What is Cyber Security?
Washington is home to some of the wealthiest businesses and people in the world, and as such, cyber security in Washington has never been more important than it is with the increasing use of technology for transferring and storing sensitive and private data. It is not just big businesses and wealthy people who need cyber security protection. In fact, today, over 50% of all cyber-crime is directed toward small businesses, and it is everyday, average citizens that most often fall prey to cyber scams. And, keep in mind that roughly 60% of small businesses that do become victims of cyber-crime are forced to close within 6 months. Everyone needs cyber security protection and experts to protect them including small businesses, enterprises, non-profits, government entities, and more.
Online Cyber Security Education in Washington
An advanced degree is critical for a career in cyber security. Proper training and education is just one way that employers determine whether or not you are truly qualified for preventing, combating, controlling, and repairing cyber-crime damage. If you are fully capable of becoming a cyber security professional on your own, which is highly possible for many technologically-capable individuals, you will still require verification from a higher learning institution before you will qualify for most cyber security jobs or even higher level certifications. Continuing education is also critical in this field as technology and cyber-criminals evolve at a rapid rate. If you start with an associate degree or a certificate program, you can continue your education while you gain essential work experience to advance your career and your pay. Before you select a college or university and a program, be sure they are properly accredited.
Online Associate Degree in Cyber Security (AS)
An associate degree in cyber security will launch your career in just a few years rather than having to continue your education for four years or longer. You can find cyber security and information assurance associate degrees at community colleges, vocational schools, and technical schools. If you did not do so well in high school, rest assured an associate degree has far fewer requirements than bachelor’s degrees. You might only require a 2.0 GPA or a GED for some programs. At the same time, some programs will have more challenging admission requirements, particularly programs that are endorsed by the Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE).
Online Bachelor's Degree in Cyber Security (AS)
A bachelor’s degree is often a minimum degree requirement for many entry-level cyber security positions. If you wish to seek out employment at reputable organizations with top pay, you will require a bachelor’s degree in cyber security. If the higher learning institution does not have a cyber security degree, you should seek out a degree in an IT or business-related field and minor in cyber security. You could choose a double major degree program to improve your desirable skillset or you could also select a dual degree program to complete both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in less time.
Online Master's Degree in Cyber Security (MS)
A master’s degree in cyber security is one way you can advance your career far more quickly. It will also boost your salary and allow you to apply for managerial positions. In time, you will qualify for additional roles, such as a director or C-suite team member. Many master’s degree programs in cyber security are now available online. Additionally, employers often provide some sort of tuition reimbursement for advanced degrees.
Online Certifications in Cyber Security
Cyber security certifications are rapidly becoming an essential tool to meet the growing demand of cyber security professionals. People who already have a four-year degree or a master’s degree can complete a certificate in cyber security so that they can change career paths. Individuals who have not yet completed a degree can use a certificate program in cyber security to enter the job market quickly before they complete an entire degree. Certificates are also a great way to specialize in various areas within cyber security. It is important to note that certificates often require prerequisite courses or experience in the field, but will cost a fraction of the price of a full degree.
Why is Accreditation Important?
You may have heard of colleges and universities being accredited, however, it is critical to understand that not all accreditations are seen as being equal. Colleges and universities that are seen as providing the best standard of education will be classified as regionally accredited. Other higher learning institutions that have respectable, but not as rigorous educational standards will have national accreditation. If a school does not have an accreditation, you should wait until you can get into an accredited school. Programs can also be accredited. These programs are considered the best programs available. They can be endorsed and accredited by professional organizations or state and government entities. In the case of cyber security, the best programs will be endorsed by as Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE). This means that the program meets the exceptional standards of Homeland Security and the NSA.
CAE Accredited Programs in Washington
- City University of Seattle
CAE-CD / 2019-2024
- Columbia Basin College
CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
- Edmonds Community College
CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
- Green River College
CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
- Highline College
CAE-2Y / 2014-2020
- Spokane Falls Community College
CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
- University of Washington
CAE-CD / 2017-2022
CAE-R / 2019-2024
- Whatcom Community College
CAE-2Y / 2014-2021
Top College Programs in Washington for Computer Science and Cybersecurity
University of Washington – Seattle Campus
The University of Washington Seattle Campus has a dedicated Center for Information Assurance and Cyber Security. The center is filled with resources and a forum for both individuals associated with the university and individuals outside of the network. The community represents individuals from nearly all walks of cyber security life including NGOs, government entities, innovators, researchers, businesses, veterans, and more.
