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Maryland has an impressive selection of online and traditional college programs for prospective cyber security professionals. Even better, it has jobs to put them in, whether in the private sector, government service or research. If you’re already sold, proceed to our list of Maryland schools with cyber security programs. But for details on the state’s cyber security landscape, read on.
Studying Cybersecurity in Maryland
It’s hard to overstate Maryland’s ties to cyber security. With a strong connection to the nation’s capital, it was a natural choice for government installations such as the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence in Rockville, the only Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) for cyber security. But the state didn’t wait for DC to throw money its way. It was among the first states to create a cyber security readiness plan. In fact, according to the Pell Center, Maryland is one of just three states with fully ready cyber R&D agendas that connect the dots between higher education and area industries to train and retain cyber security professionals.
In short, that means the state’s schools can get you a quality degree in cyber security and help place you in a job. And not just a few schools — most of them. With 17 NSA/DHS Centers of Academic Excellence, Maryland has more nationally recognized colleges than any other state. Impressively, eight are community colleges, giving students a quicker entry point into a career.
There’s almost too much going on in Maryland’s cyber security education scene to mention everything, so let’s quickly run down a few major players:
- John Hopkins University’s Information Security Institute received a $2.2 million National Science Foundation grant in October 2015, all of which is going toward full scholarships for graduate students who win the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service.
- JHU isn’t the only school offering the prestigious CyberCorps SFS. University of Maryland-Baltimore County has it too, as does Towson State, which is only natural — Towson was the first school in the state to offer cyber security degrees.
- The Maryland Cybersecurity Center at UMD hosts an annual symposium to present and listen in on the latest research findings. Speaking of research, in September 2016 it won a $500,000 NSF grant to explore why mobile users are especially prone to cyber crime. That’s just one in a string of grants won by Maryland’s only public member of the elite Association of American Universities.
- In 2014, HP commissioned a survey asking cyber security experts to name the best colleges for cyber security. Johns Hopkins and UMD both made the top 25 percent, but Maryland’s top ranking school was the United States Naval Academy at #14. The school’s Center for Cyber Security Studies has internship agreements with top government and military bodies, including the National Security Agency, the Naval Cyber Warfare Development Group and the Navy Information Operations Center.
- Bowie State University participates in a consortium of historically black colleges and universities the U.S. Department of Energy has tapped to develop an education-to-employment pipeline for ethnic minorities in cyber security.
- A job pipeline is in the works at the local level, too. UMBC and Anne Arundel Community College are part of a Chesapeake Regional Tech Council initiative to put local cyber security grads into local jobs.
- University of Maryland-University College carved out a niche in cyber security education back in 2010. It takes pride in its cyber competition team, the Cyber Padawans, which ranked first in the world in 2014.
All Cybersecurity Programs in Maryland
Below are all the matching programs we found in our directory, from 22 Maryland schools.
Top Online Programs
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Online Cybersecurity Programs in Maryland
Maryland is one of the best states for online studies, especially in cyber security. That’s due to the unique history of University of Maryland-University College, which began specializing in distance education before the internet was even a thing. The school offers practically its entire catalog online, which might not be a big deal if it just had a few tech programs. But the school has a whopping 15 degrees and certifications in cyber security alone.
You’ll also have other public and private options for your online studies, unless you’re planning on getting an associate degree. Although Anne Arundel Community College and other two-year institutions have on-ground cyber security associate programs, these haven’t made their way online yet. Your best bet is registering in an online certificate program that builds into an associate program. From there, you can enroll in a convenient on-ground associate program and take as many individual courses via distance learning as possible. Or you could just go straight for a bachelor’s degree. Here’s what’s out there:
Online Associate Degrees in Cybersecurity
As is the case with many states, Maryland’s schools don’t place their associate degrees in cyber security online to the same extent as bachelor’s, master’s or certificate programs. As of 2016, the state’s community colleges favored online courses over fully online programs for most degrees.
Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Cybersecurity
You can start with a bachelor’s degree or transfer in with an associate degree in a related subject, such as a general computer science degree. Once there, you’ll have options thanks to University of Maryland-University College. The public university puts all its programs online and dominates the field in terms of cyber security bachelor’s degrees.
