This guide is about some of the many cybersecurity schools in Kentucky as well as some of the cybersecurity-related career opportunities available in the state.
Accounting for one of every six jobs in the state, manufacturing is one of the backbone’s of Kentucky’s economy. There are roughly a quarter million manufacturing jobs in the state, the result of 4,500 manufacturing facilities.
Those manufacturing plants produce a lot of products and in 2018 Kentucky exported $31.8 billion worth of goods, a new record. Those numbers, which represent a 2.9 percent increase in exports over 2017, make Kentucky a larger exporter than the entire country of Greece.
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While Canada is Kentucky’s largest trade partner, their exports make their way to almost two-hundred countries each year. The largest category of manufactured export is aerospace products.
Manufacturing doesn’t tell the whole story, however. There is another multi-billion dollar industry in Kentucky that thrives due to the state’s advantageous geography.
Kentucky isn’t dead center in the United States, however, it is nearly perfectly centered when accounting for population. That has led to the development of a massive shipping and logistics industry, an industry unapparelled anywhere in the world.
Take package sorting, for example. “The UPS Worldport at Louisville International Airport is the largest fully automated package-handling facility in the world.” That facility processes about 1.5 million packages a day, or put differently, 17.4 packages a second.
That’s a lot of packages and it represents the work of just one company. DHL also has a facility in Kentucky that recently underwent a $100 million expansion. FedEx is also expanding its in-state operation.
While impressive, these facilities have a weakness. By necessity, they’re heavily automated. What’s automated is susceptible to cyberattack and even though disrupting America’s package supply might not be the first order of business for a cybercriminal, the threat is real enough.
Thankfully Kentucky is aware of the important role that cybersecurity plays in this computer-powered age. Through conferences and state-driven initiatives, they’re seeking to promote cybersecurity awareness and find solutions to today’s most pressing digital problems.
Cybersecurity in Kentucky
The Cyber Security Conference has become an annual event in Kentucky. Designed especially for enterprise IT employees, as well as government security technicians, the conference is a chance to learn about the latest cybersecurity threats and how to combat them.
Attendees can also learn about compliance; ensuring that their company’s digital systems are fully compliant with the latest regulations.
In addition to the conference, Kentucky’s legislator recently passed KY HR 171, “A resolution urging a comprehensive study of and subsequent plan to deal with the growing blockchain technology.”
What’s interesting is that instead of vilifying cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, as many have done, the state of Kentucky acknowledges their potential. “These advances in blockchain technology have great potential in the area of economic development as many innovative startups and entrepreneurs have entered the blockchain sector.”
The legislation does recognize, however, that without proper oversight and regulation blockchain and cryptographic currencies may do more harm than good.
Finally, the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security recently named Kentucky’s Owensboro Community & Technical College’s computer and information technology program a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.
The designation recognizes the program’s high standard of teaching in regards to cybersecurity and cyber defense. It illustrates the focus that Kentucky places on cybersecurity education. Indeed, they have a number of cybersecurity programs available to potential students.
Cybersecurity education in Kentucky
While an associate’s degree may limit the number of cybersecurity jobs that a graduate will be able to apply for, the two-year degree has the advantage of being less expensive than a bachelor’s.
Online cybersecurity associate’s degrees in Kentucky
Currently Kentucky has one online associate’s degree: Sullivan University offers an Associate of Science in Cybersecurity.
A bachelor’s degree is a great choice as most cybersecurity jobs require a four-year degree or higher. A bachelor’s program will prepare students to recognize and neutralize many of the most common types of cyber threats.
In addition, students may study subjects outside of the IT field like history or English literature.
Campus-based cybersecurity bachelor’s degree in Kentucky
Kentucky currently offers several campus-based cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs. Please see the following table for more information.
Online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree in Kentucky
The main advantage of an online degree is flexibility. With an online degree, it’s easier to study while working, making this an ideal way for someone to earn an income while also furthering their education.
Students in Kentucky can choose from two online bachelor’s degree programs.
- Sullivan University offers a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
- Sullivan University offers a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
The primary advantage of a master’s degree is that the graduate will not be held back within the company. For instance, some companies may stipulate that those in upper management must have a master’s degree or higher.
Graduates with a master’s degree also, on average, earn a higher salary and have more employment opportunities as their expertise is more in demand.
Online cybersecurity master’s degrees in Kentucky
Kentucky offers a range of cybersecurity master’s degrees, all of them online. There are currently no campus-based options in the state.
For more information please see the table below.
Certifications are a compliment to a bachelor’s or master’s degree. They train students in a particular cybersecurity skill and some jobs may require candidates to possess a certain certification as a prerequisite to being hired.
Campus-based cybersecurity certification programs
Kentucky has nearly half a dozen campus-based certification programs. Please consult the following table for more information.
Online cybersecurity certification programs
Students in Kentucky can choose from a number of online certification programs. See the table below for more information.
Cybersecurity jobs in Kentucky
There is an alarming shortage of cybersecurity technicians throughout the United States in 2019. The jobs are there, the salaries are above average, but still there are tens of thousands of unfilled vacancies. In the same year, a CNN article highlighted the problems Kentucky is having securing its voting equipment. While a great deal of that problem is funding related, also highlighted is the lack of cybersecurity technicians to work with the digital voting equipment.
This is just one small example of the many industries which are understaffed when it comes to cybersecurity. Given this shortage, candidates with a cybersecurity degree have a great deal of choice in which industry they’d like to work.
Government voting, advanced manufacturing, shipping, and logistics, etc. As more industries become digitized the demand for cybersecurity technicians is only going to grow.
Fast-forward 2021, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average rate of security analysts in Alabama is at $42.34, and the average annual salary of $88,070.
Cyberseek website also reported that 6,855 cybersecurity workers are currently employed and there were 4,661 job are available from October 2021 through September 2022.
Cybersecurity in Kentucky
Like much of America, Kentucky is becoming increasingly automated. From their advanced manufacturing industry, which employs a not-insignificant amount of the state’s total workers, to their shipping and thriving export economy, everything depends on computers and those computers are susceptible to a cyberattack.
Kentucky’s corporations and government organizations are aware of the threat posed and there is a huge demand for cybersecurity technicians with not enough people to fill the vacancies. In fact, CyberSeek rates the number of cybersecurity technicians in Kentucky as “very low.”
Given the high demand and low supply, there has never been a better time to take an education in cybersecurity. The job market is wide open and the salary is excellent.
Kentucky has a wide variety of cybersecurity education programs, especially undergraduate programs, and getting a degree could be a great way to start a new career in an industry that’s only set to expand.