Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree in Illinois

Seculore Solutions, an information security company from Maryland, has compiled a database of cyberattacks on Illinois’ infrastructure. This includes public safety, government, medical and education.

For example, on June 2, 2020, the Chicago Police Department in Cook County was the victim of a cyberattack, with police communications hacked. The group, Anonymous, claimed responsibility for this attack. On three separate occasions in February 2020, the La Salle County Government Systems were attacked, affecting computers at the courthouse and other government agencies. The Carle Foundation Hospital in Champaign County was the victim of a phishing scam on September 14, 2019. Columbia College in Cook County fell victim to malware on June 2, 2020.

When you look at the sheer number of cyberattacks in a state, all compiled on one website, the amount of breaches can seem almost impossible to comprehend. Cybersecurity professionals in Illinois work every day to prevent cyberattacks such as these and to better educate the public about cyber awareness, cyber hygiene and protection. The State of Illinois Cybersecurity Strategy for 2017-19 lays out the government’s plan to foster collaboration among state agencies, maximize the value of taxpayer resources, and allow state agencies to provide better service to residents.

More can still be done, however, to safeguard the personal and private information of Illinois’ citizens, medical institutions, educational institutions, government agencies, and businesses. If you are interested in working within this challenging, exciting field, your first step is to get a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. Read on to discover the steps you should take to do so.

Cybersecurity in the News in Illinois

In May 2020, an Illinois plaintiff was told by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that she had enough standing to sue in federal court for a violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), even though she was not harmed by the violation of the act. The BIPA regulates how a person’s biometric identifiers/information can be collected, used and retained. This includes retinal scans, fingerprints and face scans. The plaintiff in the Illinois case had provided a fingerprint scan to create an account with her work cafeteria’s vending machine, owned by a company called Compass. The plaintiff said that Compass had not made a retention schedule and guidelines about her fingerprint publicly available and had not obtained her informed consent. The court’s decision means that the plaintiff can take her case to federal court. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in court, and what it means for the future of BIPA, the ways that companies collect and store biometric information, and the consent, or lack thereof, of persons providing that information.

Illinois Cybersecurity Undergraduate Education

Bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity will help you to become eligible to apply for the following Illinois positions:

  • Special Agent: Cybersecurity/Technology – Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield
  • Information Technology Specialist/Cyber Security – US Department of Energy, Chicago
  • Cyber Intel Analyst – Lockheed Martin, Scott AFB
  • Cyber Security Analyst – University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Cyber Security Specialist – US Railroad Retirement Board, Chicago
  • Information Systems Security Specialist Associate – AT&T, Collinsville
  • Information Security Analyst – First American Bank, Elk Grove Village
  • Cyber Security Specialist – Trace Systems, Rock Island
  • Information Security Analyst – Northwestern University, Evanston
  • Cybersecurity Incident Response Analyst – Mars, Chicago

Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Titles in Illinois

Bachelor’s degree programs in cybersecurity in Illinois include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Applied Cybersecurity and Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Cyber and Information Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer and Cybersecurity Engineering

Illinois Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Programs

Most bachelor’s degree cybersecurity programs are not programmatically accredited. The universities and colleges that house them are accredited by regional accreditation agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). A few exceptions to this rule, i.e., bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity programs holding special program accreditation in Illinois, are listed below.

Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE)

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognizes outstanding cybersecurity degree programs in the U.S. through the National Centers of Academic Excellence. These Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) can be found all across the country, including within Illinois.

Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education in Illinois

These Illinois bachelor’s degree cybersecurity programs are Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD):

  • DePaul University –

Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity (hybrid)

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Physical Systems Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Network Engineering & Security

College of Computing & Digital Media

243 South Wabash Ave.

Chicago, IL 60604

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2021

Jacob Furst, Contact

(312) 362-5158;

  • Illinois Institute of Technology –

Bachelor of Science in Applied Cybersecurity and Information Technology

Bachelor of Science in Computer and Cybersecurity Engineering

College of Computing, Dept. of Information Technology & Management

10 West 35th Street

Chicago, IL 60616

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2020

Maurice E. Dawson, Director, Center for Cyber Security & Forensics Education

(312) 567-5242;

School of Information Technology, College of Applied Science & Technology

Normal, IL 61790-5150

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2020

(309) 438-8338

College of Aviation, Science & Technology, School of Computer Science

One University Parkway

Romeoville, IL 60446-2200

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2021

(815) 838-0500

College of Arts & Sciences, Center for Cyber and Information Security

430 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago, IL 60605

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2023

Eric G. Berkowitz, Director of Cyber Security Program

(847) 619-8532; 

Department of Computer Science

One University Plaza

Springfield, IL 62703-5407

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2020

Dr. Svlatoslav Braynov, Dept. Head

(217) 206-8245;

Illinois CAE-Cyber Defense Education Program Curriculum

CAE-CD programs must include certain courses, or “Required Knowledge Units,” in order to maintain designation. These courses must cover the following information:

  • Cybersecurity Foundations
  • Cybersecurity Principles
  • IT Systems Components
  • Basic Cryptography
  • Basic Networking
  • Basic Scripting and Programming
  • Network Defense
  • Operating Systems Concepts
  • Cyber Threats
  • Cybersecurity Planning and Management
  • Policy, Legal, Ethics, and Compliance
  • Security Program Management
  • Security Risk Analysis

Illinois Cybersecurity Certifications

Professional certifications are highly recommended in Illinois once you have obtained a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. These will help to make you much more viable in the job market. Popular ones that cybersecurity professionals in Illinois commonly pursue include:

  • ISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
  • CompTIA PenTest+
  • SSCCP (Systems Security Certified Practitioner)
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA CASP+
  • CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)
  • CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor)

Cybersecurity Employment Projections for Illinois

According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, job opportunities for information security analysts across Illinois are projected to increase by 22.89 percent from 2016 through 2026, rising from 4400 in 2016 to a total of 5407 in 2026.  Per Cyberseek, Illinois ranks among the best states to get a job in information technology security in 2020. In 2019, an estimate conducted by Illinois Public Media projected that there were 11,000 cybersecurity jobs available in the Chicago area alone. Clearly, getting a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity is a great idea if you are looking for a challenging, stable and well-paying position in information technology in Illinois.