Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree in Arkansas

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management works with the State of Arkansas Cyber Security Office, Department of Homeland Security, and Federal Bureau of Investigation to report, alert and notify governmental agencies of cyber events that have occurred or are expected to occur. Arkansas is home to many companies and agencies that are affected by cyberattack. State government agencies in Arkansas that may be vulnerable to such attacks include (but are not limited to):

  • Arkansas Attorney General’s Office
  • Arkansas State Treasurer
  • Arkansas State Highway Commission
  • Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration

Fortune 500 companies in Arkansas may also be attractive targets to cyber attackers. They include:

  • Walmart of Bentonville
  • Tyson Foods of Springdale
  • Murphy USA of El Dorado
  • J.B. Hunt Transport Services of Lowell
  • Dillard’s of Little Rock
  • Windstream Holdings of Little Rock

Arkansas is home to well-recognized colleges and universities at which students may obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees in cybersecurity. Working in cybersecurity in Arkansas is recommended for anyone who is interested in the protection and maintenance of sensitive information, as well as helping government agencies, big business, small business, and academic institutions to continue to function effectively. If you would like to get started on a career in cybersecurity in Arkansas, getting a bachelor’s degree is your first step. Read on to discover what you need to do to get a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in Arkansas.

Arkansas’s Cybersecurity Law Updates

In 2019, Arkansas’s Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law Senate Bill 632, authorizing the state’s Economic Development Commission to create a Cyber Initiative. The Cyber Initiative is to be responsible for mitigating risks of cyberattacks in Arkansas, increasing cyber education relating to defense and threats, giving the private and public sectors threat assessment and cyber intelligence, and encouraging development and growth in the technology and cyber defense fields.  Additionally, this initiative created a cyber-alliance of partnerships between colleges, universities, government agencies and private businesses to increase knowledge and awareness of cyber risks and threats.

That same year, the governor signed Act 1030, the Personal Information Protection Act, and included biometric data as protected data. It defined biometric data as data generated by an individual’s biological characteristics, like retinal scan, fingerprints, hand geometry, face prints, voiceprints, and DNA. If a breach affects more than 1000 Arkansas citizens, the business that had its information breached must notify the state Attorney general as well as the affected individuals within 45 days. Security breach reports must be retained by businesses for five years

Undergraduate Cybersecurity Degree in Arkansas

The first step towards getting a cybersecurity job in Arkansas is to earn a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. Then, you will be eligible for positions statewide, such as:

  • IT Cyber Security Analyst – Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Little Rock
  • Cyber Security Analyst – Arkansas Center for Data Services, Little Rock
  • Information Security Operations – Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, North Little Rock
  • Cybersecurity Advisor- US Department of Homeland Security, Little Rock
  • Cybersecurity Software Engineer- Boeing, England
  • Security Specialist, US Department of Defense, Jacksonville
  • IT Specialist, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Fayetteville
  • Senior Cybersecurity Solutions Architect- M&T Bank, Jonesboro
  • Information Security Analyst – University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Cybersecurity Undergraduate Degree Titles in Arkansas

Titles of undergraduate cybersecurity degrees in Arkansas include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science- Minor in Information Assurance
  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science- Privacy and Cyber Security Option
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology – Concentration in Cyber Systems

Arkansas Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree

The majority of undergraduate cybersecurity degree programs are not programmatically accredited. Their colleges and universities, however, are accredited by regional accreditation agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). A few programmatically accredited bachelor in cybersecurity programs in Arkansas are listed below.

Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE)

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created the National Centers of Academic Excellence program to formally recognize the best undergraduate cybersecurity degree programs in the United States. These programs are designated as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD).

