Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree in South Dakota

South Dakota takes cybersecurity seriously. In fact, the state government has created a Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, and appointed a Chief Information Security Officer, Richard Craydon, to be in charge of cybersecurity in the state. The Bureau’s website includes training and educational information for the public on issues in cybersecurity such as preventing identity theft, connecting securely to Wi-Fi networks, and courses on DOD CyberAwareness and InfraGard Awareness Security. In addition, it provides information on South Dakota cybersecurity laws and policies, links to other resources and publications about cybersecurity, and the latest cybersecurity news.

The South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) notes that cybersecurity is becoming so important in South Dakota that the National Security Agency (NSA) has designated Dakota State University as  Center of Academic Excellence (more about that later in this article). According to the GOED, there are currently 32 cybersecurity companies within the state, employing 660 workers. The average annual salary for a cybersecurity employee in South Dakota is $95,980, well above the state average of $40,770 and the national average of $55,470.

Just a sampling of the cybersecurity companies in South Dakota are:

  • SBS CyberSecurity, LLC in Madison
  • Black Hills Information Security in Spearfish and Lead
  • TeamLogic IT in Sioux Falls
  • Per Mar Security Services in North Sioux City
  • Black Hills Patrol of Rapid City
  • High Point Networks, LLC in Sioux Falls

Becoming a cybersecurity professional in South Dakota begins with earning a bachelor’s degree. Keep reading to find out how you can get your bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and join these professionals in South Dakota.

Cybersecurity in the News in South Dakota

In December 2019, it was reported by Rapid City television network KOTA-TV that South Dakota’s state government computers had fallen victim to persistent attacks from North Korea. These hackers, it appears, were trying to gain access to the state’s government systems. Between 2017 and 2019, the station reported, there were 142 unsuccessful attempted hacks of South Dakota’s state network of computers. Officials in South Dakota government were alerted to the threat and said that, although the state could not discuss specific cases for security reasons, they were taking action. The state government credited the good work of the South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, Office of Homeland Security and others in discovering and preventing these attacks from succeeding.

Gaining Cybersecurity Education in South Dakota

Working in cybersecurity in South Dakota starts with getting the right education. A bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity is crucial to landing a good job in South Dakota. If you earn these credentials, you will be more likely to qualify for cybersecurity positions in the state, such as these recent vacancies:

  • Lead IT Security Engineer- Sanford Health, Sioux Falls
  • Network Engineer Professional – Midco, Sioux Falls
  • Information Security Architect – Black Hills Corporation, Rapid City
  • Information Systems Security Officer – P3S Corporation, Ellsworth AFB
  • Security Analyst – MetaBank, Sioux Falls

Courses in Bachelor’s Degree Cybersecurity Programs in South Dakota

Undergraduate degree programs in cybersecurity typically offer courses within their curriculum such as:

  • Web Application Programming I & II
  • Software Security
  • Data Structures
  • Assembly Language
  • Information Security Management
  • Networking I & II
  • Cellular and Mobile Communications
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Malware Analysis
  • Offensive and Defensive Network Security

Undergraduate Cybersecurity Degree Programs in South Dakota

Undergraduate-level cybersecurity degree programs usually are not accredited at the program level.  We will be discussing programs below that have received special accreditation. The school where you choose to study cybersecurity, however, should be accredited regionally by an accreditation agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE)

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began the  National Centers of Academic Excellence program in 1999. This is a program that recognizes undergraduate and graduate cybersecurity degrees as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) and Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO).

In order to be recognized as a CAE-CD program, its housing institution must:

  • Demonstrate program collaboration and outreach
  • Demonstrate student development
  • Show the establishment and maintenance of a cyber defense center
  • Demonstrate multidisciplinary tendencies in their cyber defense program
  • Show how cyber defense is practiced within the institution
  • Use specially trained cyber defense faculty
  • Display a cyber defense student curriculum path

To be recognized as a CAE-CO program, a housing institution must:

  • Cover the correct academic content
  • Offer a cyber operations focus area or degree
  • Have programmatic accreditation (not necessary, but recommended)
  • Show that its cyber operations program is interdisciplinary
  • Show a robust cyber operations program
  • Offer research and have cyber operations faculty and students involved
  • Offer cyber service learning opportunities for students
  • Commit to supporting the cyber operations program
  • Maintain at least two specially trained cyber operations faculty members teaching CO courses

South Dakota Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education

One South Dakota cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program has earned the right to be called a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE):

(also CAE-CO accredited – see below)

The Beacom College of Computer & Cyber Sciences

820 N. Washington Ave.

Madison, SD 57042

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2022

(888) DSU-9988

Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) in South Dakota

One cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program in South Dakota has earned the credentials of Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO):

(also CAE-CD accredited – see above)

The Beacom College of Computer & Cyber Sciences

820 N. Washington Ave.

Madison, SD 57042

CAE- Cyber Operations- Accredited through 2022

(888) DSU-9988

More Reputable Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Programs in South Dakota

There is one additional bachelor’s degree cybersecurity program in South Dakota worth mentioning, also hosted at Dakota State University but not a CAE-CD or CAE-CO program:

The Beacom College of Computer & Cyber Sciences

820 N. Washington Ave.

Madison, SD 57042

(888) DSU-9988

Jobs in the computer and mathematical fields in South Dakota are projected to grow by a whopping 11.07 percent between 2016 and 2026, per the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation. This amazing growth rate is just one reason that it makes sense to get your bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in South Dakota. The higher than average earnings potential is another valid reason. The main reason that you should pursue a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in South Dakota, however, is that the field interests and challenges you. Whether you choose to work in the public or private sectors, or become a cybersecurity consultant, there will be many opportunities available for cybersecurity professionals in South Dakota both now and in the future.