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Part of the American Midwest's "Silicon Prairie," Nebraska boasts a booming technology industry. The state's tech companies cluster in the urban region bridging the state capital of Lincoln and Nebraska's largest city, Omaha. A growing base of innovative insurance and financial services companies operates in the same urbanized area.
These factors combine to make Nebraska an appealing place to build a cybersecurity career. The national cybersecurity labor shortage extends to Nebraska, where the tech job market posted positive growth in employment of women and Black and Hispanic professionals in 2022.
This guide examines cybersecurity education and employment in Nebraska. Discover important factors in choosing a school, explore degree costs and concentrations, and learn about career paths and professional resources for cybersecurity graduates.
Nebraska at a Glance
- Average Wage for Computer and Mathematical Occupations: $86,000
- % of Workforce in Tech: 5.0%
- Economic Impact of Tech Industry: $7 billion
- Number of Higher Learning Institutions: 33
Sources: Cyberstates™, NCES, OEWS
Why Go to College for Cybersecurity in Nebraska?
Home to 33 degree-granting institutions, Nebraska offers many options for computer science students. Learners can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees or quickly train for a new career through a cybersecurity bootcamp.
Nebraska may offer cost advantages for some students. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that in 2020-2021, in-state students at public colleges and universities paid an average of $9,375 per year in tuition and fees. That same year, tuition and fees at the average U.S. private institution cost $32,825.
In Nebraska, higher education was less expensive in 2020-2021. In-state students paid an average of $8,761 per year to attend Nebraska public schools, about 6.6% cheaper than the national average.
Students at private schools enjoyed even greater savings. On average, private colleges and universities in Nebraska charged $24,985 per year in 2020-2021, 23.9% lower than the national average.
Attending a Nebraska college offers benefits to learners who plan to stay in the state after graduation. Many cybersecurity programs deliver hands-on learning through work-study programs and internships. These experiences can strengthen an emerging professional's job prospects by providing local networking opportunities.
Education Statistics for Nebraska
Students at Nebraska's 33 degree-granting institutions tend to engage with distance education at average rates. The traditional campus experience remains a key element of attending college in Nebraska.
|Higher Education Statistics||Nebraska Data||National Data|
|Students Enrolled in Distance Education||57%||59%|
Accreditation for Nebraska Schools
Institutional accreditation indicates that a college meets high academic standards set by external evaluators. Students should only enroll in programs at accredited schools. Accreditation ensures third-party recognition of your academic credentials.
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has historically accredited Nebraska colleges. However, any agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) can now accredit Nebraska institutions. Degree-seekers should research a school's accreditation status before applying.
Learners can also seek schools and programs with specialized programmatic endorsements. Examples include ABET accreditation and Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) recognition from the National Security Agency. As of May 2023, four Nebraska institutions hold CAE standing.
Considerations for a Cybersecurity Degree in Nebraska
Learners seek different things from their schools and programs. For some, student diversity is a key consideration. Others prioritize factors like program size, student-to-teacher ratio, and post-graduation employment rate.
Learning formats are another important consideration. Online courses offer flexibility and can make it easier for students to manage schooling alongside other commitments.
For some learners, the traditional campus experience delivers more valuable networking opportunities. Hybrid programs strike a balance, providing the best of both worlds as students engage with both online and campus-based coursework.
The following data details online learning rates at Nebraska's higher education institutions.
Explore rankings for top cybersecurity programs around the country:
Associate Degree Programs in Cybersecurity
Best Online Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Programs
Best Online Master's in Cybersecurity Programs
Top Doctoral Degree Programs in Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity Concentrations and Similar Degrees
Programs like the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) cybersecurity degree are popular with students. However, many other degrees and concentrations may appeal to technology-minded learners.
The following table details three other tech-focused degrees that Nebraska students might consider. Each degree can help learners pursue some of Nebraska's fastest-growing technology careers.
Information Systems Security
Projections Central anticipates job growth of 34.7% for information security analysts in Nebraska from 2020-2030. Information systems security graduates may benefit from these strong labor market conditions.
Information Technology (IT)
IT degrees deliver a versatile education that combines programming, network design, network administration, and cybersecurity. Nebraska's labor market projects 12.3% job growth from 2020-2030 for IT managers.
Software developers, testers, and quality assurance specialists enjoy a strong job market in Nebraska. The state is projected to experience 22.2% job growth for these professionals from 2020-2030.
Popular Online Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Paying for Your Cybersecurity Degree
The Nebraska Department of Education tracks scholarship opportunities available to students in the state. Along with scholarships, students can explore other options to help pay for their cybersecurity degrees.
Other funding sources include fellowships, grants, working while studying, and federal or private loans. The good news is that Nebraska is a relatively affordable place to attend college, as the following table shows.
In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition
Nebraska residents pay less to attend the state's public colleges and universities than nonresidents. In-state rates are lower because residents contribute to Nebraska's higher education system through their taxes.
Some nonresidents can qualify for reduced tuition rates in Nebraska through the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP). This agreement covers Nebraska and seven other states. Residents of MSEP member states qualify for discounted tuition rates in all other member states.
Nebraska's Cost of Living
Local living costs have a profound impact on student budgets, affecting expenses like housing, groceries, utilities, and transportation.
Compared to the U.S. baseline average of 100, Nebraska has a cost of living index score of 93.7 as of May 2023. This score means Nebraska's cost of living is 6.3% lower than the average U.S. state.
Careers for Cybersecurity Graduates in Nebraska
Already an established regional banking and insurance center, Nebraska also hosts an emerging financial technology industry. These economic features position Nebraska as a strong cybersecurity destination. Businesses in these industries have particularly high cybersecurity needs.
