The world’s organizations spent a collective $150 billion on cybersecurity in 2021, according to McKinsey & Company. With threat volumes anticipated to continue to skyrocket in the coming years, the takeaway is clear: as the cyber security industry booms, it offers unrivaled opportunities for qualified workers.
Enter cyber security studies. If you’re interested in a career as an in-demand cyber security professional, a degree in cyber security or a related field can help position you for success. One of the best places to do so? New York.
Read on to learn more about why you should consider studying cyber security in New York, along with everything you need to know to move forward with your goals, including the best cyber security schools in New York, what to expect in a cyber security degree program, average salaries for cyber security professionals, program overviews, potential specialization areas of specialization within cyber security, cyber security career options, and more.
Why Study Cyber Security in New York?
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, people and organizations become more vulnerable to attacks. Now more than ever, cyber security is of critical importance.
In fact, the global average cost of a data breach was a staggering $4.35 million, according to IBM’s “Cost of a Data Breach” report. The findings also revealed that the United States was hit hardest by data breaches with an average cost of $9.44 million. Experts also say it’s no longer a question of if a data breach will happen to an organization, but when.
With so much on the line in this evolving threat landscape, organizations are eager to invest in cyber security to safeguard themselves and their constituents. As such, cyber security is regarded as one of the hottest up-and-coming fields. In fact, the job outlook for cyber security professionals is projected to grow 35 percent between 2021 and 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This significantly outpaces projected growth for all occupations.
While programs all over the world offer training and credentials in cyber security, one location claims a spot at the top of the list for aspiring cyber security professionals: New York.
Home to the globe’s financial capital, the New York Stock Exchange, and many of the world’s company headquarters, large hospitals and healthcare institutions, and leading educational institutes, New York is an excellent place to learn and work in this crucial field.
In the wake of 9/11, New York state was also on the forefront of addressing cybersecurity through the establishment of formal government entities and structures. New York also lays claim to many schools recognized by the National Security Agency (NSA) as National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C), and is in the top five states for highest employment levels in this area, according to the BLS.
Need more proof that a career in cybersecurity is a wise choice? Information security analysts claimed the #1 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Jobs” rankings.
Average Salary of Cyber Security Professionals in New York
Cyber security analysts earned a median pay of $102,600/year or $49.33/hour in 2021, according to BLS data.
With an annual mean wage of $133,210 for cyber security professionals, New York not only significantly bests the national annual mean wage for cyber security professionals, but also claims the second post on the list of highest-paying states in this area (trailing only California).
Top Cyber Security Colleges in New York
New York is home to many top-notch academic institutions, many of which offer excellent cyber security programming. Here’s a closer look at 8 of the best cyber security schools in New York.
1. Rochester Institute of Technology
Home to one of the world’s leading cybersecurity education and research centers, the new Global Cybersecurity Institute, as well as the cutting-edge Cyber Range and Training Center, RIT’s Bachelor of Science Degree in Computing Security comprises a 4-year, 126 credit hour curriculum focused on teaching students to preserve assets, identify vulnerabilities, prove existing and prior threats, and strategize for data recovery.
Recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research and a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the Department of Homeland Security and the NSA, RIT also boasts a 100 percent outcome rate with an average salary of $95,800 for first-year graduates of the program.
2. Syracuse University
A perennial pick by cybersecurity experts on roundups of top cybersecurity programs, Syracuse University is home to the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT), a center for cybersecurity research.
A National Security Agency (NSA)-validated degree program, Syracuse’s 120 credit, part-time, 100 percent online Bachelor of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Administration provides students with critical skills and knowledge for protecting information, information systems, and infrastructure via a convenient blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Additionally, six start times a year further boost the accessibility of this program for students seeking flexible learning.
3. New York University
Taught by internationally recognized industry experts, NYU Tandon School of Engineering offers several Master’s Degrees in Cybersecurity. These include the M.S. in Cybersecurity, the M.S. in Management of Technology—Cybersecurity Manager, and the M.S. in Cybersecurity Risk and Strategy.
These advanced degree programs prepare students for a variety of careers, including as security products developers, security application programmers, security analysts, penetration testers, security researchers, vulnerability analysts, and security architects. Studies at NYU also prepare future cyber security professors and researchers for further studies toward a doctorate.
