With a slew of corporations ready to fund cyber security education and research at the state’s colleges, Connecticut is a great place to earn a degree and enter the job pipeline. We’ll share our list of Connecticut schools with degree programs in cyber security. But first let’s explore research initiatives, online options, networking possibilities, and paths to employment.
Studying Cyber Security in Connecticut
Although multiple schools offer cyber security degree programs, University of Connecticut is the only one within the state to be recognized by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research. It’s definitely earned the designation:
- Since 2012, the Center for Hardware Assurance, Security and Engineering (CHASE Center) has been physically located in UConn’s new Information Technology Building. In that time, it’s won some major grants, including one from the U.S. Department of Defense worth $7.5 million to research security upgrades for nanoscale hardware. By garnering lucrative sponsorships from government agencies and corporations, CHASE provides embedded students with a chance to impress dozens of prospective employers.
- Given UConn’s reputation as a leader in hardware security research, the Storrs campus was a perfect location for the Comcast Center of Excellence for Security Innovation (CSI) back in 2014. CSI now hosts the annual CyberSEED conference and hackathon for college cyber security teams around the country.
- In late 2016, Synchrony Financial announced the creation of the Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity at UConn. The Stamford-based company pledged to give $2.2 million over five years to fund fellowships and scholarships for graduate-level researchers. Synchrony sees this as an opportunity to breed and recruit fresh talent to its ranks.
Online Cyber Security Programs in Connecticut
Connecticut’s online public college, Charter Oak State College, does much of the heavy lifting in terms of distance education. It’s where you’ll find online baccalaureate and certificate programs in cyber security, while University of New Haven, a private school, operates the lone graduate degree aimed at cyber security pros.
Distance learning options may expand in the future, so before committing yourself to one of these programs, search the Connecticut Office of Higher Education’s academic program catalog, which lists online options from all the state’s colleges. If you wish, you can go elsewhere to search exclusively for online programs within the Connecticut State College and University (CSCU) system.
Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Cyber Security
The BS in Cyber Security at Charter Oak State College is your prototypical baccalaureate in the discipline. The program attracts enrollees with previous exposure to computers who have their sights set on standard IT security positions.
Online Master’s Degrees in Cyber Security
University of New Haven’s online Master of Science in Investigations with a concentration in Forensic Computer Investigations exposes students to the dark web. Completing the yearlong MS should prepare graduates to pass the Digital Forensics Certification Board (DFCB) and Certified Cyber Crimes Investigator (CCCI) as well as certifications covering money laundering and financial crimes.
Online Certificate Programs in Cyber Security
Charter Oak’s BS in Cyber Security program can be sliced and diced into one of four certificates instead. The Cyber Security Fundamental Certificate, Security Strategies Application Certificate, Cyber Security Investigation Certificate and Technical Security Administration Certificate are all five to six courses long. Unlike entrants to the baccalaureate program, enrollees to one of these programs should already be working in the field and looking for specific coursework to improve job performance and/or strengthen career prospects.
Cyber Security Scholarships in Connecticut
We couldn’t find any institutional scholarships specifically for cyber security students. But individual colleges and departments within postsecondary institutions often have discretion over financial aid distribution, so they’re some of the first places to look for institutional awards. Here are a few examples of what you might find:
Western Connecticut State University
- Anthony & Julia Caraluzzi Family Scholarship: Once they have 30 credits, students opting for the Information Security Management concentration within the BBA in Management Information Systems program can compete against other continuing students at the Ancell School of Business for the Caraluzzi Scholarship. To qualify, they must have a 3.5 GPA and financial need.
- Hawley Family Endowed Scholarship: Incoming freshmen at the Ancell School of Business qualify for this award if they graduated from Danbury, Henry Abbott Tech or Immaculate High Schools with a 3.0 GPA and can show financial need.
- Morton Family Scholarship for Academic Excellence: Sophomores and juniors at the School of Business become eligible for the Morton Scholarship by earning a 3.3 GPA and receiving a faculty recommendation.
- Rizzo Family Endowed Scholarship: The Rizzo Scholarship also targets Danbury and Immaculate High School students entering the School of Business. Recipients must have a 2.8 GPA and financial need.
Cyber Security Events in Connecticut
Cyber Security Meetups & Communities in Connecticut
Several professional associations have planted chapters in the Constitution State. We highlight the most prominent dues-collecting organizations below as well as some free gatherings:
- Connecticut ISSA: ISSA, which stands for Information Systems Security Association, is a professional organization that welcomes student members. If you join the Connecticut chapter in Danbury, you’ll get access to networking events and occasional presentations from outside speakers.
