Cybersecurity is a booming industry everywhere you look, and Florida is no exception. Florida is increasingly expanding its cybersecurity infrastructure in both the educational and job fields, despite its existing reputation as a state for elderly retirement or vacationing along its popular beaches and within its diverse resorts. This is due to the fact that many businesses have offices or business centres in Florida’s major cities, necessitating a new surge of cybersecurity graduates to ensure data protection. Although Florida does not have the financial clout of New York or the cutting-edge research of California, the businesses that have chosen to call the Sunshine State home have shown the importance of cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity Development in Florida
The state of cybersecurity in Florida is just getting started. The Board of Governors founded the Florida Center for Cybersecurity in 2014. This statewide initiative focuses on advancing cybersecurity advancement across all areas of the state’s development, including education, community outreach, and numerous research opportunities through the university system and private companies.
In just five years, the state’s educational priority has yielded results. Five Florida schools have also been awarded the National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity by the National Security Agency, a recognition for which many colleges compete fiercely and which contributes to NSA recruitment at those institutions.
There are also a number of cybersecurity organisations and activities spread across the state. HackMiama, a South Florida-based cybersecurity group, is one of the more well-known of these. Defcon183, a Tampa-based cybersecurity conference, hosts events that provide excellent networking opportunities.
More significantly, Florida’s reputation as a beach resort state makes it an ideal location for all types of conferences and seminars, not just cybersecurity ones. Every year in Gainesville, the FICS, as mentioned below, hosts a two-day conference. The InfoSecWorld expo is another great event that comes to Florida on a regular basis; it not only offers many skill-building seminars, but it also has presentations of the latest and greatest cybersecurity technology for your viewing pleasure.
Both of these cases, as well as others, contribute to the fact that Florida is more significant in the cybersecurity scene than you would think.
Cybersecurity Education in Florida
Despite its emphasis on vacationing and retirement opportunities, Florida is tied with Texas for the second-highest number of NSA CAE (Centers for Academic Excellence) schools in the nation. Since many of the schools are public colleges and universities, potential cybersecurity practitioners will have plenty of opportunities to pursue a top-notch education in this state.
Several of the universities mentioned below have recently undergone this transformation. The University of Tampa, St. Leo University, and Florida Polytechnic University, among others, all added cybersecurity programmes in 2015. The fact that some of these programmes have already earned national recognition demonstrates their high quality and academic excellence.
Indeed, many of these schools’ renewed emphasis on cybersecurity has already paid off. In 2016, the University of Central Florida, for example, won two of the three CyberSEED Competitions, indicating that their teams were exceptional overall.
Although the University of Florida does not currently offer any cybersecurity degree programmes, it is home to the Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research, or FICS. This institute places a greater emphasis on hardware than software, which is an element of cybersecurity that many programmes and research facilities overlook. The Institute has already developed nanoscale imaging equipment in its laboratories, which is a significant step forward in digital forensics. An ongoing effort to build a real block against ransomware is also housed at the Institute.
Although this isn’t directly relevant to cybersecurity education, it does demonstrate that the university is serious about cybersecurity. A centre like this is encouraging for potential cybersecurity researchers in the state, and it may contribute to UF establishing its own cybersecurity programme in the future.
St. Petersburg College and St. Leo University, among other colleges, are excellent choices for long-term cybersecurity students because they offer programmes at various stages of academic advancement. This helps students to complete all or part of their cybersecurity education without having to change classes.
Campus-based cybersecurity associate’s degrees in Florida
Associate degrees are ideal for those who are new to the area of cybersecurity and want to continue their education.
The cybersecurity associate degree programme in Florida is roughly evenly divided between campus-based and online choices. One of the three degrees available on campus is an Associate of Science in Networking Administration. As a result, this isn’t purely a cybersecurity degree, though it could serve as a good stepping stone to a career as a cybersecurity administrator with additional training.
The following are the other two schools:
- Pasco-Hernando State College with a cyber and information security degree
- Saint Leo University with a cybersecurity associate degree
Cyberecurity Associate’s Degree Programs in Florida
|Palm Beach State College||Lake Worth||Associate in Science – Networking Administrator|
|Pasco-Hernando State College||New Port Richey||Cyber and Information Security – Associate in Science|
|Saint Leo University||Saint Leo||Cyber Security Associate Degree|
Online Associate Degrees
There are four online-only associate degrees in cybersecurity offered in Florida. Two of them are from the same school, St. Petersburg College, but they specialise in different areas: one in cybersecurity and the other in digital forensics and computer investigations. The latter choice, as you would expect, would be ideal for potential criminal justice practitioners.
