Online Cybersecurity Master’s Degree Available in Indiana

“Online interaction is vital to nearly every aspect of our economy, including utilities and financial sectors. While risk can never be completely eliminated, Indiana will employ all available tools to manage cyber threats.”

– Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana (quoted by Government Technology, 2016).

Indiana’s cybersecurity sector has grown immensely over the past several years—according to a 2015 report by Burning Glass Technologies, the cybersecurity job market in Indiana grew by 139% from 2010-2014, and continues to show promising growth. In particular, state IT leaders are interested in strengthening the partnership between private businesses and government offices in order to share intel on emerging cyber threats.

Here’s how Indiana has shaped the state’s cybersecurity sphere in recent years:

  • In 2015, the Indiana Sharing and Analysis Center was created, a data-sharing pledge among government offices and educational institutions in the state, including the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and Indiana University (Government Technology, 2016).
  • In 2016, Indiana University received a 5-million-dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. The university is using the grant to fund improvements to the university’s Center of Trustworthy Scientific Cyber Infrastructure, a resource for local cybersecurity professionals as well as students.
  • In 2016, Indiana governor Mike Pence formed the Indiana Executive Council on Cybersecurity. The Council is an organization made up of 23 executives and is a partnership between government offices and private organizations, all working toward the common goal of keeping the state’s networks, electrical grid, and water sources safe. (Government Technology, 2016).

Indiana is home to several excellent educational options for cybersecurity professionals seeking advanced training. Most recently, in 2015, Indiana University earned its designations from NSA and DHS for the school’s cybersecurity programs. In addition, cybersecurity professionals in Indiana have the opportunity to work in many different industries, from retail to finance and banking to insurance and healthcare to government offices and military bases.

For instance, cybersecurity specialists in Indiana have the opportunity to work for companies such as Indiana-based cybersecurity firm Emerging Threat Pro LLC, which added 84 jobs to its firm in 2014. The company specializes in network-based malware threat detection. In addition, in 2014, 21 Indiana tech firms were listed on Inc. 5000’s fasted growing companies list. Indiana companies such as Rook Security, MMY Consulting, and TCC Software Solutions were included on the list.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indiana cybersecurity specialists can expect to make an average annual wage of $76,930. Master’s-prepared cybersecurity specialists are qualified to step into senior position within cybersecurity teams, and many master’s-prepared professionals earn a higher wage than their bachelor’s-prepared peers.

Earning a Cybersecurity Master’s Degree or Graduate Certificate in Indiana

Indiana is home to three National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated schools that offer cybersecurity master’s programs and post-bachelor certificates.

The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security offer designations specific to two classifications of schools that offer graduate programs in information security:

  • CAE-CDE – National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (qualifying colleges and universities offering bachelor’s, master’s, and graduate certificates)
  • CAE-R – National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (schools that participate in research initiatives and that integrate a strong research component into the curriculum of bachelor’s and graduate programs)

The NSA and DHS also recognize universities throughout the country that offer online cybersecurity master’s programs. Many cybersecurity professionals prefer online programs because of their flexibility and the variety of program options they make available.

Master’s programs are made up of about 30 credits, with 15 credits of core classes and 15 credits focusing on electives.

Cybersecurity professionals seeking graduate training may also choose to pursue a post-bachelor’s certificate in cybersecurity. Certificate programs are half the length of a master’s program at 15 credits, and can be completed in a year. These programs study the topics of network management and security, programming languages, malware analysis, fundamentals of cyber systems, penetration testing, and risk management.

Standard Admissions Requirements for Cybersecurity Master’s Programs

Applicants to cybersecurity master’s programs must be prepared with a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline such as computer science, computer engineering, or applied mathematics, as well as prior knowledge of basic programming languages and applied mathematics.

Admissions departments expect applicants to possess the following:

  • One year of calculus
  • One year of a mathematics course beyond calculus
  • A course in data structures
  • A course in Java or C++
  • A course in computer organization

If the applicant has less than a 3.0 GPA in bachelor’s coursework, the school may require GRE scores. Admissions departments look for verbal scores of 150 or higher, quantitative scores of 155 or higher, and analytical scores of 650 or higher.

Core Course, Electives and Program Objectives

NSA and DHS designated core coursework will typically include:

  • Network Management
  • Foundations of Information Security
  • Foundational Mathematics of Cybersecurity
  • Programming Language Design
  • Algorithms and Algorithm Analysis
  • Applied Cryptography

Elective topics may include:

  • Malware Epidemic: Threat and Defense
  • Big Data Applications and Analytics
  • Organizational Informatics and Economics of Security
  • Cloud Computing
  • Current Trends in Cybersecurity
  • Applied Machine Learning

Graduates of cybersecurity master’s programs will have a thorough understanding of the technological building blocks that make up secure networks and systems. Students will study database management and develop skills related to responding to evolving threats to network security. With an understanding of computer science concepts and their application to real-world situations, graduates will be prepared to tackle the challenges of maintaining strong defenses against cybercrime and intrusion.

NSA and DHS Designated National Centers of Academic Excellence in Indiana

As of 2016, the following schools have met the rigorous criteria required to earn the NSA/DHS National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) designation for their master’s and post-bachelor’s certificate programs:

Indiana University, Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research (Also holds the NSA/DHS National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R) designation.)

  • Master of Science in Security Informatics

Purdue University Calumet, Department of Computer Information Technology and Graphics

  • Master of Science in Information Security
  • Information Assurance Education Graduate Certificate

Additionally, Purdue University, Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security in West Lafayette holds the NSA/DHS Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R) designation and offers:

  • Master of Science in Computer Science Information Security
  • Master of Science in Information Security
  • Information Assurance Education Graduate Certificate

Opportunities Available to Master’s-Prepared Cybersecurity Analysts and Specialists in Indiana

Home to several fast-growing cybersecurity firms, Indiana’s strongest asset is its partnership between government authorities and private entities. The state has multiple opportunities for master’s-prepared professionals, who are qualified to seek senior roles in cybersecurity.

The following job opportunities, sourced in May 2016, are not meant to provide any assurance of employment. They represent the kind of employment opportunities that may be available to cybersecurity specialists in Indiana, and are shown for illustrative purposes only.

Cyber Security Engineer—Simon Property Group, Indianapolis

Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field required; master’s preferred
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in cybersecurity operations

Responsibilities:

  • Implement security best practices for in-house systems and client projects
  • Address threats and issues to networks and systems
  • Provide application support and build a secure infrastructure
  • Lead timely investigations into security breaches

Information Security Data Scientist—MISO, Caramel

Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Data Science, Applied Mathematics, or Information Security required; master’s preferred
  • Minimum of six years of relevant work experience

Responsibilities:

  • Work with security intelligence and provide analytics
  • Analyze log data and network behavior
  • Translate network telemetry
  • Provide a secure posture for systems
  • Identify and develop threat signatures

Cybersecurity Architect—Sallie Mae, Indianapolis

Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related technical area required; master’s preferred
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in IT/cybersecurity

Responsibilities:

  • Work with centralized log management to review security incidents
  • Provide advanced threat analytics solutions
  • Monitor and process event sources
  • Work with threat intelligence feeds
  • Analyze and provide improvements to existing security infrastructure

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