Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree in Virginia

Virginia was one of the early cybersecurity giants, and is still at the forefront of the cybersecurity industry. According to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), Virginia houses the highest number of information security analysts of any state, and has one of the largest concentrations of companies on the Cyber 500 list. Of the 2019 Washington Technology Top 100 federal contracting companies, 41 are headquartered within Virginia. Additionally, Virginia houses six of the companies ranked among the Cyber 150. These include:

  • Expel – Herndon
  • GuidePoint Security – VA
  • LookingGlass – Reston
  • ThreatQuotient – Reston
  • Telos- Ashburn
  • ThreatConnect- Arlington

Virginia’s close proximity to our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. is another boon to cybersecurity in the state. Many of the state’s graduates seek cyber jobs in D.C. and the surrounding Virginia and Maryland areas. Northern Virginia’s technology infrastructure has the highest density of dark fiber in the world.

On the political front, Virginia was the first state in the United States to adopt National Institutes of Standards and Technology Cyber Framework and to declare itself an Information Sharing and Assessment Organization. The state’s leaders continue to advance the state’s position through establishing policies related to cybersecurity and building an ecosystem allowing the cybersecurity industry to thrive.

There has never been a better time to join the cybersecurity industry in Virginia. If you are enticed by the possibilities of working in cybersecurity in the commonwealth, read on to discover how you can take your first step towards fulfilling that dream and secure a bachelor’s degree.

Cybersecurity in the News in Virginia

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and more people staying home and working from home, internet traffic has greatly increased. A computer science professor at the University of Virginia School of Engineering, Jack Davidson, recently noted that slowdowns and security breaches are more likely to occur with this increased usage. Davidson said that the concern and risk of cybersecurity attacks have also risen. DDOs, or Distributed Denial of Service attacks, can be used to prevent the public from accessing government sites that they need during these unprecedented times. More people are vulnerable to attacks during these times, he noted. They might be using new services with which they are unfamiliar, like online banking, and not know how to keep their information private. Those working from home might be working on personally owned equipment that does not have the same security controls as their work equipment. There are many issues to consider in cybersecurity in these new and uncertain times. Social distancing, unfortunately, will not help prevent the spread of digital viruses.

Virginia Cybersecurity Education

Your first stop along the road towards working in cybersecurity in Virginia is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. You can choose from a wide variety of acclaimed bachelor’s degree programs, any of which will lead you to become qualified for cybersecurity positions such as these that were recently advertised as vacant in Virginia:

  • Junior Cyber Security Analyst – SSI, Hampton
  • Cyber Vulnerability Scanner Analyst – First Information Technology Services, Arlington
  • Information Security Specialist- US Department of the Navy, Dahlgren
  • IT Cybersecurity Specialist – US Department of Homeland Security, Portsmouth
  • Cyber Security Engineer- Kajeet, Inc., McLean
  • Junior Network Security Analyst – Prince William County Service Authority, Woodbridge

What Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degrees Are Available in Virginia?

There is a myriad of bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity areas in Virginia, and they go by many names:

  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science- Concentration in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology – Data Networking & Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science- Cyber Security Track
  • Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies – Cyber Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering – Cybersecurity

What Courses Will I Take in a Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Program in Virginia?

Courses vary from one institution to the next, but usually include:

  • Database Fundamentals
  • Network and Telecommunication Concepts
  • Information Systems Security
  • Network Defense & Security
  • Network Server Administration
  • Computer Forensic Technology

Bachelor’s Degree Cybersecurity Programs in Virginia

The majority of bachelor’s degree cybersecurity programs are not accredited at the programmatic level, unlike graduate-level cybersecurity programs. There are exceptions which we will note in the next section. When choosing a bachelor’s degree cybersecurity program at any Virginia college or university, make sure that the school itself is accredited by an agency listed with 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 sponsored the  National Centers of Academic Excellence program since 1999. This program recognizes undergraduate and graduate cybersecurity degree programs as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) and Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO). To be listed as a CAE-CD, a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program must:

  • Display that its program engages in collaboration and outreach
  • Display development of students
  • Show how its cyber defense center was established and is maintained
  • Display multidisciplinary tendencies in the cyber defense program
  • Show cyber defense is practiced within the entire institution
  • Make sure cyber defense faculty is specially trained
  • Have a separate curriculum path for cyber defense

To be listed as a CAE-CO, a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program must:

  • Recognize cyber operations as a focus area or degree program
  • Have programmatic accreditation (advantage given to programs that are)
  • Show how cyber operations is interdisciplinary
  • Show faculty and student involvement in cyber operations research
  • Make sure its students engage in cyber service-learning
  • Make sure the institution supports its cyber operations program
  • Make sure that a minimum of two active faculty members are teaching cyber operations courses

Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education in Virginia

These Virginia cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs have been recognized as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE):

