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Home to Wall Street’s billions and the world’s most recognizable city, New York is a target for cyber criminals and terrorists alike. To counteract this, the state is creating a diverse cybersecurity workforce through topnotch university degrees and public-private partnerships. See a list of New York schools with cybersecurity programs or get the grand tour by reading our guide to degree options, scholarships and job prospects in the Empire State.
Studying Cybersecurity in New York
Spurred by 9/11, New York was one of the first states to address cybersecurity through formal government structures. Its emphasis on cybersecurity extends all the way to higher education. Oddly, though, of the state’s 11 schools recognized as NSA/DHS Centers of Academic Excellence (the fourth-most of any state), only Mohawk Valley Community College and University at Buffalo are state-run. Private universities are doing a lot of interesting things, however, and there’s at least one public college with big plans for cybersecurity:
- Ranked by cybersecurity experts in 2014 as the fourth-best school for the discipline, Syracuse University is home to the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism. INSCT is a major hub for cybersecurity research, bringing together students and faculty from four of Syracuse’s graduate schools.
- The United States Military Academy is a training ground for U.S. Army officers and a source the federal government can easily tap for cybersecurity expertise. That’s part of the idea behind placing the Army Cyber Institute at West Point. The institute publishes the Cyber Defense Review and co-organized the inaugural International Conference on Cyber Conflict in 2016.
- Rochester Institute of Technology opened the Center for Cybersecurity in 2016 to house its highly regarded programs. The center will utilize $2 million as seed money to attract bigger external funds from parties interested in its research results.
- New York Institute of Technology, already recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence, is building a cybersecurity research facility on Long Island. In 2015, Start UP NY, a government economic development initiative, set aside $400,000 to establish a tax-free zone for cybersecurity businesses that locate there, hoping to nurture partnerships between researchers and professionals.
- In 2015, SUNY at Albany announced it is building the first college in the U.S. dedicated to “emergency preparedness, cybersecurity and homeland security.” The building is scheduled to be ready by 2020, but SUNY isnt waiting; it’s already offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the subject.
- New York University’s Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications and Distributed Information Systems (CATT) is a regular recipient of state science grants. In late 2015, it received another infusion of $4.5 million, which will go toward research on creating hack-resistant wireless communication networks for the financial sector.
Online Cybersecurity Programs in New York
Students are looking for more than just flexibility when they opt for an online program. They also want to save money by avoiding campus-based fees, room and board charges, and transportation costs. By attending a public college, they qualify for in-state tuition and lower the price of their education even further. But while the New York public university system’s online portal, Open SUNY, features nearly 500 degrees, only a few are even tenuously related to cybersecurity.
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That leaves most students looking at degrees and certificates from private colleges, several of which have recognized their opening. Utica College and Excelsior College are the most notable in New York state, with undergraduate and graduate certificates and BS degrees and MS degrees. Further, they have the greatest variety of concentrations. Here’s a bit more of what you’ll find online:
Online Associate Degrees In Cybersecurity
An associate degree is a standard (but not the only) entry point for a degree in cybersecurity because students can clear their general education requirements out of the way for a future bachelor’s degree, while gaining a solid introduction to security concepts.
The one thing that might stop students from taking this route is a lack of online options, but New York state has just enough programs for two-year students. Those preferring in-person instruction sprinkled with a handful of online courses can find it at ASA College or Mohawk Valley Community College. But if they want their coursework to be mostly online (75 to 95 percent), they should turn to SUNY Westchester Community College’s AAS in Cybersecurity. It’s part of the business school, so expect some course requirements (e.g., Business Communications) in that vein. Graduates of any of these programs should come out prepared to enroll in a bachelor-level program or to interview for entry-level positions in the field.
Online Bachelor’s Degrees In Cybersecurity
Students looking for an online bachelor’s program in New York have more options than their associate degree-seeking peers. Upon entering the final two years of a baccalaureate program, they should already have a grasp on the fundamentals and be ready to take on coursework specific to their narrower interests.
Mercy College has the bread and butter option of an online BS in Cybersecurity, which is enough for graduates to get their foot in the door in the sector and usually pass the Security+ exam. Berkeley College is much more focused on placing cybersecurity grads into government jobs via its fully online National Security program. Elsewhere, the iPace BS in Professional Technology Studies with a Computer Forensics concentration is also for those interested in government jobs, but it’s more FBI than DHS. Students who aren’t quite sure of the route to take at the outset may lean toward Utica College, which offers five specializations under its BS in Cybersecurity; enrollees can take the lower-level and general education courses in their first two years, and then determine which track to enter later.
