This guide is about cybersecurity schools in Maine and it will take a look at what the state has to offer in terms of cybersecurity programs and employment prospects.
Cybersecurity development in Maine
Maine only has about 1.3 million residents, and it’s the northernmost state in the country. It’s no surprise that most of its economic development is driven by outdoor tourism and other natural resource industries like fishing and logging.
However, tech development has recently begun to rise, along with a government push to increase the cybersecurity educational programs available within its higher education system.
Because there aren’t very many populated metropolitan centers, Maine doesn’t have any Fortune 500 companies within its borders and it’s not the headquarters of many corporations. However, there are several larger businesses like banks and insurance companies that have presences within the state; these are great spots to find cybersecurity employment.
By far, Portland is the most developed place in Maine when it comes to cybersecurity and digital development in general. You might want to live in Maine and work remotely because of the beautiful landscapes and small-town atmosphere that many of its cities maintain even well into the 21st-century.
Cybersecurity education in Maine
Maine is a phenomenal state for those looking for a quality cybersecurity education. In fact, all of the schools which are part of the University of Maine system, or UMS, are recognized by both the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security as National Centers of Academic Excellence for the subject. In a nutshell, any programs recognized in this manner are will have industry-standard curriculums and the universities hosting those programs will be frequented by recruiters from government cybersecurity organizations.
Even beyond this aspect, Maine has other cybersecurity education advantages you can’t ignore. For instance, the UMaine Cybersecurity Lab, located at the UMS flagship campus, has several cybersecurity workshops for students and frequently invites guest speakers. Networking and opportunities to improve potential cybersecurity skills even further are common.
The only real downside, educational opportunity-wise to this state is that there are no master’s programs available across its universities, either on-campus or online. That means that students looking for graduate studies need to move to a different state or pursue an online master’s program if they want to continue cybersecurity education beyond the bachelor’s level.
Let’s take a look at some of the cybersecurity programs available in this state.
Campus-based cybersecurity associate’s degrees in Maine
Associate-level degrees in cybersecurity are excellent entry points for those wishing to study the field. They often incorporate a high proportion of general education classes but usually cover the fundamentals or foundational knowledge necessary to succeed in cybersecurity.
There are two on-campus associate degree programs in Maine: one at the Central Maine Community College and the other at Southern Maine Community College. These programs are in network security and computer forensics or cybersecurity, respectively. The former is a good choice for students wanting to pursue a career in criminal justice.
Online associate degrees
The University of Maine at Fort Kent offers the single online associate degree option in the state, and it’s in information security. This is essentially the same thing as a general cybersecurity degree but also incorporates a lot of broad computer science knowledge in addition to cybersecurity-specific courses.
Campus cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees in Maine
Bachelor’s degrees are a great choice for students wanting to solidify cybersecurity as their professional field. These degrees have curriculums that focus more on actual cybersecurity topics rather than just foundational computer science stuff. Many of them also include opportunities for work internships or practical projects, which can be used to demonstrate skills and which are sometimes necessary for graduation.
Bachelor’s degrees are typically the first degree type needed to secure a job in the cybersecurity field.
There are four bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity available at Maine universities.
- The University of Southern Maine offers two of them; one is a specific Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, while the other allows you to get a different major and minor in cybersecurity literacy. This latter option will be great if you want to get a computer science job of some kind and aren’t fully dedicated to the cybersecurity path.
- The University of Maine at Fort Kent returns with its own Computer Applications degree, which covers cybersecurity across many of its classes. This is more generalized than a full cybersecurity degree, however. Thomas College is the perfect choice if you want a degree in security and cyber defense.
Online bachelor’s degrees
Both the University of Maine at Fort Kent and UM’s Augusta campus offer bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity via online formats. These follow similar curriculums as the on-campus offerings above but enable students to complete their education on a more flexible timescale.
Campus-based cybersecurity certificate programs in Maine
Cybersecurity certificates are a good choice for people that aren’t fully committed to the field as a primary profession or for those that want to increase their skill set to pursue a job related to cybersecurity, like an IT administrator.
Online certificate programs
Maine offers a single cybersecurity certificate available at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. This certificate is in information security, and it’s perfect for combining with another computer science degree that doesn’t focus explicitly on cybersecurity. Or students can use it to get a taste for the field and see if it’s something you want to pursue more seriously.
Cybersecurity jobs in Maine
Maine is a rural and low-population state, and it only has a few cities large enough to warrant a cybersecurity workforce. Portland, Maine, the capitol, is by far the biggest cybersecurity hub and metropolitan area, so most cybersecurity workers will either live nearby or be based in that city.
There are currently almost 5000 cybersecurity workers within the state, with an additional 992 current cybersecurity job openings according to CyberSeek.org. The ratio of cybersecurity workers to demand is also 5.0: much higher than the national average of 2.0 for these types of jobs. In other words, pickings are very slim within the state but there also aren’t very many workers compared to other states across the country.
When it comes to wages, Maine is about average compared to many other states in the country. The average hourly wage of a cybersecurity worker in Maine is $39.55, which translates to a yearly average salary of about $82,270.
This is lower than the average wages in a state like Maryland or Massachusetts, but Maine is a cheaper state to live in than many across the country. Out of a scale of 100, with 100 being the national average cost, Maine has a cost of living is 96.5. In other words, your cybersecurity paycheck will go farther in this rural but beautiful state than in many others.
Maine and cybersecurity
All in all, Maine is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to cybersecurity education and employment. It has several excellent programs up to the bachelor’s degree level, but it doesn’t have any degree options beyond this point and its job openings are relatively slim compared to many other states.