This guide is about cybersecurity schools in Texas. It also contains information about cybersecurity training programs and career opportunities.
Cybersecurity is a growing field all across the country, but certain states are definitively more prepared for the new digital frontier and are taking steps to ensure their place as leaders as the national economy develops.
Texas is one of the strongest contenders for leader of cybersecurity development and continuation, in large part thanks to its excellent digital infrastructure and economic advantages that allow the state’s various public and private organizations to pour money into this industry.
Cybersecurity in Texas
Silicon Valley might be the current cybersecurity and overall digital tech hub in the world, but Texas has been at the forefront of technological development and new innovations for much longer. As a result, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity has a strong foothold in Texas both in terms of educational opportunities and economic foundations.
With a GDP of $1.6 trillion, Texas has lots of money to fund higher education opportunities and cybersecurity developments. As a result of the surplus, many industries have a home in Texas, offering ample appointment opportunities for graduates fresh out of college. Part of this growing success is owed to the Texas Cybersecurity Council, which is created specifically to forge partnerships between public sector organizations and private industries in the realm of cybersecurity.
Aside from economic or educational development, there are lots of cybersecurity workshops and conferences in Texas where professionals can network or improve their skills. The most important organization is CyberTexas, an organization that sponsors younger cybersecurity enthusiasts and allows for easy networking. The Cybersecurity for Oil and Gas Summit is perhaps a predictable occurrence, given Texas’ focus on this economic sphere. The Texas Cyber Summit is another good event, as it features several contests and opportunities to prove yourself among other cybersecurity talents.
Cybersecurity education in Texas
There’s no doubt that cybersecurity education in Texas is in a league of its own.
Out of all of the Lone Star State’s universities, the University of Texas at San Antonio is the number one choice for many budding cybersecurity professionals. After all, in 2014, this school was ranked as the nation’s top university for studying cybersecurity. While UT San Antonio’s cybersecurity program is robust and effective, there are plenty of other schools and opportunities available to provide a plethora of training pathways for new professionals.
UT Dallas is another important cybersecurity University in Texas, in part due to a renewed focus in cybersecurity starting in 2012. In 2016, UT Dallas formed the Center for Engaging Women in Cybersecurity, which emphasizes closing or narrowing the gender gap in cybersecurity.
UT Austin has the Center for Identity, which is partnered with Equifax and which focuses on identity theft, fraud, and privacy. Southern Methodist University has the Darwin Deason Institute for Cybersecurity in 2014, which itself is partnered with Raytheon, a well-known tech defense company that already has two of its five divisions in Austin and McKinney, respectively.
Six of the universities in Texas receive special CyberCorps Scholarships, offering free tuition and a worthwhile stipend for any students that manage to earn the scholarship.
Above all, Texas’ focus on cybersecurity can best be seen by the TCEEDC, or the Texas Cybersecurity, Education, and Economic Development Council. This broad organization helps to organize university curriculums and ensure the Texas education remains at the forefront of cybersecurity development for the foreseeable future. This has resulted in many of the cybersecurity degrees and certificates offered in Texas also being offered in online formats.
Campus-based cybersecurity associate’s degrees in Texas
There are about a half-dozen schools that offer associate degrees in cybersecurity. Amarillo College, Central Texas College, and Dallas Community College are a few examples. Several of these schools, such as South Texas College, offer specializations in digital forensics or information security.
Most two-year schools in Texas don’t offer their cybersecurity associate programs online. However, many classes that can count toward a cybersecurity degree are offered in an online format, potentially allowing students to complete a hybrid version of the degree or take distance classes while working toward a bachelor’s degree in the long-term future.
The AAS in Information Security from Central Texas College is a notable exception, as it incorporates an internship and provides lots of technical experience for young professionals new to the cybersecurity sphere. This is a suitable degree to then pivot into a more meaningful bachelor’s degree or for future IT security managers.
Online cybersecurity associate’s degrees in Texas
There are two programs that specifically offer online cybersecurity associate’s degree programs in Texas.
- San Antonio College grants an Associate of Applied Science and Cybersecurity degree.
- St. Philips College offers an Associate of Applied Science and Information Assurance and Cybersecurity degree.
Campus cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees in Texas
Several excellent universities offer bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity. These include Sam Houston State University, Houston Baptist University, Southern Methodist University, and Texas A&M, the last of which is nationally renowned.
Online cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees in Texas
While most of the undergraduate cybersecurity degree options are available through campus-based programs, many of those programs do offer some kind of online course component.
The University of Texas at El Paso offers a completely online undergraduate cybersecurity degree called the online bachelor of arts in security studies.
Campus-based cybersecurity master’s degrees in Texas
Several Texas schools offer on-campus master’s degrees in cybersecurity, including Texas A&M, Southern Methodist University, and the University of Texas at Dallas.
Online cybersecurity master’s degrees in Texas
Texas does offer plenty of master’s degrees in cybersecurity through online formats. Texas A&M and the University of Texas are two major contributors to this development, although their programs are still pending and are hopefully going to be completed/ready for entrance soon.
Sam Houston State University, on the other hand, is a public school that has lots of online courses and programs, including an MS in Information Assurance and Security. This does require that all applicants have proficient technical backgrounds but is a perfect degree for becoming a security professional in government or private business organizations. It also offers an MS in Digital Forensics for those with a mind for criminal justice.
SMU offers MS degrees in computer science and security engineering; while neither is strictly in cybersecurity, these specialties are rightly regarded as cybersecurity adjacent and can still allow a degree holder to get a job in the cybersecurity field.