The school with perhaps the most unique opportunities for specialization within cybersecurity is Excelsior College, an exclusively online university. Many of its degrees are geared toward specific sectors students might want to work in. For instance, its Nuclear Engineering Technology dual degree program with a Cybersecurity MBA is for people who really want to repel attacks against nuclear infrastructure. And the BS in Cybersecurity with a concentration in Health Care is designed for those who want to keep patient records secure.
Online Master’s Degrees In Cybersecurity
There is no prototypical graduate student. Those shopping for a master’s degree may be looking to specialize, learn something completely new or just get a bit of exposure to cybersecurity. All of these things are possible for online students in New York, no matter what their bachelor’s degree was in.
- Students without a computing background might look at Utica College’s MBA programs, where they can specialize in Cybersecurity or Cyber Policy. The school’s programs don’t call for much in the way of technical skills. Rather, they provide an understanding of the effect of cybercrime and security breaches on business bottom lines.
- Students who have a computer science background but minimal exposure to cybersecurity can become proficient in the subject by enrolling in programs like NYU’s or Syracuse’s MS in Cybersecurity.
- Fordham University provides an attractive alternative, mixing online courses with weekend labs and traditional classes to target students who are working full time.
If you gained a strong understanding of cybersecurity during your baccalaureate years, you can drill down into a specialization as a graduate student — Excelsior College is a possibility with concentrations in Information Assurance, Medical Data Security and Policy Administration. Or you might choose to continue on a general path. Students considering this route should look at Mercy College. It has an accelerated program that allows cybersecurity students to get their BS and MS in five years instead of six.
And then there’s Columbia. The Ivy League university has two options for online students:
- An online Master of Science in Computer Science with a Track in Computer Security that is heavy on technical skills and the latest developments in high-level cybersecurity fields.
- A hybrid Executive Master of Science in Technology Management with a Focus in Cybersecurity, which is aimed at budding CISOs and CEOs. The curriculum focuses on how plan for and manage major cybersecurity issues. Topics include subjects like risk management, strategy, and business models.
Online Certificate Programs In Cybersecurity
There are two types of certificates students can take for credit. The first is at the undergraduate level, and it’s typically designed for students who want a taste of cybersecurity in one year or less. The second type of certificate is at the graduate level. Unlike an undergrad certification, it is geared toward high-achieving students who have proven themselves at the college level, though not necessarily in the field of cybersecurity.
Excelsior College has both types of certificates, but many schools have one or the other, depending upon their target students. Community colleges, naturally, have undergraduate certificates and since they’re part of the public higher education system, are competitively priced. Find them at Westchester Community College through the Open SUNY portal.
Graduate students have only private options. In addition to online university Excelsior College’s Cybersecurity certificate, there’s also RIT’s advanced certificate in Information Assurance, Keller Graduate School of Management’s graduate certificate in Information Security, and LIU-Riverhead’s advanced certificate in cybersecurity policy. Excelsior and RIT provide technical instruction for computer scientists, whereas LIU’s program is offered via the school’s Homeland Security and Terrorism Institute, and it’s more for managers than hands-on technical professionals. Keller’s program is the closest to a hybrid, exploring policy issues but also providing technical instruction.
Cybersecurity Scholarships in New York
Not every school has specialized scholarships for cybersecurity students, but soon nearly ever public school will: In 2016, the state created the Scholarship Program for Analysis and Research in Cybersecurity (SPARC). Fifty recipients will receive full tuition to get a cybersecurity degree at any SUNY campus in exchange for working for a government agency in New York after graduation. Many schools already have cybersecurity scholarships or, at least, awards earmarked for students in STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) or computing fields, many of them through endowments set up by school alumni and supporters.
Here are a few relevant scholarships for cybersecurity students at New York colleges:
- Dr. Jane LeClair ’94, ’95 Scholarship Fund for Women in Technology: The School of Business & Technology rewards the brightest female computing students with money toward their degree.
- Entrepreneur: Business & Technology Fund: Students in a program at the School of Business and Technology can win funds if they’re planning on using their degree to start their own business.
John Jay College Of Criminal Justice
- John A. Reisenbach Memorial Scholarship: Graduate students enrolled in one of five programs, including digital forensics and cybersecurity, are encouraged to apply for funds from the Reisenbach Foundation. Awards go to students with high GPAs who want to work toward making NYC safer.
- National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarship Program: Incoming students pursuing degrees in Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, Cybersecurity or Mathematics are eligible for $4,000 annually (transfer students can get $6,000 a year). To keep their awards, they must be enrolled full time and pull down a 3.0 or better.
