Cybersecurity degrees in Virginia

This tutorial is intended to provide a high-level understanding of cybersecurity in Virginia. It also offers a look at some of the educational and job alternatives available to aspiring cybersecurity experts.

Virginia is second only to California in terms of the number of cybersecurity job vacancies and the number of cybersecurity specialists already employed in the United States. Virginia’s closeness to Washington, D.C. is one of the reasons for this high concentration of cybersecurity companies and labour. Virginia also ranks second among US states in federal government procurement spending, after California.

The CIA and the US Department of Defense, two of the most major employers of cybersecurity professionals, are both located in the state’s northeastern portion. In fact, Virginia is second only to California in terms of federal Defense Department employment. The FDIC, DEA, Marshals Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Defense Information Systems Agency, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and the Army National Guard Readiness Center are among the many federal government agencies based in Virginia.

Virginia is also home to 17 Fortune 500 companies, ranking it tenth in the United States.

The area surrounding Dulles International Airport has grown into a major technology hub, with enterprises specialising in internet, communication technology, and software engineering. A number of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and medical research enterprises can also be found in other parts of the state. In 2006, computer chips became the state’s top gross export. Virginia is currently believed to have the country’s greatest concentration of technology-related employees.

Growing Importance of Cybersecurity in Virginia

Virginia has as remarkable a list of programmes and initiatives sponsored or funded by state and local governments as any other state in the country. It’s not unexpected, given that the state already employs about 90,000 cybersecurity professionals, and the number is rapidly increasing. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the cybersecurity-related activities currently ongoing in Virginia.

The Governor of Virginia introduced the Cyber Vets Virginia programme in 2016. The idea is to provide a free information security training programme to military veterans who want to work in cybersecurity. The Onward to Opportunity (O20) initiative of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families is collaborating with Cisco, Amazon, and cybersecurity education pioneer ISC2. Virginia has one of the highest veteran populations in the country.

Virginia’s state government began funding the CyberX programme in 2018 with a $30 million budget allocation. On the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, physical facilities will be created. CyberX is envisioned as a research and education centre for cybersecurity students and businesses in Virginia.

The Virginia Cyber Alliance was also financed by the Virginia Growth & Opportunity Fund in 2018. Its goal is to encourage regional economic growth by reaching out to stakeholders and giving internships, salary subsidies, and technical support as needed. It intends to do so by functioning as a “collaboration of industry, government, and academic institutions seeking to enhance the region’s influence in cybersecurity, data analytics, and unmanned autonomous systems (UAS).”

The Virginia Beach Economic Development Department has set up its own programme to promote the development of cybersecurity resources in the state’s southern region. The Regional Cyber Workforce Readiness Program’s mission is to “create a sustainable and scalable cyber workforce development ecosystem” by defining regional cybersecurity needs and assets, stimulating individual and corporate business growth related to information security, and defining regional cybersecurity needs and assets. On a state level, a number of states have financed programmes comparable to this, while municipal governments have taken few equivalent steps. It’s a sign of the extra effort Virginia is putting in to make the cybersecurity business a home.

The Virginia Department of Education is enthusiastic about the prospect of establishing cybersecurity education programmes in the state. It gives students the tools they need to locate and apply for any and all available grants and scholarships aimed at students interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity. It also encourages state higher education institutions to create cybersecurity degree and certification programmes.

One of the reasons Virginia is such a significant employer of cybersecurity specialists is its closeness and access to the nation’s largest and most critical military and intelligence institutions. Security clearances are, of course, a must for work in these federal agencies. This is one of the reasons why a huge number of veterans are well-suited to careers in cybersecurity. The state’s CyberVirginia website also has materials for anyone interested in cybersecurity.

Virginia, on the other hand, isn’t just about the federal government. Its many huge multinational organisations and economic concentration on technology have also helped it to become a prominent hub for cybersecurity firms. In fact, according to Cybersecurity Ventures’ Cybercrime Magazine, Virginia currently has 41 of the top 500 cybersecurity companies in the United States, lead by Northrup Grumman.

