Online Cybersecurity Master’s Degree Available in Hawaii

“With Hawaii’s strategic location in the Pacific, I am proud that technology firms… are partnering with the military to make a difference in our nation’s global cybersecurity needs. This is an outstanding investment.”

-US Senator Daniel K. Inouye (Referentia, 2011).

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Home to the U.S. Pacific Command, Hawaii has a unique partnership between government offices and private cybersecurity firms. For instance, Col. Reynold T. Hioki, ANG, is both the Hawaii Air National Guard’s top communications officer and Hawaii’s cybersecurity resiliency coordinator (Signal AFCEA, 2016). In 2015, the US Coast Guard, along with maritime and government agencies in Hawaii, participated in a simulated attack on its ports and maritime industry to prepare for defense.

Another top priority for Hawaii is the interest of training a new generation of cybersecurity experts. According to Signal AFCEA, in 2017, Hawaii is projected to have 16,000 more jobs requiring STEM skills than it has qualified workers. The University of Honolulu Community College has a Cybersecurity Center which offers resources to information security majors and holds boot camps for local high school students. Cyber Hui is another state resource, a “community of Hawaii cyber security professionals dedicated to sharing skills and knowledge with high school and college students” with the end goal of training new leaders in cybersecurity.

  • In 2011, Hawaii’s first cyber collaboration center was opened by Referentia Systems. The center focuses on cybersecurity initiatives and has the goal of advancing national critical infrastructures.
  • In 2013, the National Security Agency held the first Information Technology Day seminar in Hawaii at the NSA’s Regional Operations Center in Wahiawa, bringing together a panel of highly-trained experts in the field.
  • In 2013, the University of Hawaii Manoa held the first cyber games at their newly-opened cyber range. Also used by banks, private companies and utilities to train and test defenses.
  • The NSA launched GenCyber Hawaii in 2014, a free week-long cybersecurity summer camp for high school students at Honolulu Community College.

Hawaii cybersecurity specialists have the opportunity to work for innovative companies such as Referentia Systems in Honolulu, which works with the U.S. Pacific Command, the navy, and other agencies to develop defense strategies. Another Hawaii-based cybersecurity firm, Applied Computer Training & Technology, Inc., (ACTT) provides technology services and training. Cybersecurity specialists may also choose to work in government offices to protect Hawaii’s ports and digital resources.

A 2015 report by Burning Glass Technologies revealed that the cybersecurity job market in Hawaii grew by 39% from 2010-2014, and it continues to grow. In 2015, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average annual wage of information security specialists in Hawaii is $84,070. With a master’s degree, cybersecurity specialists are prepared to step into senior roles in the field and earn a higher wage than their bachelor’s-prepared peers.

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

Online cybersecurity master’s programs offer a variety of program options and the flexibility to complete coursework at the student’s pace. Composed of online problem modules, threat mitigation simulations, and discussions with students and professors through online forums, these programs are highly respected by employers nationwide.

Typically, a master’s program in cybersecurity would be made up of approximately 30 credits, with 15 credits of core classes and 15 credits focusing on electives.

Cybersecurity specialists seeking graduate training may also choose to pursue a post-bachelor’s certificate. About 15 credits long, these programs can be completed in a year. Professionals may choose to earn a certificate in order to study current operating systems and programming languages and prepare for relevant certifications.

Standard Admissions Requirements for Cybersecurity Master’s Programs

When applying to a cybersecurity master’s program, students should be prepared to show proof of academic accomplishments and prior knowledge of basic programming languages and database structures.

Most admissions departments will require:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline
  • One year of calculus
  • 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.

Admissions departments look for:

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

Core Course, Electives and Program Objectives

Core coursework within NSA and DHS designated programs will typically include:

  • Assurance in Cyberspace
  • Distributed Systems and Network Security
  • Computer Forensics
  • Cyber Policy and Ethics
  • Secure Systems Engineering
  • Cloud Computing

Elective topics may include:

  • Applied Cryptography
  • Cyber Wargame: Terrorism Threats
  • Threat Modeling and Intel
  • Current Trends in Cybersecurity

Graduates of cybersecurity master’s programs will be prepared to defend integral infrastructures from real and potential threats. Programs will place an emphasis on current operating systems, programming languages, systems engineering, and threat mitigation. Graduates will have gained hands-on experience working with big data and architecting secure systems. Graduates will be able to employ system protection techniques for web, mobile and critical infrastructures.

Cybersecurity Boot Camps Get You Primed for a Master’s and Ready for Entry-Level Work

Berkeley Cybersecurity Boot Camp – 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.

NSA and DHS Designated Centers of Academic Excellence in Hawaii

Jointly, the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offer designations for two classifications of schools that offer advanced degrees and research programs in cyber defense and information security:

  • 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)

As of  2016, the NSA and DHS have granted the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research the highly esteemed CAE/R designation for its contributions to research in the field. The university offers a Master of Science in Computer Science.

Additionally, Honolulu Community College—Honolulu holds the CEA/2Y designation for its Certificate of Achievement in Information Assurance and University of Hawaii West Oahu—Kapolei holds the CAE-CDE for its Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Security and Assurance (BAS-ISA).

Since Hawaii is home to so few designated schools with cybersecurity programs at the master’s level, infosec professionals in the state often chose to enroll in NSA and DHS designated online programs hosted by universities throughout the country.

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

Over the past several years, Hawaii has faced a shortage of qualified information technology professionals, leaving many open positions for cybersecurity analysts seeking employment. The Hawaii cybersecurity force is uniquely joined between the public and private sector, as many private cybersecurity firms and defense contractors partner with the government to protect Hawaii’s maritime industry. Master’s-prepared professionals can enter the job field with confidence.

The following job opportunities, sourced in June 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 Hawaii, and are shown here for illustrative purposes only.

Cyber Security Analyst—General Dynamics IT in Pearl Harbor, HI


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline required; master’s preferred
  • 2-5 years of related experience


  • Performs incident response
  • Coordinates with government agencies to share data
  • Monitors systems and provides review documentation
  • Evaluates firewall change requests
  • Ensures the integrity and protection of systems and networks

Cyber Security Analyst—OD Solutions LLC in Honolulu, HI


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline required; master’s preferred
  • Experience with DoD projects preferred
  • Minimum of three years’ management experience


  • Provides technical expertise and project management
  • Designs, implements, and maintains controls
  • Provides preventative, detective, and corrective controls
  • Architects secure systems and provides network defense

Computer Network Defense Analyst—NSA in Honolulu, HI


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline required; master’s preferred
  • Two years of relevant experience


  • Executes NSA mission by discovering and mitigating threats
  • Creates and shares situational awareness
  • Provides analysis of incident reports

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