The Internet is a tool used by people around the country and the world. People use it to book flights, find vacation destinations, and pay bills. Since these actions typically involve some sort of payment, it is in everyone’s best interest that the processes are as safe and secure as possible. That is the job of those who work in cyber security. They are constantly reviewing software, hardware, and code for possibilities of breeches. If you think you might be interested in being on the front line of defense, check out the programs available in your state below.
Why an Advanced Degree in North Dakota is Needed
You can begin a career in cyber security with a two-year degree, certificate, or with no formal training but advancement will be a challenge. However, in order to work your way through the ranks in the cyber security field, additional education and certifications are required. Attaining at least a bachelor’s degree will start you on the path of career advancement, but if you want to reach the highest levels of cyber security positions, graduate school is something that should be considered as well. Although North Dakota doesn’t have as many positions in cyber security as New York, Chicago, or other large metropolitan areas, there are still plenty of jobs in the field for people who are willing to get the education and work experience to fill them.
North Dakota Cyber Security Education
Cyber security students in North Dakota have several options when it comes to an education. They can get their feet wet with a certificate, and then if they’re interested in pursuing the field further, move on to a two- or four-year degree. If they establish themselves, it will be time to think about an advanced or even a terminal degree.
Though each degree level has its own requirements and each school looks for specific traits in its candidates, the following information is almost always required as part of the application process:
- Completed application and fee (if required)
- For undergrad programs ACT or SAT scores - For graduate degree programs, GRE or GMAT scores
- Official transcripts for all schools attended
- For graduate programs, letters of intent, a resume and three references
Cybersecurity Associate Degrees
Associate degrees, also referred to as two-year degrees, are the first rung on the degree ladder for cyber security. If a student attends a regionally accredited school and wants to continue their education toward a bachelor’s degree, the hours accrued pursuing the two-year degree can often be applied to the bachelor’s degree course requirements.
Students in a bachelor’s degree program will study the following subjects plus other classes:
- Intro to Cyber Security
- Computer Programming, I
- Telecommunications, I
Cybersecurity Bachelor's Degrees
If you work in cyber security, certain certifications will be required to advance, depending on your field of expertise. Most of these certifications require a four-year degree and some work experience for the application to take the exam to be accepted. Also, some cyber security programs are only available as four-year degrees.
Some classes offered at the four-year degree level are:
- Data Security
- Virtual Data Management
- Systems Administration
Cybersecurity Master’s Degrees
The graduate program requirements and course load vary by both program and school. Most programs are a combination of traditional courses and a long-term assignment that addresses an issue in that particular field of study. Most programs last from 18 months to three years.
These are specialized depending on what the student needs. There are undergraduate certificates for those who are exploring the possibilities and their interests, and then there are postgraduate certificates for students who want to specialize more than they already have.
Why is Accreditation Important?
Accreditation shows that a school and program have passed rigorous checks and balances proving that their programs are high quality and the best they can possibly be. There are several levels of accreditation but the top-level for the majority of schools is regional accreditation. In the case of cyber security programs, some schools have an extra level of accreditation and are known as Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE). This accreditation is offered by the National Security Agency and is conferred only on the top cyber security schools and programs. Attending a CAE accredited school or program can jump start your career since many governmental agencies seek graduates from these schools and programs to fill positions.
CAE Accredited Programs in North Dakota
Although there are schools in North Dakota that offer cyber security programs, very few of these are CAE accredited. If that accreditation is important to you and going to school outside of the state isn’t an option, looking into online programs for schools who do hold CAE accreditation might be an option for you. Several of the schools listed below have online programs so even if the school is hundreds of miles away, you can still enroll in a CAE accredited program and enjoy those benefits.
- Bismarck State College
CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
- North Dakota State University
CAE-R / 2019-2024
- Capella University
CAE-CD / 2014-2021
- Century College
CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
- Lake Superior College
CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
- Metropolitan State University
CAE-CD / 2014-2020
- St. Cloud State University
CAE-CD / 2014-2021
- Great Falls College Montana State University
CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
- Missoula College
CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
- Dakota State University
CAE-CD / 2017-2022
CAE-R / 2017-2022
Computer Science and Cybersecurity Programs in North Dakota
North Dakota State College of Science
Located on Wahpeton, North Dakota State College of Science is a two-year technical school that offers technical programs and majors for its almost 3,000 students. Coursework culminates in either 1- or 2-year certificates or associate degrees and those interested in computer-related fields have several options available to them.
Computer and Information Sciences – 1-Year, 1 to 2-Year Certificates & Associate Degree
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – 1 to 2-Year Certificate
Computer Programming – 1 to 2-Year Certificate
Average Net Price: $10,210
College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 72%; Part-time Students: 41%
University of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota is a four-year public university located in Grand Forks. The school offers programs that range from bachelor’s to doctorate degrees for its almost 14,000 students. The student to faculty ratio is a respectable 18:1.