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2023

Keith Morneau, Ed.D., Chair

(703) 330-5300; kmorneau@ecpi.edu 

  • Hampton University – 

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems

–Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security- Computer Science Track

Information Assurance and Cybersecurity Center

130 William R. Harvey Way

Hampton, VA 23668

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2021

Dr. Chutima Boonthum-Denecke, Chair

(757) 727-5082; chutima.boonthum@hamptonu.edu

School of Business

1971 University Blvd.

Lynchburg, VA 24515

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2023

(434) 592-7321; schoolofbusiness@liberty.edu    

  • Marymount University

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology– specialties in Applied Cybersecurity, Networking & Cybersecurity

Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity  – accelerated degree

School of Business & Technology

2807 North Glebe Road

Arlington, VA 22207

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2020

Dr. Diane Murphy, Chair

(703) 284-5958; dmurphy@marymount.edu 

  • Norfolk State University

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology

Information Assurance Research & Education Development Institute

McDemmond Center for Applied Research, Suite MCAR 613

700 Park Ave.

Norfolk, VA 23504

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2020

Jonathan Graham, Director

(757) 823-0058; jmgraham@nsu.edu

  • Radford University

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science & Technology – Undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity

Bachelor of Science in Information Science & Systems – Undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity

Artis College of Science & Technology

Department of Information Technology

P.O. Bo 6933

Radford, VA 24142

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2021

AE Carter, Director

(540) 831-5381; aecarter@radford.edu

  • Regent University

Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity (online or on-campus)

Bachelor of Science in Cyber & Digital Forensics (online)

1000 Regent University Drive

Virginia Beach, VA 23464

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2023

Cheryl Beauchamp, Chair

(757) 352-4772; cherbea@regent.edu

  • University of Virginia

Bachelor of Arts/Science in Computer Science – Cybersecurity Focal Path

Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering – Cybersecurity Focal Path

School of Engineering & Applied Science, Dept. of Computer Science

Virginia Beach, VA 23464

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2023

Ahmed Ibrahim, Chair

(434) 924-8284; a.i@virginia.edu

(also ABET accredited – see below)

College of Engineering

601 W. Main St., Box 843068

Richmond, VA 23284-3068

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2024

Ahmed Ibrahim, Chair

(434) 924-8284; a.i@virginia.edu

Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations in Virginia

Two Virginia bachelor’s degree cybersecurity programs have received the honor of being named a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO):

Center for Cybersecurity Education & Research

1032 Visual Arts Bldg.

Norfolk, VA 23529

CAE- Cyber Operations- Accredited through 2024

(757) 683-5252; ccser@odu.edu 

(also ABET-accredited – see below)

Bradley Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

1185 Perry St., Room 453

Blacksburg, VA 24061

CAE- Cyber Operations- Accredited through 2022

(540) 231-6646

ABET-Accredited Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Virginia

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. of ABET has a Computing Accreditation Commission and an Engineering Accrediting Commission. ABET’s Engineering Accrediting Commission is the accrediting body recognizing the two programs listed below:

Volgenau School of Engineering

Nguyen Engineering Bldg., 2215

4400 University Drive, MS 4A6

Fairfax, VA 22030

Peggy Brouse, Chair

(703) 993-1502; pbrouse@gmu.edu

(also CAE-CO accredited – see above)

Bradley Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

1185 Perry St., Room 453

Blacksburg, VA 24061

(540) 231-6646

More Notable Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Virginia

Additional bachelor’s degree cybersecurity programs based in Virginia include:

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

2121 15th Street North

Arlington, VA 22201

(703) 892-5100; arlington@strayer.edu

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

7799 Leesburg Pike, Suite 200

Falls Church, VA 22043

(888) 635-1121; admissions@potomac.edu    

Computer systems analysts, of which cybersecurity is a part, are estimated to grow by 7090 new jobs through 2024 in Virginia, per the Virginia Employment Commission Economic Information and Analytics Division. These positions are generally attainable with a bachelor’s degree, and average a median annual wage of $96,800 in the state. It is clear that this is a great time to obtain your bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in Virginia and begin your journey towards becoming a cybersecurity professional.

Sources:

“ABET Approves Accreditation Criteria for Undergraduate Cybersecurity Programs.” ABET.org. 30 November 2018. Accessed 30 April 2020 at https://www.abet.org/abet-approves-accreditation-criteria-for-undergraduate-cybersecurity-programs/.

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

“Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations.” National Security Agency Central Security Service. https://www.nsa.gov/resources/students-educators/centers-academic-excellence/cae-co-centers/.

“High-Growth Occupations by Educational Attainment – Virginia Job Outlook Projected to 2024.”https://www.vec.virginia.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2024-Jobs-Outlook.pdf.

“Information Technology: Cybersecurity.” Virginia Economic Development Partnership. https://www.vedp.org/industry/cybersecurity.

“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.