Cyber Security Degrees in Utah
NSA CAE Designated Institutions for Cyber Security in Utah
The state of Utah has a few universities that are designated as National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This accreditation showcases these programs as having the best curriculum compared to other institutions across the country when it comes to preparing their students for cyber security careers. For employment opportunities, Salt Lake City provides the most potential in the state.
Online Cyber Security Programs in Utah
Even with limited higher education opportunities in the state of Utah, there is an option to pursue an online program at Southern Utah University. The Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering offers the Master of Science in Cyber Security and Information Assurance. Students can choose from two concentrations: Cyber and Web Security, and Government, Regulation, and Compliance and Information Systems Controls. These concentrations require up to four courses to complete, or 12 total credit hours, and various courses are offered in different semesters. In total, 33 credit hours are needed to fulfill the degree.
All courses are distributed through the Canvas learning management system. Online coursework is delivered in asynchronous format and students can access most course materials through laptop and mobile devices. Activities can include reading assignments, group projects, quizzes and exams, and online lab sessions. While access is available around the clock, there will be deadlines that students have to meet to keep up with the rest of the class. Courses are offered in a pay-as-you-go format and can be completed one at a time. This also provides flexibility for working professionals.
Master's in Cyber Security Degrees in Utah
Both accredited universities offer a Master's degree in the field of cyber security. The Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering at Brigham Young University has the Master of Science in Technology with an area of emphasis in Information Technology and Cybersecurity. The 30-credit hour program is divided up into concentration electives, approved electives, a tech leadership course, and thesis project. Admittance is accepted during any season, but there are only two deadline dates (February 15 for spring through fall, September 10 for winter) and the school recommends entering the program in the Fall or Winter semester with less course opportunities in other seasons.
Requirements to get admitted into the program include an undergraduate degree with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and GRE scores. The degree should be in information technology, engineering, or a related field. Additional background needs include proficiency in computers and electronics, architecture, and mathematics. Students must complete the program within a three-year time window. Typically for Master's degrees, prospective students need to submit official transcripts, a statement of purpose on why they are pursuing the program, and at least a few letters of recommendation.
Getting Started Working in Cyber Security in Utah
Both Brigham Young University and Southern Utah University have cyber security degrees for undergraduates. At BYU, the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity is issued through the School of Technology. The 120-credit hour curriculum is very customizable beyond the 16 required courses, which includes topics on Operating Systems, Digital Communications, Information Assurance and Security, and Cybersecurity and Penetration Testing. Special topics and various seminars will be offered throughout the program, and there are introductory computer science, mathematics, and ethics courses needed to fulfill various criteria.
Southern Utah University provides an Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology with a specialization in Computer and Information Systems Security. Up to 66 credit hours are needed for the two-year degree, a quarter of that curriculum needing to meet the general education requirement. Specific courses in the specialization consist of an overview of operating systems, digital forensics, and server administration. Subjects on e-commerce, statistics, and college-level algebra should be completed within the general education segment.
Gaining a degree at this level will provide steps toward an entry-level position in the field of cyber security. For example, at CDW in Provo, associate consulting engineers will work with clients on implementing the Microsoft Azure cloud computing service and identifying any security issues and threats. This type of job will require vendor certification to show competency with its hardware or software, which at least an associates degree should prepare students for.
Utah Cyber Security Careers
Utah has many opportunities for information security analysts, but pales in comparison to neighboring states like Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. According to theUS Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall pay is below the national median at $86,790 annually, and that number is roughly the same within the Salt Lake City metropolitan area.
Top Cyber Security and Tech Employers and Organizations
BSidesSLC is a two-day community event in Sandy, near the Salt Lake City area, and is split up with workshops and training courses during the first day, then the hackathon and speaker engagements on the second day. The event emphasizes education and networking among various cyber security professionals. Prior sponsors at the event include Adobe, McAfee, and Red Point Security.