This guide covers cybersecurity schools in New Mexico and is designed to be an overview of the cybersecurity career opportunities in the “Land of Enchantment.”
Cybersecurity development in New Mexico
New Mexico may not be very populated, but that doesn’t mean a lot is going on. The state is home to several major energy economic drivers, as it supplies oil, natural gas, and solar power to the surrounding state and beyond.
It’s also home to several Air Force bases, providing multiple opportunities for employment by the government. The presence of these Air Force bases reinforces the need for national security on a statewide level, causing colleges to double down on their cybersecurity offerings.
Cybersecurity education in New Mexico
New Mexico is a state with a variety of educational opportunities for those wishing to make cybersecurity their profession. In fact, there are three schools in New Mexico recognized by the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security as Centers of Academic Excellence, which marks those universities as locations for government recruiters to find new employees right out of school. These three schools – Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and the University of New Mexico – and more will show up below.
Campus-based cybersecurity associate’s degrees in New Mexico
When studying cybersecurity, an associate degree is often the best place to start. These degrees can provide students with a foundation of computer science and cybersecurity knowledge without getting too technical or specific.
There are only two schools in New Mexico that offer associate degrees in the subject, and they are both on-campus only. The Ruidoso campus for Eastern New Mexico University is one, offered in applied science and information systems cybersecurity. The other is at the University of New Mexico’s Los Alamos campus; it also features an emphasis in cybersecurity while being a general information technology degree.
Campus cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees in New Mexico
Bachelor’s degrees are the next step up after associate-level degrees. They provide more specific and detailed cybersecurity knowledge to all students who take their programs. Some programs allow you to specialize in one aspect of cybersecurity or combine your cybersecurity interest with another field like forensics or criminology. Bachelor’s degrees are usually the first certification you need to get a job in the cybersecurity field.
New Mexico offers one on-campus bachelor’s degree and one online bachelor’s degree. The on-campus bachelor’s degree is at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. It’s technically a degree in information technology, but you can select a security and assurance track that covers essentially the same topics as a regular cybersecurity degree with a broader focus on computer science. It’s a flexible degree, as a result.
Online bachelor’s degrees
The National American University offers an online BS in information technology with an emphasis on computer security and forensics. This combination is perfect for those who want to go into law enforcement or criminology and use their computer science expertise in that field.
Campus-based cybersecurity master’s degrees in New Mexico
Master’s-level degrees are perfect for those who want to specialize even further in the area of cybersecurity or those who want to be better qualified for higher-paying positions. Many top-level cybersecurity jobs are only available to those with years of experience or master’s degrees.
The University of New Mexico’s main campus offers both an online and on-campus option for those wanting to study cybersecurity at this level. The on-campus degree is a master of accounting with a concentration in information assurance. It’s a particularly good fit for anyone who wants to go into banking, finance, or otherwise join a regular company’s team as a cybersecurity specialist.
Online master’s degrees
The same school offers an MS in information systems and assurance, marking it as basically the same thing as a degree in cybersecurity. This program is robust and detailed, and it covers broader topics about general computer science in information assurance than pure cybersecurity programs.
Campus-based cybersecurity certificate programs in New Mexico
Certificates for cybersecurity can be valuable both to beginners and those with some experience under their belts. Certificates can be pursued to learn a new specific skill within the cybersecurity sphere or to obtain certification so you can take a specific position at a company or agency. You can also use certificate programs to get a taste of the field and see if you want to pursue it further.
New Mexico offers three on-campus certificate programs: one at Central New Mexico Community College, one at Eastern New Mexico University, and one at Western New Mexico University.
The former two certificates are in computer information systems and computer and network security, respectively. The last is a certificate in digital forensics: perfect for those who want to go into criminal justice.
Cybersecurity jobs in New Mexico
New Mexico isn’t a very populated state outside of its major metropolitan areas, but it does have a few major economic centers that demand high digital security. As a result, CyberSeek.org shows us that New Mexico currently employs about 6,151 cybersecurity workers, with another 2,577 open positions at this time. This puts the ratio of cybersecurity worker supply to demand at about 2.4 compared to a 2.0 national average.
In other words, there’s plenty of demand for cybersecurity workers relative to the overall population of the state even though the number of open positions seems small. This just means that there are fewer positions available than in a state like California, but each position will likely be filled quickly as soon as a suitable applicant comes along.
New Mexico is thus a great state for qualified cybersecurity graduates looking for ample employment opportunities. Another thing to consider is that New Mexico’s cost of living, ranked as about 88.4 with a national standard of 100. In a nutshell, New Mexico is a very affordable state and every dollar you earn will go further than it would in a more expensive state.
How much can cybersecurity professionals expect to earn? In New Mexico, the average hourly salary for cybersecurity workers is $51.13 and the average annual salary is $106,360. In short, New Mexico is a great state to be a cybersecurity employee if you want to make lots of money!
New Mexico and Cybersecurity
Overall, there aren’t as many educational opportunities for cybersecurity in New Mexico compared to several other states, but there is lots of opportunity for worthwhile employment due to the spread of available jobs and a low number of current employees. In terms of actual salary value, New Mexico may be one of the most profitable in the country.