Cybersecurity Education in Virginia

Virginia is known for many reasons, but one of them is that it is home to a number of prestigious old and modern schools and universities. A number of these well-known schools, as well as a slew of others, have joined the push to provide top cybersecurity degree and certification programmes. Virginia colleges and universities such as Old Dominion, Marymount, James Madison, George Mason, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia have developed cybersecurity education programmes.

There are several degree and certification choices available in both on-campus and online forms, so whether you live in Virginia or not, this is a state worth considering for cybersecurity education.

Virginia Tech has distinguished itself as a leader in cybersecurity research and education. Virginia Tech has established its own cybersecurity department even before the state-funded CyberX initiative. The National Security Agency has designated the school as a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) for both Cybersecurity Defense Research and Cybersecurity Operations. The Hume Center for National Security and Technology at Virginia Tech has also been named an Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence.

ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE

Consider starting with an associate’s degree in cybersecurity if you want to pursue a career in cybersecurity but don’t have the time or means to pursue a full four-year degree programme. Because of the scarcity of cybersecurity specialists, there are still plenty of entry-level jobs that only require an associate’s degree. These programmes are usually completed in a year or two. Once that’s done and a cybersecurity career has begun, individuals can return to school and get a bachelor’s degree or higher as time and funds allow. In fact, many associate’s degree programmes provide material that may be transferred to bachelor’s degree programmes, making it easier to complete the next level.

Campus-based associate’s degrees in Virginia

In Virginia, there are now four on-campus associate’s degree programmes in cybersecurity provided by four different community colleges. The list, as well as further information, can be found below.

SchoolCityProgram Website
Lord Fairfax Community CollegeMiddletownAssociate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity
Northern Virginia Community CollegeAnnandaleAssociate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity
Piedmont Virginia Community CollegeCharlottesvilleAssociate Degree in Cybersecurity
Thomas Nelson Community CollegeHamptonAssociate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology – Cybersecurity Pathway
Tidewater Community CollegeNorfolkAssociate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology – Cyber Security Concentration

 

Online associate’s degrees in Virginia

Only one cybersecurity associate’s degree is now available online at Virginia universities. An Associate of Science in Computer and Information Science with a Cyber and Network Security Concentration is available from ECPI University.

BACHELOR’S DEGREE

Bachelor’s degrees are the minimal educational qualification for most employment in the cybersecurity business nowadays. Degrees in cybersecurity are not normally required, however majoring in cybersecurity or having a cybersecurity specialisation is certainly seen as a competitive advantage over other technological majors. Because Virginia has such a high number of individuals with technology backgrounds and degrees, those interested in information security professions might consider pursuing a degree with a cybersecurity specialty.

Campus-based bachelor’s degrees in Virginia

Five campus-based bachelor’s degree programmes in cybersecurity are now available in Virginia. More information can be found below.

SchoolCityProgram Website
George Mason UniversityFairfaxBachelor of Science in Cyber Security Engineering
Marymount UniversityArlingtonBachelor of Science in Information Technology – Specialty in Networking and Cybersecurity
Norfolk State UniversityNorfolkBS in Computer Science – Information Assurance Emphasis
Virginia TechBlacksburgUndergraduate Minor in Cybersecurity
University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleCybersecurity Focal Path

 

Online bachelor’s degrees in Virginia

At present, 12 online bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity are being provided by Virginia colleges and universities. See the table below for more information.

Cybersecurity Online Bachelor’s Programs in Virginia

SchoolCityProgram Website
ECPI UniversityVirginia BeachBachelor of Science in Computer and Information Science – Cyber and Network Security Major
George Mason UniversityFairfaxBAS Concentration in Cybersecurity
Liberty UniversityLynchburgBachelor of Science in Information Technology – Data Networking and Security
Liberty UniversityLynchburgOnline Bachelor of Science in Information Systems – Information Assurance
Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkBachelor of Science in Cybercrime
Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkBachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkMinor in Cybersecurity
Regent UniversityVirginia BeachBachelor of Science in Cyber & Digital Forensics
Regent UniversityVirginia BeachBachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
Strayer UniversityArlingtonBachelor of Science in Information Technology – Cyber Security Technology
Strayer UniversityArlingtonBachelor of Science in Information Technology – Digital Forensics Technology
University of the PotomacViennaBachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Policy