New York University
- ASPIRE Scholarship: NYU law students can get full tuition for three years plus a substantial living stipend for two years by tacking cyber security coursework onto their degree. Recipients will take Information Security and Privacy, Network Security, and Computer Networking courses. They’ll also be expected to work for a government agency for two years and take on a summer internship in a cyber security field.
- Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship Program: The DoD rewards select undergraduate upperclassmen and graduate students at NYU Polytechnic Institute with full tuition and generous stipends toward studies with a cyber security focus.
- INSPIRE Scholarship: Ph.D. students researching social, economic, behavioral and policy issues related to secure and private information systems can win full tuition plus a $30,000 annual stipend from the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT).
Onondaga Community College
- STEM Scholarship: Onondaga has nine STEM programs, including Computer Forensics. Students in any of them are invited to apply for this scholarship, worth up to $5,000 per semester (depending on financial need) and renewable with a 3.0 GPA.
Pace University-New York
- CUNY Guttman Community College Scholarship: Transfers from CUNY Guttman into Pace’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems are eligible for a scholarship if they come in with a 3.5 or higher and enroll full time.
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Full tuition plus three years of stipends ($20,000 for undergrads and $32,000 for graduate students) is up for grabs for high-performing students in one of Pace’s information assurance or cybersecurity programs. Recipients must complete a paid internship over one summer and work for a government agency after graduation.
- Edwin J. Beinecke Scholarship: Undergraduate and graduate students alike at the Seidenberg School can get money toward a tech degree if they have financial need and academic promise.
- Frank J. Lo Sacco, Ph.D. Memorial Scholarship: Undergrads with sophomore, junior or senior status — and second-year graduate students — at Seidenberg School’s Westchester campus are eligible for the Sacco Scholarship, which is awarded to students with academic merit.
- Leda K. Konde Memorial Scholarship: The Konde Scholarship is for undergrads at Seidenberg’s NYC campus. Students are selected based on financial need and academic prospects.
- Lydia Kess Scholarship: Like the Beinecke scholarship, this award is for Seidenberg undergrads and graduate students with financial need and academic promise.
- Marilyn Mead Endowed Scholarship: Female and minority Ph.D. candidates at the Seidenberg School with financial need and academic potential qualify for the Mead Scholarship.
- Seidenberg School FIRST Scholarship: Did you participate in a FIRST Robotics Competition or FIRST Tech Challenge? Did you also snag an 87 percent in high school and an 1100 on the SAT? Then win a renewable scholarship toward a program at the Seidenberg School.
Rochester Institute Of Technology
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: Students admitted to a BS/MS dual degree program in Computing Security, Computer Science or Software Engineering can apply for full tuition plus stipends worth over $30,000 a year. In return, they’ll be expected to intern and find employment in the field with a federal agency after graduation.
- RIT Computing Medal Scholarship: Get a $7,000 a year scholarship toward RIT before you even finish high school. Just earn high grades in computer classes and/or show off your knowledge in a class project. Apply by May of your junior year to qualify.
SUNY At Albany
- The University at Albany Foundation Scholarships: University at Albany is connected to 50+ endowed scholarship funds specifically for students at the School of Business. Digital Forensics is one of just three undergrad programs at the school, so these students are well-placed for financial aid.
SUNY Westchester Community College
- Christine Mastrangelo Memorial Scholarship: Students in the Computer Information Systems department, which includes cybersecurity degree-seekers, are eligible for the Mastrangelo Scholarship.
National Science Foundation’s Pipeline Scholarship Fund:
Full-time enrollees in a STEM program, including cybersecurity students, who have financial need can win NSF money toward their associate degree.
- The Rice Family Foundation Technology Scholarships Students who have proven themselves as exceptional in their computer science program are eligible for a cash injection of $2,000 to $2,500 to continue their studies at Westchester CC.
- Unisys Corporation Scholarships: Unisys puts $500 on the table for a pair of students who have shown they can handle computer science coursework and are continuing their studies at Westchester CC.
University At Buffalo
- CyberCorps Scholarship for Service: MBA students with a tech focus can apply for a $25,000 annual stipend.
- John F. Jasinski Scholarship: Any student with a 3.0, financial need and a plan to go into a computer science career is eligible for the Jasinski Scholarship.
