Your Guide to Selecting a School for Cybersecurity Degrees in Illinois

degree in cybersecurity

This guide examines how Illinois compares to other states in terms of cybersecurity education and job opportunities after graduation. Illinois is home to the world’s fourth-most-important business hub, and the cybersecurity environment is rapidly evolving. All of this growth would undoubtedly necessitate the hiring of new cybersecurity experts in both the private and public sectors.

Cybersecurity development in Illinois

Illinois is both an urban and rural state, with the third-largest city in the country (Chicago) and a thriving economy centered on a variety of industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, banking, and finance. In reality, many Fortune 500 companies have offices in Chicago or elsewhere and need cybersecurity specialists.

Boeing, United Airlines, State Farm, and Allstate, for example, all have major operations in Illinois and need top-tier cybersecurity to protect customer data from hackers. This is particularly true for the last two names, as insurance is Illinois’ largest industry.

Over the last decade, this has resulted in a 164 percent increase in cybersecurity work postings, comfortably making Illinois one of the fastest-growing states in this field. Part of the reason for this is that Illinois is working on a new cybersecurity plan. This state-mandated policy entails providing grants to universities as well as developing collaborations with private and public sector cybersecurity firms and businesses.

The Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology has taken measures to protect the state’s and citizens’ digital protection.

Cybersecurity education in Illinois

While there is a lot of cybersecurity development going on in Illinois right now, the bulk of it is focused on the state’s universities and schools, which are responsible for the majority of the state’s cybersecurity research and host the majority of its conferences. As a result, Illinois offers a diverse range of cybersecurity education opportunities.


Campus-based cybersecurity associate degrees in Illinois

For those with no prior experience in computer science or cybersecurity, associate degrees are a great place to start. They usually introduce cybersecurity as a philosophy with a large number of foundational computer science courses, but these are not enough to secure a job in the cybersecurity field on their own. They are, however, excellent stepping stones to a bachelor’s degree or higher in cybersecurity.

There are currently no online associate’s degree programs in cybersecurity offered by universities in Illinois. Instead, you can enroll in one of six on-campus associate cybersecurity programs:

SchoolCityProgram Website
College of DuPageGlen EllynAssociate in Applied Science in Cybersecurity and Defense
John A Logan CollegeCartervilleAssociate in Applied Science in Computer Forensics
John A Logan CollegeCartervilleAssociate in Applied Science in Cyber Security/Information Assurance
Lincoln Land Community CollegeSpringfieldAssociate in Applied Science in Computer Systems – Networking Track
McHenry County CollegeCrystal Lake, IllinoisNetwork Security AAS
Rock Valley CollegeRockfordData Assurance & IT Security Degree



Campus cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees in Illinois

Bachelor’s degrees are the next move up from associate’s degrees, and they usually have a wider focus on cybersecurity topics as well as more advanced courses. With a bachelor’s degree, you may get a position in cybersecurity, however, many people go on to graduate school for better job opportunities or managerial responsibilities.

There are five on-campus bachelor’s degree programs in Illinois, two of which are offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This is noteworthy because it is frequently regarded as one of the best cybersecurity schools in the world, particularly because it utilizes the Illinois Cybersecurity Scholars Program. This curriculum prioritizes students who want to learn cybersecurity and may be able to help with financial aid if they need help paying for college.


SchoolCityProgram Website
Loyola University ChicagoChicagoBS in Cybersecurity
Northeastern Illinois UniversityChicagoBachelor of Science in Computer Science – Computer Networks and Security concentration
Roosevelt UniversityChicagoBachelor of Science in Cyber and Information Security
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaign, IllinoisBachelor of Science in Computer Engineering – Illinois Cyber Security Scholars Program
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignBachelor of Science in Computer Science (Engineering) – Illinois Cyber Security Scholars Program
University of Illinois, SpringfieldSpringfieldInformation Systems Security Bachelor’s Degree


Online Bachelor’s Degrees

With a BS in Information Systems Security, the University of Illinois at Springfield offers an outstanding online bachelor’s degree program. Both candidates must have two semesters of Java programming experience, but it offers a comprehensive education on the nuts and bolts of cybersecurity.

A BS in Information Systems Technologies is also offered at Southern Illinois University, with a focus on network and information security. Although it is not a cybersecurity degree, it covers many of the same subjects and gives you a strong background in computer science, allowing you to pursue a variety of career paths.

Purdue University’s Global University online education programs are renowned for their rigor and academic excellence, making them an excellent choice. They give a BS in Cybersecurity with no prerequisites, making them a top option for students who know exactly what they want to do with their lives.


Campus-based cybersecurity master’s degrees in Illinois

Master’s degrees are a step up from bachelor’s degrees. These programs are typically very intensive, focusing much more on basic cybersecurity principles, and they frequently allow for specialization and research-oriented career placement.