By registering at UMUC, you have three online BS programs in cyber security to choose from, not counting a minor in the subject. There’s the BS in Computer Networks and Cybersecurity, which is built for people with an eye on corporate jobs as network managers, systems administrators or network security analysts. The Cybersecurity Management and Policy degree, on the other hand, is multidisciplinary and aimed at people who want to write and implement security policies instead of code. That’s why, whereas the BS in Computer Networks and Cybersecurity degree is designed to prepare students for 16 technical industry certifications, the Cybersecurity Management and Policy degree prepares them for just two: the CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA Network+ exams. Want the hardcore coding? Try the Software Development and Security degree; you’ll learn multiple programming languages and be able to create secure software.
Online Master’s Degrees in Cybersecurity
By the time you move up to a master’s degree, online programs are more readily available. That’s because many are designed for people who are currently working, and it makes sense to make such degrees easy to access.
UMUC again dominates, with five distinct paths to a master’s. They’re aimed at everyone from local law enforcement to government workers that need plan and implement security procedures that protect the country’s infrastructure and data.
Two private universities also offer fully online cyber security programs. The first is Capitol Technology University (formerly Capitol College). While its BS in Cyber and Information Security is only available online for the last two years of study, its MS degree of the same name is fully online. One feature of a Capitol Tech online degree is that all courses are conducted in real time instead of asynchronously. Elsewhere, Johns Hopkins offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity/Security Informatics. Students entering it already know how to program and do advanced math. What they’ll come out with is an ability to assess risks to both hardware and software, along with expertise in encryption, hash functions, signature schemes and authentication.
Online Certificate Programs in Cybersecurity
There’s no shortage of online certificate programs in Maryland at either the graduate or undergraduate levels. The former can either be taken standalone by students not ready to commit to a two-year degree or be completed during an associate program with astute planning. The latter prepare working professionals with a specific skill set necessary for job advancement.
Let’s start with the undergraduate certificates. For just a brush of cyber security coursework, look to UMUC’s Computer Networking certificate, which is meant for aspiring network administrators. Anne Arundel Community College has a similar program — the Network Security certificate — and if you’re not committed to distance learning, you should look at its half a dozen traditional degree and certificate options. Hagerstown Community College takes a similar program to UMUC’s and Anne Arundel’s and ratchets it up a notch. The result is the Advanced Network Security certificate, which is 75 percent online. It takes candidates with previous coursework in network security and sets them up for success in industry certifications such as Security Certified Network Specialist, Security Certified Network Professional and Certified Ethical Hacker.
On to the graduate certificates, where Capitol Technology University has the largest variety of 12-credit offerings, with everything from Secure Cloud Computing to Secure Software Development. Just pick your niche and knock out the four required eight-week courses. UMUC is close behind, with specialties such as Homeland Security Management and Cybersecurity Technology. Coursework will take a little longer to complete because most of their certificates are 15 credits. Last, Towson University gets in on the online learning at the graduate certificate level with its Information Security & Assurance program. Though it targets IT professionals, the program is structured in a way that people without a technical background can get up to speed through introductory coursework.
Cybersecurity Scholarships in Maryland
Almost every school has an attached foundation that exists mainly to provide students with scholarships. Although such awards can have specific eligibility criteria, most foundations use a common application and software to determine which scholarships applicants qualify for. Additionally, some schools’ individual academic departments have scholarship or federal grant money to work with, meaning computer science departments are a good place to look for funding. Below are a few of the most relevant scholarships for cyber security students from foundations, departments and government grants:
Anne Arundel Community College
- Barrett and Anne McKown Scholarship for Cyber Security Study: Residents of Anne Arundel County who set off to study cyber security at the local community college are eligible to receive an award from the McKowns’ private endowment. To qualify, enroll full time and earn a 3.0 or better. Apply by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submitting a single application to the Anne Arundel Community College Foundation, which also registers you for consideration for three other awards for students in the Computer Technologies Department.
Frostburg State University
- Computer Science Scholarship: Students enrolled in a program with the Computer Science Department, including the BS in Secure Computing and Information Assurance, can apply for financial aid directly with the the department. There are a few qualifications: You have to have a 3.0 — both overall and in Computer Science programs — and have have completed most core coursework. To apply, submit the single Frostburg State University scholarship application.
- Dr. Joan DeVee Dixon and Dr. Alvin C. Broyles Presidential Merit Scholarship: This one is more generic than the Computer Science Scholarship but you’ll nonetheless qualify by submitting the standard scholarship application. It goes to full-time STEM students with a 3.5 plus demonstrable financial need.
