“Our state’s interconnectivity is one of our strengths, and it’s increasingly a threat. Cybersecurity attacks continue to rise here and across our nation.”
– New Jersey governor Chris Christie in 2016 (quoted by Government Technology).
Over the past several years, in the wake of cyber breaches in the government and in big name companies like Target and Sony, New Jersey has taken measures to bolster its existing cyber security systems. The result is a cybersecurity job force that has grown 80% from 2010 to 2014 (Burning Glass Technologies, 2015). Impressively, 12 New Jersey cybersecurity companies made it to Cybersecurity Venture’s top 500 list in 2015, a list of the most innovative cybersecurity firms across the world. New Jersey information security analysts also enjoy one of the highest average salaries in the country, with a 2015 US Bureau Labor Statistics report putting the average annual wage of information security analysts in the state at $109,940.
Here’s what’s been going on in New Jersey’s cybersecurity sphere:
- In 2015, New Jersey opened the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC), a unit within the state’s regional command center. The unit detects potential threats such as bad software (Government Technology, 2015).
- In 2016, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities mandated that the state’s electric, natural gas, and water/waste water utilities must develop a cybersecurity program to protect the utility grid in the state by identifying and mitigating risk.
Cybersecurity specialists and analysts in New Jersey have the opportunity to work for government offices, start-ups, nonprofits, or large corporate chains. Nearly every industry, from the IT and tech sphere to the finance and banking industry to insurance and healthcare have the need for qualified cybersecurity professionals to architect secure systems and protect the integrity of big data and networks storing clients’ private information.
New Jersey has set itself apart as a leader in the tech industry. Cybersecurity Venture’s 2015 “Cybersecurity 500” list included 12 New Jersey companies, including AT&T Security Solution, StrikeForce Technologies, Enforcive, Rsam, Tufin, STEALTHbits Technologies, Portnox, Radware, Prevalent Networks, Comodo, Cyberoam, and BlackStratus. These companies are ranked extremely highly on the number of problems they’ve solved, customer satisfaction, feedback from chief information security officers, company growth, and notable, innovative implementations (NJBiz, 2015).
With so many opportunities for employment throughout the cybersecurity sphere, cybersecurity professionals in New Jersey seeking a master’s degree can be assured that they are stepping into a field which has been growing steadily over the past several years and shows potential to continue growing.
Earning a Master’s Degree or Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity in New Jersey
Graduates of cybersecurity master’s programs will be prepared for the challenges of the field with a firm understanding of computer and network security, cryptographic protocols, Linux operating systems, and cloud computing. In addition, graduates will be able to architect secure systems, provide intrusion detection, and assure the security of IP communications.
New Jersey is home to several National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated universities that offer cybersecurity master’s programs and post-bachelor certificates.
Together, the NSA and DHS offer two designations for schools that offer graduate programs in cyber defense and information security:
- CAE-CDE – National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (qualifying colleges and universities offering bachelor’s, master’s, and graduate certificates)
- CAE-R – National Center 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 universities throughout the country that offer online cybersecurity master’s programs. Many cybersecurity professionals prefer online programs because of their flexibility and the variety of program options.
Master’s programs through NSA/DHS designated schools are generally made up of 30 credits, with 15 credits of core classes and 15 credits focusing on electives.
In lieu of a master’s degree, cybersecurity professionals desiring to gain more advanced training may also pursue a post-bachelor’s certificate. Typically made up of 15 credits, a certificate program will focus on network security and management, threat intel and mitigation, and cyber forensics.
Standard Admissions Requirements for Cybersecurity Master’s Programs
In order to apply to a cybersecurity master’s program, students must be prepared with an excellent education history, high GRE scores, and prior knowledge of basic programming languages and applied mathematics.
Minimum requirements 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 less than a 3.0 GPA in bachelor’s coursework, the school may require GRE scores. Admissions departments look for the following scores:
- Verbal scores of 150 or higher
- Quantitative scores of 155 or higher
- Analytical scores of 650 or higher
Core Course and Electives
NSA and DHS designated programs follow a standard curriculum. Core coursework will typically include:
- Cryptography and Security
- Security and Privacy in Computer Systems
- Network Protocols Security
- Counter Hacking Techniques
- Internet and Higher-Layer Protocols
- Network Management and Security
Elective topics may include:
- Distributed Systems
- Data Mining
- Cloud Computing
- Digital Watermarking
- Software Design and Production Methodology
- Linux Kernel Programming
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NSA and DHS Designated National Centers of Academic Excellence in New Jersey
As of 2018, 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:
New Jersey City University, Department of Professional Security Studies
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Center for Information Assurance (Also holds the NSA/DHS National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R) designation.)
- Master of Business and Science, sub-concentration in Cybersecurity (Professional Science Master’s Degree combined with graduate science courses in a particular concentration)
Farleigh Dickinson University, Center for Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
- Master of Administrative Science with a specialization in Computer Security and Forensic Administration
- MBA with a specialization in Information Systems
New Jersey Institute of Technology, Department of Information Technology
Stevens Institute of Technology, Computer Science Department (Also holds the NSA/DHS National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R) designation.)
- Master of Science in Cybersecurity
- Master of Science in Enterprise Security and Risk Management
- Cybersecurity Graduate Certificate
- Secure Network Systems Design Graduate Certificate
Additionally, the following schools hold the NSA/DHS National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research (CAE-R) designation:
Princeton University, Security and Privacy Research Group
Opportunities Available to Master’s-Prepared Cybersecurity Analysts and Specialists in New Hampshire
With a booming cybersecurity job market, New Hampshire is an excellent place for cybersecurity specialists seeking jobs. Master’s-prepared cybersecurity specialists in the state have the potential to earn a higher wage than bachelor’s-prepared peers and step into senior positions within cybersecurity teams.
The following job opportunities, sourced in May 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 New Hampshire, and are shown for illustrative purposes only.
Senior Security Operations Center Analyst—Realogy Holdings Corporation in Madison
- Bachelor’s degree in a related field
- 5 or more years of experience in network security
- Monitors and responds to security events
- Reviews reports and provides security incident management
- Analyzes security operation center functions and upgrades systems
- Performs advanced persistent threat correlation
Security Consultant—Apex Systems in Princeton
- Bachelor’s degree in a related field required; master’s preferred
- 5 or more years of experience in information security
- Interprets portal data and acts as a security advisor to clients
- Understands clients’ security strategies and goals
- Provides information security project management
- Provides reporting and monitoring to client
Information Security Analyst—Telcordia Technologies, Inc. in Piscataway
- Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline required; master’s preferred
- Minimum of two years in information security
- Works with confidential information to maintain documented procedures
- Performs application vulnerability assessments across the company
- Monitors IT security, incident response, and potential breach activities
- Develops test scripts and procedures