The University of Illinois offers four master’s degrees in cybersecurity:


Online master’s degrees

Lewis University also provides an MSIS with a cybersecurity focus that is a virtual version of their on-campus curriculum. This outstanding degree choice is ideal for aspiring or working cybersecurity professionals.

DePaul University offers a master’s degree in computer, information, and network security, and it’s one of the few schools that doesn’t require applicants to have a technical background. Instead, the program’s beginner courses will help non-tech students catch up to other students in the program, but this could mean taking longer to complete the program and hiring someone with cybersecurity experience.

Purdue University offers a master’s program in cybersecurity management to students who have completed their online bachelor’s degree. This curriculum blends many IT courses with the content covered in other cybersecurity degree programs.

Finally, Northwestern’s MSIS program enables students to specialize in information systems security and is a good option for those who do not have an IT or computer science background. This curriculum, like Purdue’s, includes many management classes, making it a good option for potential cybersecurity administrators.

SchoolCityProgram Website
DePaul UniversityChicagoMaster of Science in Cybersecurity
Lewis UniversityRomeovilleOnline Master of Science in Computer Science – Cyber Security Concentration
Loyola University ChicagoChicagoMS in Information Technology with a Concentration in Information Assurance
Northwestern UniversityEvanstonOnline Masters in Information Systems – Information Systems Security Specialization
Purdue University GlobalChicagoMaster of Science in Cybersecurity Management



Campus-based cybersecurity certificate programs in Illinois

Certificates aren’t specifically needed for employment in the cybersecurity sector. However, they do indicate specific cybersecurity, programming languages, or operations skills, which can make you a more appealing employee or enable you to hold roles that are not directly related to your profession (as a forensic cybersecurity specialist, for example).

Throughout Illinois’ colleges, there are 11 on-campus credential options. Other universities only offer one credential, so Rock Valley College is a good place to get several certificates from the same institution.

SchoolCityProgram Website
College of DuPageGlen EllynCertificate in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense
Eastern Illinois UniversityCharlestonTechnology Security graduate certificate program
Illinois State UniversityNormalInformation Assurance and Security Graduate Certificate
Joliet Junior CollegeJolietComputer Information Systems Computer and Network Security Specialist, Certificate of Achievement
Lincoln Land Community CollegeSpringfieldCertificate of Achievement in Computer Administration – Networking Track
McHenry County CollegeCrystal LakeCyber Security Certificate
Moraine Valley Community CollegePalos HillsIT Security Specialist Certificate
Rock Valley CollegeRockfordCisco CCNA Security/3776 Certificate
Rock Valley CollegeRockfordCisco CCNP Security/3777 Certificate
Shawnee Community CollegeUllinCyber Security and Computer Forensics Certificate
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUndergraduate Certificate in Global Security


Online Certificate Programs

There are a total of seven online credential options available from Illinois universities, three of which are offered by the Illinois Institute of Technology, and they are available at various levels of education. Purdue University is another great option, but all of their qualifications are post-baccalaureate.

SchoolCityProgram Website
Elmshurst UniversityElmshurstCertificate in Cyber Security
Illinois Institute of TechnologyChicagoCertificate in Information Security and Assurance
Illinois Institute of TechnologyChicagoMaster Certificate in Cyber Security Management
Illinois Institute of TechnologyChicagoMaster Certificate in Cyber Security Technologies
Purdue Community GlobalChicagoComputer Forensics Postbaccalaureate Certificate
Purdue Community GlobalChicagoInformation Security Postbaccalaureate Certificate
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignComputer Security Certificate


Cybersecurity jobs in Illinois

We may use to see how well the cybersecurity industry is doing in Illinois.

Currently, there are 40,299 cybersecurity professionals working, and 17,753 cybersecurity job openings. This results in a 2.3 supply/demand ratio for cybersecurity jobs, compared to a national average of 2.0. Simply put, there is plenty of potential and demand in this state for new cybersecurity jobs.

The job diversity is also impressive, with titles ranging from entry-level cybersecurity analysts and researchers to systems engineers, cybersecurity managers, and administrators.

In Illinois, the average hourly wage for cybersecurity employees is $47.42, translating to a yearly income of $98,640. Given that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median income for many IT jobs is only $86,000, working in cybersecurity in Illinois can be very profitable.

What is the maximum amount of money that you can spend? On a scale of one to one hundred, Illinois has a lower cost of living than the rest of the nation, with a score of 93.4. This ensures that even though you live in Chicago, every dollar you receive from your cybersecurity job will go further.

Illinois and Cybersecurity

Overall, Illinois is an excellent state for those interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity. There are a plethora of high-quality educational options accessible, as well as a plethora of high-status companies in which to seek jobs after you’ve earned your degree and related certificates.

Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.