Our Lady of the Lake University offers an MS in Information Systems and Security, as well. This is a one year program, so it’s perfect for professionals with lots of time on their hands and who want to complete their education as it is possible.
In total, 15 schools offer certificates in cybersecurity. Many of these specialized in Network Security, Computer Networking, and other related fields or interests. Houston Community College, San Antonio College, and South Texas College are a few examples.
Online cybersecurity certificate programs in Texas
There are plenty of online certificate program opportunities in Texas. Central Texas College offers several undergraduate certificates, numbering over 100 online exclusive certificate programs across many disciplines. A certificate to become an Information Security Specialist is available, as an example.
Sam Houston University, mentioned earlier, also offers many graduate certificates, such as a Cybersecurity certificate or a Data Assurance Certificate. Most interestingly, it offers a certificate in Digital Investigation, which is meant for criminal justice workers that want to combine their cybersecurity expertise with the latter’s career focus.
Cybersecurity jobs in Texas
Texas has lots of educational opportunities for cybersecurity professionals, but what about after graduation?
The pickings are actually quite good. There are currently around 43,000 cybersecurity job openings in Texas alone, compared to a cybersecurity workforce of about 83,000. Put another way, Texas has a very low supply of cybersecurity workers, with a supply/demand ratio of 1.9 compared to the national average of 2.0.
Essentially, these raw numbers indicate that there’s lots of cybersecurity development still needing to happen in Texas, which means that companies will be willing to pay top dollar for talent that can improve they’re worth it.
These jobs range from entry-level positions all the way up to full-on managers and architects. Some of the more common available jobs for cybersecurity professionals in Texas include cybersecurity engineers, analysts, security consultants, IT auditors, software developers are engineers, vulnerability analysts, or network engineers and architects. This is great news for any cybersecurity professionals who want to stay in the field for the majority or entirety of their career; it’s completely possible that you could start at the bottom of a company’s ladder and work your way up to a management position based on merit alone thanks to how many open spots are currently available.
What do Texan cybersecurity jobs offer in terms of salary? It’s all good news. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that average computer and information technology professionals earn a median annual wage of about $86,000 per year. For comparison, the median annual wage for cybersecurity professionals in Texas is upwards of $104,000 per year, with an hourly wage of about $50 per hour.
These numbers accurately reflect how much Texas is willing to pay for skilled cybersecurity professionals and should provide plenty of incentive to attract new talent in the coming years. Because some places in Texas offer extremely low cost of living, the above salaries could potentially stretch even farther, boosting the standard of living of those cybersecurity techs who can work remotely and live in affordable towns.
Cybersecurity in Texas at the city level
San Antonio-New Braunfels
There’s no doubt that San Antonio is arguably the best place for new cybersecurity professionals to check out. It’s gained Military City USA and Cyber City USA titles because of its economic development and focus in those spheres; indeed, the military has many cybersecurity recruitment centers in San Antonio to locate graduates fresh out of college. In addition, the Air Force has a significant presence in San Antonio, so both private sector and government job opportunities are likely to be plenty.
CyberSeek has more data to analyze:
- 6627 cybersecurity jobs open
- 10,737 currently employed cybersecurity workers
- 1.6 supply/demand ratio for cybersecurity workers
- 2.3 geographic concentration for cybersecurity jobs. The national average is 1.0, so this is quite high.
Austin is another rapidly developing metropolitan area, both in terms of cybersecurity and in general employment. As a tech center and one of the most modern cities in the state, it has more than doubled its cybersecurity workforce within the last 10 years. As Austin is the capital of the state, you can bet that this growth will only continue as long as Texas remains on an upward trend.
Let’s examine what the CyberSeek data shows:
- 6506 cybersecurity job openings
- 10,694 currently employed cybersecurity workers
- 1.6 apply/demand ratio for cybersecurity workers
- 2.2 geographic concentration of cybersecurity jobs
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land
Houston is developing rapidly in the cybersecurity sphere, as well, although its metropolitan area supports a larger number of suburban neighborhoods and smaller cities and towns. As a result, it’s possible to find more affordable housing within a drivable distance to the Houston metropolitan area in one of these surrounding territories.
CyberSeek has some more data we can examine:
- 6720 total cybersecurity job openings
- 16,517 currently employed cybersecurity workers
- 2.5 supply/demand ratio for cybersecurity workers
- 0.8 geographic concentration for cybersecurity jobs, lower than the national average
Dallas’ metropolitan area is similarly bustling, and its proximity to the Fort Worth airport offers lots of economic opportunities for many airlines, specifically American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, both of which keep primary hangers in this region. In other words, this area should be a key job opportunity for cybersecurity professionals who want to segue into aviation or government contracts; Lockheed Martin keeps a presence here, as well.
Let’s look at the CyberSeek data for this region:
- 20,176 job openings
- 31,384 currently employed cybersecurity workers
- 1.6 supply/demand cybersecurity workforce ratio
- 2.0 concentration for new jobs
While any of these large metropolitan areas will be a good choice for new cybersecurity professionals, San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas are the three where employment is most likely.
Texas and Cybersecurity
All in all, Texas has been a state defined by the frontier for all of its history. While the physical frontier may have faded into the annals of history, the digital frontier is still being trailblazed at this very moment. Young cybersecurity professionals who want to reach their highest potential and maximize their chance for employment would do well to study in Texas and seek jobs there after graduation.