Online Cybersecurity Master’s Degree Available in Georgia

“Cybersecurity is no longer just a computer science problem for programmers; this is an issue that now touches every area of society. It involves new policy considerations, better initial product design, and more training for the professionals involved. We are doubling down to discover, connect, and solve modern cybersecurity threats.”

-Wenke Lee, a professor in Georgia Institute of Technology’s college of computing (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

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Home to the U.S. Army’s Cyber Command and Cyber Center of Excellence in Augusta and over 120 cybersecurity companies, Georgia is a hub of cybersecurity innovation.

Not only do you have the military and private sector information security efforts, there’s a thriving community of cybersecurity experts in the halls of higher learning here too. At Georgia State, criminologists are partnering with infosec professionals to undertake a two-year, $350,000 study funded by George Mason University’s Criminal Investigation and Network Analysis Center, to trace the digital ecosystem cybercriminals use. Diving into dark web cryptomarkets, the study will track both illicit goods and financial transactions to help law enforcement better understand the mechanisms of the nefarious activity that takes place there.

Between military, public and private sector, and academic demand, it’s a great time to be looking for cybersecurity jobs in Georgia. Cyberseek, an industry data tracking tool sponsored by NIST, showed more than 18,000 unfilled infosec positions in Georgia as of 2020, making it one of the hottest states in the country in the sector. And more than 15,000 of those positions are found in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell areas, one of the highest concentrations of such openings anywhere in the nation.

Tech industry recruiting firm Burning Glass Technologies finds that scenario is unlikely to change, either. In a 2019 report, they found the pipeline has basically jammed for qualified infosec applicants; the ratio of jobs to candidates available hasn’t budged since 2015. And that leads to skyrocketing salaries. Recruiting firm Robert Half found the starting salary, in the lowest 25thpercentile, for a data security analyst was still in the six figure range at $108,250.

Georgia in particular benefits from this dynamic, with recruiter Dice designating it as the sixth hottest technology job market in the nation in 2020. Well-trained cybersecurity specialists in Georgia have the opportunity to work in finance and banking, health care, retail chains, nonprofits, or tech startups, not to mention the countless cybersecurity firms here that contract with government and industry. In a booming cybersecurity landscape like this, there is no shortage of opportunities for master’s-prepared professionals.

Earning a Cybersecurity Master’s Degree or Graduate Certificate in Georgia

Georgia is home to National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated schools that offer cybersecurity master’s programs and post-bachelor certificates.

The NSA and DHS offer designations for two classifications of schools that confer advanced degrees in information security and cyber defense:

  • CAE-CDE – National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (qualifying colleges and universities offering bachelor’s, master’s, and graduate certificates)
  • CAE-R – National Centers 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)

The NSA and DHS also recognize several universities throughout the country that offer online cybersecurity master’s programs. Many professionals choose to pursue online degrees because of the variety of program options and the flexibility these programs provide. The online curriculum is made up of problem modules, virtual simulations of cyber threats and threat mitigation, and discussions among professors and students… not that different from a traditional program, only you can do all that in your pajamas.

In lieu of a master’s degree, IT professionals interested in gaining some advanced training may also pursue a post-bachelor’s certificate, or a cybersecurity bootcamp. Certificate programs are typically 15 credits long and focus on malware analysis, fundamentals of cyber systems, penetration testing, risk management, digital forensics, and big data analytics.

Standard Admissions Requirements for Cybersecurity Masters Programs

Cybersecurity graduate students are generally expected to have an undergraduate education related to information technology, high GRE scores, and prior knowledge of basic programming languages and applied mathematics.

Minimum requirements for admission can include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline
  • 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 lower than a 3.0 GPA in bachelor’s coursework, the school may require GRE scores.

