This guide is all about cybersecurity in Hawaii. The guide includes an analysis of the various educational and career opportunities available for cybersecurity professionals in the state.
Hawaii’s tourism industry makes up 90 percent of the total GDP, and with the establishment of US military bases, it contributes to an overall $97 billion economy, according to Forbes.
However, Hawaii’s weather doesn’t protect it from high business taxes and energy costs. Hawaii hosts some of the highest energy and household costs in the country due to the state’s heavy reliance on imports.
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Hawaii’s growth relies heavily on tourism and relations with Japan, as well as Australia, Canada, and the US mainland. While primarily relying on its tourism services, government sectors, and manufacturing facilities as its lifeline, software development, and cybersecurity have been slowly impacting the state revenue over the past few years.
Cybersecurity initiatives have become a starting focal point for its citizens and government representatives, as the state facing up to 45 million cyberattacks per day, according to GovTech. Hawaii’s interactions with cybersecurity hacks left many of its citizens unprepared, as a leaked photo of Hawaii’s emergency agency password led to a false alarm for a nuclear strike from North Korea, which led many people to fret about the future of the state’s security.
Today, Hawaii contains an estimated 31,573 tech workers; the average tech industry salary in Hawaii is $85,400, compared to the state’s average annual private-sector wage of $48,980. Hawaii ranks 44th in net tech employment, making up 4.5 percent of the state’s total workforce, according to Cyberstates and Comptia.
Growing awareness of cybersecurity in Hawaii
Hawaii has begun some of its initiatives to improve its tech sectors and bring awareness to cybersecurity efforts. In 2017, Governor David Y. Ige joined a multi-state cybersecurity compact alongside 38 other governors to enhance state cybersecurity and develop the cyber workforce. The agreement is part of the National Governors Association’s “Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challenge” initiative, challenging states to build cybersecurity governance better.
The Hawaii Technology Development Corporation has begun expanding its tech service training programs to aid the local workforce, earning the Employment & Training Fund to support local companies. It also gives tech employees training courses administered by DevLeague, a technical training program in software engineering and cybersecurity.
The state’s Office of Planning, alongside the state’s Office of Enterprise Technology Services, mapped out a newly improved geographic information system (GIS) for better data sharing, cost-effectiveness, and accessibility. Through these advancements, Hawaii’s data-sharing capabilities have become centralized, allowing users to share information beyond the source agency and standardize its data to be up-to-date and widely available for analysis.
To educate its citizens in cybersecurity, Hawaii has partnered with the SANS Institute to offer K-12 and university students the opportunity to participate in free cybersecurity aptitude tests to encourage careers in cybersecurity. The CyberStart program helps develop an interest in information technology and security careers. The state also established cybersecurity internships and scholarships alongside the National Security Agency to encourage careers in cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity education in Hawaii
Hawaii’s initiatives in cybersecurity have led to several degrees with specializations across many of the state’s colleges. Students who find an interest in cybersecurity will be able to find many opportunities to learn and take on a career in cybersecurity through the University of Hawaii West O’ahu’s Cyber Security Coordination Center. The center works with its subsidiary locations and other colleges to establish cyber defense coordination and connect them with local and regional security partners. The coordination center has been ranked among the top three percent of colleges to educate students in the field of cybersecurity and information technology.
At the University of Hawaii at Honolulu Community College, students can earn an associate of science degree in computing, security, and network technology.
Through the degree program, students will be able to become proficient in meeting the specific requirements of today’s technology sector. The degree contains five semesters and core classes in basic networking, system administration, computing, and information security, and the degree prepares students for employment in the field of information technology. Students who earn an associate of science will also be able to transfer their degree to a bachelor of science at the West O’ahu location. Students can also earn certificates through the university alongside their associate degree.
At Kapi’olani Community College, students can earn an associate of science degree in information technology. The associate degree program focuses on cybersecurity, network connectivity, programming basics, GUI interfaces, and server platform competency. The program also gears towards business concepts and communications methods to understand the roles cybersecurity and networking play in a business environment.
At Hawaii Pacific University, students can earn an associate of science in cybersecurity. The cybersecurity degree gives students a primary curriculum in computer networking and computer security and teaches essential functions such as programming, network monitoring, information assurance, and data security problem-solving skills.
The University of Hawaii expands its information technology and cybersecurity courses across multiple locations, where students across Hawaii can earn degrees in information technology and computer networking.
At the University of Hawaii in Manoa, students can earn a bachelor of science in computer science and a bachelor of arts degree in information and computer science. Through both the bachelor of science degree program and bachelor of arts degree program, students can specialize in their degree programs with the addition of the security science focus. The security science focus teaches students cryptographic protocols, basic concepts of security and trust, and the economic impact of security as well as the necessary problem-solving capabilities of computer networking and software administration.
The University of Hawaii in West O’ahu offers students a bachelor of applied science degree concentration in information security and assurance. The university developed the program in response to the numerous cyber attacks the state faces, alongside the federal requirement for more cybersecurity training and education through the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Training Careers and Studies. The program contains technical courses in the cybersecurity field, and have the option of concentrating their degree through courses in network security, digital forensics, cyber conflicts, and security software coding.
At the Maui College location, the university offers a bachelor of science degree in applied business and information technology, allowing students to combine business administration with information technology concepts to encompass a full degree for the workforce. Programs under the curriculum include accounting, marketing, management, data science, web programming, and cybersecurity.
Among the list of degrees the University of Hawaii offers at its various college locations, the university also provides students with an extensive list of certification opportunities.
Hawaii Pacific University offers a certificate in telecommunication security, where students can learn the essential functions of security forensics and system architecture.
At Leeward College, students can also earn a certificate of achievement in information and computer science alongside a certificate of competency in basic programming, network support, information support, and computer science.
And Honolulu College offers a certificate of achievement in information assurance.
Cybersecurity jobs in Hawaii
A total of 3,962 job openings in Hawaii, about 6,407 employees currently work in the cybersecurity industry, according to Cyberseek.
Further evaluation of the cybersecurity field in Hawaii reveals:
The average hourly salary for a cybersecurity analyst in Hawaii is $57.47, with the average annual salary at $119,540 in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Cybersecurity in Hawaii
Hawaii’s economy appears to be weighed down by its dependency on imports from the U.S. mainland and other countries. Still, its focus on software development and cybersecurity has helped students throughout the state’s collection of colleges find a spark of interest in the technology field.
While business taxes and energy costs remain high, those throughout the state of Hawaii can potentially earn valuable careers in the tech industry as Hawaii continues to expand its key sectors.