Could there be a more exciting place to begin a career in cybersecurity than in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.? Not only are there scores of cybersecurity jobs available with the government, there are also many cybersecurity companies working within the private sector. Networking in D.C. is efficient and can also help you to obtain more opportunities, both within and outside of the District. Just to prove that point, here are a few of the national and international cybersecurity professional organizations that have chapters in D.C.:
- Security Innovation Network
- Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology
- International Association of Privacy Professionals
In addition to professional networking and government agencies, there are, as mentioned above, a wide variety of private sector cybersecurity products and service corporations within the District of Columbia area that offer career opportunities for cybersecurity professionals. They include:
- LookingGlass Cyber Solutions – Reston, VA
- Endgame – Arlington, VA
- IronNet Cybersecurity- Fulton, MD
- Expel – Washington, D.C.
When you set out to start a career in cybersecurity, the first step along your journey towards that goal is to get an undergraduate degree – most likely, a bachelor’s degree. Coursework within a bachelor’s in cybersecurity program varies, but usually includes titles like the following:
- Introduction to Data Communications and Networking
- Foundations of Cybersecurity
- Cyber Law
- Network Security Management
- Survey of Operating Systems
- Computer Systems Technology
Concentrations and specializations abound within a bachelor’s in cybersecurity degree programs in D.C. as well. Some of the ones that are typically available to students include:
- Government contract management
- Healthcare management
- Information management
- International business management
If you are interested in starting a career in cybersecurity in the District of Columbia area, keep reading for more information on obtaining a bachelor’s degree!
Cybersecurity in District of Columbia
The D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer (Lindsey Parker) publishes tips online to instruct the public on what they should and should not do when shopping online, in order to protect themselves and their data. They note that online shoppers SHOULD:
- Check with your parents, if you are a minor, before shopping online
- Check refund policies of internet merchants
- Check shipping fees before placing any orders
- Make sure that your computer is updated with the latest anti-virus software
- Print and save the receipt, or confirmation page, after placing an order
- Remember that once you have placed an order online, you are legally committed to making that purchase
Parker’s office lists the following things that online shoppers SHOULD NOT DO:
- Don’t share passwords with anyone
- Don’t wait for paper statements – check credit cards and bank statements regularly to find suspicious activity
- Don’t respond to unsolicited email or pop up ads
- Don’t provide merchants with personal information like your birth date, social security number, mother’s maiden name
- Don’t get taken in by emails offering cheap deals that seem too good to be true
- Don’t use your debit card online to make purchases- it’s much easier to reverse a fraudulent charge on a credit card than a debit card
Obtaining an Education in Cybersecurity in the District of Columbia
Your first step in getting an education in cybersecurity in the District of Columbia area is to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Although there are fewer choices within the District, you might also seek out education in nearby Virginia and Maryland. Titles of undergraduate cybersecurity degrees in the area vary and might include:
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Concentration in Cybersecurity
- Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Policy
- Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
- Bachelor of Science in Cyber Analytics
Internships for Bachelor’s Degree Cybersecurity Programs in District of Columbia
There are many opportunities for you to complete an internship while you are getting your undergraduate degree in cybersecurity in the District of Columbia. Its unique placement as our nation’s capital makes it home to government agencies and departments, many of which employ cybersecurity experts. Some examples of potential internships in cybersecurity in the District of Columbia area include (but are not limited to):
- Center on Cyber and Technological Innovation Internship – Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Washington, D.C.
- IRS IT Specialist Security Recent Graduate Program – US Department of Treasury, Washington, D.C.
- Security Administration/Information Security Internship – Network for Good, Washington, D.C.
- Cybersecurity Internship Program – Homeland Security Department, Washington, D.C.
- IT Security Analyst Intern – AARP, Washington, D.C.
- Intern, Technology Policy Program – Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C.
- Intern, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau – Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C.
- Intern, Cyber Security – TISTA Science and Technology Corporation, Rockville, MD
District of Columbia Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degrees
Accreditation for cybersecurity programs at the undergraduate level usually does not exist (except for rare cases like those noted below). Unfortunately, District of Columbia does not house many bachelor’s degree programs in cybersecurity. Their institutions prefer to focus, instead, on graduate education. You can, however, check out the great undergraduate cybersecurity programs in neighboring Virginia (link to VA page?) and Maryland (link to MD page?), too. Whatever program you choose, make sure that the institution housing it is regionally accredited by an agency of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE)
The National Centers of Academic Excellence program was created in 1999 by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This program recognizes cybersecurity undergraduate and graduate degree programs as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) and Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO).
District of Columbia Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education
There is just one Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) in the District of Columbia:
- George Washington University – Bachelor of Arts/Science in Computer Science/Master of Science in Cybersecurity (5-year program)
School of Engineering and Applied Science
800 22nd St. NW, Suite 2500
Washington, D.C. 20052
CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2021
(202) 994-1802; engineeringA@gwu.edu
More Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Programs in District of Columbia
Another notable bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity in Washington, D.C. is:
- University of the Potomac – Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity & Policy (online)
Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
1401 H St. NW, Suite 100
Washington, D.C. 20005
(888) 635-1121; email@example.com
Cybersecurity Certifications in District of Columbia
In addition to receiving an education in cybersecurity in the District of Columbia, there are a variety of certifications that you can achieve that will boost your viability in the job market. Just a sampling of the certifications that many cybersecurity professionals attain include:
- CompTIA Security – Security+, CySA+, CASP
- CertNexus – CFR, CyberSAFE
- (ISC)2 Info Security Training – CAP, CISSP, ISSMP, ISSAP, ISSEP
- EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker – CEH, CHFI, LPT, ECSA
- Blockchain Training Alliance– CBBF, CBSA, CBSP
- itSM Solutions – NIST Cybersecurity Framework Training
The future of cybersecurity in the District of Columbia looks very bright. According to the District of Columbia’s Office of Labor Market Research and Information, computer systems analysts (which is how most cybersecurity jobs are classified) are one of the hot jobs in high demand with the district through 2024. It is projected that the number of jobs available within this occupation will grow by 1036 from 2014 to 2024, and the average starting salary, with just a bachelor’s degree, in D.C. is $98,708. If you elect to pursue a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in D.C., the sky’s the limit!