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What is Cyber Security?

For the past several years, the cyber security field has been an extremely fast-growing industry. As technology becomes an integral component of society, there’s a greater need for cyber security professionals across the country. Many people are actually unaware that there’s a huge global shortage of cyber security professionals.

A cyber security specialist is one of the most desired positions in the information technology sector. As the title infers, a cyber security specialist is someone who secures a company’s digital information from malicious cyber-attacks, such as ransomware.

The specific job duties of these professionals will vary, but most cyber security specialists are expected to address security threats, conduct system vulnerability assessments, and generate reports for senior-level team members. Since manufacturing, medical, government, and financial institutions are the most likely to be hacked, many cyber security specialists obtain positions in these sectors. Cyber security specialists can advance their careers by becoming information security analysts, software security engineers, and chief information security officers, among others.

The most successful cyber security specialists are skilled in firewall implementation and application design. They also have great communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills.

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Online Cyber Security Education in Hawaii

Since the state’s professional and business service industry contributes a little over $7 billion to the GDP, Hawaii recognizes the importance of highly qualified cyber security professionals. Many schools in this state have also unveiled cyber security degrees to address the evolving workforce needs. In order to prepare students for the state’s job market, these programs cover key topics, like computer engineering and information security.

While cyber-attacks are happening more frequently in this state and beyond, professionals who graduate from a cyber security degree program in Hawaii will be able to develop sophisticated ways to protect organizations. The State of Hawaii even offers a cyber security program through its Office of Enterprise Technology Services. The primary goal of this program is to protect electronic information in Hawaii.

Almost every employer in Hawaii will prefer to hire professionals with cyber security degrees. Check out these exceptional cyber security degrees, available in Hawaii and online from around the country.

Online Associate Degree in Cyber Security (AS)

An associate cyber security degree is the preferred choice for those who want to work as information security specialists or computer support specialists without spending four years in school first. A 60-credit program, students will take classes such as Cybersecurity, Secure Programming, and Fundamentals of Network Security. They will learn how to solve data security problems with innovative solutions.

In addition to a high-quality learning experience, students will also obtain hands-on workplace skills by participating in labs. The labs will show students how to manage real systems. Many associate cyber security programs lead to one of the following certificates: CSNT or ICS. After graduating from their program, students can enroll in a bachelor’s cyber security degree program at an accredited institution or move straight into a career.

An associate cyber security degree can be found at Honolulu Community College, Leeward Community College, Kapi’olani Community College, University of Hawaii-Honolulu Community College, and Hawai`i Pacific University.

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Online Bachelor's Degree in Cyber Security (BS)

A bachelor’s cyber security degree is a great choice for future cyber security professionals who want to acquire an entry-level position in a private sector enterprise or public sector agency. A few great entry-level cyber security positions include a penetration tester, security architect, and security engineer.

These programs cover important cyber security topics such as computer systems forensics, networking, mathematical cryptology, and cyber detection and response. When students graduate from this program, they will definitely be able to address advanced cyber security threats.

To excel in an entry-level position, students can gain hands-on workplace skills by participating in internships and practicums. These great opportunities are often available through the Department of Homeland Security and the State Prosecutor’s Office. Students can also serve as an intern at tech companies, banks, hotels, and healthcare facilities.

Some programs in Hawaii are approved by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery. Here are some of the best cyber security schools in Hawaii: University of Hawaii-West O’ahu and Hawai’i Pacific University.

Online Master's Degree in Cyber Security (MS)

A master’s cyber security degree or MBA is for cyber security professionals who want to gain a competitive edge in the workforce. Students in these programs have a strong desire to revolutionize the way companies and organizations function.

These programs will teach students exactly how to create effective solutions for complex computing problems, among other skills. In terms of career, a master’s degree will allow students to obtain senior-level positions as security managers, database administrators, project managers, chief information security officer, network engineers, and more.

After earning a master’s degree, students should be looking to earn industry certifications. An advanced professional certificate will make future cyber security professionals extremely competitive applicants for jobs. Hawai`i Pacific University is the top school for a master’s cyber security degree/MBA in Hawaii.

Online PhD Degree in Cyber Security (PhD)

A PhD/Doctorate degree is necessary if future cyber security professionals are interested in a research or teaching position in the cyber security field.

There isn’t a PhD/Doctorate degree in cyber security in this state, but students can enroll in a PhD/Doctorate degree in computer science or find an online program option from elsewhere in the US. These programs focus on the major aspects of computer science, such as bioinformatics and machine learning. By the end of the program, students will be able to apply theory to the development of new computer systems.

Students can receive this PhD/Doctorate degree at the University of Hawaii at Monoa.

Become a Cyber Security Professional in Hawaii

A position as a cyber security professional is a great career for people who enjoy information technology. The path to becoming an exceptional cyber security professional may take several years, but it’s definitely worth it. Here’s exactly how to become a cyber security professional in Hawaii.

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  • Graduate High School
    The first step to attaining a career as a cyber security professional is to graduate high school. Future cyber security professionals should also perform well in social science classes. By doing so, they will be prepared to enter an associate of science degree program or a bachelor of science degree program.
  • Obtain A Cyber Security Education

    Whether someone wants to pursue a career as an information security specialist or a chief information security officer, obtaining a cyber security education is an extremely important step. An associate of science degree is a great choice for future cyber security professionals who want to obtain a support position as students will be exposed to topics in social science and political science as well as cyber security.

