If the Cornhusker State is where you want to earn a cyber security degree, we can help you make it happen. See our full list of degrees and certificates in Nebraska, or continue reading to learn about cyber security scholarships, professional associations for Nebraskans, and big-time tech employers.
Studying Cyber Security in Nebraska
Two Nebraska postsecondary institutions are Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, having met standards laid out by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Here’s what makes Bellevue University and University of Nebraska at Omaha stand out:
- Bellevue University is a teaching university. Its Center for Cybersecurity Education works to integrate information assurance across disciplines, meaning you’ll be exposed to cyber security concepts in other bachelor’s programs, including Criminal Justice and International Security & Intelligence Studies. All of Bellevue’s undergraduate degrees are available via distance learning, which is good news since U.S. News & World Report rates the school’s online baccalaureates highly.
- UNO also wins plaudits from U.S. News for its online bachelor’s programs. But as the state’s main research institution in the discipline, you may want to attend in-person. The Nebraska University Center for Information Assurance supports four facilities known collectively as Security Technology Education and Analysis Laboratories (STEAL); they are used to host classes, run a 24/7 virtual sandbox, and conduct faculty and grad student research. That research sticks to three areas: networking and distributed computing (e.g., cloud storage and wearable apps), software development, and secure embedded and industrial control systems.
Online Cyber Security Programs in Nebraska
Nebraskans have a route to an online cyber security degree, whether they enroll in a two-year program or seek an advanced credential. Most roads lead to Bellevue University, as the private institution boasts the most offerings, and UNO and Western Nebraska Community College also contribute.
Online Associate Degrees in Cyber Security
While not strictly an online program, all of the courses in the Associate of Science in CyberSecurity at Western Nebraska Community College can be taken via Blackboard. By the end of the program, students should be able to pass entry-level CompTIA certifications in Network+, Security+ and Linux+. That’s perfect for generalized IT administrator positions.
Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Cyber Security
Bellevue University’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity is only available online. The degree mixes the theoretical and practical to give students a diverse toolbox for identifying and responding to threats. Coursework that might be standard in more narrowly tailored programs, such as programming and pen testing, is purely optional.
If you’re not bothered by a blended program, you can enroll in the Bachelor of General Studies in Information Assurance at University of Nebraska at Omaha. While UNO’s degree boasts similar goals as Bellevue’s in terms of providing both theoretical and practical coursework, it leans toward the technical. You won’t be able to opt out of programming, and you can’t weasel out of hardcore math.
Online Master’s Degrees in Cyber Security
The Master of Science in Cybersecurity from Bellevue begins where the BS left off. It assumes that enrollees have prior exposure to basic theoretical security concepts and protection techniques. One cool feature about Bellevue’s program is that students with advanced certifications plus 10 years’ work experience within the information security sector can join an accelerated cohort. While the accelerated option features the same courses, it allows them to acquire management credentials among peers at their knowledge level.
Online Certificate Programs in Cyber Security
The only online certificate program to speak of is a highly specific Executive Certificate in Cyber & Security Law at UNO. The program was built for attorneys who want to take on cases in this arena. As such, the coursework requires no technical knowledge.
Cyber Security Scholarships in Nebraska
A pair of scholarships cater to cyber security students – both those toward the beginning of their academic career and those forging into advanced studies.
Northeast Community College
- Information Technology Club Scholarship for Sophomores: Northeast’s Information Security program falls under the Information Technology degree, placing this award within reach of aspiring cyber security pros. To be considered, students must obviously be sophomore IT majors, but they must also hold a 3.0 and demonstrate financial need.
University of Nebraska at Omaha
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: UNO doesn’t advertise its qualifications for this prestigious award, but it typically goes to graduate students (or undergraduates on their way to a master’s) in the Cybersecurity program. The scholarship comes with full tuition and fees plus a stipend in exchange for a contract to work with a federal agency upon graduation.
