This guide contains a brief overview of cybersecurity in Wyoming, including career and educational opportunities. This guide will also cover the economic changes in Wyoming, its outlook, and how it affects the cybersecurity field.
Wyoming’s adoption of cybersecurity brings new prospects to the state’s ranchlands. Its economy primarily focuses on mining excavations for producing coal, natural gas, and oil shale. Wyoming’s income depends on its mineral productions, making the state a highly valuable resource for the country’s capacity for energy, reported the Wyoming Department of Employment.
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Among its mining extractions, Wyoming’s appropriately named the Cowboy State for its expansive lands suitable for livestock raising, with cattle stock being its dominant resource. Wyoming’s exports include wheat, oats, barley, corn, sugar beets, beans, and potatoes. About three-fourths of the state’s cropland is regularly irrigated, and much of the state’s production centers around the southeast parts, with only 10,000 farms due to annual precipitation, according to the Department of Agriculture.
However, as a result of the age of the internet, cybersecurity brings an opportunity to the state for fast, dynamic industry and commerce. Wyoming has become increasingly reliant on information systems to support finances, energy, telecommunications, and emergency response. Job opportunities for cybersecurity in Wyoming continue to rise as people require security and protection for their information.
With the tourism sector at a constant steady influx due to the state’s attractions, such as Yellowstone National Park and Independence Rock, cybersecurity gives way for new opportunities. While it’s the least populous state in the U.S., according to Forbes, its job growth has been increasing at 1.3 percent, and the federal government owns about half of the landmass of the state. The federal control over the state’s landmass gives way for a more progressive need for cybersecurity, allowing federal employees to analyze information and implement changes for state-level jurisdiction.
Growing awareness of cybersecurity in Wyoming
The state developed its cybersecurity initiative, Cyber Response and Infrastructure Support Program (CRISP), to shift its focus from purchasing technology to developing cybersecurity services to protect critical data and information systems. A crucial part of the initiative focuses on incident response and training and has remained a primary focus since 2015. During the fiscal year of 2017 and 2018, the department adopted the cybersecurity framework for protecting agencies and its stakeholders as a response to the increase of cyber threats to the citizens of Wyoming, according to the Department of Enterprise Technology Services.
The Emersion Data Center holds a data support center and multi-purpose office building for housing technology and hardware. Now, the state has been consolidating the center, upgrading its power to 480 volts to support its servers and storage hardware. Through colocation agreements with Wyoming companies, the ETS adopted and revamped the data center to help capitalize expenditures and upgrade its computing facilities through the Capitol Square Project.
Also, during the fiscal year of 2017-18, the state developed the Risk Assessment Initiative to provide secure computing environments for agencies. This initiative assists agencies in developing their risk assessment plans and puts measurement at the forefront of project planning. The Wyoming Unified Network continues to expand, allowing agencies to connect and access enterprise resources through its data centers and help reduce the costs of production.
For expanding education, ETS developed the Wyo4Life initiative in 2014, allowing K-12 school districts, community colleges, and universities to use Google Apps for Education to support learning in technology, computing, and cybersecurity. Secure cloud through the Wyoming Government Cloud Initiative helps utilize partners such as Microsoft Azure and Silver Star Communications to invest in technology for future generations.
Cybersecurity education in Wyoming
The state of Wyoming provides a distinct selection of programs and certificates for further education in the field of cybersecurity.
Casper College enables students to find a career in cybersecurity by providing an associate’s degree and an associate of applied science, focusing on business assurance as a marketable asset for job employment and growth. The college’s associate degree is designed deliberately as a transition for higher education. In contrast, the associate of applied science provides the foundation for I.T. support without the option to transfer credits. The associate of applied science also allows students to gain access to CCENT certification.
“Cybersecurity is a dynamic field of study. It is designed to meet the changing needs related to the threats and vulnerabilities of cyberspace. If you are the type of individual who likes the challenge of ever-changing opportunities to learn, then we invite you to come and be part of this exciting field of study at Casper College.”
Laramie County Community College provides students with an associate of applied science degree to gain careers in protecting financial information, personal data, and trade secrets from cyber threats, focusing on general education in cybersecurity methods of protection. The goals for this degree allow students to perform vulnerability assessments, apply cryptography to computer networking, implement computer security methods, and analyze information systems.
Sheridan College’s Cyber Security AAS Program educates students for a cybersecurity career in computer network and Internet security. The degree helps develop skills in risk analysis, network monitoring, security software, and emergency plan response. The courses allow for hands-on-experience through certifications such as Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Security Fundamentals, CompTIA Security+, and Cisco CCNA Security.
Bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity establish further education for a professional career, giving students extensive knowledge in networking infrastructure, computer science, and data management for potential employers. Bachelor’s degrees incorporate numerous fields alongside the traditional information security curriculum and have widely flexibility terms for students to complete a degree.
Master’s degrees in cybersecurity help advance education for those with bachelor’s degrees in computer science, engineering, and mathematics. Master’s degrees help students take advantage of the opportunities cybersecurity offers and explore options in networking, data, and information.
In addition, both Casper College and Sheridan College offer certificates in cybersecurity.
Casper College’s Computer Security Certificate grants students to learn basics in network security, operating systems, Internet networking, and computer forensics for diagnosing, protecting, and preventing computer networking issues. Students throughout their courses will learn about file configurations, security methodologies, recovering digital evidence, and operating systems.
Sheridan College provides advanced education for cybersecurity, intended for students who have previous training in computer networking and information technology. The certificate narrows down by focusing on threats to computer systems, the laws surrounding computer systems, and fortifying those systems for safety. The program is specifically designed to transition students into the college’s AAS degree program.
Cybersecurity jobs in Wyoming
As supercomputers and several data centers plant themselves throughout the state, the need for cybersecurity professionals to continue expanding networks and technology to schools and other areas. The slow downturn of the state’s energy sectors reinforces the need for technology-based jobs. The state’s advancements in early-education computer science allow for technology firms to expect steady employment for future infrastructure and development.
With a total of 722 job openings in Wyoming, about 1,337 people maintain employment in the cybersecurity sector, according to Cyberseek.
Additional observations in the cybersecurity field include:
Supply The supply for cybersecurity employment is currently very low. The workforce supply/demand ratio is 2.3, with the national average is 2.0, both very low indicators.
Location Wyoming scores a location quotient of 0.70 in comparison to the national average of 1.0. Due to the development of cybersecurity initiatives occurring within only the past few years, the employment opportunities for Wyoming are low but increasing.
Certifications State and employer requirements for employment demonstrate a need for competence in certifications such as CompTIA Security+, Global InformationAssurance Certification (GIAC), and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
Some of the top job titles for current employees include:
- Cyber Security Engineer
- Vulnerability Analyst / Penetration Tester
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Network Engineer / Architect
- I.T. Specialist / Engineer
- Cyber Security Consultant
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the average hourly wage for a cybersecurity analyst in Wyoming is $35.09, with the annual average wage at $72,990.
Cybersecurity in Wyoming
Wyoming’s transition from mining and livestock to information technology currently moves slowly in the state’s economy, but will dynamically impact the living situations of its citizens in a matter of years. While Wyoming has not made drastic changes to its business sectors, its focus on education programs and cybersecurity initiatives helps to increase potential value for incoming firms in need of data security measures.
Digital technology continues to turn over the vast lands of agriculture and energy production in trade for business infrastructure and financial growth. Data has become essential for companies to communicate, exchange, analyze, and track the supply and demand of their services. Cybersecurity helps maintain these transactions and can provide future employment for new generations.