Indian River State College, which offers an Associate of Arts in Information Technology Management and Cybersecurity, and College at Jacksonville, which offers an Associate of Science in Information Technology Security, are the other two colleges. Most people would choose St. Petersburg College over the other two because its degrees are solely based on cybersecurity.
Campus cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees in Florida
Bachelor’s degrees are designed to help students specialise in the field of cybersecurity, and they usually include some prior experience.
In Florida, there are four on-campus bachelor’s degree programmes offered by four different universities.
- Bachelor in Management Information Systems from Florida Atlantic University
- Palm Beach State College offers a BS in Information Management with a security and network assurance emphasis, and Florida Polytechnic University offers a BS in Computer Science with a cybersecurity focus.
- The University of West Florida provides the only purely BS in Cybersecurity, making it a top option for young professionals interested in studying this area of technology exclusively.
Cyberecurity Bachelor’s Programs in Florida
|Florida Atlantic University||Boca Raton||Bachelor of Management Information Systems (MIS) – specialization in Information Security and Business Analytics|
|Florida Polytechnic University||Lakeland||Bachelor of Science in Computer Science: Information Assurance & Cyber Security|
|Palm Beach State College||Lake Worth||Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Management – Security and Network Assurance|
|The University of West Florida||Pensacola||Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity|
Online Bachelor’s Degrees
Two online bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity are available in Florida: one from Kaiser University in cyber forensics and information security, and another from St. Leo University in cyber forensics and information security. The latter is a full-fledged bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity.
Campus-based cybersecurity master’s degrees in Florida
Master’s degrees are intended for individuals who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or computer science. They also lead to more research-oriented positions, while most cybersecurity jobs require only a bachelor’s degree.
Surprisingly, the majority of Florida’s cybersecurity master’s degrees are available online. Just three colleges, in reality, offer on-campus programmes:
- MS in Cybersecurity Engineering from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
- With a master’s degree in computer science and a focus on cybersecurity from Florida State University
- With a master’s degree in computer engineering and a network security specialisation from Florida International University.
Cyberecurity Master’s Programs in Florida
|Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University||Daytona Beach||Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering|
|Florida State University||Tallahassee||Master of Science in Computer Science – Cybersecurity Major|
|Florida International University||Miami||Master of Science in Computer Engineering with a concentration in Network Security|
Online Master’s Degrees
Ten cybersecurity master’s degrees are available online from Florida colleges. The Florida Institute of Technology’s programmes are well-known for their quality, and you can earn an MBA or a Master of Science in Cybersecurity to pursue technical specialisation or administration, respectively.
Other notable degrees include the one offered by the University of South Florida, which focuses on cyber intelligence and can lead to government employment. This same school also offers a digital forensics degree, which is ideal for aspiring criminal justice practitioners.
At least one online degree programme is offered by Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, St. Leo University, the University of West Florida, and the University of Central Florida.
Cyberecurity Online Master’s Programs in Florida
|Florida Institute of Technology||Melbourne||MBA in Cybersecurity|
|Florida Institute of Technology||Melbourne||MS – Information Assurance & Cybersecurity|
|Florida International University||Miami||Master of Science in Computer Engineering with a concentration in Network Security|
|Nova Southeastern University||Fort Lauderdale||Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management|
|Nova Southeastern University||Fort Lauderdale||Master of Science in Information Assurance & Cybersecurity|
|Saint Leo University||Saint Leo||Master of Science in Cybersecurity|
|The University of West Florida||Pensacola||Master of Science in Cybersecurity|
|University of Central Florida||Orlando||Digital Forensics MS|
|University of South Florida-Main Campus||Tampa||Master Degree in Cybersecurity with a concentration in Cyber Intelligence|
|University of South Florida- Main Campus||Tampa||Master’s in Cybersecurity – Digital Forensics|
Campus-based cybersecurity certificate programmes in Florida
Florida offers more credential options than any other state in terms of cybersecurity education, both on-campus and online. There are a total of 12 credential options available across campus, with most of them concentrated at a single university.
The University of West Florida, which provides two degrees, as well as the University of Florida and Valencia College, both offer a pair, are the major schools to keep an eye on. Around half of the certificates available are in cybersecurity, while the rest are in computer forensics or more broad topics like intelligence analysis or hardware security.