    However, a bachelor of science degree is highly recommended for those who want to find an entry-level or higher position in the cyber security field. During this program for students, prospective cyber security professionals will be learning design and technology.

    Cyber security professionals who want to excel in business analytics and information security will need to obtain a Master’s Cyber Security Degree or an MBA with a focus in computer science or cyber security. In Hawaii, this master of science degree is actually the equivalent of a Master of Science in Business Analytics and Information Security.

    Future cyber security professionals who want to dive deeper into cyber security should enroll in a PhD/doctorate degree.

  • Gain Hands-On Workplace Skills

    While a cyber security degree is definitely beneficial, most employers want to hire cyber security professionals who also have hands-on, workplace skills. When cyber security professionals have these skills, employers believe they can excel in real life situations.

    One way to gain practical work experience is by participating in an internship. During the internship, future cyber security professionals will learn exactly how to identify and assess risk in computer systems. An internship will also expose them to the latest cyber security technologies.

    Students can be introduced to many cyber security fields during an internship. A few cyber security fields include network and infrastructure security, digital forensics, and application security. However, more often than not, cyber security professionals will need industry certifications to enter most cyber security fields.

  • Acquire Cyber Security Certifications

    Cyber security professionals who would like to advance their career should obtain industry certifications. Check out these popular cyber security certifications:

    • Certified Information Systems Security Professional: Before taking this examination, cyber security professionals should have demonstrable knowledge in security operations, security engineering, asset security, and many more important concepts.
    • Certified Ethical Hacker: The certified ethical hacker examination will ensure that cyber security professionals thoroughly understand malware threats, cloud computing, scanning networks, and hacking web servers.
    • Certified Information Systems Security Professional: Designed for those who want a career in information security, this certification ensures that cyber security professionals can effectively identify security risks.
    • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner: The CASP+ examination will cover topics like security assessments, security controls, and cryptography.
    • Cyber security professionals can join in-person and online courses to prepare for these examinations. Depending on the certification, students may need to acquire a bachelor’s or master’s cyber security degree.
  • Join Professional Organizations

    As an exceptional cyber security professional, it’s always a great idea to join professional organizations. When cyber security professionals join professional organizations, they will be able to stay abreast of the latest developments.

    Many cyber security professionals get involved with the Information Systems Audit and Control Association or ISACA-Hawaii Chapter. The chapter offers several workshops and seminars as well as network opportunities. The Information Systems Security Association-Hawaii Chapter is also an excellent organization for cyber security professionals. In addition to peer interaction opportunities, the chapter provides many educational resources.

  • Get A Mentor

    One great way to for cyber security professionals to quickly advance their careers is by getting a mentor. By joining many professional organizations, cyber security professionals should definitely have access to numerous potential mentors.

    The best mentors are ones who have been working in the cyber security field for at least a decade. A high-quality mentor will be able to help cyber security professionals master their skills. Mentors can also share which industry certifications area considered necessary for cyber security professionals within a specific industry.

    After working with a mentor for a few years, cyber security professionals will be on their way to obtaining a senior-level position.

Careers for Cyber Security Graduates

When it comes to cyber security careers, there’s no shortage of opportunities for cyber security positions. Here are the most common cyber security careers in Hawaii.

  • Security Engineer
    Security engineers are mainly responsible for protecting computer architecture. During a typical day, software engineers prevent cyber-attacks, oversee code audits, analyze risk, conduct performance testing, and collaborate with IT professionals. They are also often praised for building security systems and researching potential threats.
  • Network Administrator
    Network administrators are professionals who excel in maintaining a company’s networks. These professionals are supposed to solve network problems, perform network tests, recommend hardware upgrades, and collaborate with IT team members. The best network administrators will have demonstrable knowledge in system administration. They should also know all about local area network and wide area network.
  • Information Technology Directors:
    Information technology directors or IT directors are senior-level professionals who manage a company’s internal technology operations. Depending on the company, an IT director may be known as a chief information officer. The specific job description of these professionals includes monitoring the security of systems, developing policies, and overseeing IT staff. IT directors are expected to have strong analytical and interpersonal skills.
  • Information Security Analyst
    The main duty of information security analysts is to protect an organization’s electronic data from hacks and breaches. They are often hired to install firewalls, implement virus protection, suggest network security strategies, and much more. Information security analysts often collaborate with an incredible team of IT professionals.
  • Penetration Tester
    Cloud information security engineers are most known for protecting cloud-based environments. They are expected to develop advanced security strategies, update infrastructure, and research emerging security threats. Cloud information security engineers are skilled in many different programming languages, such as Java and Visual Basic.
  • Chief Information Security Officer
    The primary goal of a chief information security officer is to monitor the security aspects of a corporation. Also known as CISOs, these senior-level executives take great pride in developing security policies and disaster recovery plans. These senior-level professionals are also responsible for managing IT employees. Chief information security officers must have excellent communication, management, business analytics, and administrative skills.

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