This guide covers all of California’s cybersecurity degree programmes. It also provides details about how the state is planning for a world where good cybersecurity practices are essential.
Featured Cybersecurity Degree Programs
|School Name||Program||More Info|
|UC Berkeley School of Information||Master’s in Cybersecurity | No GRE/GMAT Required||website|
|Purdue University Global||Online BS in Cybersecurity||website|
|Grand Canyon University||Online BS in Cybersecurity or Online MS in Cybersecurity||website|
|Syracuse University||MS in Cybersecurity | Complete in 15 Months||website|
|Southern New Hampshire University||Online BS in Cybersecurity||website|
California was founded as a result of the gold rush. There is a new boom going on right now. Booming technology industry is helping to propel California’s economy to the top of the world. In reality, California’s economy is so large that it would rank fifth in the world if compared to other countries.
Although new innovations and businesses born in places like Silicon Valley are an important part of California’s economic engine, the tech start-up scene is just one chapter of the storey.
Other booming economic sectors in California can be found elsewhere — large businesses with big budgets that are primed for future growth. Aerospace, military contracting, higher education, and digital media/entertainment are only a few examples.
Returning to the work boom reported earlier. Cybersecurity is the common thread that runs across all of California’s rising economic sectors.
Companies in all sectors are developing and recruiting for cybersecurity positions, much like the rest of the world.
The recruiting of qualified and seasoned cybersecurity specialists is moving at such a rapid pace that there is a cybersecurity labour shortage in California. As a result, new programmes, degree programmes, and credential opportunities are being launched to help satisfy the demand for cybersecurity roles, which is expected to continue well into the future.
This guide to cybersecurity in California is divided into three parts to give you an overview of the state’s educational and career options.
State-level cybersecurity initiatives in California
In California, both government entities and the private sector are actively investing in cybersecurity education and workforce training programmes.
As part of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the state government maintains a Cybersecurity Task Force. The group serves as an advisory board, gathering intelligence, data, and other on-the-ground information from cybersecurity companies, researchers, and experts. At the state level, the aim is to remain aware and ahead of emerging cyber threats when they arise, as well as to establish best practices for coping with a digital crime once it occurs.
Cybersecurity is a very fluid environment by its very nature; the types of cybercrimes that are committed and the attack vectors that are used are constantly evolving. As a result, any task force or workforce programme operating in the space must continuously adapt, improve, and seek out new knowledge sources.
An annual conference called the State of California Cybersecurity Educational Summit, organised by Sacramento State University is one of the new programmes. The conference is only one example of how state officials, in this case, the California Department of Technology, the California Office of Emergency Services, the California National Guard, and the California Highway Patrol, are attempting to align efforts and resources in order to strengthen cyber defences quickly.
Another indication of how the state is attempting to develop and plan potential cybersecurity infrastructure is the CyberCalifornia initiative. The aim of the programme, according to its website, is to put together a diverse group of stakeholders to form a coordinated cybersecurity coalition:
“CyberCalifornia will assist in the formation of public-private cybersecurity partnerships with the goals of promoting cybersecurity research and innovation, informing California companies about cybersecurity needs and services, and linking the state’s comprehensive workforce development framework with the needs of California employers. CyberCalifornia is being organised in collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development’s Innovation Hub (iHub) Network. By leveraging assets such as research parks, technology incubators, colleges, and federal labs, the iHubs provide innovation channels for emerging firms, economic development agencies, industry associations, and venture capitalists.”
Colleges and universities in California are creating innovative initiatives and offerings to help train tomorrow’s workforce for cybersecurity risks, in addition to public-private collaborations and general business education.
The California Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program is one example:
“The California Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program is hosted by Coastline College. It is grant-funded by the State Chancellor’s Office. The program includes eight college credit courses, industry certifications, which are CompTIA industry certifications relevant to those courses. There are currently no costs to the qualified apprentices for courses, certification exams, or textbooks. Apprentices are expected to work in a cybersecurity role for 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training at the state required wages.”
— Tobi West, cybersecurity professor and department chair at Coastline College.
In California, there are 25 schools that offer 54 cybersecurity-related degree or credential programmes.
Cybersecurity education in California
Campus-based cybersecurity associate degree options
Because of the state’s size and the structure of its university system, California has a thriving and high-quality community college system.