Arkansas Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education

There is one Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD) for undergraduate education within Arkansas:

Also Accredited by the ABET Computing Accreditation Commission

Department of Computer Science

2801 South University Ave.

Little Rock, AR 72204

CAE-Cyber Defense Education – Accredited through 2021

(501) 916-3130; csdept@ualr.edu

Arkansas Undergraduate Cybersecurity Degree Programs

Some more undergraduate cybersecurity degrees you can earn in Arkansas include:

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

College of Engineering & Applied Sciences

215 West O Street

Russellville, AR 72801

(844) 804-2628

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Department of Mathematics & Computer Science, College of Science & Engineering

100 E. University

Magnolia, AR 71753-5000

(870) 235-4000

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

5210 Grand Ave.

Fort Smith, AR 72913-3649

Kelly Vongnarath, Advising Coordinator

(479) 788-7129; Kelly.Vongnarath@uafs.edu

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

201 Donaghey Ave.

Conway, AR 72035

(501) 450-5000

Arkansas Cybersecurity Undergraduate Courses

As an undergraduate studying cybersecurity at a college or university in Arkansas, you will take courses with names such as the following:

  • Computer Science I & II
  • Intro to Cybersecurity
  • Data Structures
  • Networking
  • Cryptography/Number Theory
  • Cyber Law and Policy
  • Database Systems
  • Computer Forensics
  • Managing Systems and Technology
  • Business Intelligence
  • Principles of Information Security
  • Network Security
  • Ethical Hacking

Cybersecurity Certifications in Arkansas

In addition to getting your bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in Arkansas, you should also consider pursuing professional certifications. These can help you to be eligible for even more great cybersecurity jobs statewide. Common certifications in Arkansas include (but are not limited to):

  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
  • Comp TIA Security+
  • SSCP (Systems Security Certified Practitioner)
  • CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)

Employment Projections for Cybersecurity in Arkansas

According to Comparitech, Arkansas had the best five-year increase in average annual salary of cybersecurity professionals from 2013 to 2018, rising 41.69 percent. The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services projects that jobs for computer systems analysts (the closest occupational title they have to cybersecurity analyst) will increase in Arkansas by 15.48 percent from 2017 through 2026. It seems that cybersecurity professionals in Arkansas can expect a bright future for many years to come.

Sources:

“Arkansas Division of Emergency Management.” https://adem.arkansas.gov/cyber-security.

Bischoff, Paul. “2019 US Cybersecurity salary & employment study – which state has the best prospects?” Comparitech. 9 October 2019. Accessed 17 June 2020 at https://www.comparitech.com/blog/vpn-privacy/cybersecurity-employment-study/.

CAE Institution Map. https://www.caecommunity.org/content/cae-institution-map.

Erkel, Steven and Kaeley Brown. “Legislative roundup: New laws passed in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Maryland that revise cyber security measures.” Alston & Bird Privacy & Cybersecurity Blog. 24 May 2019. Accessed 17 June 2020 at https://www.alstonprivacy.com/legislative-roundup-new-laws-passed-in-arkansas-oklahoma-and-maryland-that-revise-cyber-security-measures/.

Hale, Tyler. “Six Arkansas Companies Named to Fortune 500.” Arkansas Money & Politics. 17 May 2019. Accessed 17 June 2020 at https://armoneyandpolitics.com/six-arkansas-fortune-500/#:~:text=Six%20Arkansas%20companies%20have%20been,to%20the%20top%20500%20companies.

“National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) Designation Program Guidance.” https://www.iad.gov/NIETP/documents/Requirements/CAE-CD_Program_Guidance_2020.pdf.

Ropek, Lucas. “Aggressive initiative to shore up cybersecurity in Arkansas.” Government Technology. 17 May 2019. Accessed 17 June 2020 at https://www.govtech.com/security/Aggressive-Initiative-to-Shore-Up-Cybersecurity-in-Arkansas.html.

“State of Arkansas Long-Term Employment Projections, 2016-2026.” Arkansas Division of Workforce Services. http://www.discover.arkansas.gov/Labor-Market-News/ArticleID/208/State-of-Arkansas-Long-Term-Employment-Projections-2016-2026.