Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree in Iowa

At its June 2019 meeting, Iowa’s Board of Regents discussed making a change to the state’s graduate programs in information assurance. While they are currently known as master’s degree programs in information assurance, the change is being made to titling them master’s degree programs in cybersecurity. This small change is thought to better reflect the changing nature of the field and the importance of ensuring the safety and security of information and systems.

Iowa is working hard to promote cybersecurity education, and not just at the post-secondary level. Des Moines Public Schools recently launched a Registered Apprenticeship program in cybersecurity. Des Moines Public Schools Central Campus is the first high school in Iowa to earn the title of a “High Quality Registered Apprenticeship” site. The apprenticeship also comes with dual enrollment at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), with the chance to earn up to 40 college credits at no additional cost prior to high school graduation. This program is aligned with DMACC’s cybersecurity associate’s degree program, which is transferrable into Iowa State University’s bachelor’s in cybersecurity program. Additionally, participants in the apprenticeship can earn professional certifications such as A+ and CompTIA.

Government and educational leaders of Iowa seem to recognize the importance of cybersecurity awareness and education during this important time. By offering educational opportunities to younger students, they are paving the way for a well-trained, educated cybersecurity workforce for the state in the future. If you would like to be a part of this workforce, getting a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity can greatly help you achieve your goal. Please keep reading to discover how to get started.

Cybersecurity in the News in Iowa

On June 12, 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that a researcher within the University of Iowa’s Computer Science department, Zubair Shafiq, was part of a team that was receiving a $10 million grant. This grant is just a small part of NSF’s Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program, supporting cybersecurity research. The project that Shafiq’s team is working on is entitled, “ProperData: Protecting Personal Data Flow on the Internet.”

Directors at the NSF note that cybersecurity is one of the most significant national security and economic challenges currently facing our country. By investing in foundational research, NSF hopes to help to secure national interests, financial assets and personal privacy. Shafiq and his team will work and collaborate with investigators from IMDEA Networks Institute in Madrid; Northeastern University; University of California Irvine; and University of Southern California.

Undergraduate Education in Cybersecurity in Iowa

With just a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, you can apply for many positions in Iowa, such as the following recently advertised vacancies:

  • Information Systems Security Specialist – ChildServe, Johnston
  • IT Specialist- Information Security – United States Department of Defense, Gruver
  • Security Analyst – Kingland Systems, Ames and Clear Lake
  • Cyber Security Incident Responder – Wells Fargo Bank, Bevington
  • Network Security Analyst Server Associate – Linn County
  • IT Security Analyst I – Kum & Go, Des Moines
  • IT Security Analyst – Collabera, Johnston
  • Information Security Engineer – MATRIX Resources, Des Moines
  • Cybersecurity/IT Auditor – Secure Guard Consulting, Waukee
  • Information Security Analyst – Iowa State University Foundation, Ames

What Are Some Cybersecurity Undergraduate Degrees in Iowa?

In Iowa, titles of bachelor’s cybersecurity degrees include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with Minor in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Arts in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Forensics & Cybersecurity

Iowa Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degrees

When choosing a bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity, make sure that the college or university housing the program is accredited by a regional accreditation agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE)

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has established a program to recognize outstanding cybersecurity degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the U.S. as National Centers of Academic Excellence. Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) can be found nationwide.

Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education in Iowa

One Iowa bachelor’s degree cybersecurity programs has been named as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD):

  • Iowa State University –

Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with Minor in Cybersecurity

Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering with Minor in Cybersecurity

Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems with Minor in Cybersecurity

Information Assurance Center

371 Durham Hall

Ames, IA 50011-1046

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2021

Doug Jacobson, Chair, Information Assurance Center

(515) 294-8307; dougj@iastate.edu

Other Iowa Bachelor’s Level Cybersecurity Programs

There are more bachelor’s level cybersecurity programs in Iowa, such as:

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Computer and Information Sciences

Ambrose Hall 429

518 W. Locust St.

Davenport, IA 52803

Kevin Lillis, Ph.D., Chairperson

(563) 333-6429; LillisKevinM@sau.edu

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Computer Studies & Mathematics

2000 University Avenue

Dubuque, IA 52001

(563) 589-3000

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

106 S. 6th St.

Forest City, IA 50436

(877) 267-2157

Iowa Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Program Coursework

Although classes will differ from one university to the next, in an Iowa bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity program, you can expect to find courses like:

  • Foundations of Computer Science
  • Networks and Data Communications
  • Script Programming
  • Computer Forensics
  • Computer and Network Security
  • Network Forensics
  • Discrete Structures
  • Network Operating Systems

Iowa Cybersecurity Certifications

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, professional certifications are very valuable to have. They will make you more marketable in Iowa’s workforce. Some of the most popular cybersecurity certifications in Iowa include:

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
  • A+
  • Network+
  • Security+
  • Microsoft Technology Associate
  • Ethical Hacking Associate
  • Cyber Forensics Associate

Cybersecurity Employment Projections for Iowa

According to Iowa Workforce Development, there were 1470 information security analysts employed statewide in 2016. By 2026, it is projected that there will be 1975 information security analysts employed across Iowa. This represents a growth of 3.4 percent per year, much faster than the 0.8 percent average overall statewide growth rate for all occupations. Now is the perfect time to join Iowa’s cybersecurity workforce, and the best way to do so is by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity!

Sources:

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

“Computer science researcher Zubair Shafiq part of $10 million NSF cybersecurity grant.” College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Iowa. 12 June 2020. Accessed 25 June 2020 at https://clas.uiowa.edu/news/computer-science-researcher-zubair-shafiq-part-10-million-nsf-cybersecurity-grant.

“Iowa Sector Connect – Information Technology Group Call Notes.” Iowa Sector Partnerships. 19 December 2019. Accessed 25 June 2020 at https://www.educateiowa.gov/sites/files/ed/documents/IowaSectorConnect%20-%20Information%20Technology%20Group%20Call%20Notes%20%2819dec17%29.pdf.

“ISU Cyber Security Programs Get an Upgrade.” Board of Regents, State of Iowa. June 2019. Accessed 24 June 2020 at https://www.iowaregents.edu/news/newsletter/board-of-regents-news/june-2019-meeting-preview/isu-cyber-security-programs-get-an-upgrade.

“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.

“Occupational Projections.” Iowa Workforce Development. https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/occupational-projections.