North Dakota is light on cyber security degrees, but the state’s educators are actively rolling out new programs, which we’ve put on our list. Keep reading for a concise guide to degrees in the state, professional associations and conferences, and job figures.
Studying Cyber Security in North Dakota
A smattering of cyber security programs are already available in North Dakota, and the state government is keen to establish more. In 2015, the governor formed the state’s Cybersecurity Task Force. Late the following year it issued its final report, which included recommendations for a cybersecurity initiative based within the North Dakota University System. The task force pushed for a graduate certificate and an undergraduate minor.
- The seeds of that initiative are taking root at North Dakota State University, which is developing a program piece by piece. In 2016, the school built a Forensic Computing Lab for its Fraud Investigation minor. And in 2017, it announced a collaborative graduate certificate in cyber security with University of North Dakota and Minot State University due to be launched online in fall 2017. It also plans to form a cybersecurity research institute on campus.
- Undergraduates from NDSU’s Computer Science department have been working alongside Professor Jeremy Straub on a school-funded project to develop cyber security systems for driverless cars. The department hopes to spin the endeavor into a federally funded project.
- NDSU’s Straub also works on a University of North Dakota initiative led by Professor Ronald Marsh. UND and NDSU students in the OpenOrbiter project are developing a CubeSat, a small satellite to be used for communications cyber security, with National Science Foundation and Department of Defense funding.
- University of Mary, a private college in Bismarck, lacks a standalone cyber security program. But its Computer Science baccalaureate specifically works to help students gain employment as information security analysts.
Online Cyber Security Programs in North Dakota
UND, NDSU and Minot State accept their first online graduate certificate students in fall 2017. Bismarck State has been offering an associate degree online for several years:
Online Associate Degrees in Cyber Security
Enrollees in Bismarck State’s Cybersecurity & Computer Networks degree should come in with basic computer and typing skills before starting the curriculum. After two years, the network-heavy curriculum should qualify them for jobs in a company’s IT department and to sit for entry-level industry certifications from CompTIA, Cisco and Microsoft.
Cyber Security Events in North Dakota
Cyber Security Meetups & Communities in North Dakota
Several professional organizations and hacker groups have footholds in the state:
- Fargo 2600: These hackers have been around long enough to have an Angelfire page. Back in the day, at least, they’d migrate to the West Acres Mall every first Friday of the month to chat all things InfoSec over food court chow. You’ll have to show up to see who’s congregating these days.
- InfraGard North Dakota: InfraGard members work directly with FBI field offices to secure physical and cyber infrastructure from cyber crime and terrorism. The Peace Garden State’s chapter of InfraGard doesn’t advertise its events well, so contact leadership for meeting and membership details.
- ISSA North Dakota/Northern Plains: The state’s chapter of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) meets somewhat haphazardly in Fargo, roughly three times a year, as it tries to gin up members. If you’re interested in networking with information security pros and attending events featuring expert speakers, consider joining ISSA. Student membership is heavily discounted.
Cyber Security Conferences & Workshops in North Dakota
- North Dakota Cyber Security Conference: This annual one-day event at NDSU represents a chance for academics, businesspeople and government officials to explore security threats to the state and discuss ways to develop the workforce. Multiple tracks covering technology, policy and education ensure that each of these audiences can listen in on presentations relevant to them. Students can duck in and out of any track.
- UND-SCIEI International Conference on Cyber-Security in Aviation, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering: The inaugural conference between University of North Dakota and the Science and Engineering Institute in China was held in Grand Forks in 2017. It’s an academic conference, and students are invited to register for an agenda heavy on paper presentations.
Cyber Security Jobs in North Dakota
North Dakota has the second-lowest concentration of cyber security job demand in the country, hitting about 20 percent of the national mark. NexusND, an interdisciplinary initiative headed by the Chancellor of the North Dakota University System, aims to expand the state’s R&D and workforce presence in cyber security, unmanned aerial systems and big data. That particular combo is a good one for cyber security students because it allows them to leverage Grand Rapids’ connection to unmanned aerial systems to get jobs. Grand Forks Air Force Base is already one of the state’s top employers, and the construction of the Grand Sky technology park in 2016 turns the entire area into one of the biggest test sites for drones in the U.S.
Cyber Security Salaries in North Dakota
With a limited workforce, take the median North Dakota information security analyst salary – $75,000 – with a grain of salt. Graduates can help push that average up by earning highly valuable CISSP and CISM credentials because as of 2016, the state had shortages of professionals with such credentials.
All Cyber Security Programs in North Dakota
Below are all the matching programs we found in our directory, from 3 North Dakota schools.
Bismarck State College
Bismarck, North Dakota
North Dakota State College of Science
Wahpeton, North Dakota
Fargo, North Dakota