://cra.org/cra-wp/scholarships-and-awards/scholarships/swsis/
    As the information security field continues to expand it's imperative that women find ample supports so that they are represented in the field. With a $10,000 scholarship, students can pay for part, if not all, of a term's tuition.

Conferences and Workshops

Hybrid Identity Protection Tech Day

Located smack dab in the heart of one of the nation's top technology centers, the Research Triangle Park, this one-day conference seeks to expand learning around identity authentication, governance, and more. The crowd promises to be a cross-section of the IT/computer science profession.

CackalackyCon2

With a title like this, you know it's a conference for hackers. Located in the Research Triangle Park, this weekend long event promises to be as in-depth as it is unconventional. Events, speakers, and parties change every year, but tune into their website for yearly updates. Free tickets are available for students.

North Carolina Cyber Security Jobs and Salary

The tech sector is expanding all the time and North Carolina's Research Triangle Park is a key part of its growth. Located near Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, the RTP receives the best minds from Duke, UNC, and NC State, among many others. With such academic and professional resources, it's no wonder that North Carolina's tech professionals are thriving.

In fact, as of 2017, the state boasted 134,911 total computer and mathematical workers. Their median salary in 2018 was $84,680 and their population was projected to grow by over 20,000 through 2026. Included in that number are professionals such as information security analysts, computer systems analysts, and database administrators, among others. The state's information security analyst population is just over 3,500 and their annual mean wage is $104,000. Local computer systems analysts, on the other hand, could make up their own small town at 26,000 positions and earn $93,500. Finally, database administrators constitute 2,800 of the state's workers and they earn an average $92,000 per year.

Furthermore, according to the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the state's tech sector is also strong in terms of diversity. The state ranks #1 for women in technology positions, as women comprise a full 35% of the tech workforce. With over 22,000 new STEM degrees conferred in the state annually, North Carolina could someday overtake Silicon Valley for technology dominance.

The EDP shows that the state's technology industry grew by a whopping 13% in the four years between 2013 and 2017, double the national average. Given that North Carolina is home to some of the strongest academics and top tech firms, there is no reason to doubt that the state's tech sector will continue to thrive.

Resources

  • N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Cybersecurity & Risk Management Resource
    The North Carolina DIT operates this resource to share information related to actual threats and to educate citizens on the matter of cyber security. The department manages a blog, dispenses newsletters, and holds cyber security awareness symposiums There are even resources for children, who are often the targets of cyber-crime.
  • Triangle Cybersecurity Meetup
    This meetup group is located in Durham, making it convenient for you to attend regular meetings. These monthly gatherings are a great way to meet other cyber security professionals, learn more about your field, and perhaps make new friends. Not only are cyber security professionals invited, but you can attend if you are concerned about cyber security in your workplace.
  • Raleigh Cybersecurity for Control Systems Meetup
    Meetup.com is about more than finding fellow quilters, hikers, or backgammon players. Cyber security experts in Raleigh use the platform to meetup and discuss cyber security issues as they relate to control systems. Though the focus is professional, they are sure to hit a few happy hours or otherwise let their hair down.
  • WiCyS – Women in Cybersecurity
    This organization can be found on the campus of UNCC and surely others. If you are a woman who seeks out others for engagement, encouragement, and support in the field of cyber security, WiCyS is for you. They also have a chapter at East Carolina University.
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