Other standout characteristics of NYU and its programs? The Tandon School of Engineering operates the National Science Foundation-funded Offensive Security, Incident Response, and Internet Security (OSIRIS) laboratory, and offers the NYU Cyber Fellows program to provide 75 percent scholarships for the Cybersecurity M.S. students.
4. Hilbert College
Designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of cybersecurity practices, procedures, and technology along with the requisite skills for navigating this complex field, Hilbert’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree features a rigorous curriculum emphasizing both the technical and managerial sides of cybersecurity.
In addition to classroom learning Hilbert College cybersecurity students also have access to a dedicated learning lab and internship opportunities. Thanks to the program’s focus on applying knowledge to real-world situations, Hilbert cybersecurity students graduate prepared to pass the exams for obtaining industry-recognized cybersecurity certifications.
5. Fordham University
An interdisciplinary and inter-school hub for cybersecurity education, research, and training, the Fordham Center for Cybersecurity (FCC) provides current and aspiring cybersecurity professionals with many cyber security opportunities, including research, degree programs, certificates, and participation in cyber competitions and community outreach.
Fordham offers cybersecurity-related programs at both the graduate and the undergraduate levels, including the undergraduate Minor in Cybersecurity, as well as the Master of Science in Computer Science with an area of specialization in Cybersecurity; the Master of Science in Data Science with an area of specialization in Cybersecurity; and the Master of Science in Cybersecurity, which was recently designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE).
Fusing online courses with weekend labs and traditional classes, Fordham is also an optimal choice for students seeking flexible learning environments.
6. Stony Brook University
While Stony Brook doesn’t offer a specific degree in Cyber Security, its Department of Computer Science offers a B.S. degree with a specialization in Security and Privacy.
Taught by faculty affiliated with the National Security Institute, the specialized Stony Brook B.S. prepares participants for a variety of cyber security careers. Coursework covers the basics of security and privacy while also exposing students to new and emerging advancements in the field.
7. University at Albany
Within its School of Business and College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, the University of Albany offers programs addressing cyber security from a variety of angles including technology, governance, risk management, compliance, law, and intelligence issues relevant to business and government.
Programs include the B.S. in Digital Forensics designed to help students develop the knowledge and technical skills necessary for solving cyber-enabled crime and attacks; the B.S. in EHC (Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity), which covers the relationship between policy and risk management while examining how cyber incidents and cybersecurity program impact organizational security; and the B.S. in Informatics with a Concentration in Cybersecurity, comprising the hows and whys of cybersecurity and its key technologies.
8. Pace University
Home to the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Pace offers several options for aspiring cyber security professionals.
With a commitment to hands-on learning anchoring its approach thanks to classroom and online labs like the Cybersecurity Education and Research Lab, the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology equips students to adeptly manage and maintain systems with a choice of focus areas including Computer Forensics, Information Management, and Security. Additionally, 15 full-time faculty specializing in cybersecurity speak to Pace’s commitment to this vital field.
For graduate students, the MS in Cybersecurity offers cybersecurity professional foundational knowledge as well as critical project-based experience.
What to Expect from a Cyber Security Bachelor’s Program
Cyber security bachelor programs are designed to help aspiring cyber security professionals hit the ground running in entry-level tech careers. You will work toward building your knowledge and skills in key areas including information technology, information security theory, data analytics, and risk management.
Common study topics include:
- Cyber defense
- Security systems
- Cloud-based security
- Data networking and communications
- Computer or digital forensics
- Informational technology and systems
- Ethics, law and policy
Different cyber security schools and programs offer different study models. Depending on the program you choose, your classes may be in person, online, or a mix of both. You may also be expected to complete an internship, practicum, or capstone project.
While most cyber security degree programs offer bachelor’s of science (BS) degrees, some do offer the bachelors of arts (BA). Degrees may also be configured differently. For example, while it’s possible to get a BS in cybersecurity, alternative options include the BS in information technology with a concentration in cybersecurity; the BS/BA in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity; and the BS in computer forensics.
Cyber Security Specializations
Also called “information security,” network security protects computer networks and systems from cyber attacks through the planning and provision of proactive security measures, such as firewalls and encryption systems. It also monitors networks for breaches, investigates incidents, and reports on the impact.
Because hacking methods are constantly innovating, network security also means keeping up with the latest technological advancements toward continual improvement of existing security systems.