Harford Community College
- Women in Defense Mid-Atlantic Chapter Scholarship: Female students in the Information Assurance and Cybersecurity AAS or certificate programs are well-placed to claim this $2,500 award. It goes to candidates with a 3.25 GPA who have their eyes on careers in national security. Apply online for this and all Harford Community College Foundation scholarships by using a single application.
Howard Community College
- NSF S-STEM Scholarship: The S-STEM scholarship is open to full-time students in multiple majors, including Howard’s slate of cyber security ad information assurance degrees. To win it, you must have financial need and a 3.0. Submit the FAFSA and an S-STEM Scholarship application packet.
Johns Hopkins University
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Students admitted to the Master of Science in Security Informatics (MSSI) program can apply to have their tuition and fees waived and, what’s more, receive a hefty living stipend through this initiative from the National Science Foundation. If successful, they’ll complete a summer internship and then several years of employment with a government agency. To be considered for the Scholarship for Service, apply to the MSSI program by January 31st.
- Information Security Institute Fellowship: Anyone who applies for full-time enrollment in the MSSI program is automatically considered for the Information Security Institute Fellowship (ISIF), which is awarded based on academic credentials.
- Information Security Institute Fellowship for Veterans: The main difference between this and that standard ISIF is that veteran students must have their military status certified by a Veterans Affairs official to qualify.
- AAUW – Gaithersburg Scholarship: The AAUW award is a broad scholarship for female STEM majors, including those in a computer science discipline. The caveat? You have to be a Montgomery County resident to qualify. Apply for this and other Montgomery College Foundation scholarships through a single online application.
- ACCESS II Engineering and Computer Science Scholarship: Worth $4,000, the ACCESS Scholarship is reserved for current engineering and computer science students who plan to transfer into a baccalaureate program. This award has its own application form.
- AFCEA-Bethesda Chapter Scholars Program: Cyber Security is one of four majors eligible for AFCEA-Bethesda’s annual scholarship. The requirements are simple: a 2.5 GPA, financial need, full-time status and graduation from a Montgomery County high school. Apply using the standard Montgomery College Foundation scholarship application.
- Highland Technology Services, Inc. Scholarship: A local business makes good by supplying one Montgomery County resident in an IT or information assurance program with a small scholarship. Eligibility and award amount depend on financial need and merit. Apply using the common scholarship application.
Prince George’s Community College
- Jamal and Tirrell Hubert Memorial Scholarship: This one-time $1,500 scholarship, available through the school’s Institutional Scholarship Program, is meant for students who have overcome adversity. Recipients must be from one of the county’s public high schools and be enrolled in a program at the Information and Engineering Technology Department, such as the AAS in Cybersecurity.
The Community College of Baltimore County
- Richard & Katherine Heacock Endowed Scholarship: Students enrolled in at least two classes at the Catonsville campus can apply for this award by submitting a common Community College of Baltimore County Foundation scholarship application and filing the FAFSA. It’s reserved for students earning a Computer Science, Information Systems Security or Information Technology degree. Financial need is a major factor.
- Applied Information Sciences Scholarship: Exceptional undergrads in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, including those in the security track of the Computer Science program, may qualify for a one-time award of, on average, $2,400. No need to apply — students are nominated by professors.
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: This award is only for upperclassmen in the security track of the BS in Computer Science program. It covers the last two years of tuition and fees and provides over $24,000 a year in stipends for living expenses, professional development and health insurance. The catch? If you get it, you’ll work for a government agency for a few years after graduation.
- Doris K. Lidtke Excellence in Service Award: A $1,000 to $2,000 scholarship is set aside for seniors in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences with a 3.5 GPA and extracurricular involvement in the topic, whether through club membership, tutoring or volunteer service. Contact the department for application instructions.
- James W. Smith Scholarship: Only Computer Science majors (regardless of track) compete for this nonrenewable $7,000 scholarship. Financial need isn’t a factor, and you only need a 3.0 GPA to qualify. Contact the Computer and Information Sciences Department for application instructions.
- Wendy and Larry Letow Scholarship: The Letow Scholarship is worth less than $1,000, but it’s still free money for upperclassmen looking to finish university with minimal debt. Apply with the Department of Computer and Information Sciences.