Cybersecurity Events in New York
Cybersecurity Meetups and Communities in New York
Whether you’re a neophyte to computer security or a big deal, there’s a community where you can learn from experts and/or network with peers:
- AT&T NYC Research Seminar Series: A collaboration of AT&T Labs Big Data Research and the AT&T Security Research Center, this monthly speaker series skews toward data experts, but there’s plenty to keep hackers with an interest in data mining engaged.
- Empire Hacking: Founded in 2015 by Trail of Bits, an NYC-based information security company, Empire Hacking is an exclusive bimonthly speaker series that delves into the latest research.
- New York CryptoParty Network: Are you a rank beginner? Go to a Cryptoparty, whose organizers point out “there are no dumb questions.” Their events are aimed at anyone who wants to learn techniques to increase their online safety.
- NY Information Security Meetup: This is one of the biggest info security meetups in the world, partially because it welcomes members of all levels within the New York metro area. It’s also fairly active, averaging one meeting per month. Agendas consist of speakers and discussions, product demos, workshops, and networking.
- OWASP NYC / NJ Cyber Security Community: The New York metro area’s branch of the Open Web Application Security Project has a ton of members and regular meetups. Typical events run the gamut from hackathons to talks on encryption to social outings at football games. OWASP also has chapter meetups for people who don’t want to leave Brooklyn or Long Island.
Cybersecurity Conferences and Workshops in New York
It won’t surprise you to learn that huge conferences come through New York every year. For example, the Real World Cryptography Conference was held in NYC in 2014 and again in 2017. The Conference on Decision and Game Theory for Security came to town in 2016. But there are some events that are rooted in New York, either because they’re sponsored by educational institutions or because their organizers are based in the state. Here are some big ones:
- HOPE Conference: Standing for Hackers on Planet Earth, HOPE isn’t limited to computer hackers. But its conferences are packed with security talks and workshops, covering everything from vulnerabilities of web-enabled medical devices to how to protect your Bitcoins from being stolen. HOPE puts audio from all sessions online. Listen for yourself before attending the next conference.
- International Conference on Cybersecurity: Hosted by the FBI and Fordham University, this four-day event features the usual slate of expert speakers, panel discussions, workshops and tutorials for specialists in the field. Given the sponsor, there’s a heavy emphasis on criminal justice.
- New York Cyber Security Summit: Although this one-day conferences is for chief officers only, it’s something for everyday professionals to aspire to.
- New York Institute of Technology Annual Cybersecurity Conference: This event puts security experts from the academic, business and government worlds together for a day of presentations, panel discussions and workshops.
- New York Metro Joint Cyber Security Conference: The conference consists of members of the most prominent area InfoSec professional organizations. The format is a jam-packed day of interesting talks by prominent speakers.
- New York State Cyber Security Conference: The state’s Office of Information Technology Services began holding its own cyber security conference in 1998. It brings academics, private employees and government workers to Albany for two days of group sessions.
Cybersecurity Jobs in New York
New York has more Fortune 500 companies than any other state, but you probably already knew that. With Wall Street at the helm, the Empire State is one of the world’s major financial centers. JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, AIG, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and American Express are all within a cab ride of each other. And with billions of investor and consumer cash fueling their enterprises, they’re enemy #1 of hackers. They need security experts to keep the financial data secure and transactions legit.
Love New York City but want to stay out of the financial sector? The state’s communications and media giants could use you. Take your pick between Verizon and L-3 Communications (hint: It makes communications gear for federal intelligence agencies). Want out of the city? Drive up to scenic Armonk on the Connecticut border. It’s home to IBM, which is investing heavily in security.
With so much business activity going on, there are surprisingly few formal mechanisms to spur job growth in the sector. But in 2015, software company iQ4, finance industry trade group SIFMA and CUNY founded the Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance (CWA). Its goal is to make sure curricula match industry needs and usher recent grads into cybersecurity jobs in the state. It’s good that someone is thinking about workforce development, because despite all the big employers in the state, in 2014 there were half as many cybersecurity job postings in New York (14,089) as there were in California (28,744), with state demand actually three percent lower than the national rate. Although, with many of the state’s cybersecurity programs geared toward combating terrorism and protecting the country, it’s not uncommon for graduates to migrate to DC for jobs.
Cybersecurity Salaries in New York
Where are the top salaries in the U.S. for information security specialists? San Francisco comes in first, but New York City is in second at $131,000 a year. Even when adjusted for cost of living, NYC is the ninth highest-paying spot for cybersecurity pros. The ceiling is also higher than elsewhere: The average chief information security officer there commands $240,000, the third-highest figure in the nation.
All Cybersecurity Programs in New York
Below are all the matching programs we found in our directory, from 27 New York schools.
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