Cybersecurity Degrees and Careers Utah Guide

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

If the idea of staving off a cyber security attack excites you, then a job in cyber security might be right for you. Everyday Internet users run the risk of having their information fall into the wrong hands, either while swiping their card at the gas station or withdrawing funds from the ATM. If you’re interested in making the a less frequent problem for people everywhere, read on about how to get started in this emerging and exciting field.

Why an Advanced Degree in Utah is Needed

Working in cyber security in Utah means you are helping people make safe and secure transactions online. Credit card transactions are less likely to be compromised, and there’s less of a chance for someone’s bank account information to fall into the wrong hands when proper cyber security guidelines are maintained, and new techniques develop to thwart the ever-increasing number of cyber-threats. Although you can get started in cyber security without a formal education, you’ll only be able to progress to a certain point unless you earn a degree. This means administrative and supervisory roles would be off the table for you, and you might have trouble earning higher-responsibility positions in more competitive markets.

Utah Cyber Security Education Degrees & Requirements

There are several education levels cyber security students can pursue, starting with a certificate or associate degree and culminating in a doctorate degree.

Requirements for entry to these courses vary by school and in some cases program, but these are the general requirements for admission into most schools and/or programs:

  • Completed application and fee (if required)
  • For undergraduate 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 references

Associate’s Degree

Associate degrees are earned through the completion of two-year programs that are most often offered by community or technical colleges, and occasionally offered by traditional four-year colleges. Entry into associate degree programs requires high school transcripts or GED, and some programs may require a minimum GPA or for students who did poorly in some classes to take remedial courses.

Depending on the program, students might take the following courses:

  • Computer Networking
  • Programming/Programming Languages
  • Internet Security

Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s degree programs are four-year programs that student attend at colleges and universities. It is often the minimum requirement a worker in cyber security needs to meet to really advance their career. Entry into these programs is usually more difficult that getting into an associate degree program. However, they still have the basic requirements of high school, GED, or associate degree transcripts and minimum course grades or remedial courses. However, four-year degrees often require you to take and earn a minimum score on the SAT or ACT as well.

While pursuing a degree, students might be required to take these courses:

Example Courses:

  • Programming Fundamentals
  • Software Engineering
  • Data Structures
  • Discrete Mathematics

Master’s Degree

Master’s program entry requirements vary depending on the degree and the school. A majority of these programs require transcripts from all previous schools attended, a bachelor’s degree in a related field, a minimum GPA, and GRE or GMAT scores. Some programs also require that you submit your resume along with your application and reserve the right to refuse admittance to the program if they don’t feel you have a strong enough background in the subject matter. These programs are only two years long, but usually end with a research project or thesis that must be completed and approved before the student can graduate.

Certifications in Utah

Certificates vary from undergraduate certificates through post-doctorate certificates. The type pursued depends on the student’s desired result and when they decide to earn it. Universities and colleges offer these in general subject matter, allowing a student to expand their skillset or a professional to earn continuing education credits. Companies also offer certification for specific programs, and cyber security focused organizations offer certifications for specific skillsets, such as cyber forensics.

Why is Accreditation Important?

Choosing a school and program that are accredited is important because it can make or break your career. Many businesses require their employees to have an education from an accredited school. Many licensing and certification requirements state the same thing. Getting a degree from a school that is not accredited is a waste of money and time. Also, if at all possible, you should select a school with regional accreditation instead of national. Regional accreditation is recognized by the US Department of Education and only schools with approved accreditation can offer federal financial aid to its students. In Utah, the regional accrediting body is The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

In the field of cyber security, one more level of accreditation is available. Centers of Academic Excellence are schools that have been accredited by the National Security Agency as having excellent cyber security programs. As the NSA is one of the largest employers of cyber security experts in the US, this is considered the gold standard of accreditation.

CAE Accredited Programs in Utah

  • Brigham Young University
    CAE-CD / 2017-2022
  • Southern Utah University
    CAE-CD / 2018-2023

Computer Science & IT Programs in Utah

  • University of Utah

    Located on the edge of Salt Lake City, the University of Utah is the flagship institution of higher learning in Utah. Being a popular, public university, it has larger class sizes, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1; but, considering that there are 33,000+ students, nearly 25,000 of which are undergraduates, that's not too bad.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences - Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration – Postgraduate Certificate
    Information Science/Studies – Bachelor’s, Master’s Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $9,222
    Out-of-State: $29,215
    Average Net Price: $13,460
    College Retention Rate: Full-time Students – 89%; Part-time Students – 55%

  • Utah Valley University

    Located South of Salt Lake City, near Utah Lake, Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah. The campus covers 228 acres and contains even more students than the University of Utah. There are a total of nearly 40,000 students; almost all of these students are undergraduate, with only 500+ graduate students. The student-to-faculty ratio reflects this at 22:1.

