Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree in Washington

A recent report by the Office of the Washington State Auditor discovered that local governments in Washington realize the importance of cybersecurity but need more tools and instruction in order to address concerns. These local governments lack the necessary trained information technology staff as well as dedicated cybersecurity staff. Local governments have asked Washington’s state government for resources that can help them in their cybersecurity endeavors to protect their assets and networks.

Washington contains a conglomeration of IT companies and is at the forefront of the national efforts to ramp up cybersecurity. In 2017, Washington joined a multi-state compact created by the National Governors Association that supports nationwide cybersecurity efforts. This compact requires signatories to commit to building a state cybersecurity governing body, preparing and defending the state against cyber threats, and growing the cybersecurity workforce across the nation. Washington was the first state that found a role for its National Guard in cybersecurity planning and identifying vulnerabilities in the state’s networks.

The state is also well-known for its excellence in information technology education, and, in particular, cybersecurity education. Community colleges across the state offer certificates and associate’s degrees in cybersecurity. Colleges and universities also offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in cybersecurity.

Washington has remained ahead of the curve when it comes to cybersecurity. If you would like to join in their important endeavors and efforts and become a cybersecurity professional in Washington, your first step is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Read on to discover the steps you need to take in order to work in Washington’s cybersecurity field.

Cybersecurity in Washington’s Government

The state’s office of cybersecurity is the WaTech Office of Cybersecurity (OCS). It governs Washington state’s cybersecurity policy and protects the state government from cyber threats. OCS detects, blocks and responds to cyberattacks on all state networks. Additionally, it is responsible for preventing and mitigating threats before they cause problems. The state’s Chief Information Security Officer, Vinod Brahmapuram, establishes and leads the strategic direction of cybersecurity for the state of Washington. Critical alerts and vulnerabilities are posted on the state’s website as they occur.

Professional Cybersecurity Positions in Washington

Positions in Washington that may be attainable with a bachelor’s in cybersecurity include:

  • Cyber Security Analyst II- Microsoft, Redmond
  • IT Specialist (Information Security)- US Navy, Bangor
  • IT Specialist (Information Security)- US Department of Defense, Everett
  • Cybersecurity Program Manager- Starbucks Coffee Company, Seattle
  • IT Cyber Security Specialist- US Department of Homeland Security, Seattle
  • Cyber Threat Intelligence Specialist – Amazon, Seattle
  • IT Security Officer- Pierce County
  • Information Security Analyst – Network Security – Costco Wholesale, Seattle
  • Cyber Security Engineer- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland
  • Information Security Analyst- Network Security – Costco, Issaquah

Washington Cybersecurity Undergraduate Degree Programs

If you want to choose a bachelor’s program in cybersecurity in Washington, the first thing you must do is make sure that the school you attend is accredited. Look for institutions that hold regional accreditation through an agency that is listed with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Bachelor’s Degree Cybersecurity Programs in Washington

Some of the bachelor’s in cybersecurity degree programs throughout Washington include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity & Information Assurance
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice- Cyber Forensic Investigation Emphasis
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering- Cybersecurity Emphasis
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Cyber Security
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in IT Cybersecurity and Networking
  • Bachelor of Science in Informatics – Information Assurance & Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity

Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and National Security Agency (NSA) set up the National Centers of Academic Excellence program to give recognition to the best cybersecurity degree programs in the nation.    

Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education in Washington

Washington state has a number of Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD), including:

  • City University of Seattle –

Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance (online)

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Cyber Forensic Investigation Emphasis (online and hybrid)

521 Wall St., Suite 100

Seattle, WA 98121

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2024

(888) 422-4898

Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering

185 E. Stevens Way NE
Seattle, WA 98195-2350

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2022

Dr. Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, Chair

(206) 240-0345; endicott@uw.edu

Other Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Degree Programs in Washington

More cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs in Washington include:

Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

2600 N. 20th Ave.

Pasco, WA 99301

(509) 544-2262; cs@columbiabasin.edu

Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

12401 SE 320th St.

Auburn, WA 98092

(253) 833-9111

Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Information School

Box 352840

Mary Gates Hall, Ste. 370

Seattle, WA 98195-2840

(206) 685-9937

Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Dept. of Computer Science

516 High Street

Bellingham, WA 98225

Mary Hall, Contact

(360) 650-2401; Mary.Hall@wwu.edu

Cybersecurity Courses in a Washington Bachelor’s Degree Program

While coursework will vary from one cybersecurity degree program to the next, topics will remain similar among colleges and universities. In Washington, classes that you will likely encounter in a bachelor’s in cybersecurity degree program include:

  • Computer Systems
  • Database Concepts
  • Secure Software Development
  • Computer Security
  • Operating System Concepts
  • Policy, Compliance & Risk
  • Cyber Privacy, Ethics & Abuse
  • Data Networking
  • Computer System Administration
  • Computer Forensics
  • Advanced Network System Security
  • Software Reverse Engineering
  • Cryptographic Techniques
  • Penetration Testing

Washington Cybersecurity Certifications

Besides obtaining a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, you should strongly consider pursuing some professional cybersecurity certifications. These can help to make you even more marketable in Washington’s cybersecurity job arena. Popular certifications for cybersecurity in Washington include:

  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Network Defender (CND)
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)
  • EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA)

Occupational Projections for Cybersecurity Positions in Washington

Information Security Analysts are among the hot jobs in Washington state, according to the Employment Security Department. They are among the occupations that are currently in the highest demand statewide. But what about future projections? Although no one can accurately predict what the future will look like for any given occupation, they can make accurate projections. Jobs for information security analysts in Washington state are projected to increase by 3.5 percent each year from 2017 to 2027. In the Pacific Mountain region, they are projected to increase even more, by 4.17 percent annually. Likewise, in Seattle-King County, projected increases are greater, at 4.56 percent.  What does this mean for you, if you obtain a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in Washington? It means that your job security should be all but guaranteed well into the next decade.

Sources:

“About Us.” WaTech State Office of Cybersecurity. https://cybersecurity.wa.gov/about-us.

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

“Local governments in Washington know the importance of cybersecurity, but need tools to address concerns.” Office of the Washington State Auditor, The Audit Connection Blog. 18 December 2019. Accessed 22 July 2020 at https://sao.wa.gov/local-governments-in-washington-know-the-importance-of-cybersecurity-but-need-tools-to-address-concerns/.

“Occupations.” Employment Security Department, Washington State. https://esd.wa.gov/labormarketinfo/learn-about-an-occupation#/search.

“Washington joins multi-state effort to ramp up cybersecurity.” Medium.com. 14 July 2017. Accessed 22 July 2020 at https://medium.com/wagovernor/washington-joins-multi-state-effort-to-ramp-up-cybersecurity-bdde926855e.