Incident Response and Forensics
Also known as “digital forensics and incident response” (DFIR), this branch of cyber security focuses on threat hunting and detection. It fuses two areas: digital forensics, which uncovers facts about what’s happening on computer systems and other digital devices; and incident response, which collects and analyzes data in the context of responding to security incidents. Together, they comprise investigation, containment, and recover.
The forensic analysis experts working in DFIR specialize in identifying, investigating, containing, remediating and potentially testifying related to cyber attacks, litigations or other digital investigations. They’re also critical to helping companies plan and formulate internal incident response processes.
Information Security Governance and Risk Management
With a focus on risk mitigation decision-making and who is accountable for making these decisions, these interlinked fields both delineate accountability frameworks and provide oversight and controls for mitigating risk.
Another way to look at it? Risk management devises security strategies while governance is tasked with ensuring alignment and consistency with business objectives and regulations.
The branch of cyber security is concerned with security measures that can be taken at the application level to prevent data or code theft. It encompasses security considerations with the app development and design process as well as post-deployment protective measures.
Application security comprises hardware, software, and procedures involved with managing security vulnerabilities, including everything from application firewalls to external routers to regular testing protocols.
With the digital transformation underway and cloud migration on the uptick, cloud security is increasingly vital. Specialists in cloud security not only devise and implement cloud security practices, but they’re also responsible for doing so in such a way that productivity remains uncompromised.
How to Choose the Right Cyber Security School in New York
While factors like curriculum, degree type (undergraduate versus graduate, full-time versus part-time, online versus on-campus, synchronous versus asynchronous, etc.), and school reputation are obvious considerations when evaluating cyber security degrees, other things to think about include:
Cyber security is a fast-moving space. If you’re not learning from the people on the front lines, you’ll be missing out on the latest developments and advancements. Most departments list faculty members with background information, such as education, areas of specialization, and experience to help you determine their qualifications while also potentially identifying specialists in any specific areas of interest that you may have.
Accreditation indicates that an institution or program has met and maintains a specified set of standards as set forth by an accrediting agency.
A kind of “checks-and-balances” system, accreditation provides quality assurance. This not only ensures that you’ll get what you pay for, but is also beneficial to your job search as companies value candidates with accredited qualifications. Additionally, some financial aid options may only be available to students attending accredited schools.
Because some accrediting agencies are fraudulent, be sure to practice due diligence when looking into a program’s accreditation. The US Department of Education is an excellent place to start because it maintains a handy database of legitimate accrediting agencies.
The National Security Agency (NSA) also maintains a list of Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE). CAE-designated cyber security programs are valuable because they’re guaranteed to meet stringent criteria as set forth by the NSA.
Faculty to Student Ratio
A lower student-faculty ratio comes with many benefits, including a better learning environment, more engagement with classmates and faculty, individualized attention (depending on the learning needs and pace of the students), and improved access to time, facilities, and other resources. All of these things add up to a better overall experience while you’re in school as well as more powerful networking opportunities throughout your career.
In the vast majority of cases, the goal of pursuing a cyber security degree is to get a job. Job placement rates are a strong indicator of a program’s ability to help you gain employment. Many schools publish employment statistics about their graduates, including percentage employed post-graduation, length of time to employment, starting salaries, and more. If this information isn’t readily available, you can request it.
Cost and Scholarships
There’s no denying that the cost of college can be exorbitant. However, there are many ways to mitigate the expense. For example, while the average tuition at a private four-year institution is $36,700, the average tuition for a four-year public institution is just $9,400, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
Additionally, as many as 87 percent of students receive some form of aid, including through need-based aid, merit-based aid, private scholarships, grants, federal student loans, and private loans. (See “Cybersecurity Scholarships” section below.)
Evaluating your situation alongside these options can help you choose the path that will best help you align your academic, professional, and financial goals.
Cyber Security Career Options
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts protect computer networks and systems by planning and executing security measures. They work in a variety of settings, including computer companies, consulting firms, healthcare organizations, and business and financial companies.
The median annual wage for information security analysts is $102,600, according to Payscale.
Also referred to as “pen testers” and “ethical hackers,” these cyber security professionals are tasked with identifying security vulnerabilities before attacks discover and exploit them.