Computer and Information Sciences - Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
Computer Science - Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management - Master’s Degree
Informatics – Bachelor’s Degree
Information Science/Studies – Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
Information Technology – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
Average Net Price: $9,765
College Retention Rate: 94% (Full-time Students); 78% (Part-time Students)
University of Washington – Bothell Campus
The University of Washington - Bothell Campus has a cyber security program that is endorsed as a CAE. They also have a dedicated cyber security center called the CIAC for both research and education. Program participants will focus on securing networks and device protection against a variety of security threats including accidents, viruses, and hacks. The programs and the center focus on collaborations, from local to global.
Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degree
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Master’s Degree
Computer Programming, Specific Applications – Bachelor’s Degree
Computer Science - Bachelor’s & Master’s Degree
Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst – Bachelor’s Degree
Information Science/Studies – Bachelor’s Degree
Average Net Price: $8,346
College Retention Rate: 87% (Full-time Students); 70% (Part-time Students)
City University of Seattle
City University of Seattle has several dedicated cyber security and information assurance programs for individuals in search of an in-demand and secure career path. You can choose between online and on-campus courses. You can complete this degree at an accelerated rate to finish within two years rather than four. This is also a designated CAE program in Cyber Defense Education.
Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s Degree
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
Computer Science – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management – Bachelor’s Degree
Average Net Price: $20,567
College Retention Rate: 75% (Full-time Students); 22% (Part-time Students)
Central Washington University
Central Washington University has recently announced it will offer a minor in cyber security along with certificate programs. With this as a minor, you can focus on multiple areas within technology or business while becoming highly knowledgeable in cyber security. With these programs and others, you can pursue careers in IT security, network security, security policy, application security, and more.
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
Computer Science – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
Information Technology – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
Average Net Price: $14,647
College Retention Rate: 69% (Full-time Students); 63% (Part-time Students)
University of Washington – Tacoma Campus
The University of Washington Tacoma Campus offers advanced cyber security degrees for those who wish to become leaders in the industry. You will learn the best ways to analyze and examine existing cyber systems to be able to make improvements and protect your organization successfully. The program is technically a collaboration of the School of Engineering and Technology and the School of Business.
Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Master’s Degree
Information Technology – Bachelor’s & Master’s degrees
Average Net Price: $9,292
College Retention Rate: 81% (Full-time Students); 76% (Part-time Students)
Western Washington University
Western Washington University works together with community colleges throughout Washington to provide a pathway from an associate degree to a bachelor’s degree in cyber security. You can start at a two-year community college to save money and to complete your prerequisites. Once you complete your community college cyber security program, you can transfer to Western Washington University without having to take or retake additional courses.
Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s, Master’s Degrees & Undergraduate Certificate
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s Degree
Average Net Price: $17,403
College Retention Rate: 81% (Full-time Students); 64% (Part-time Students)
Associates Programs and Certifications in Washington for Cyber Security
You can pursue an associate degree and cyber security certificates at the Washington colleges below. The certificate programs typically take between one year and two years to complete in full. An associate degree will provide basic prerequisite courses, as well as complementary skills. Many people choose an associate degree or a community college certificate to save money as the cost per credit is significantly less expensive than at a four-year higher learning institution. You could also start with a technology-related degree or certificate at this level and then transfer to a four-year school to complete your cyber security degree.
Green River College
Average Net Price: $7,746
College Retention Rate: 62% (Full-time Students); 48% (Part-time Students)
Edmonds Community College
Average Net Price: $7,782
Average Net Price: $8,319
Columbia Basin College
Average Net Price: $8,717
Average Net Price: $5,626
Clover Park Technical College
Average Net Price: $5,852
Top College Scholarships in Washington for Cyber Security
Morphisec’s Women in Cybersecurity Scholarships
Amount: Up to $2,500
Deadline: May 15
These cyber security scholarships will be awarded to three individuals with prizes ranging from $1,000 to $2,500. To qualify, you must be a woman in pursuit of a degree in various cyber security areas such as cyber security, information assurance, information security, information systems security, or other related fields.
C3P: Scholarship for Service
Amount: Full Tuition+
Deadline: June 30
The C3P Scholarship for Service (SFS) is available at Whatcom Community College by the National Science Foundation for students studying cyber security. Those who qualify will receive full tuition, a living stipend, book allowance, health insurance, and more. You must be studying computer information systems or a transfer degree program in cyber security. As an SFS scholarship program, you will be required to work for a government entity upon completing the degree.