Due to the inclusion of the FICS, the University of Florida’s credential programme could be a good fit for current cybersecurity practitioners.
Information security management is a single credential provided by the University of West Florida, making it a viable choice for potential cybersecurity practitioners who want to potentially administer.
Cyberecurity Certification Programs in Florida
|Daytona State College||Daytona Beach||Advanced Technical Certificate – Cybersecurity and Cyber Forensics|
|Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University||Tallahassee||Cyber Defense Certificate|
|Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University||Tallahassee||Information Assurance Certificate|
|Florida State College at Jacksonville||Jacksonville||Technical Certificate in Digital Forensics|
|Palm Beach State College||Lake Worth, Florida||Certificate in Network Security|
|The University of West Florida||Pensacola||Certificate in Cybersecurity|
|The University of West Florida||Pensacola||Certificate in Information Security Management|
|University of Central Florida||Orlando||Graduate Certificate in Computer Forensics|
|University of Florida||Gainesville||Certificate in Hardware Security|
|University of Florida||Gainesville, Florida||Certificate in Information Security|
|Valencia College||Orlando||Cybersecurity Certificate|
|Valencia College||Orlando||Digital Forensics Technical Certificate|
Online Certificate Programs
There are a total of seven online credential options, four of which are provided solely by the University of Florida. All of these are graduate certificates that enable you to specialise in a specific area or aspect of cybersecurity, such as cyber intelligence, cybersecurity knowledge and education, digital forensics, and information assurance.
St. Petersburg College, Brenau University, and the University of West Florida deliver the other certificates.
Cyberecurity Online Certification Programs in Florida
|Saint Petersburg College||Clearwater||Certificate in Cybersecurity|
|The University of West Florida||Pensacola||Certificate in Intelligence Analysis|
|University of Florida-Main Campus||Tampa||Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity – Awareness and Education|
|University of Florida-Main Campus||Tampa||Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity – Cyber Intelligence|
|University of Florida-Main Campus||Tampa||Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity-Digital Forensics|
|University of Florida-Main Campus||Tampa||Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity-Information Assurance|
Cybersecurity Jobs in Florida
Lockheed Martin and MacAulay-Brown, for example, are both headquartered in Florida and have historically employed a large number of cybersecurity professionals. Both of these businesses have offices in Florida, namely in Tampa and Orlando. Miami and Melbourne are also viable options, thanks to their abundance of job openings and proximity to a number of universities.
Furthermore, Florida is home to seven members of the Cybersecurity 500 (a ranking of the best companies in the cybersecurity industry). Easy Solutions, Citrix, Harris, INFOSIGHT, Appriver, Veriato, and KnowBe4 are among these firms. In short, cybersecurity graduates in Florida have plenty of job opportunities, particularly if they can secure an internship while still in school.
Finally, Florida’s reputation as a refuge for retirees has had the unintended consequence of pushing away many young people, resulting in a labour shortage across the board. This may be bad for the state, but it’s perfect for job seekers.
According to CyberSeek, Florida is currently hiring a significant number of cybersecurity specialists. To date, there are approximately 24,600 cybersecurity work openings, the bulk of which are cybersecurity researchers, engineers, consultants, or administrators. Basically, there are cybersecurity positions available for all levels of expertise, and some opportunities for upper management.
The ratio of cybersecurity staff available to demand is about 2.0, which is about average for the country. This means that Florida is no more or less likely than the rest of the country to be welcoming to job seekers. Given the above data on job demand, it’s obvious that enthusiastic cybersecurity professionals should have no trouble finding work.
Florida is competitive in terms of salary as opposed to more rural states like Maine or Louisiana, which is literally next door. The average hourly wage is around $44, and the average annual salary is around $92,000. Depending on where you live in Florida, each of these wages will contribute to a high quality of life.
Although many coastal cities have a high cost of living, owing to their popularity as resort and tourist destinations, inner Florida is renowned for having a low cost of living. Florida is a little pricey relative to the national average, but cybersecurity positions are still lucrative when compared to average salaries.
Florida and Cybersecurity
Overall, when it comes to cybersecurity education and job opportunities, Florida isn’t the busiest or most developed territory. However, like many other states in the world, it is rapidly developing and has several unique benefits within its borders, including a few major cybersecurity companies, that make it a viable option, especially if you already live in Florida or want to attend school there.