 

MASTER’S DEGREE

Master’s degrees in cybersecurity are becoming more important, in demand, and available. Graduate degrees are becoming more required for senior corporate and management-level information security professions. Many of the positions in the C-suite, such as Chief Information Security Officer, are in high demand. However, master’s degrees are useful for securing the finest employment for information security professionals who want to work in academia, cybersecurity research, or cybersecurity consultancy.

Campus-based Master’s Degrees in Virginia

In Virginia, there are currently eight master’s degree programmes offered in campus-based formats, as shown in the table below. Three of these are from George Mason University, while the other two are from Virginia Tech.

SchoolCityProgram Website
George Mason UniversityFairfaxMasters in Information Security and Assurance
George Mason UniversityFairfaxMS in Computer Engineering – Network and System Security
George Mason UniversityFairfaxMS in Management of Secure Information Systems
Marymount UniversityArlingtonMaster of Science in Information Technology – Cybersecurity Concentration
Norfolk State UniversityNorfolkMS in Computer Science – Information Assurance Emphasis
Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond, VirginiaMaster of Science in Computer and Information Systems Security
Virginia TechBlacksburg, VirginiaMS and PhD in Computer Science with Cybersecurity Track
Virginia TechBlacksburgMEng, MS, and PhD in Computer Engineering with Cybersecurity Track

 

Online Master’s Degrees in Virginia

For those preferring the convenience of online coursework, there are now 14 master’s degree programs being conducted in online venues by Virginia Schools. See below for more information and links.

Cybersecurity Online Master’s Programs in Virginia

SchoolCityProgram Website
Hampton UniversityHamptonMaster of Science degree in Information Assurance
James Madison UniversityHarrisonburgMaster of Science in Information Security
Liberty UniversityLynchburgMaster of Science in Cyber Security
Liberty UniversityLynchburgMaster of Science in Information Systems – Information Assurance
Marymount UniversityArlingtonCybersecurity (M.S.)
Norfolk State UniversityNorfolkMS Cybersecurity
Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkMaster of Science in Cybersecurity
Stratford UniversityFairfaxMaster of Science in Digital Forensics
Strayer UniversityArlingtonMaster of Science in Information Assurance
Strayer UniversityArlingtonMaster of Science in Information Systems: Computer Forensic Management
University of FairfaxRoanokeMaster of Science in Cybersecurity Management
University of FairfaxRoanokeMaster of Science in Information Security Management ( MSISM )
Virginia TechBlacksburgOnline Master of Information Technology – Security Track
ECPIRichmondMaster of Science in Cybersecurity

 

PhD DEGREES

Doctorates in cybersecurity are becoming increasingly popular. Those intending to pursue jobs in academia or research account for a large portion of the demand. However, some individuals striving to the top levels of cybersecurity in the business world are beginning to pursue PhDs in information security.

Campus-based PhD’s in Virginia

PhD in Computer Science with a Cybersecurity Track at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, is currently the only on-campus option for a PhD in cybersecurity in the state.

Online PhD’s in Virginia

Virginia universities are now offering one online PhD programme. The University of Fairfax offers a Doctorate in Information Assurance programme (DIA).

CERTIFICATIONS

Students just starting out in cybersecurity as well as seasoned professionals might benefit from certification programmes. Different certification programmes cater to various audiences.

Some certificates provide an introduction to information security and may provide an advantage to starting professionals searching for entry-level positions if they are unsure if cybersecurity is suited for them.

Some cybersecurity certifications are aimed to improve studies in a certain specialisation, such as penetration testing, for existing professionals. Having specific information security certificates will strengthen a professional’s understanding and maybe help them advance in their job.

Cybersecurity credentials have been established by several colleges and institutions to replace or act as early coursework toward further degrees, particularly master’s degrees. All three types of cybersecurity certificate programmes are currently available in Virginia schools.

