The following guide is a comprehensive overview of cybersecurity schools in New Hampshire.
The economy of New Hampshire is small, but fairly well diversified. The largest industries as far as employment are professional business services, manufacturing, government, and healthcare.
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The list of the largest individual employers in New Hampshire is dominated by healthcare and education institutions, with financial intermediaries (insurance and investment companies) also represented. All of the largest employment industries have become prime targets for cybercriminals and therefore must maintain rigorous cybersecurity efforts.
The climate for cybersecurity in New Hampshire
The state of New Hampshire has been relatively proactive in developing resources and strategic direction to combat cybercrime and secure government data, systems and networks. The New Hampshire Department of Information Technology was created to manage and coordinate all technology resources in the state executive branch of government. This includes the state’s cybersecurity website and the New Hampshire Cyber Integration Center (NHCIC). The NHCIC was created by order of the governor in 2016. It is responsible for protecting state government information resources.
New Hampshire also now is one of a growing number of states with their own chief information officer to oversee government data security.
Private enterprise cybersecurity resources are limited in keeping with the size of the state’s economy. The workforce is fairly small thus far, but demand for new cybersecurity professionals far exceeds supply, so industry employment will increase as rapidly as the supply of qualified experts allows.
The limitations on workforce availability could be partially due to the state’s proximity to and thus competition with Boston, which is a sizeable cybersecurity employment market.
Cybersecurity education in New Hampshire
Being that New Hampshire has a small cybersecurity community thus far, one would expect few degree and certification options to be available from state colleges and universities. But several institutions have stepped up to the cybersecurity plate and assembled specialized faculty and developed programs to educate the next generation of infosec professionals.
The University of New Hampshire (UNH) has its own Center for Cybersecurity Leadership, Education, and Outreach (CCLEO). UNH is also the only New Hampshire school to be designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE). UNH has developed two different degree programs related to information assurance.
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), which is primarily focused on online degree programs, now offers three distinct online cybersecurity degrees. Two of these are master’s degrees and one is a bachelor’s degree.
The highly technical nature of most cybersecurity careers requires extensive training and education. Still, many entry-level positions can be found that require only an associate’s degree. For many students, an associate’s degree is a preferable alternative because programs can be completed in two years or less. But once a career is established, employment options will be greatly enhanced by returning to school for a four-year bachelor’s degree.
Campus-based associate’s degrees in New Hampshire
There are currently four cybersecurity associate’s degrees available from New Hampshire community colleges. All four are provided with on-campus formats.
Cybersecurity employers will typically require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree for most job openings. Degrees in most technology sectors are often acceptable, including STEM disciplines. Having a degree with a cybersecurity specialty, however, or at least a concentration in cybersecurity, will give professionals a leg up on the competition in the job market. At present, New Hampshire schools are offering just two bachelor’s degree programs with cybersecurity specialties, one online and one in campus-based classwork.
Campus-based bachelor’s degrees in New Hampshire
The University of New Hampshire now offers a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security. This program is designed with a general security curriculum, but sufficient coursework in cybersecurity to afford degree holders the ability to fulfill jobs with information security roles.
Online bachelor’s degrees in New Hampshire
Southern New Hampshire University has developed a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, which can be completed online.
Particularly as cybersecurity careers progress to higher levels of corporate management, master’s degrees are becoming more desirable. For professors of cybersecurity and those seeking to have careers in research or cybersecurity consulting, master’s degrees have become nearly essential.
Online Master’s Degrees in New Hampshire
Today, there are no cybersecurity master’s degree programs available in New Hampshire in on-campus settings. There are, however, three options being offered via online formats.
- Two of these are available from Southern New Hampshire University – Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Master of Science in Information Technology – Information Security.
- One is offered by the University of New Hampshire – Master of Science in Cybersecurity Policy and Risk Management.
Cybersecurity certifications are available for various cybersecurity specialties, and for general infosec knowledge at nearly all career levels. Students at the initial stages of their education, specialist cybersecurity professionals who wish to update or expand upon their expertise, and even those looking to obtain an advanced degree but lacking the time and/or resources required to complete one can all find appropriate certification programs.
Campus-based cybersecurity certifications in New Hampshire
Right now, New Hampshire schools have two cybersecurity certifications on offer, both with campus-based classroom formats.
- NHTI Concord’s Community College offers an Information Technology Security Certificate on its Concord, New Hampshire campus.
- River Valley Community College offers a Cybersecurity and Healthcare IT Certificate at its Claremont, New Hampshire campus.
Cybersecurity jobs in New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a small market when it comes to cybersecurity. In the year ended September 2019, the state had 2,995 people employed in some aspect of information security, according to Cyberseek. During that same period, employers posted 1,088 new cybersecurity job openings.
The density of information security employment as compared to the state’s population is one of the lowest in the country. This is likely due at least in part to the fact that the southern region of the state, which is the most densely populated, has a high percentage of citizens that commute to Boston for employment. Thus many of the state’s residents work in another state.
At the same time, however, the existing supply of cybersecurity workers is considerably lower than the already strained workforce across the rest of the country. So cybersecurity professionals finding a home in New Hampshire should be in high demand by employers. The bulk of the information assurance employment opportunities in the state are in the southernmost region.
Cybersecurity professionals employed in New Hampshire are being paid well relative to other states. Focusing on security analysts as a representative cybersecurity career, the average hourly wage as of May 2018 was $48.48, and the average annual salary was $100,850 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. New Hampshire’s cost of living is reportedly about 5% higher than the national average. This doesn’t take into account that state residents bear one of the very lowest tax burdens in the country. There is no personal income tax and no general sales tax.
Cybersecurity in New Hampshire
The economy of New Hampshire is fairly small, and so too is the size of the current cybersecurity workforce. But demand outweighs supply by an even wider margin than most other US states. This could be in part due to competition for cybersecurity professionals from nearby Boston, currently a considerably larger employment market.
Education institutions are stepping forward and developing quality information security degree and certification programs, however. So the supply of infosec professionals should begin growing in the near future.