Many students in California attend community colleges to obtain degrees or credits before moving to another school or state university to complete a bachelor’s degree programme.
This means that community colleges in California are well-equipped to meet the demands of a skilled workforce.
Cybersecurity associate degrees are available at community colleges throughout the state, both on-campus and online.
The following are some of the cybersecurity associate’s degrees offered on campus in California:
Online cybersecurity degree options in California
CyberSecurity Associate’s Programs in California
|Coastline Community College||Fountain Valley||Associate of Science in Cybersecurity|
|Cypress College||Cypress||Associate of Science in Cyber Defense|
|Los Medanos College||Pittsburg||Networking and Security AAS|
|MiraCosta College||Oceanside||Associate of Science in Cybersecurity|
|Palomar College||San Marcos||Associate of Science in Cybersecurity|
|Sacramento City College||Sacramento||Associate in Science in Information Systems Security|
Online associate’s degrees in cybersecurity are available from two California colleges.
- An Associate in Applied Science in Computer Information Systems with a specialisation in networking is available at the California Institute of Arts and Technology in San Diego.
- The Associate in Science in Networking, Security, and System Administration is offered at Cuyamaca College in El Cajon, California.
The key benefit of earning an associate degree in cybersecurity is that most programmes prepare students well for the numerous professional certifications that are needed in the field.
Students who complete the cybersecurity associate’s degrees on campus usually receive an associate of science in cybersecurity. Other associate-level cybersecurity degrees offered on California’s campuses include:
- Los Medanos College offers an associate’s degree in networking and defence.
- Sacramento City College offers an Associate of Science in Information Systems Security.
- Associate of Science in Cyber Defense at Cypress College
For many people interested in entering the cybersecurity industry, a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity is a good place to start.
An undergraduate degree in cybersecurity also introduces students to a variety of subjects, including computer science, programming, network infrastructure, data management, policy, law, and security best practices, similar to the multidisciplinary nature of the sector.
Bachelor’s degree programmes in cybersecurity often have a specific emphasis, such as computer science, information assurance, or criminal justice.
Campus-based cybersecurity bachelor’s degree
The scale and diversity of California are reflected in the delivery of these services.
Bachelor’s degrees take about 120 credit hours to complete on average, and many of these programmes prepare students for industry certifications.
The more competitive cybersecurity bachelor’s programmes may also provide some kind of structured career preparation, such as hosted recruitment events or internship opportunities in the industry.
The table below shows details about cybersecurity bachelor’s programmes offered on campus in California.
Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Programs in California
|California State University – San Bernardino||San Bernardino||B.A. Criminal Justice – Crime Analysis, Technical Proficiency Cyber Security|
|California State University – San Bernardino||San Bernardino||B.S. Information Systems & Technology – Cyber Security Intelligence|
|California State Polytechnic University – Pomona||Pomona||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science – Cyber Security Career Focus|
|California State Polytechnic University – Pomona||Pomona||Computer Information Systems Undergraduate Program: Information Assurance Track|
|Mt Sierra College||Monrovia||Bachelor Degree Program in Information Technology with a Concentration in Information Security|
Online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programmes
There are various online bachelor’s degree programmes available in California in addition to campus-based opportunities for receiving a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity.
Many students find that online learning is a good match for them, and it is becoming more common every year. For some students, online learning is preferable, particularly when they need a more flexible schedule.
Another benefit of online education is that it works well with some learning styles. Students can revisit material several times (most lectures and other content is provided through video modules) and receive more regular feedback, allowing them to keep track of their progress.
There are currently no online bachelor’s cybersecurity degrees available in California, but there are other online education options available here.
A master’s degree is another way to train for a career in cybersecurity. A graduate may fulfil a variety of roles, and it is well-suited to people who have either a bachelor’s degree in a closely related field — such as mathematics or engineering — or who have industry job experience and want to advance their careers.
The more conventional campus-based or the newer online-based model are often used to categorise the different types of cybersecurity master’s degrees offered in California.
Campus-based cybersecurity master’s degrees
Master’s degrees in cybersecurity are available in a variety of formats in California. Some programmes, such as those at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the University of California at Davis, offer master’s degrees in computer science with a cybersecurity emphasis.