- CT2600: Like 2600 groups across the country, the Newington-based version meets the first Friday of every month for discourse and demos on information security and hacking. Everyone is welcome.
- Hartford Cyber Security Meetup/OWASP: The cyber security pros and proteges in the Hartford chapter of the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) meet infrequently for presentations and conversations with local industry experts.
- ISACA Hartford Chapter: ISACA, which used to be called the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, is another professional organization accepting student members. The Hartford chapter meets roughly once a month for seminars led by experts from the private and academic sectors.
- (ISC)2 Southern Connecticut Chapter: Paying Connecticuter members of the International Information Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)2, meet quarterly in Shelton, where they discuss current trends and attacks and explore methods to respond to them.
Cyber Security Conferences & Workshops in Connecticut
While we recommend leveraging local groups for networking and learning opportunities, you should also participate in annual conferences because they can quickly connect you to thought leaders and innovations from outside your network. Here are five Connecticut events to sign up for:
- BSidesCT: BSides is a big annual event for the local cyber security community because it’s locally organized and executed, meaning you’ll find the experts next door instead of big-name keynote speakers. The daylong, low-cost event typically incorporates hour-long presentations alongside lightning talks and the occasional Capture the Flag competition.
- Connecticut Risk Management Conference: The UConn School of Business puts on this annual conference in Stamford, which isn’t exclusively dedicated to cyber security but increasingly incorporates long sessions on cyber risk.
- CyberSEED: UConn’s Center of Excellence for Security Innovation has been putting on CyberSEED since 2014. CyberSEED’s main draw is the cyber security challenges for college teams in Capture the Flag, social engineering and secure coding. But the two-day conference also pulls in impressive keynote speakers (e.g., the tech consultants for Mr. Robot) and coordinates expert panels.
- Hartford Tech-Security Conference: Although you can pay for access to sessions that provide continuing professional education credits, the main point of this free one-day event is to see what new products big companies have out. You’ll see this during sponsor presentations as well as at vendor booths.
- North East Annual Cybersecurity Summit (NEACS): NEACS is an exclusive three-day event for business managers and executives to collaborate with tech experts. By joining conference organizers ISACA or (ISC)2, you can attend the workshops, listen to any of the tracked panel discussions, and network with business leaders.
Cyber Security Jobs in Connecticut
Connecticut is in the middle of the pack for cyber security jobs nationally, seemingly stuck in New York’s sizable shadow. Yet innovators can be found here, such as NXT-ID in Oxford, which develops biometric security applications; Protegrity in Stamford, which focuses on enterprise security; and SecureRF in Shelton, which is trying to make the unwieldy Internet of Things more secure.
Furthermore, over a dozen Fortune 500 companies are located in Hartford, Stamford and elsewhere in CT, where they can get away from NYC’s hustle and bustle. Several of them hire security experts. Aircraft manufacturer United Technologies operates a research center out of its Hartford headquarters. Cigna, based in Bloomfield, regularly needs security experts to protect patients’ health data. And telecoms giant Charter Communications benefits from UConn’s hardware security expertise, relying on the school’s graduates to help reduce the vulnerability of its infrastructure.
Cyber Security Salaries in Connecticut
Earning a decent salary isn’t much of a problem for cyber security professionals in Connecticut. Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that even the lowest earners among information security analysts can count on upwards of $60K a year, 20 percent more than the national average. And although there’s less of a disparity among people in higher income brackets, median wages for Connecticuters are still a few thousand a year above the U.S. mark ($93,000 compared to $90,000).
Be careful when looking at these numbers because information security analyst is not a catch-all term for pros in the field. Indeed.com data show network security engineers earning between $105,000 and $110,000 while IT security specialists command $125,000 to $130,000. Both figures are at the national average or above, which is good considering Connecticut’s cost of living is 30 percent higher than the nation’s at large.
All Cyber Security Programs in Connecticut
Below are all the matching programs we found in our directory, from 9 Connecticut schools.
Sacred Heart University
Capital Community College
Charter Oak State College
|New Britain, Connecticut|
Norwalk Community College
Southern Connecticut State University
|New Haven, Connecticut|
University of Bridgeport
University of Connecticut
University of New Haven
|West Haven, Connecticut|
Western Connecticut State University