Computer and Information Sciences - Bachelor’s Degree
Computer Science - Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst - Bachelor’s Degree
Average Net Price: $15,374
College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 80%; Part-time Students: 32%
Rasmussen College – North Dakota
Rasmussen College, located in Fargo, is a small, four-year, for-profit college with an enrollment of just over 600 students. The student to faculty ratio is 16:1. Certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs are available in the computer and information sciences field.
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Bachelor’s Degree
Computer Science - Bachelor’s Degree
Network and Systems Administration/Administrator - Associate & Bachelor’s Degrees
Average Net Price: $18,400
Minot State University
Minot State University is a public four-year college located in Minot. The school has a student population of just under 3,200. Students can choose from undergraduate and postgraduate certificates and degrees such as an associate or bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate. With a student to faculty ratio of 12:1, students enjoy the interaction with both fellow students and instructors.
Computer and Information Science - Bachelor’s Degree
Computer Programming/Programmer – Undergraduate Certificate
Information Sciences - Bachelor’s Degree
Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration – Bachelor’s Degree
Network and System Administration/Administrator – Associate Degree
Average Net Price: $10,153
College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 70%; Part-time Students: 50%
North Dakota State University-Main Campus
North Dakota State University - Main is located in Fargo. The school has 13,796 students, the majority of whom are enrolled in undergraduate programs. The remaining students are either pursuing certificates or are enrolled in graduate programs. There is a student to faculty ratio of 19 to 1.
Computer Science - Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
Average Net Price: $15,472
College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 79%; Part-time Students: 41%
Cybersecurity Scholarship - Bismarck State College
Amount: $2,500 (1 for female student, 1 for diverse)
Deadline: May 1
Scholarship offered by Palo Alto for students who are majoring in cyber security. To qualify you:
- Must be either a female or a diverse student majoring in a cyber security program
- Must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.5; If already a student, GPA of 3.0
- May be enrolled full-time or part-time with minimum of seven credits
Cyber Corps Scholarship Program
Amount: $22,500 (Undergraduate) $34,000 (Graduate)
The Cyber Corps Scholarship for Service program helps students complete their degrees as well as attain employment after graduation. Along with the tuition assistance, awardees also receive a book stipend, funding for professional funding, and paid summer internships. Once the student graduates, they are guaranteed a job at a federal, local or tribal agency.
- Must be US citizen
- Must be a full-time, on-campus student
- Minimum GPA of 3.25
- Must pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in cyber security
- If awarded, must work one year for a government agency for each award year
Harry D. McGovern Scholarship
Deadline: February 1
Applicants have to choose an essay topic and respond accordingly. There are 3 essay topic options in the form of questions. Any applicant must respond to at least 2 of the 3 questions available.
Conferences and Workshops
North Dakota Cyber Security Conference
The conference brings together faculty, government officials, and industry experts to discuss cyber security threats, solutions, and the latest tools and trends in the field of cyber security. It is sponsored by North Dakota State University.
Bismarck State College CyberCon
Hosted and presented by Bismarck State College, this convention is comprised of workshops and presentations aimed at bringing academia and the cyber security industry together to create innovation to fight and prevent cyber-crimes.
North Dakota Cyber Security Jobs and Salary
There are over 8,000 people employed in computer-related occupations in North Dakota, with an average salary of $65,530. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for this industry is expected to increase by 32%, which is much faster than the growth rate for other industries. North Dakota’s Labor Demand Survey Report shows that the need for workers in computer-related fields is expected to remain constant as well.
The most in-demand jobs in cyber security in North Dakota and their average salaries are listed below:
Software Developer - Applications
- Number of workers: 1,120
- Average salary: $$80,620
Software developers create apps that are safe to use with mobile and portable devices.
Information Security Analyst
- Number of workers: 200
- Average salary: $79,940
Information security analysts examine computer input devices and determine if there are possible areas for breaches to occur.
- Number of workers: 700
- Average salary: $76,188
Computer programmers write code for computers and electronic devices.
Computer System Analyst
- Number of workers: 720
- Average salary: $76,110
Computer system analysts investigate how computer system functions and look for weaknesses in the functionality that could equate to cyber-threats.
Software Developer - Systems Software
- Number of workers: 460
- Average salary: $75,730
Software developers who work with system software create code that runs programs, ensuring that the programs are as safe for the end-user as possible.
- Number of workers: 150
- Average salary: $71,920
Database administrators develop and maintain databases for organizations. They make sure that the information stored in the databases is as secure and tamper-resistant as possible.
Network and Computer System Administrators
- Number of workers: 680
- Average salary: $71,180
Network and computer system administrators maintain and track network and computer functions. They evaluate the performances and look for areas that could be improved.
- Department of Homeland Security
- Center of Internet Security
- Information System Audits and Control Association - Hudson Valley Chapter
- An organization for system auditors, assessors and information assurance workers.
- Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center
- An organization that strives to educate American companies and organizations about foreign cyber threats.