Other universities, including the University of San Diego and the University of the Pacific, offer master’s degree programmes in cybersecurity.
Other cybersecurity master’s programmes exist that are much more advanced than a master’s in computer science or a master’s in science in cybersecurity.
California State University, San Bernardino, for example, offers a campus-based master of business administration with a cybersecurity emphasis and a master of public administration with a cybersecurity concentration.
See the full list below for more on-campus cybersecurity master’s degree opportunities in California:
Cybersecurity Master’s Programs in California
|California State Polytechnic University-Pomona||Pomona||Master of Science in Computer Science – Cyber Security Career Focus|
|California State University-San Bernardino||San Bernardino||Master of Arts in National Security Studies – Cyber Security concentration|
|California State University-San Bernardino||San Bernardino||Master of Public Administration – Cyber Security Concentration|
|California State University-San Bernardino||San Bernardino||Masters of Business Administration, Concentration: Cyber Security|
|San Jose State University||San Jose||Master of Science in Software Engineering – Cybersecurity Concentration|
|University of San Diego||San Diego||Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering|
|University of the Pacific||Stockton||Master of Science in Cybersecurity|
Online cybersecurity master’s degree programmes
While there are fewer online cybersecurity master’s degree options in California than there are campus-based master’s degree options, those that do exist have good reputations as pioneers in science and technology education.
Working professionals who are unable to attend standard campus-based classes can benefit from an online master’s degree. Furthermore, research indicates that earning an online degree versus a campus degree has little impact on future job prospects.
The online cybersecurity master’s programmes in California, like the campus-based master’s degrees, vary slightly and deliver various concentrations or focus areas.
The following is a comprehensive list of cybersecurity master’s degrees available online in California:
Cybersecurity Online Master’s Programs in California
|National University||La Jolla||Master of Science in Cyber Security and Information Assurance|
|University of California-Berkeley||Berkeley||Master of Information and Cybersecurity (MICS)|
|University of San Diego||San Diego||Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership|
|University of Southern California||Los Angeles||Master of Science in Cyber Security Engineering|
A graduate degree in cybersecurity, or a PhD in cybersecurity, is intended for people who want to advance their academic skills in the sector. Typically, PhD recipients serve in specific cybersecurity niches such as academia, government-supported research agencies, or professional executive positions inside businesses.
In California, there are currently two cybersecurity-focused PhD programmes:
- At the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, he earned a PhD in computer science with a specialisation in computer systems and defence.
- At the University of California in Davis, California, he earned a PhD in computer science with a concentration in information assurance.
Cybersecurity certifications in California are another choice for people already in the workforce who want to expand their technical skillset.
There are two types of cybersecurity certification programmes. There are certifications that are more academically focused and certifications that are more business-oriented.
There are a variety of certification programmes available, ranging from beginner to advanced and narrowly oriented (and sometimes with prerequisites including years of relevant work experience). Some of these credentials are specific to a particular type of industry software or programming application.
Campus-based cybersecurity certification programmes
Cybersecurity Certification Programs in California
Online cybersecurity certification programmes
Cybersecurity credential programmes, like other academic programmes, have online options. California’s online cybersecurity certification programmes, like the campus-based programmes, differ marginally in terms of emphasis or concentration.
The following is a comprehensive list of online cybersecurity programmes offered by California universities:
Cybersecurity Online Certification Programs in California
|California State University-San Bernardino||San Bernardino||Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) Certificate|
|Naval Postgraduate School||Monterey||Certificate in Applied Cyber Operations|
|Naval Postgraduate School||Monterey||Certificate in Cyber Operations Infrastructure|
|Naval Postgraduate School||Monterey||Cyber Security Adversarial Techniques graduate certificate|
|Naval Postgraduate School||Monterey||Cyber Security Defense graduate certificate|
|Naval Postgraduate School||Monterey||Cyber Security Fundamentals graduate certificate|
|Stanford University||Stanford||Advanced Computer Security Certificate|
|Stanford University||Stanford||Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security|
|University of California-Irvine||Irvine||Information Systems Security Certificate Program|
Cybersecurity jobs in California
There is a national shortage of cybersecurity professionals who are well-trained and experienced. California is now experiencing a shortage. At the state level, the supply/demand ratio for jobs is nearly equal to the national average.