The 2022 edition of CompTIA's annual Cyberstates index also tracked positive year-over-year job growth in Nebraska in three major areas:
- Software (+4.8% growth)
- IT and custom software services (+1.6%)
- Telecommunications and internet services (+0.8%)
Overall, CompTIA tallied about 32,600 tech job postings in Nebraska in 2022. Of those jobs, about 6,600 were in emerging areas. These figures indicate a healthy tech industry that may benefit cybersecurity job-seekers.
Select Cybersecurity Careers in Nebraska
The following cybersecurity-related careers appear poised for strong growth in Nebraska during the 2020s.
Penetration testers (pen testers) design and execute cybersecurity checks. They use the same techniques cybercriminals employ to probe their employer's or client's system for vulnerabilities. Pen testers then create reports identifying weaknesses and possible remedies.
- Salary for Penetration Testers: $90,770
- Job Outlook in Nebraska (2020-30): Projections Central includes penetration testers in its entry for information security analysts. The agency projects +34.7% job growth in Nebraska for infosec analysts during the 2020-2030 period.
Incident responders are frontline cybersecurity professionals who monitor networks for unusual activity and take immediate action in the event of an attack. These professionals also test networked systems for weaknesses and help with cybersecurity auditing.
- Salary for Incident Responders: $84,020
- Job Outlook in Nebraska (2020-30): Projections Central includes incident responders in its entry for information security analysts. The agency projects +34.7% job growth in Nebraska for infosec analysts during the 2020-2030 period.
Also known as computer and information systems managers, IT managers design, build, and administer networked systems. The role has direct cybersecurity applications, as IT managers play a key part in selecting and implementing protective technologies, tools, and strategies.
The following tables explore other cybersecurity and technology careers popular in Nebraska.
Nebraska Employment Trends
|Computer Hardware Engineers|
|2030 Projected Employment||150||67,300|
|Projected Job Growth, 2020-2030||+7.1%||+1.7%|
|Computer Network Architects|
|2028 Projected Employment||1,240||174,200|
|Projected Job Growth, 2018-2028||+9.7%||+5.4%|
|Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers|
|2030 Projected Employment||13,340||2,257,400|
|Projected Job Growth, 2020-2030||+22.2%||+22%|
Source: Projections Central
|Career||Nebraska Employment||Nebraska Annual Mean Wage||National Median Annual Wage|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||4,220||$125,800||$159,010|
|Computer Hardware Engineers||120||$114,450||$128,170|
|Computer Network Architects||1,140||$103,290||$120,520|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||1,830||$61,720||$62,760|
|Computer Systems Analysts||3,450||$89,650||$99,270|
|Information Security Analysts||650||$95,590||$102,600|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||2,120||$87,870||$80,600|
Source: BLS OEWS
Some Nebraska tech careers, including network administration, pay salaries that exceed national averages. If earning potential is a high priority for you, this path may be worth considering.
Entry-level candidates for most of the top-paying tech careers in Nebraska need at least a bachelor's degree. Earning a four-year computer science or cybersecurity degree can lead to more opportunities and higher pay.
Cybersecurity Employers in Nebraska
The following organizations are among the many that hire cybersecurity professionals in Nebraska.
Offutt Air Force Base: Offutt AFB is one of Nebraska's largest employers. The base deals with a high volume of information warfare operations, and multiple private-sector government contractors operate within its network. Candidates do not necessarily need a military background to work at Offutt AFB.
CoreTech: This IT services firm provides 24/7 IT and cybersecurity support to businesses in metro areas throughout Nebraska. Founded in 2000, CoreTech also offers business phone system management.
First State Bank Nebraska: This leading regional financial services provider has made major moves into online and mobile banking in recent years. Businesses like First State Bank have ongoing needs for cybersecurity professionals to help safeguard customer data.
Professional Cybersecurity Organizations in Nebraska
Established and emerging Nebraska cybersecurity professionals can network, connect with job opportunities, and build their knowledge through these events and organizations:
Through this public-private partnership, the Federal Bureau of Investigation cooperates with companies to advance information-sharing and intelligence efforts. Nebraska's Infragard chapter emphasizes protecting critical infrastructure from terrorism.
NEbraskaCERT is affiliated with the global CERT Conference. The organization holds monthly cybersecurity forum (CSF) meetings. Each CSF offers networking opportunities and examines key industry trends and recent developments.
This annual conference explores risk management, emerging threats, and other important events shaping the national cybersecurity landscape.
ISACA Omaha Chapter
ISACA is a high-profile international IT governance association. Its Omaha chapter welcomes students, recent graduates, and professionals as members. Membership perks include job board access and monthly meetups.
Schools With Cybersecurity Degrees in Nebraska
Questions About Cybersecurity in Nebraska
Can I get a cybersecurity degree in Nebraska?
Yes, Nebraska schools offer graduate and undergraduate cybersecurity programs. UNO cybersecurity students can earn bachelor's or master's degrees. Nebraska schools also feature cybersecurity bootcamps and associate programs in cybersecurity.
Are the best cybersecurity schools in Nebraska expensive?
Nebraska's higher education network is relatively affordable, even for nonresidents attending public schools. Students who relocate to Nebraska to study can also save money, as the state's living costs fall below the national average.
How much does a cybersecurity analyst make in Nebraska?
BLS data from May 2022 shows that infosec analysts in Nebraska earned an average of $95,590 per year. The salary average covers all infosec career paths and experience levels, from entry-level to late-career workers.
Is cybersecurity a good career in Nebraska?
Projections Central data projects 34.7% job growth for information security analysts in Nebraska from 2020-2030. This robust growth rate combines with high pay to make cybersecurity an excellent career option for Nebraska-based professionals.
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