New Hampshire’s technological sphere has boomed in the past several years—from 2010 to 2014, Burning Glass Technologies reported an incredible job growth of 134% in the state’s cybersecurity field. And according to Cybersecurity U, New Hampshire expects to see “professional, scientific and technical services” continue to grow through 2020, setting the stage for master’s-prepared cybersecurity specialists in New Hampshire to architect new secure systems for local companies and government offices.
Here’s what has been happening in New Hampshire’s cybersecurity field:
- In 2015, the New Hampshire Business Review held Tech Talk NH, a cybersecurity conference that features cybersecurity experts talking about technology in the workplace, best practices in cybersecurity, and new techniques of threat mitigation.
- In 2015, according to New Hampshire Public Radio, New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte backed a cybersecurity measure aiming to provide better protection for government networks. The bill’s purpose was to implement cybersecurity best practices within government systems.
- In May 2016, New Hampshire Business Review held an Executive Series on Cybersecurity, an educational forum that addresses cyber threats and security issues through a panel of cyber experts.
New Hampshire is full of opportunities for cybersecurity specialists. With the potential to work in almost every industry throughout the state, from IT firms to insurance and healthcare to finance and banking to large retail chains, master’s-prepared cybersecurity experts are in an excellent place to seek employment. With a master’s degree, cybersecurity specialists in the state are qualified to step into senior positions within cybersecurity teams and earn a higher wage than their bachelor’s-prepared peers.
New Hampshire cybersecurity specialists have the opportunity to work for large corporations, but many small companies and start-ups in the state are hiring cybersecurity professionals, too. In 2016, The New Hampshire Business Review quoted Jeff Bardin, chief intelligence officer of Treadstone 71, a Massachusetts-based cybersecurity firm, saying that 50% of small businesses think they’re too small to be the target of cyberattacks, but 40% of cyber-attacks are aimed at companies with 500 or less employees.
New Hampshire is also home to an international cyber security firm, Red Sky Alliance and Wapack Labs. According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, in 2014 the alliance had 35 Fortune 500 companies in its network, providing plenty of opportunity for cybersecurity analysts in the state seeking jobs. And according to a 2015 report by the US Bureau of Labor statistics, information security analysts in New Hampshire can expect to make an average annual wage of $97,520, which is on the higher end of national average wages for cybersecurity specialists and analysts.
Earning a Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity in New Hampshire
Graduates of a cybersecurity master’s program will be prepared to encounter the ever-changing threats to network and system security. Graduates will be well-versed in data structures, applied statistics, cloud computing, and programming. In addition, graduates will be prepared to architect secure systems and monitor security threats to those systems. Graduates will be able to provide threat intel and research and provide proactive defense strategies to their employers and clients.
As of May 2016, New Hampshire does not have any National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated schools that offer cybersecurity master’s programs. However, many universities offering online graduate programs hold a relevant NSA/DHS designation.
Jointly, the NSA and DHS offer designations for two classifications of schools that offer graduate programs:
- CAE-CDE – National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (qualifying colleges and universities offering bachelor’s, master’s, and graduate certificates)
- CAE-R – National Center 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)
Many professionals prefer online programs because of their flexibility. Master’s programs through designated schools are typically made up of 30 credits, with 15 credits of core classes and 15 credits of electives. Students complete courses online and have the opportunity to watch filmed lectures, interact with professors and students through online forums, and complete virtual cybersecurity simulations.
Some NSA and DHS designated schools also offer post-bachelor’s certificates, another type of post-graduate training for IT professionals hoping to gain current certifications. Students learn about networks and programming languages and study current trends in cybersecurity. About half the course load of a master’s program, a 15 credit certificate program will focus on network management and security, foundations of information security, computer and cyber forensics, and crisis, disaster, and risk management.
Standard Admissions Requirements for Cybersecurity Master’s Programs
Applicants to cybersecurity master’s programs must be prepared with a background in cybersecurity, high GRE scores, and knowledge of fundamental concepts such as applied mathematics, data structures, and programming languages.
Minimum requirements for cybersecurity master’s programs include:
- Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline (including computer science, computer engineering, or information security)
- One year of calculus and 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. Admission departments look for the following scores:
- Verbal scores of 150 or higher
- Quantitative scores of 155 or higher
- Analytical scores of 650 or higher
Core Course and Electives
NSA and DHS designated schools conform to a standard curriculum. While coursework may vary slightly, core curriculum will typically include these topics:
- Cyberspace and Cybersecurity
- Human Aspects in Cybersecurity: Ethics, Legal Issues and Psychology
- Prevention and Protection Strategies in Cybersecurity
- Monitoring, Auditing, Intrusion Detection, Intrusion Prevention, and Penetration Testing
- Cyber Crime Investigation and Digital Forensics
Most master’s programs require 15 credits of electives. Elective topics may include:
- Cyber Warfare and Terrorism
- Threat Intel and Management
- Applied Cryptography
- Cloud Computing
Opportunities Available to Master’s-Prepared Cybersecurity Analysts and Specialists in New Hampshire
With a booming cybersecurity job market that grew 134% from 2010-2014, cybersecurity analysts and specialists seeking employment in New Hampshire are in an optimal position. Professionals with cybersecurity master’s degrees are highly sought after in the workforce, and may seek employment within large corporations, small start-ups, nonprofits, IT firms, or defense contractors.
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 New Hampshire, and are shown for illustrative purposes only.
System Security and Exploitation Engineer—Siege Technologies in Manchester
- Master’s degree in a related discipline
- Ability to acquire DoD security clearance
- Builds software and demo hacks to test defense strategies
- Uses emerging tools such as AFL, Unicorn, and UML
- Builds custom kernels and custom kernel drivers
- Develops software and monitors security threats
- Provides threat mitigation when necessary
Spelunk Security Engineer—Guide Point Security in Nashua
- Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline at minimum; master’s preferred
- 3-5 years of hands on experience in information security
- Drives security focused deployments of Spelunk
- Understands clients’ security posture and needs
- Assists clients in defense security
- Creates innovative solutions for security
Information Security Analyst—Centripetal Networks in Portsmouth, NH
- Bachelor’s degree in a related field at minimum; master’s preferred
- 3 or more years of experience
- Performs incident investigation, threat analysis, and executive reporting
- Identifies workflow of events that affect security procedures
- Provides cyber forensics, penetration testing, and reporting