However, the situation in California’s big metro areas is very different. There is a greater shortage of cybersecurity staff in most major regions (see more detailed overview below).
There are 78,886 cybersecurity job openings in California, and there are 36,602 cybersecurity job openings throughout the state.
The following are the top cybersecurity work titles in California, according to CyberSeek:
- Cybersecurity engineer
- Cybersecurity analyst
- Network engineer/architect
- Cybersecurity manager/administrator
- Systems engineer
- Cybersecurity consultant
- Software developer/engineer
Cybersecurity jobs in California are usually well-paying due to their professional existence. Security analysts (who are used as a representative sample of the cybersecurity industry as a whole) earn an average annual salary of $110,345, or $53.05 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to the State of California Employment Development Department’s 2019 Occupational Employment Statistic Survey, the median annual salary for a security analyst was $111,101, with the top 25% of security analysts earning $134,490 or more annually.
Check out the Employment Development Department’s guide for a more in-depth look at cybersecurity careers in California.
Cybersecurity at the city level
San Francisco Bay Area: San Francisco, Oakland, Hayward
The San Francisco Bay Area, as previously mentioned, is one of the world’s technology epicentres. Startups are developing innovative products and services ranging from robots to dating apps, as well as new banking methods and improved medical care. And, to varying degrees, these new businesses all need some kind of cybersecurity protection or insulation.
Standalone cybersecurity startups are also springing up to develop goods, services, and solutions aimed at safeguarding citizens and businesses operating in the digital sphere.
The San Francisco Bay Area has an above-average concentration of cybersecurity job openings and a relatively low supply of skilled employees, owing to the region’s technology startup orientation. Nearly 10,000 cybersecurity jobs are available in the city, with approximately 16,000 people employed in a cybersecurity-related job.
Here’s a look at some of CyberSeek’s regional data:
- The supply of employees to demand ratio is extremely low — the national average is 2.3, while the San Francisco area has a ratio of 1.7.
- Work openings concentration: high — national average is 1.0/ San Francisco area is 1.9
San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara are all part of Silicon Valley.
A disproportionate number of technology startups and businesses are located in the Silicon Valley/South San Francisco Bay area.
Companies in Silicon Valley are focusing on information and data protection in addition to recruiting for positions across a broad range of consumer and corporate goods and services. This zone, which is essentially an extension of the above-mentioned San Francisco Bay Area, is also looking for cybersecurity professionals.
Here’s a look at some of CyberSeek’s regional data:
- The national average is 2.3, while the Silicon Valley area has a ratio of 1.7.
- Work opening concentration: Extremely high — the national average is 1.0, while the Silicon Valley area has a concentration of 2.8.
Los Angeles Area: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim
Although the film industry is the most well-known aspect of the Los Angeles area, there are other thriving industries that are driving job growth and a burgeoning technology sector. The aerospace industry, in particular, is booming.
Here’s a look at some of CyberSeek’s regional data:
- The supply of employees to demand ratio is low — the national average is 2.3, while the Los Angeles area has a ratio of 2.3.
- Work vacancy concentration: low — the national average is 1.0, and the Los Angeles area is.08.
San Diego Area: San Diego and Carlsbad
The greater San Diego area has a strong military presence, which means there are many military contractors and suppliers in the area.
Because of the comparatively large number of military-related occupations, there are also more cybersecurity positions available than the national average. In the greater San Diego area, there are approximately 4,200 cybersecurity jobs available, with 8,150 people working in the industry.
A closer examination of CyberSeek’s regional data:
- The supply of employees to demand ratio is extremely low — the national average is 2.3, while the San Diego area has a ratio of 1.9.
- Work opening concentration: high — the national average is 1.0, while the San Diego area has a concentration of 1.4.
Cybersecurity in California
In conclusion, there are numerous opportunities in California to obtain a cybersecurity degree. Associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, not to mention a wide range of credential programmes, provide a variety of options for people looking to enter the profession or advance their careers.
Despite all of these training opportunities, there is still a shortage of well-trained and skilled cybersecurity staff, making it an excellent job market for those with the necessary skills.