University of Maryland-Baltimore County
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Undergraduate upperclassmen and graduate scholars can benefit from free tuition and generous living stipends ($22,500 for undergrads and $34,000 for graduate students). In return, they’ll work in cyber security for a federal agency for two to three years after graduation. Apply online through the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering’s webpage.
University of Maryland-College Park
- Booz Allen Hamilton Scholarship: The Computer Science Department, which has a cyber security specialization, is the conduit through which the Booz Allen Hamilton Scholarship flows. The award, based on academic merit, goes to seniors interested in big data, cloud computing or cybersecurity.
- Leidos Cybersecurity Scholarship: While there are more than a dozen Computer Science Department scholarships that cyber security students are eligible for, this one is only for them. Students with a year of undergraduate study under their belts can apply through the department for the scholarship, which goes to two outstanding students each year.
- Irving & Ida Rabin Endowed Scholarship in Engineering: Students with a disability who are enrolled in an undergraduate engineering program, such as the BS in Computer Engineering with Cybersecurity specialization, may qualify for a $2,500 award. Apply online through the Clark School of Engineering webpage.
University of Maryland-University College
- Drake Family Endowed Scholarship: This award is earmarked for any undergraduate or graduate in a cyber security degree program. Students who register for institutional financial aid and who are eligible for the scholarship will receive a notification to apply.
- Gerencser Family Scholarship for Cybersecurity Students: Undergrad cyber security students with 15 credits and a 3.0 to their name are eligible for the Gerencser Family Scholarship to continue their studies. The award is given to enrollees based on financial need. In a master’s program? Don’t fret. There’s a Gerencser Family Scholarship for you too, if you’ve completed nine credits.
- Graduate Cybersecurity Scholarship Program: This award of up to $3,000 for students in the MS in Cybersecurity program is renewable for a second year of master’s-level studies, provided the recipient maintains a 3.2 GPA.
- ManTech Scholarship-Military: The ManTech Scholarship’s eligibility requirements are practically the same as the Gerencser Family Scholarship’s, with one key exception: It’s reserved for military members, veterans and their families. There are separate awards for graduate and undergraduate students.
- Open Systems Science Scholarship-Graduate: Like most of UMUC’s scholarships, this one goes to students with financial need. Which types of students? In particular, spouses and children of military enrolled in the Information Technology, Cybersecurity or Cybersecurity Policy MS programs. You’ll need a 3.0 and nine completed credits to be considered.
Cybersecurity Events in Maryland
Cybersecurity Meetups & Communities in Maryland
The Beltway provides plenty of relevant meetups for cyber security students and professionals. For some to the south, including big DC communities, go to our Virginia page. If you want to network and/or expand your knowledge firmly within Maryland’s borders, you’ve got options too:
- DataTribe Cyber Security Meetup: DataTribe is a tech incubator focused on cyber security. It opened its east coast office in Fulton, Maryland, in 2016 and immediately launched a monthly meetup that serves as a guest speaker series.
- MC-Cyber Meetup: No, MC-Cyber isn’t a DJ; the MC stands for Montgomery College, whose Information Technology Institute runs the group. Its purpose is to expand people’s knowledge of cyber security professions and provide opportunities for students and novices alike to try out their skills.
- MD Cyber Meetup: Almost every month, cyber security pros in Baltimore get together for a bite to eat. And that’s it. It’s all networking and no agenda. The similarly named MD Cyber Community Meetup is organized by the same person and has the same ethos. Although there’s considerable overlap between the two groups, sign up for both to ensure you always know which bar and grill to head to.
- Mid Atlantic Cybersecurity Experts Meetup: It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a good meetup pops up outside of Baltimore and the DC metro. In this case, a small but growing group of cyber security professionals is meeting in Aberdeen every other month to listen to outside speakers and talk about solutions.
- Technical Tuesday: Cybergamut bills itself as a community of cyber security professionals who are experts on any type of cyber and information assurance. Based in Elkridge, the group runs a monthly gathering called Technical Tuesday, which brings in area speakers for 90-minute talks and discussions. Attend the live talk or attend the streamed event at one of cybergamut’s Maryland nodes.
- The Ethical Hackers Club (TEHC): This Columbia-based group advertises to people who have — or are working toward — a professional security certification. The organizers incorporate a lot of hands-on penetration testing, but speakers pop by occasionally too.
