This guide contains information about cybersecurity schools in North Dakota as well as related cybersecurity training information.
North Dakota flourished on the development of the Bakken oil shale fields in 2014, sparking a massive influx of production that helped define the state as the country’s primary source for energy. The state’s labor supply and low business costs gave way to enormous profit. But as the shale gas boom resided, the State of North Dakota is looking for modern sources of economic revenue.
The state’s network, StageNet, supports 252,000 daily users and holds the state’s military and economic footprint in the energy and agriculture sectors. North Dakota faces about 5.7 million attacks per month, and thus, the state has since adjusted its priorities.
Initially capitalizing on agriculture and energy as its key industries, North Dakota’s major initiatives for the upcoming years focuses on a high reliance on IT services. Since 2016, Governer Doug Burgum has made information technology and cybersecurity a significant part of the state’s agenda, focusing on bridging the gaps between consumers, enterprises, and its adjacent industries.
North Dakota’s tech sector generates an estimated $2.2 billion, about 4.3 percent of the overall economy, and houses more than 1,260 tech business enterprises, according to a report from Cyberstates 2018. Currently containing an estimated 22,300 tech workers, the average tech industry salary in North Dakota is $79,820, compared to the state’s average annual private-sector wage of $49,420. North Dakota ranks 48th in net tech employment, making up 4.7 percent of the state’s total workforce.
Growing awareness of cybersecurity in North Dakota
Governor Burgum signed into law Senate Bill 2110 to protect the state’s digital infrastructure and brings a unified approach to the growing threat of cybersecurity attacks. The bill turns over authority to the state’s Information Technology Department to help define and reinforce cybersecurity measures for all public entities, including counties, cities, rural areas, schools, and higher education institutes.
Burgum also initiated the idea of a new office to support the IT department to assist in cybersecurity efforts. The signed bill also reinforces the Governor’s request for $174 million for 24 information technology infrastructure projects and $16.4 million for cybersecurity consolidation efforts in the budget proposal.
North Dakota has since reinvigorated its efforts, turning over cybersecurity education by adopting the K-20W program, recruiting assistance from the National Integrated Cyber Education Center (NICERC), and companies like Microsoft to train teachers in cybersecurity.
Teachers under the program can create curriculums for all school districts to educate students in the latest cybersecurity methods of protection and inspire new careers in cybersecurity. The K-20W program also reaches out to colleges to initiate new curriculums, and to the North Dakota workforce alongside 40 statewide organizations.
North Dakota’s major initiatives contain small-scale projects, such as the State Cybersecurity Task Force in 2015 to combat cybersecurity threats by building new policies and using monitoring tools. Citizens in the state can participate in the ND Cybersecurity Awareness Training module to learn necessary protection against cyberattacks, and enroll in the Cyber Program from the North Dakota State and Local Intelligence Center to educate and provide resources for partners and stakeholders.
Cybersecurity education in North Dakota
North Dakota’s efforts to confront cybersecurity incidents has led to a handful of higher-level degrees and certificates to materialize, allowing its students who have been introduced to cybersecurity through the K-20W program to continue an education in cybersecurity. Due to the Governor’s increase in budget spending in the IT industry, students who desire a degree in cybersecurity can attain a cybersecurity degree and potentially work for public sector companies and government facilities.
Associate degrees allow students to learn the fundamentals of computer science and information technology, including advanced programming languages, data analysis, data encryption and manage projects for advancing protection methods against security breaches. Associate degrees allow students to transfer credits for advanced degrees, while an associate of applied science degrees don’t allow credit transfer and represent as a standalone degree.
Bismarck College developed an associate of applied science degree in cybersecurity and computer networks. Offered for both on-campus and online, the degree program highlights key foundations such as configuring networks, managing servers, securing operating systems, basic programming, and maintain security practices. Students engaged in the curriculum will have the option to take certifications in Linux+, CCNA, and Security+.
The cybersecurity bachelor’s degree curriculum often includes topics such as information systems, network security, web development, and cryptography to interpret and act on software and networking issues.
The University of North Dakota offers students a bachelor of science in cybersecurity for both online and on-campus. Students throughout the curriculum will gain experience and knowledge in topics such as engineering data analysis, cyber forecasting, cryptography techniques, penetration testing, and network architectures to advance their careers in the cyber-tech workforce. Students after graduation will benefit from opportunities in cybersecurity research and assist in the cybersecurity infrastructure of the technology sector.
At Bismarck College, students can earn a bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity and information technology, providing a solid cybersecurity background for those interested in advancing their careers. The curriculum, both online and on-campus, the bachelor’s degree, focuses on advanced techniques in configuring networks and developing software protections.
Master’s degrees narrow skills in select areas such as current digital trends of protection and cybersecurity-related leadership, and up-to-date management skills in network security.
The University of North Dakota holds an online master’s of science degree in cybersecurity, enabling students to further their education in cybersecurity methods and leadership opportunities. The degree program focuses on giving students analytical skills for digital forensics, encrypt and protect data through networking systems, and protect against cyber attacks. The program also offers concentrations, such as cybersecurity and behavior, data security, and autonomous systems cybersecurity, to gain a more in-depth perspective in the latest cybersecurity trends.
Cybersecurity certifications in North Dakota
At North Dakota State University, students can receive a graduate certificate in cybersecurity. In cooperation with the University of North Dakota and Minot State University, students will learn about the latest threats in the digital domain, current trends among digital enterprises, the foundations for cryptography, and other security practices. The curriculum allows students to choose topics related to digital enterprises and software systems to customize their education and add to their current degrees.
North Dakota State College of Science provides students with an undergraduate information technology forensics certificate to partner with an information technology associate of applied science degree. Through the certificate program, students will gain knowledge in securing computer systems while collecting digital data, and gain skills in networking fundamentals, network security, hardware basics, and IT forensics.
Cybersecurity jobs in North Dakota
With a total of 701 job openings in North Dakota, about 1,861 employees currently work in the cybersecurity industry, according to Cyberseek.
Further evaluation of the cybersecurity field in North Dakota reveals:
The average hourly salary for a cybersecurity analyst in North Dakota is $38.14, with the annual average wage at $79,330, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Cybersecurity in North Dakota
North Dakota’s approach to cybersecurity brings massive changes to its landscapes. North Dakota’s government prompted a reshaping of its economic climate, encouraging tech enterprises to cooperate with its key industries and furthering cybersecurity curriculums to higher education institutions and its current workforce. The state’s steady shift from agriculture and energy to technology can potentially become the great equalizer between its reliance on resources, ultimately giving way to progress towards the digital age.