This guide is all about the cybersecurity educational and career opportunities in South Carolina. The state has a strong manufacturing sector, which translates an abundance of cybersecurity-related economic activity.
Accounting for just under $25 billion in annual economic output, the aerospace industry is one of the key drivers of South Carolina’s economy. Between 2011 and 2018 aerospace firms brought 5,200 new jobs to the state, which is part of overall employment growth in the industry estimated at 13 percent last year.
That growth is the direct result of demand: from 2017 to 2018 South Carolina saw an impressive 25 percent increase in aircraft sales for export. Also, 355 aerospace-related companies have opened shop in South Carolina in the last decade.
If there is one company that stands above the rest it’s Boeing. In 2009 Boeing decided to locate its final assembly and delivery facility to South Carolina. However, despite the company’s longstanding reputation, the last couple of years have not gone smoothly.
In October of 2018 the Lion Air flight went down, calling into question the reliability of Boeing’s new 737 Max. Then in March of 2019, another 737 crash, this time in Ethiopia. The problem: faulty sensors and poorly conceived software.
While these crashes were not directly related to cybersecurity, the rise of software-laden planes is leading to an industry-wide push for increased security.
Even the remote possibility of a flight being downed via hacking, combined with the unfortunate theft of intellectual property in the airline industry, means aerospace cybersecurity has never been more important. South Carolina thankfully recognizes that and although it hasn’t acted specifically in regards to the airline manufacturers, the state is doing its part to promote cybersecurity.
In 2018 South Carolina made history by becoming the first state ever to pass a cybersecurity bill mandating that all insurance companies have a proper cybersecurity program to protect against data breaches. The mandated security program requires regular updates, especially as computer hardware and software systems are upgraded.
The law also dictates that insurance company must notify regulators within 72 hours of a security breach.
The University of South Carolina is also promoting cybersecurity awareness. In 2019 they hosted the first annual National Cybersecurity Legal Institute, a conference intended to educate participants about the costs of a data breach.
Data breach costs include lost productivity, exposed trade secrets, lawsuits and of course a huge reputational blow. Due to the success of the conference, another one has already been scheduled for 2020.
South Carolina is aware of how important it is to keep data safe and systems protected. As such the state’s educational sector has a robust set of programs for those interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity education in South Carolina
A bachelor’s degree is almost always required in order to secure a good job in the cybersecurity industry. It will provide the student with a foundational knowledge of cybersecurity best practices including the ability to identify and neutralize common threats.
In addition to studying the fundamentals of cybersecurity, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will be exposed to a number of related topics. Those may include computer science, network infrastructure, and diagnostics as well as programming in one or more languages.
Campus-based Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree in South Carolina
As with almost any other undergraduate degree, students working towards their bachelor’s in cybersecurity will take approximately thirty-five to forty classes for a total of one-hundred and twenty credit hours. Depending on the program certain classes outside of the degree track, like a second language, might be mandatory.
Currently, there are two campus-based bachelor’s programs available in South Carolina.
- Clemson University offers a cybersecurity minor
- The University of South Carolina Upstate offers a bachelor of arts in computer information systems – network/information security track
Either of these degrees will prepare the applicant for an entry-level position within the cybersecurity field, or for further education with a master’s degree. It’s also possible to pursue a bachelor’s degree online.
Online Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree in South Carolina
An online bachelor’s degree confers the same benefits as a campus-based degree but with more flexibility, ideal for those who plan to work and study.
At the moment there is just one online option available in South Carolina.
- Limestone College bachelor of science in computer science & computer and information systems security
Depending on the popularity of Limestone’s online degree other universities may offer an online course at some point in the future.
A master’s degree can provide an edge over the competition. A cybersecurity job candidate with a master’s degree can expect to earn a higher salary as well as enjoy a wider range of employment opportunities.
An employer’s expectation is that an employee with a master’s will be able to handle more complex cybersecurity threats and, depending on the company, manage and lead a team. Also, advancement within a company may not be possible without a master’s.
South Carolina has several campus-based master’s degree options.
Campus-based cybersecurity master’s degrees in South Carolina
Interested students can choose between two types of degrees in South Carolina: a master of science with a cybersecurity specialization, or a master of science in computer engineering.
For a full overview of all possible programs please see the following table.
Online Cybersecurity Master’s Degree Programs
South Carolina has a single online master’s degree, geared specifically toward intelligence and cybersecurity.
- Citadel Military College of South Carolina offers a master of arts in intelligence and security studies – cybersecurity concentration
Different cybersecurity positions may require specialized training in a specific field. As such certifications are a great way to add weight to a resume as well as learn new skills that may prove essential on the job.
South Carolina offers more than half a dozen certifications, all campus-based.
Campus-based cybersecurity certification programs
Cybersecurity jobs in South Carolina
According to Cyberseek, there are currently just under 5,000 cybersecurity positions open in South Carolina. As is the case across America the overall supply of cybersecurity technicians is low, suggesting a high demand for qualified applicants. Two of the most common positions are cybersecurity engineers and cybersecurity analysts.
Qualified applicants who want to work in South Carolina may want to consider applying to PhishLabs. In 2019 the Charleston-based company was, “recognized as one of the best places to work in South Carolina for the fourth consecutive year.”
Cybersecurity in South Carolina
In South Carolina the sky isn’t the limit, it’s the backbone of the state’s economy. The aerospace industry is a massive employer and like almost every other industry there is a push towards software automation. That automation comes at a price though. The more code, the more susceptible a system is to attack. That’s where the cybersecurity team comes in.
According to a recently conducted global aviation survey, “The United States lays high emphasis on its aviation sector and invests mainly in research and development of advanced cybersecurity systems.”
That research and development is being done by real people and the demand for qualified cybersecurity technicians have never been higher. With a degree from one of South Carolina’s universities and a good recommendation, promising career is all but guaranteed.