Campus-based cybersecurity certifications in Virginia

A total of 14 cybersecurity certificate programmes are currently available in campus-based formats at Virginia’s higher education institutions. More details can be found in the table below.

SchoolCityProgram Website
Danville Community CollegeDanvilleCertificate in Cyber Security
Danville Community CollegeDanvilleCertificate in Cybercrime Investigation
George Mason UniversityFairfaxApplied Cyber Security Graduate Certificate
George Mason UniversityFairfaxCertificate Program in Telecommunications Forensics and Security
James Madison UniversityHarrisonburgCertificate in Network/Information Security
James Madison UniversityHarrisonburgCertificate in Secure Computer and Database Systems
Lord Fairfax Community CollegeMiddletownCybersecurity Career Studies Certificate
Marymount UniversityArlingtonComputer Security and Information Assurance Graduate Certificate
Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkGraduate Certificate in Cyber Systems Security
Radford UniversityRadfordUndergraduate Certificate in Information Security
Thomas Nelson Community CollegeHamptonCareer Studies Certificate in Cybersecurity for Enterprise
Tidewater Community CollegeNorfolkCareer Studies Certificate in Cyber Security
University of RichmondRichmondCertificate in Information Security
Virginia TechBlacksburgGraduate Certificate in Information Assurance

 

Online cybersecurity certifications in Virginia

There are also nine cybersecurity certification programs being provided by Virginia institutions via online access. These are listed below:

Cybersecurity Online Certification Programs in Virginia

SchoolCityProgram Website
James Madison UniversityHarrisonburgOnline Graduate Certificate in Cyber Intelligence
Lynchburg CollegeLynchburgGraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity
Northern Virginia Community CollegeAnnandaleCybersecurity Career Studies Certificate
Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkCyber Security Certificate
Regent UniversityVirginia BeachCertificate of Graduate Studies in Cybersecurity
University Of FairfaxRoanokeCybersecurity Best Practices (CBP) – CISSP Graduate Certificate
University of FairfaxRoanokeInformation Security Professional Practices (ISPP) Graduate Certificates
University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleCertificate in Cybersecurity Management
Virginia TechBlacksburgGraduate Certificate in Information Security and Analytics

 

Cybersecurity Jobs in Virginia

Virginia has one of the country’s largest concentrations of cybersecurity job openings. According to Cyberseek, the number of new information security job vacancies per capita is approximately five times the national average. Virginia employed 88,166 individuals in some area of cybersecurity from October 2018 to September 2019. During that time, there were just under 50,000 new information security job vacancies. The Alexandria area is by far the most active region in the state for cybersecurity recruiting, owing to its closeness to Washington, D.C. While overshadowed by the activity closer to the nation’s capital, Virginia Beach is seeing a surge in cybersecurity job vacancies, with over 5,000 new positions available. In addition, firms in Richmond, the state capital, advertised 2,800 information security job positions.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, security analysts in Virginia earned an average hourly wage of $53.74 and an average yearly pay of $111,780 in May 2018. It should come as no surprise that Virginia’s standard of living is much higher than the national average, particularly in the areas closest to Washington, D.C. The biggest cause is the high expense of housing.

Cybersecurity in Virginia

The fact that Virginia is located in the shadow of Washington, D.C. has proven to be a major benefit to the state’s economy, especially in the cybersecurity sector. But this isn’t the only reason Virginia has surpassed New York as the second-largest employer of cybersecurity professionals. Virginia is a pioneer in information security due to a multitude of huge international organisations and the state government’s significant support for cybersecurity courses and service providers.

More education, promotion of information security research, benefits for cybersecurity enterprises, and student support are all programmes that will ensure the state maintains its leadership position. And Virginia’s big military veteran population can count on getting whatever help they need to receive the education they need to break into the sector.

High income for cybersecurity specialists is offset by a high standard of living, particularly in terms of housing expenditures. Still, there are numerous reasons and benefits for those pursuing a career in cybersecurity to consider Virginia as a location to earn their degrees and work.