Admission departments look for the following scores:

  • Verbal score of 150 or higher
  • Quantitative score of 155 or higher
  • Analytical score of 650 or higher

Core Course, Electives and Program Objectives

NSA and DHS designated cybersecurity programs follow a standard curriculum. While courses may vary slightly from program to program, core coursework will typically include:

  • Data Communications
  • Wireless and Computer Networks
  • Information Assurance
  • Distributed Systems
  • Server-Coded Computing
  • Algorithm Design Analysis
  • Computer Forensics

Elective topics may include the following:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Threat Management and Intel
  • Current Trends in Cybersecurity
  • Cloud Computing
  • Operating Systems Design

Graduates of cybersecurity master’s programs will have a thorough understanding of the technological building blocks that make up secure networks and systems. Through database management, system administration, and threat intel courses, graduates will learn about current trends in cybersecurity and their applications in real-world situations.

NSA and DHS Designated National Centers of Academic Excellence in Georgia

The following schools have met the rigorous criteria required to earn the NSA/DHS National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) designation for their master’s and post-bachelor’s certificate programs:

Middle Georgia State University

Armstrong State University

University of North Georgia

Augusta University, Cyber Institute

Columbus State University, Center for Cyber Defense Education

Kennesaw State University, Coles College of Business, Center for Information Security

Additionally, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Institute for Information Security and Privacy holds the esteemed NSA/DHS Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R) designation and offers:

Attending a Cybersecurity Bootcamp in Atlanta or Online to Prepare for a Master’s or a Career in Information Security

In addition to traditional educational venues, the cybersecurity bootcamp has emerged as a new option for students who want to get on the fast path to cybersecurity expertise.

Bootcamps are fast-paced, short-duration courses in extremely practical applications of cyber defense principles and common information security tools and methods. They are aimed at a variety of skill levels, capabilities, and specializations, from broad, entry-level perspectives, to extremely focused camps designed expressly to get you one of the many valuable industry certifications available.

While the original bootcamps were offered by commercial businesses, big name colleges have been getting in on the act recently, leveraging their expertise and resources to offer another learning opportunity. One example is through the Georgia Tech Cyber and Network Security Bootcamp in Atlanta and online. Get hands-on training in defensive and offensive cybersecurity, networking, systems, web technologies, and databases, and benefit from our CompTIA Partnership. Maintain your work or college schedule by studying part-time, only three days a week, with convenient evening and weekend hours.

Aimed at beginners, the six-month, part-time program starts off with a broad course of instruction in fundamentals such as Windows and Linux administration and web technology architecture before getting into specifics like:

  • Use of Wireshark and Metasploit tools
  • Packet analysis and router configuration
  • Cryptography tools
  • Digital forensics and vulnerability assessments
  • Penetration testing

By the end, you’ll have the right education to sit for the Certified Ethical Hacker and Security+ certifications, valuable credentials to get you in the door at any employer. A bootcamp can also help you demonstrate your skills and confidence to master’s program selection committees.

Opportunities Available to Master’s-Prepared Cybersecurity Analysts and Specialists in Georgia

With a cybersecurity job market that has done nothing but grow over the past two decades, every one of Georgia’s industries are in need of qualified cybersecurity teams to protect sensitive data and architect secure systems.

The following job opportunities are not meant to provide any assurance of employment. They represent the kind of employment opportunities that may be available to cybersecurity specialists in Georgia, and are shown for illustrative purposes only.

Senior Security EngineerEquifax in Alpharetta, GA


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline at minimum; master’s preferred
  • 3-5 years of experience in a cybersecurity position


  • Provide security systems engineering and architecture
  • Monitor and review systems events
  • Produce documentation for IT events

Cyber Threat Intel AnalystCoca Cola Company in Atlanta


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline at minimum; master’s preferred
  • CISSP certification preferred


  • Collect and analyze security intelligence data
  • Create communications and bulletins relevant to threats and exploit techniques
  • Develop use cases and identification frameworks

Senior Information Systems Security AnalystLockheed Martin in Marietta, GA


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline at minimum; master’s preferred
  • CISSP certification preferred


  • Evaluate IT security mechanisms
  • Conform processes to industry and government standards
  • Review auditing logs and monitoring tools
  • Interface with internal and external entities
  • Architect secure tools to protect networks and systems

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