While many states have a robust manufacturing economy, Tennessee is especially proud of their advanced manufacturing industry. With the likes of Nissan, LG, and Porter-Cable calling the state home, Tennessee is one of America’s most important producers of high-tech durable goods.
A glance at the numbers further illustrates Tennessee’s commitment to production. Advanced manufacturing accounts for more than 170,000 jobs in the state and more than $10 billion has been invested in manufacturing in just the last five years.
That’s a lot of capital to invest but the returns have been far from paltry. Each year Tennessee exports in excess of $24 billion worth of manufactured goods.
All of that manufacturing infrastructure has certain requirements though. Mostly lots of electricity. Tennessee is the 21st highest consumer of electricity per capita in the United States and that electricity must come from somewhere.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is, “the nation’s largest government-owned power provider.” Through a combination of nuclear, coal, solar, wind and natural gas the TVA annually sells approximately 150 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.
That energy production facilitates manufacturing but it also makes Tennessee a tempting target for cyber terrorists. A disruption to the increasingly digitized power grid could lead to costly outages as manufacturers are forced to shut down.
Thankfully the TVA is well-aware of the threat posed. They employ more than 50 cybersecurity specialists who actively scan for threats in order to keep the grid safe.
It’s not cheap to employ a small company’s worth of cybersecurity technicians, however, the TVA recognizes the technicians’ importance. In fact, all things considered, Tennessee has proven to be a state that’s aware of just how important cybersecurity is in the digitized 21st century.
Cybersecurity in Tennessee
FutureCon is Tennessee’s premier cybersecurity conference. It’s an annual event that, “brings high-level Cyber Security Training discovering cutting-edge security approaches, managing risk in the ever-changing threat of the cybersecurity workforce.”
Attendees can learn advanced techniques to combat cybercrime as well as gain a new perspective on what some of America’s top CTOs are doing to keep their digital empires safe.
This information may prove especially useful as cybercriminals are constantly developing new techniques to subvert existing security systems. Thus, cybersecurity technicians have a responsibility to stay up-to-date with the latest industry best practices.
In addition to the conference, the city of Nashville keeps an up-to-date website rich with cybersecurity resources. The website offers a perspective on everything from phishing scams to careers in cybersecurity to data privacy best practices.
As one would expect from a state with a strong focus on digital security, Tennessee has a number of educational opportunities for those who would like to pursue a career in cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity educational opportunities in Tennessee
When pursuing an associate’s degree a student can expect to be exposed to a wide range of subject material. Besides the content related to their cybersecurity major, they may also study psychology, English or math.
Candidates with only an associate’s degree may find it difficult to begin a career in cybersecurity. However, there are positions available for those with an associate’s degree, especially in fields like computer science or information technology.
Campus-based cybersecurity associate degrees in Tennessee
There are two campus-based associate’s degrees in Tennessee. Both degrees are offered by a community college. Currently there are no associate’s degrees in cybersecurity offered online in Tennessee.
The two associate’s degrees are as follows.
- Jackson State Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems: Cyber Defense Concentration
- Motlow State Community College offers an A.A.S. in Computer Information Technology – Cyber Defense Concentration
Any job seeker who would like to seriously pursue a career in cybersecurity should consider a bachelor’s degree as the minimum level of education necessary to secure good work.
A four-year bachelor’s degree exposes students to considerably more than a two-year associate’s. Students will learn how to deal with a wide range of cybersecurity threats and they may minor in a specific area of cybersecurity, such as network infrastructure or cyber forensics.
Campus-based cybersecurity bachelor’s degree in Tennessee
There are a surprisingly large number of campus-based bachelor’s degree programs available to students in Tennessee. A majority of the programs are in Nashville, Memphis or Knoxville. For more information please see the table below.
Online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree in Tennessee
The main advantage of an online bachelor’s degree is flexibility: it’s easier to work while taking a degree online, versus studying at a campus. Unfortunately, there is just one online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree in Tennessee.
- The Fountainhead College of Technology offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Network Security & Forensics
A master’s degree builds on a bachelor’s, further exposing students to cybersecurity detection, prevention, and investigation techniques. For instance, master’s degree students typically learn cyber forensics and evidence collection in order to catch cybercriminals.
Most master’s degree programs require a cybersecurity or computer science undergraduate degree. Master’s students may choose to pursue specialized areas of knowledge like cryptography or ethical hacking.
Campus-based cybersecurity master’s degrees in Tennessee
Students interested in taking a master’s degree in cybersecurity in Tennessee can choose between nearly three different programs. Please see the table below for more information.
A Ph.D. degree is the highest level of education possible in the cybersecurity field. A Ph.D. will all but guarantee the graduate a great job with plenty of opportunities for advancement.
There are two cybersecurity specific Ph.D. options in Tennessee.
- The University of Tennessee offers a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering – Cybersecurity
- The University of Tennessee also offers a Ph.D. in Computer Science – Cybersecurity
Certifications may be required for certain jobs and can help any candidate to increase their chance of getting hired.
Campus-based cybersecurity certification programs
Tennessee currently has four campus-based certification programs available to students. More information is available in the table below.
Cybersecurity jobs in Tennessee
According to CyberSeek, a cybersecurity job placement data aggregator, there are more than 5,000 cybersecurity positions open in the state of Tennessee. The supply of cybersecurity workers is very low, meaning that it’s unlikely those jobs will be filled anytime soon.
Due to the continued growth of cybercrime and the increasing digitization of everything from refrigerators to self-driving cars, the demand for cybersecurity technicians is rising. A person who begins studying at university today is very likely to find a job once they graduate in four years.
The annual mean wage for cybersecurity technicians in Tennessee is over $80,000. That salary makes a cybersecurity career look especially lucrative, even compared to other IT positions.
Cybersecurity in Tennessee
Billions of dollars have been invested to modernize Tennessee’s manufacturing industry. The result is an advanced manufacturing economy that relies heavily on robotic, digitally-controlled assembly. While such systems are extremely efficient they’re also susceptible to hacking and other forms of cyber tampering.
This has not been lost on Tennessee’s leading companies and the demand for cybersecurity specialists is strong. Whether it’s safeguarding proprietary manufacturing data or protecting an extensive electrical grid from cyber-interference, a person with a cybersecurity degree in Tennessee can expect to find a job that matches their expertise.