(ISC)² Women’s Information Security Scholarships
Deadline: April 15
The (ISC)2 Women’s Information Security Scholarships at Washington State University is dedicated to women in pursuit of a degree in cyber security or information assurance. To apply, you must be a graduating high school senior or a current undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate student. You must have at least a 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale and you can be enrolled at either a US or international college or university.
Colorado-Washington Security Scholars Program (CWSSP)
Amount: Full Tuition+
The Colorado-Washington Security Scholars Program (CWSSP) is a Cybercorps: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program. Ten individuals at UW Tacoma and Colorado will be awarded full tuition, a living stipend, a book allowance, travel reimbursement, professional certifications, and more. As it is an SFS program, you will be required to work for a government entity upon completing your degree for as many years as you accept the scholarship.
WGU Cybersecurity Scholarship
Deadline: December 31
The WGU Washington Cybersecurity Scholarship is dedicated to cyber security students to help combat the lack of cyber security professionals in the state of Washington. You must be in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in cyber security and information assurance from WGU Washington. The scholarship will be awarded in $1,250 increments every six months.
Conferences and Workshops
Healthcare Cybersecurity Forum - Northwest
This forum focuses on some of the most relevant cyber security issues in healthcare today such as medical device security, insurance, workforce development and training, third party management, and board and stakeholder communication / engagement. This forum is for information security professionals in healthcare rather than healthcare professionals in general.
Seattle Cyber Security Summit
The Seattle Cyber Security Summit is held annually for both senior executives and C-suite professionals who are committed to protecting the security and information of the organization, customers, and employees. You will be able to participate in networking, panels, discussions, and more.
SANS Seattle is dedicated to providing intensive training courses and certifications in cyber security such as Security Essentials Bootcamp, Network Penetration Testing - Ethical Hacking - Advanced Incident Response, Threat Hunting and Digital Forensics. These programs will prepare you for the most relevant situations with intense immersion training.
Careers for Cyber Security Graduates
- Information Security Analysts:
Information security analysts currently hold approximately 2,690 jobs in Washington with a median salary of $107,800. As an information security analyst, you will be responsible for all software upgrades and installations, current security practice examinations, and activate process improvements to the existing system and network.
- Computer Systems Analysts:
Computer systems analysts currently hold about 17,970 jobs in Washington with a median salary of $96,860. As an analyst, you will be required to carefully analyze the current design and process of each system and provide efficient and effective solutions to improve upon practices. A solid understanding of both IT and business is also a requirement.
- Computer Programmers:
Programmers currently hold roughly 9,670 jobs in Washington with a median salary of $126,920. As a computer programmer, you will be required to write in several programming languages as well as test and repair code that already exists.
- Database Administrators:
These administrators currently hold roughly 2,080 jobs in Washington with a median salary of $104,700. As a database administrator, you will collaborate with various team members to ensure all databases work together properly, as well as to create new databases, merge databases, and eliminate outdated and ineffective databases.
- Network and Computer Systems Administrators:
These administrators currently hold about 8,920 jobs in Washington with a median salary of $92,750. As a network and computer systems administrator, you will manage the daily operations of any and all networks and computer systems.
- Software Application Developers:
These developers currently hold about 53,860 jobs in Washington with a median salary of $131,790. As a software application developer, you will develop new applications based on end-user needs, tool limitations, budget constraints, and deadlines.
Resources in Washington for Cyber Security
- Office of Washington State Auditor
This Washington office provides a site dedicated to cyber security audits that seek out weaknesses in government networks and operations. These audits are conducted at no cost to local and state governments within the state to help prevent cybercrime at state entities throughout Washington.
- State of Washington Office of Cybersecurity
This is one of the most progressive state government offerings in cyber security for the people of Washington. Washington is one of very few states to have an entire government office dedicated to cyber security. Their website provides information for professionals, businesses, students, residents, and anyone else to help protect their lives and livelihood from cyber-criminals.
- The Center for Information Assurance & Cybersecurity at UW Bothell
Much like many colleges and universities in Washington state, UW Bothell also offers a Center for Information Assurance & Cybersecurity. The center provides tools, courses, and community resources for everyone, from students to professionals.