    Programs Offered:

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

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $5,726
    Out-of-State: $16,296
    Average Net Price: $6,760
    College Retention Rate: 64% (Full-time Students); 44% (Part-time Students)

  • Brigham Young University - Provo

    Most likely the most well-known school in Utah, Brigham Young offers programs of all kinds to its almost 35,000 students. The four-year private university offers programs that range from bachelor’s degrees through doctorate programs, and that includes several computer-related majors.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer Science - Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    Computer/Information Technology Systems Administration and Management - Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
    Information Technology - Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $5,620
    Average Net Price: $13,120
    College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 88% - Part-time Students: 67%

  • Weber State University

    Located in Ogden, Weber State is a four-year, public university with an enrollment of 28,000+ students, most of whom are pursing undergraduate programs. The school offers certificates, two- and four-year degrees as well as graduate programs.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences - Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer Programming – Undergraduate Certificate
    Computer Programming/Programmer – Undergraduate Certificate
    Computer Science - Associate & Bachelor’s Degrees
    Information Science/Studies - Bachelor’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $5,859
    Out-of-State: $15,646
    Average Net Price: $10,951
    College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 65% - Part-time Students: 43%

  • Southern Utah University

    Southern Utah University if a four-year public university located in Cedar City, Utah. The school offers certificates, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees to its 10,000 students. There are several computer and information technology degree programs to choose from.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer Information Sciences - Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Master’s Degree
    Computer Science - Bachelor’s Degree
    Information Technology - Associate Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $6,770
    Out-of-State: $20,586
    Average Net Price: $14,702
    College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 73% - Part-time Students: 43%

  • University of Phoenix - Utah

    The University of Phoenix has a campus in Salt Lake City. There are less than 200 students on campus earning certificates, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. As would be expected, the student to faculty ratio is small at 6 to 1.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer Programming/Programmer - Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer System Analysis/Analyst - Bachelor’s Degree
    Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration – Bachelor’s Degree
    Network and System Administration - Bachelor’s degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $9,552

Utah Colleges Offering Certificates and Associate Degrees

The schools listed below offer 1-year, 2-year certificate programs, and associate degrees in computer science and/or information sciences. If you are wondering if cyber security is a path you want to take, getting a certificate or associate degree is enough to land a job in the field. And if you’re interested in pursuing further education, associate degrees from accredited schools will apply to advanced degrees.
  • Salt Lake Community College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $3,843
    Out-of-State: $12,206
    Average Net Price: $7,378
    College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 60% - Part-time Students: 44%

  • Davis Technical College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $397
    Average Net Price: $525
    College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 63% - Part-time Students: 51%

  • Snow College

    In-State: $3,742
    Out-of-State: $12,562
    Average Net Price: $8,907
    College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 64% - Part-time Students: 39%

  • Southwest Technical College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $370
    College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 79% - Part-time Students: 51%

Scholarships

  • Daniels Scholarship Program

    Amount: Full tuition for SANS Cybersecurity Training
    Deadline: Varies
    Link: https://www.danielsfund.org/scholarships/daniels-scholarship-program/overview

    To quality:

    • Must be a veteran
    • Must hold a bachelor’s degree plus one-year work experience, an associate degree and three years’ experience, or no degree and three to five-years’ experience
    • Must have an interest and aptitude for working in cyber security
    • Must currently reside in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, or Wyoming
  • BYU Electrical and Computer Engineering Scholarships

    Amount: Varies
    Deadline: April 10
    Link: https://ece.byu.edu/content/department-scholarship-information
    To qualify, students must fill out the application that is provided via a link on the scholarship page. The application will be opened for a few weeks with winners contacted before June 1. Students must be enrolled in an Information Technology program, have a 3.0 GPA, and demonstrate a financial need.

  • ESA Youth Scholarship Program

    Amount: $2,500 - $7,500
    Deadline: Varies
    Link: https://esaweb.org/Programs/Youth-Scholarship

    To qualify:

    • Must be committed to working in the security/safety industry (includes cyber security)
    • Must be the son or daughter of an active public safety employee
    • Must be between 15 and 20 years old
    • Must live in a state with an active ESA charter
    • Must be a graduating senior
    • Must be interested in a career in emergency management (cyber security included)
  • ISACA Utah Chapter Scholarship

    Amount: $750
    Deadline: September 30
    Link: https://www.isaca.org/MEMBERSHIP/STUDENT-MEMBERSHIP/SCHOLARSHIPS/Pages/default.aspx
    To qualify, applicants must be an undergraduate or graduate information security student Brigham Young University, University of Utah, Utah State University, or Weber State University

Conferences and Workshops

SAINTCON

The cyber security conference has been held in Utah for 15 years. It brings experts in cyber security together with business executives and owners to share the latest threats, solutions, and technology in the cyber world. It is sponsored by the Utah chapter of the Security Advisory and Incident Network Team (UtahSAINT).

Utah Digital Government Summit

Promotes best practices and spurs innovation in the cyber security industry. A panel of cyber security experts is chosen and workshops detailing the trends and patterns of cyber security and cyber-threats are presented. It is sponsored by HP and Intel.

Open West Conference

This is a gathering of developers, programmers, designers, and business owners who use open source to provide services and programs for end users, both cloud base and via desktop. Industry experts conduct workshops and panels on the emerging technology being used in software development and security.

Utah Cyber Security Jobs and Salary

There are roughly 52,000 people employed in the computer and information technology fields in the state of Utah. The average salary for these workers is $82,000. Demand for workers in various fields of computer technology, including cyber security is expected to remain strong. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth in this area is expected to be at 32% between 2018 and 2028, much faster growth than in other industries. Below is a list of the most popular careers, the number of workers, and the average salary for each.

  • Database Administrators

    • Number of workers: 1,050
    • Average salary: $94,230

    Database administrators build and maintain databases.

  • Information Security Analysts

    • Number of workers: 700
    • Average salary: $86,790

    Information analysts study data and how it enters and leaves a system. If weaknesses or breaches are discovered, the analyst creates a solution to correct the issue.

  • Computer System Analysts

    • Number of workers: 3,850
    • Average salary: $84,840

    Computer system analysts make sure that computer systems are processing and distributing data correctly.

  • Computer Programmers

    • Number of workers: 3,400
    • Average salary: $83,700

    Computer programmers write the code that runs the systems.

  • Network and Computer System Administrators

    • Number of workers: 3,400
    • Average salary: $81,430

Resources

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