Cybersecurity Conferences & Workshops in Maryland
Maryland borders DC and northern Virginia (home to the Pentagon and many of the biggest military contractors), so it’s a mecca for any gatherings related to cyber defense, some of which are at our Virginia page. But even Maryland itself has too many events to mention. Check with Buy MD Cyber for upcoming conferences, forums and seminars. The site should keep you informed of long-running niche organizations’ meetings, such as the Federal Information Systems Security Educators’ Association (FISSEA) Annual Conference, and new events that pop up, including the first annual Federal IT Security Conference in 2016. Now, on to the conference staples:
- AFCEA Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium: Put on by the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, the symposium brings together government agencies, military officers and corporate professionals for three days of discussions on defending the U.S. against cyber attacks.
- BSidesCharm: BSides events are always charming, but even more so in the Charm City. Organized by — and designed for locals — BSides Charm City is a place where you’ll see a lot of friendly faces. In addition to the usual slate of speakers, workshops and extended trainings, organizers put on a hiring happy hour and event party.
- CyberMaryland Conference: Timed to correspond with both the National Cybersecurity Hall of Fame Awards Dinner and the CyberTini networking social, CyberMaryland is no parochial affair. State research universities and nationally recognized tech companies sponsor forums. Choose the speakers and panelists you want to sit in on, then stroll among the exhibits or launch your career at the job fair.
- High Confidence Software and Systems Conference: Ever wonder what cyber security professors do when they’re not teaching? They’re researching. And the best from across the world come to Annapolis for three days to present at the HCSS Conference alongside their lab-based colleagues from the private sector.
- International Conference on Research in Security Standardization: Hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, this two-day Gaithersburg gathering features the, ahem, standard talks and panels and is aimed at researchers and practitioners who want to see what direction security standards are going in.
- International Cryptographic Module Conference: Since its inception in 2013, the ICMC has been held outside of Maryland or DC just once, even though it’s not targeting government staff like many other conferences in the region. This one is instead for commercial cryptographers, who gather for four days of workshops and tracked presentations.
Cybersecurity Jobs in Maryland
Maryland has the fourth-highest concentration of information security analysts in the U.S. (Only Arkansas and neighbors Virginia and DC have more cyber security professionals per 1,000 jobs, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.) And the state ranked seventh, according to Burning Glass Technologies, for number of cyber security job postings, with over 11,400 in 2014, a 39 percent increase from 2010. Yet this may still understate Maryland’s dominance in the field. After all, there are plenty of MD residents who commute to jobs in the capital or hop on the Metro toward Arlington and its suburbs.
Nevertheless, the state wants more of those folks commuting within state lines. That’s the aim of the Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit (CIITC), which secures Maryland’s grip on cyber security innovation by encouraging startups to settle there. That’s partly why cyber security tech incubator DataTribe moved there.
But even if you were to imagine that no new companies took advantage of the CIITC, there’s plenty to work with right now. The National Security Agency, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Defense Information Systems Agency, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity and DoD Cyber Crime Center are all located in Maryland. But not every job in the state is with the federal government or military. Lockheed Martin in Bethesda is #64 on the Fortune 500. It also makes Cybersecurity Ventures’ list (#65) of the top 500 businesses in the sector, along with 12 other companies from Baltimore to Bethesda. And when you expand your search out to the entire DC metropolitan area, which includes the nation’s capital and northern Virginia, 58 of the Cybersecurity 500 are there. That’s over 11 percent of the globe’s best cyber security companies within a 30-mile radius.
Cybersecurity Salaries in Maryland
Here’s the good news about being in cyber security in Maryland: The average specialist there makes 10 percent more than her or his colleagues around the country. The bad news? It’s 25 percent more expensive to live in Maryland than an average spot in the U.S. A lot of that is due to its proximity to DC, which has a permanently high cost of living thanks to its small size and recession-proof economy. So, you have a few options. Option 1: Stay close to DC and work for federal employers or government contractors that may pay a bit less but offer great benefits and job security. Option 2: Move further out in the state where the cost of living is lower and find work with private outfits who were attracted to the state’s tax credit and pro-cyber security outlook. Option 3: Shoot for the moon and grab high-paying work in an affordable location. With everything that Maryland has to offer, you may just find it.
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