This guide is about the opportunities available at cybersecurity schools in Maryland. It also contains information about other cybersecurity training and certification opportunities.
Maryland’s proximity to Washington DC places it near the center of the federal intelligence community, not to mention hundreds of huge international corporations. Many federal agencies are located within state borders, including those related to intelligence matters. Despite its small size in square miles, Maryland’s location has made it an important economic center as well.
Cybersecurity companies located in Maryland, therefore, have easy access to a vast array of organizations in desperate need of information security services. With intelligence communities and large corporate interests flooding the area, it’s no wonder Maryland’s cybersecurity community has become so significant in such a short period of time.
The state government has also taken the issue of information security very seriously, and not just to protect government-held information. In 2015, the state-funded the creation of the Maryland Cybersecurity Council. The Council brings together federal agencies, businesses, and private cybersecurity experts to determine which local infrastructure sectors are at greatest risk of cyberattacks.
In 2018, the state initiated a tax incentive program to encourage local businesses to prioritize their own information security needs. The tax program reimburses qualified Maryland businesses for 50 percent of expenditures used to purchase cybersecurity services and equipment provided by qualified Maryland cybersecurity companies. In 2019, the state provided $4 million in funds for the program.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the three largest employers in Maryland’s economy in 2019 were government, professional and business services, and education and health services. Leisure and hospitality ranked a distant fourth. Particularly noteworthy is the state’s large and thriving healthcare community. Government and healthcare are two of the most concentrated users of cybersecurity services due the critical nature of the information and systems provided. The state also has a high concentration of high-tech enterprises engaged in information technology, telecommunications, and aerospace and defense.
The growing importance of cybersecurity in Maryland
A huge portion of the Maryland economy is at high risk of cyber attacks on highly confidential stores of information, not to mention critical systems. Federal government agencies, including the intelligence community, have a significant presence in the state. And Maryland’s large and highly-respected healthcare community is under growing focus from cyber attackers.
Maryland’s state government has created initiatives to ensure state employers have the resources to combat the threats. Still, the shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals will continue to leave a void in information and systems security.
Educators in the state are also taking the issue seriously. The University of Maryland, in particular, has taken steps to be a leader in cybersecurity education, creating the Maryland Global Initiative for Cybersecurity (MaGIC). MaGIC is designed to call attention to the university’s efforts to expand its cybersecurity education programs. It also brings together stakeholders in government and business to join in optimizing educational initiatives, as well as its research into and development activities related to cybersecurity threats and technologies.
The Cybersecurity Association of Maryland, Inc. (CAMI) is a non-profit corporation dedicated entirely to the growth of the cybersecurity industry within Maryland. It accomplishes this by connecting cybersecurity companies with businesses and government entities seeking cybersecurity products and services.
It also helps connect job seekers in Maryland and beyond with Maryland cybersecurity jobs, as well as with the education and certifications needed. CAMI hosts the Cybersecurity Company Directory, a statewide online directory of hundreds of cybersecurity providers at www.MDCyber.com. This directory also includes businesses and organizations that provide support and resources to Maryland’s cybersecurity industry.
Cybersecurity education in Maryland
The availability of higher education programs offered by Maryland colleges and universities is an indication of the importance of cybersecurity to the state’s economy. Students have a broad choice of degree programs and certification opportunities for on-campus and online delivery. And those students residing in the state will be greeted by a large and rapidly growing job market that is lacking an adequate number of qualified applicants for open jobs.
There are still some jobs in cybersecurity that don’t require degrees of any kind, but they are becoming increasingly rare and require experience to replace education. But a full four-year degree isn’t necessarily the only other way into the industry.
Associate’s degrees in cybersecurity can provide a foot in the door for certain entry-level positions for those lacking the time or resources to complete a bachelor’s degree. The coursework leading to an AAS degree can also serve as credit toward a bachelor’s degree when time and resources become available.
Campus-based associate’s degrees in Maryland
There are ample options for students looking to acquire an associate’s degree in cybersecurity who have the ability to attend an on-campus program. Several of the institutions offering associate’s degrees even provide several choices for a specific path. The full list of on-campus associate’s degree opportunities in Maryland follows:
Bachelor’s degrees are now required for most information security career paths. However, it usually isn’t necessary for job applicants to hold a degree in a cybersecurity discipline to be considered. Many professionals enter cybersecurity with more general degrees in computer science or information technology, but many employers will consider candidates educated in a range of STEM disciplines often not directly related to computer technology. This is particularly true when the degree is accompanied by some hands-on experience in information security and/or one or more certifications in specific cybersecurity disciplines
Campus-based bachelor’s degrees in Maryland
Maryland is currently home to nine distinct bachelor’s degree programs offered by six different institutions. The list of programs is below.
Online bachelor’s degrees in Maryland
There are also five bachelor’s degree programs available in Maryland via online portholes. All five (listed below) are offered by the University of Maryland.
Cybersecurity master’s degree programs are quickly becoming more widely available.
Campus-based master’s degrees in Maryland
As the below table indicates, there are currently seven cybersecurity master’s degree options available through campus-based programs.
Online Master’s Degrees in Maryland
The 10 master’s degrees available via online formats available in Maryland are being offered by four separate institutions. See below for more information and links.
Currently, there is only one Ph.D. program available from Maryland colleges and universities. Capitol Technology University has developed a Doctor of Science in Cybersecurity degree via an online program. Look for more of the quality higher education institutions in Maryland to develop Ph.D. programs in the near future.
Certification programs are an excellent vehicle for both those currently working in cybersecurity to further their education and those considering a start in cybersecurity. Certification programs can provide a perfect introduction to cybersecurity, as well as a start to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program.
Campus-based cybersecurity certifications in Maryland
Cybersecurity certifications abound in Maryland. At present, there are more than three dozen certification programs offered by Maryland colleges and universities. More than half of these certifications are provided through on-campus programs. These are listed below:
Online cybersecurity certifications in Maryland
Cybersecurity jobs in Maryland
The security of the world’s stored information is under mounting threat. Efforts to prevent unauthorized access and safeguard information and systems worldwide are growing rapidly, but are being hampered by one fact: there are enough people with the skills, knowledge and experience to ward off the threats.
In Maryland, the shortage of cybersecurity professionals is acute and well above the national average. According to Cyberseek, there were 45,412 workers employed in cybersecurity-related positions from October 2018 to September 2019. Over that same period, state located employers posted job openings for 20,516 workers. Nearly 12,000 of these job openings were in the Baltimore metropolitan region, by far the state’s most active center for cybersecurity. The concentration of cybersecurity activity with Maryland is more than two-and-a-half times the national average.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ research concluded that in May 2018, security analysts were enjoying an average hourly wage of $51.90 and an average annual salary of $197,960. Both of these numbers are well above the national average.
Cybersecurity in Maryland
Maryland’s geographic proximity to the world’s most powerful government and many of the world’s largest corporations puts it in the crosshairs of the world’s most sophisticated hackers. Maryland’s government and business community are well aware of their vulnerability. In recent years they have taken steps to ensure the best protection for information and systems possible. State-funded tax incentives, an organization dedicated to the promotion and advancement of cybersecurity companies and technologies, and the presence of many federal government agencies make Maryland a hotbed of cybersecurity activity with ample opportunities for job seekers.
The support of Maryland’s colleges and universities will also ensure a steady supply of new professionals. Still, as with states around the US and countries around the world, there will almost certainly be a shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals for the foreseeable future. That fact combined with the extraordinary position of Maryland both geographically and economically will continue to make it one of the most lucrative spots to engage in a career in cybersecurity.