Hawaii is bursting with cyber security jobs, and schools in the Aloha State have developed good academic programs to funnel graduates into local jobs. In addition to listing cyber security degrees and certificates in the state, this guide identifies relevant institutional scholarships, professional networks, annual conferences, and local employers for budding cyber security professionals.
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Studying Cyber Security in Hawaii
- The Applied Business and Information Technology (ABIT) bachelor’s program at the University of Hawaii-Maui College has a strong focus on cyber security. In 2015, UHMC’s Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research (CCER) received a National Science Foundation grant for its CyberEd program, which trains college faculty from other disciplines on how to incorporate cyber security into their courses.
- Students who complete the Information Technology program at Kapiolani Community College will receive certificates of achievement and confidence in Cyber Security. The school bases its two-year curriculum on standards laid out by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.
- Honolulu Community College is already recognized by the NSA and DHS for its information assurance education. Students who graduate from its Computing Electronics & Networking Technology program can easily move into the BAS in Information Security Assurance at University of Hawaii-West Oahu, also a National Center of Academic Excellence.
- The third, and last, National Center of Academic Excellence in the state is UH Manoa, which received the distinction for its research capabilities. Its Adaptive Security and ECOnomics Lab has a unique take on how to approach practical problems in the field.
- The UH Community Colleges created the Pacific Center for Advanced Technology Training (PCATT), located at Honolulu Community College. PCATT is a place where UH students and non-enrolled learners alike can take courses in security topics, some of which lead to professional certification.
Cyber Security Scholarships in Hawaii
The University of Hawaii System has plenty of scholarships but none specifically for students in its fledgling information assurance programs. The same goes for Hawaii’s handful of private colleges. There are, however, several scholarships for students in a program with a cyber security focus:
Hawaii Pacific University
- Gordon T. and Florence Y. Furuto Endowed Scholarship: The Furato Scholarship is worth $500 for IT students in an undergraduate or graduate program, which can include those intent on converting their Professional Certificate in Telecommunications Security into an MS in Information Systems.
Kapiolani Community College
- Kapiolani Community College Information Technology Scholarship: To get this award, students need to declare IT as a major, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and demonstrate financial need.
University of Hawaii at Manoa
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: About five students a year in a baccalaureate or graduate-level program in Computer Engineering, Computer Science or Electrical Engineering win a full ride through the SFS scholarship. Applicants should have a strong interest in cyber security because they’ll be required to work in that field for a government agency for two to three years after graduating.
University of Hawaii-Maui College
- Textron-Paul McCormick Scholarship: Students in the Applied Business Information Technology program at UH-Maui College can earn this award if they hold a 3.0 GPA.
Cyber Security Events in Hawaii
Cyber Security Meetups & Communities in Hawaii
The most efficient route from a cyber security degree to a cyber security job is via networking. We’ve found four groups in Hawaii with whom you can expand your network while broadening your knowledge:
- Hawaii Hacker Hours: Back in 2016, Honolulu company OccamSec began opening its doors once a month for people to come and throw information security questions their way. Hacker Hours is still casual, but it’s evolved to incorporate presentations and member-led discussions. The group meets from 5 to 8 PM every first Tuesday of the month.
- Hilo 2600: One of the few cyber security spots off of Oahu, this informal gathering replicates similar functions occurring across the world every first Friday of the month from 5 to 8 PM. 2600 groups welcome hackers and people intrigued by InfoSec to network and discuss their shared interests. The Hilo 2600 meets at the food court in Prince Kuhio Plaza.
- ISACA Hawaii: The Information Systems Audit and Control Association is a professional association that maintains a strong presence on Oahu. The group meets monthly for luncheons, where members network, conduct chapter business, and listen to outside speakers. It also hosts seminars and helps members work toward ISACA certifications. ISACA welcomes student members at a heavily discounted rate.
- ISSA Hawaii: The Information Systems Security Association is very similar in structure and style to ISACA. The group seeks out student members to join its monthly chapter luncheons in Honolulu.
Cyber Security Conferences & Workshops in Hawaii
The Aloha State is a beautiful destination and attracts big-name conferences each year in all fields. For instance, the 2016 Information Security Conference, an international event, was held in Honolulu. And IEEE-CYBER followed them to Waikiki in 2017. But you’re probably interested in events geared at residents. Here are a few:
- AFCEA TechNet Asia Pacific (TNAP): TNAP is the largest event in the Pacific Rim concerned with regional defense issues. Talks and panels focus heavily on cybersecurity and new technologies (e.g. IoT).
- Future Focus: Medical Research, Cybersecurity & More: University of Hawaii’s Research and Innovation office hosts this annual two-day event that features talks by military and business leaders. The conference explores a variety of topics related to strengthening the state’s innovative workforce, so feel free to hop in and out of sessions. In 2015, it discussed energy and cyber security. In 2016, it was medical research and cyber security.
- Hawaii Digital Government Summit: The summit is a one-day gathering of state and local government workers. Don’t expect anything mind blowing to be discussed, but if you can snag a sponsored ticket you’ll be able to network with state decision makers.
- ISSA Hawaii Discover Security Conference: The Honolulu chapter of the Information Systems Security Association has been hosting an annual conference for over two decades. Members of ISSA and ISACA, as well as college students, get discounted tickets to the two-day event, where security pros discuss recent threats and explore products that combat them.
- Shakacon: This is the big one — the event that everyone who is anyone in Hawaii’s IT security sphere is at. Two days of trainings are followed up with a two-day conference with research papers and Capture the Flag competitions.
Cyber Security Jobs in Hawaii
Hawaii has one of the highest supplies of cyber security workers in the country relative to market demand. With multiple military installations on the islands, your best bet for a cyber security career there is with a contractor for the federal government.
Fulcrum IT is a Virginia-based cyber security consulting firm that does a lot of work for the U.S. Navy. Most of their Hawaii jobs are on Camp Smith on Oahu. Booz Allen Hamilton and Leidos are two more Virginia contractors operating in the Pacific; both pull in big government/military cyber security contracts.
If you’d prefer to do the same type of work but for a Hawaii-based company, it’s totally possible. The three firms within the Alaka’ina Foundation Family of Companies — Ke`aki Technologies, Laulima Government Solutions, and Kūpono Government Services — regularly advertise for cyber security engineers and analysts to work at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, support Department of Defense projects, or manage telecommunications software and hardware.
Cyber Security Salaries in Hawaii
Unfortunately, cyber security salaries in Hawaii are not great. The top 10 percent of earners make $116,000 and up, which is what the average information security analyst in top-paying D.C. takes home. Data from Indeed.com puts the average Hawaii IT security specialist salary at around $75,000, which is 35 percent below the national average. When taken with the state’s high cost of living, that’s a less than ideal mix.
But let’s look at bright spots. First, you’ll live and work in beautiful Hawaii. Second, government contractors like those operating in the Aloha State generally offer solid benefits packages. For instance, Booz Allen Hamilton is on Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies Hall of Fame thanks in part to its generous paid parental leave program.
All Cyber Security Programs in Hawaii
Below are all the matching programs we found in our directory, from 4 Hawaii schools.
Atlantic International University
Hawaii Pacific University
Honolulu Community College
University of Hawaii-West Oahu