Using a strategy of “offensive defense,” penetration testers rely on an arsenal of creative tools and techniques to uncover threats before they happen. These include port scanning, vulnerability scanning, password cracking, and social engineering, as well as reverse engineering, code review, and other manual techniques.
The median annual wage for penetration testers is $94,000, according to Payscale.
Also known as information systems security engineers, information security engineers, and assurance engineers, security engineers design and implement data and technology security systems for preventing leaks, taps, and other breaches linked with cyber crime. This pivotal role comprises many responsibilities—all associated with defending against attacks. As the digital transformation strengthens, security engineers are necessary in all industries, including
Manufacturing, finance, computer systems design, insurance, healthcare, and education.
The median annual wage for security engineers is $98,058, according to Payscale.
Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst
Responsible for enterprise cybersecurity, SOC analysts work on everything from security infrastructure design to incident detection and response. These frontline cyber security professionals are responsible for threat and vulnerability analysis; investigating, documenting, and reporting on information security; analysis and response to newfound hardware and software vulnerabilities; and preparation of disaster recovery plans.
The median annual wage for information security analysts is $ 113,270, according to the BLS.
Forensic Computer Analyst
A key team member on cybersecurity and investigation teams, forensic computer analysts investigate data about illegal online activity, including cyber attacks, hacking, fraud, terrorism, and the distribution of illegal content. They specialize in sophisticated data retrieval and incident analysis techniques.
The median annual wage for forensic computer analysts is $75,525, according to Payscale.
Top Paying Cyber Security Careers in New York
As mentioned earlier, cyber security professionals in New York are among the highest paid in the country. Here’s a closer look at compensation for some of the top cyber security careers in New York.
- Information Security Analyst. Responsible for providing security solutions for their organizations, information security analysts in New York earn an annual mean wage of $133,210, according to the BLS.
- Cybersecurity Consultant. Working with computer networks and technological assets to ensure the safety and integrity of organizational data, cybersecurity consultants in New York earn a median base salary of $80,242, according to Salary.com.
- Penetration Tester. Tasked with probing an organization’s network to suss out its vulnerabilities as well as identifying potential methods for exploitation, penetration testers in New York earn a median base pay of $91,890, according to O*Net Data.
- Security Engineer. Responsible for increasing the security of their company’s systems and projects through effective computer solutions, security engineers in New York earn a median base pay of $154,797, according to Built In NYC.
- IT Security Manager. Responsible for anticipating and detecting possible breaches to fortify their companies’ computer systems, IT security managers in New York earn a median base pay of $170,085, according to Salary.com.
- Network Security Engineer. Involved in the provisioning, deployment, configuration, and administration of network- and security-related hardware and software comprising everything from firewalls and routers to switches and VPNs, network security engineers in New York earn a median base pay of $147,268, according to Indeed.
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). Charged with overseeing information systems and organizational security for their companies, CISOs in New York earn a median base pay of $276,022, according to Salary.com.
- Computer Forensics Analyst. Experts who use forensic tools and investigative methods to assist in criminal investigations involving computer-based information, digital forensic analysts in New York earn a median base salary of $86,484, according to Salary.com.
- Cybersecurity Compliance Analyst. Experts who help companies remain compliant with cyber security regulations, cybersecurity compliance analysts in New York earn a median base salary of $111,602, according to Salary.com.
Cyber Security Scholarships
If you’re interested in pursuing cyber security studies toward a career as an information systems analyst, computer forensics analyst, network security engineer, pen tester, or other cyber security role but you’re deterred by the high cost of degrees, a breadth and depth of cybersecurity scholarships are available from public and private sources.
One of the most noteworthy funding sources is the CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) Program. A national initiative of the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), this program provides scholarship funding for cybersecurity-related degree programs to students committed to working for the country’s government organizations.
The DoD Cyber Scholarship Program also promotes cybersecurity studies by providing funding for students who are enrolled in or applying to universities designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C), such as Fordham University, New York University, Pace University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and several others. (Upon graduating, students must work for the DoD for a designated period of time.)
Some cyber security schools in New York also offer their own scholarships, such as DeVry University’s Future Cyber Defenders Scholars Program and the NYU Center for Cybersecurity’s Cyber Fellows Program, a collaboration between NYU Tandon, the New York City Cyber Command, and industry sponsors.
Additional scholarship opportunities can be found in searchable databases like Scholarships.com.