Cyber Security Degrees in DC
NSA CAE Designated Institutions for Cyber Security in Washington DC
The Washington DC region provides some of the largest opportunities for cyber security professionals, such as government positions that aid in protecting national networks and dozens of companies that specialize in security tools and consulting services to help clients and other businesses to fully secure themselves as they are responsible for holding more sensitive information than ever before.
This is where the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is located, and in conjunction with the National Security Agency (NSA), has designated programs within various universities and colleges as National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) when it comes to providing thorough education in cyber security.
Online Cyber Security Programs in Washington DC
Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies has three programs in cyber security that are completely available online. Options include two different certifications and a full Master's degree in Cybersecurity Risk Management.
There are two core courses in this 33-credit hour curriculum, one focusing on the ethics surrounding cyber security and is taken in the first part of the program, and the other is a culminating capstone project that emphasizes the student's career pathway. There are 21 foundational courses that deal with broad subjects in regulation, strategy, and risk management, and the remaining six credits will be elective choices.
Georgetown University utilizes the Canvas online management system to deliver online courses to their students. Schedules are divided up into either a full 15-week format during the fall and spring semesters (13 weeks during the summer), or there are 7.5-week segments available for a more accelerated and focused path through the course. The latter is also available in the summer semesters.
Coursework is done in an asynchronous format, meaning students can complete assignments on their time, but they do need to meet deadlines and some courses will require live lectures and class discussions.
For the most convenient experience, students should have a Windows, Mac, or Linux operating system with broadband internet access, a webcam and microphone for interaction purposes, anti-virus program, plug-ins such as Adobe Acrobat Reader and Flash, and a compatible web browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
Master's in Cyber Security Degrees in Washington DC
There are Master's degrees available at both of the accredited universities within the District of Columbia.
GWU’s MS in Cyber Security
At George Washington University, the School of Engineering and Applied Science offers the Master of Science in Cybersecurity in Computer Science.
30 credit hours are needed to complete the program and is different from the traditional computer science degree due to the cyber security topics that must be completed and some electives can be taken outside of the Department of Computer Science.
At least 24 credits must be taken above the 6000-level and students will need to maintain a 3.0 GPA among the five cyber security courses needed. All students must take Management of Information and Systems Security, two courses are from the department, and up to two approved security courses at the university.
Admission to this program takes place in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Submissions for the application process needed at GWU specifically are unofficial transcripts (official when administered), a statement of purpose up to 500 words, GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, and updated resume. Prospective students are expected to have a Bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA or within the last 60 hours of their coursework. These requirements are typical of many universities that offer Master’s degrees within cyber security.
Getting Started Working in Cyber Security in Washington DC
Gaining an education in this region is somewhat limited, but there are a variety of options at Georgetown University and George Washington University. Both institutions have online opportunities for a more flexible learning experience, and this can also be explored at various universities across the country. In addition to federal government positions, there are numerous top cyber security organizations in Washington DC.
- Undergraduate Degrees:
Georgetown’s Professional Certificate in Cybersecurity Strategy is available both on-campus during the weekend on Friday nights and Saturdays, and completely online. It can take as little as 12 weeks to complete the program, and students have up to 24 months after being administered in the fall or spring semester. Example courses include Technical Countermeasure and Risk Assessment, Leadership and Strategy in Cybersecurity, and Applied Cybersecurity and Crisis Management.
Students in the Bachelor of Arts or Science in Computer Science program at George Washington University can attach the Master’s program with an emphasis in cyber security and it adds just one additional year to get both degrees. The Bachelor’s degree must have a minimum 3.4 cumulative GPA, and that includes a 3.3 GPA within the computer science courses.
- Masters and Continuing Education:
The Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity Risk Management at Georgetown University can be completed online or on-campus in either a full-time or part-time enrollment. Students will take four of eight course options that consist of governance framework, ethics, risk management, and communication between the IT department and business stakeholders. These credits earned in the program can be used to show competence in cyber security after receiving an undergraduate degree or can be transferred over to a full Master’s degree at the university.
George Washington University also offers a PhD in computer science that requires 54 credit hours and divides courses into the following categories: theory, systems, and applications. There is a preliminary exam that must be completed within the duration of the program, and students will be dismissed if they fail to pass by the end of the fourth semester. At least one course within Algorithms and Theory, and Software and Systems, must be passed to complete the degree, as well as maintaining an overall 3.0 GPA.
- Cyber Security Employment Options:
There is no shortage of cyber security opportunities in Washington DC, from government agencies needing to increase their security efforts to financial institutions looking to protect private information for customers and other clients. A cyber security investigator at the US Department of the Treasury holds investigations on any network intrusions that have been detected. They must develop methods that remain undetected by attackers in order to gain information about them and to eliminate further vulnerability in the future.
Washington DC Cyber Security Careers
The District of Columbia is one of the top regions in the country in terms of top-paying states and concentration of workers according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average salary in this area is over $118,000, which is only below New York and New Jersey. The only state that has higher concentration is Virginia. This location is also home to the largest metropolitan area within cyber security, with over 14,500 employees in the stretch from Washington DC, Arlington, and Alexandria in the Northeast.
Top Cyber Security and Tech Employers and Organizations
Ridge Global is one of the top risk management solutions in the area, offering insurance and consulting services in the cyber security industry. They work with clients, including C-suite employees directly, to uncover the latest technology and regulation trends to keep up with competition. This includes the sectors of political analysis, public policy, public affairs, public education, and more. Virtru is an email encryption program that was founded and headquartered in Washington DC back in 2012. One of the founders, Will Ackerly, worked at the NSA and specialized in cloud architecture. The company is responsible for encryption found in popular email services like Gmail.