Cyber Security Events in Nebraska
Cyber Security Meetups & Communities in Nebraska
Nebraska communities of cyber security learners and professionals are concentrated in Omaha. We recommend sampling six organizations:
- InfraGard Nebraska: InfraGard is an FBI-sponsored program to link federal agents with the private sector in order to protect cyber infrastructure. The group meets monthly in Omaha for government briefings on security intel and to discuss cyber crime with FBI officers. Members must pass a security clearance to join.
- ISACA Omaha Chapter: Formerly known as the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, ISACA is a professional organization that admits student members at a discount. The Omaha Chapter convenes monthly from September through June for paid seminars, usually at Scott Conference Center, plus for an annual workshop at Creighton University. ISACA also runs a job board and a scholarship program.
- (ISC)2 Omaha-Lincoln Chapter: If you have an advanced cyber security credential from (ISC)2, you can join the Omaha-Lincoln Chapter for its monthly meetings. The group typically eats lunch while taking in a quick topical presentation from an outside expert.
- NEbraskaCERT: NEbraskaCERT runs a monthly Cyber Security Forum in Omaha featuring area InfoSec experts. The group also runs a Security Professional Training Class annually, which is designed to help students study for and pass their CISSP and SSCP exams from (ISC)2.
- Omaha 2600: In true hacker fashion, Omaha 2600 doesn’t have a flashy web presence and only infrequently updates its website. What it does do is meet at 7pm on the first Friday of the month at the Westroads Mall food court. Whether you’re as skilled as Mr. Robot or you’ve only seen Mr. Robot, you’re invited to come talk about hacking and security. No fees or experience required.
- OWASP Omaha: The Open Web Application Security Project’s branch in Omaha holds free chapter meetings every few months. Expect chin-stroking presentations from the city’s IT leaders.
Cyber Security Conferences & Workshops in Nebraska
We found two events most Nebraskan cyber security pros and students should attend – one to hear expert takes on security topics and the other to preview the latest products:
- Nebraska Cyber Security Conference: Southeast Community College has been hosting the Nebraska Cyber Security Conference in coordination with the state government since 2006. Paying participants at the two-day event, which include security administrators, can choose between multiple breakout sessions during each time slot on Day 1. Presenters include government agency staff, state academics and private sector IT professionals. Day 2 of the conference is a tabletop exercise for executives only.
- Omaha Tech-Security Conference: This annual traveling expo from Data Connectors swings through Nebraska to show off the latest security products. It features dozens of free exhibits alongside half-hour sponsored sessions from software and service providers.
Cyber Security Jobs in Nebraska
Offutt Air Force Base outside of Omaha is the state’s top employer, which is good news for cyber security graduates. Because Offutt is the Strategic Air Command’s headquarters, the base is responsible for information warfare, among other things. Feel free to get devious.
You don’t necessarily have to join the military to get a job on Offutt. Government contractors such as Syntelligent Analytic Solutions and AECOM frequently hire security analysts for jobs near the base. Such contractors have a range of areas of expertise and have moved into cyber security over the years. If you prefer to join a pure security company, look to two other businesses with Omaha-area HQs. One is NTT Security, a globally recognized corporation that develops threat reports for clients. The other is the much smaller Linoma Software, which sells data encryption tools. Both made it onto the 2017 Cybersecurity 500, a list of the world’s most impressive security companies.
Whatever route you seek, you’ll have more luck getting hired if you don’t stop with entry-level certifications. The state lacks advanced certificate holders, sometimes severely. For example, there are nearly four times as many job postings for Certified Information Security Managers than qualified applicants to fill them.
Cyber Security Salaries in Nebraska
Nebraska offers competitive cyber security salaries. Omaha ranked #4 on SmartAsset’s 2016 list of Best American Cities to Work in Tech, and the publication cited a low unemployment rate and a median salary above $75K – well over the city average. That figure matches up fairly closely with the wages for information security analysts in the city, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Lincoln wages are almost as high. We say “high” because, although the national average is $93,000, Nebraska’s cost of living is about nine percent less expensive that the U.S. at large – and far cheaper than other cyber security hotspots in California or New York.
All Cyber Security Programs in Nebraska
Below are all the matching programs we found in our directory, from 5 Nebraska schools.
Northeast Community College
Southeast Community College Area
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Western Nebraska Community College