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Your Guide to Selecting a School for Cybersecurity Degrees in Illinois

Cybersecurity degrees

This guide examines how Illinois compares to other states in terms of cybersecurity education and job opportunities after graduation. Illinois is home to the world’s fourth-most-important business hub, and the cybersecurity environment is rapidly evolving. All of this growth would undoubtedly necessitate the hiring of new cybersecurity experts in both the private and public sectors.

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Cybersecurity development in Illinois

Illinois is both an urban and rural state, with the third-largest city in the country (Chicago) and a thriving economy centred on a variety of industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, banking, and finance. In reality, many Fortune 500 companies have offices in Chicago or elsewhere and need cybersecurity specialists.

Boeing, United Airlines, State Farm, and Allstate, for example, all have major operations in Illinois and need top-tier cybersecurity to protect customer data from hackers. This is particularly true for the last two names, as insurance is Illinois’ largest industry.

Over the last decade, this has resulted in a 164 percent increase in cybersecurity work postings, comfortably making Illinois one of the fastest-growing states in this field. Part of the reason for this is that Illinois is working on a new cybersecurity plan. This state-mandated policy entails providing grants to universities as well as developing collaborations with private and public sector cybersecurity firms and businesses.

The Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology has taken measures to protect the state’s and citizens’ digital protection.

Cybersecurity education in Illinois

While there is a lot of cybersecurity development going on in Illinois right now, the bulk of it is focused around the state’s universities and schools, which are responsible for the majority of the state’s cybersecurity research and host the majority of its conferences. As a result, Illinois offers a diverse range of cybersecurity education opportunities.


Campus-based cybersecurity associate degrees in Illinois

For those with no prior experience in computer science or cybersecurity, associate degrees are a great place to start. They usually introduce cybersecurity as a philosophy with a large number of foundational computer science courses, but these are not enough to secure a job in the cybersecurity field on their own. They are, however, excellent stepping stones to a bachelor’s degree or higher in cybersecurity.

There are currently no online associate’s degree programmes in cybersecurity offered by universities in Illinois. Instead, you can enrol in one of six on-campus associate cybersecurity programmes:

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Campus cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees in Illinois

Bachelor’s degrees are the next move up from associate’s degrees, and they usually have a wider focus on cybersecurity topics as well as more advanced courses. With a bachelor’s degree, you may get a position in cybersecurity, however many people go on to graduate school for better job opportunities or managerial responsibilities.

There are five on-campus bachelor’s degree programmes in Illinois, two of which are offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This is noteworthy because it is frequently regarded as one of the best cybersecurity schools in the world, particularly because it utilises the Illinois Cybersecurity Scholars Program. This curriculum prioritises students who want to learn cybersecurity and may be able to help with financial aid if you need help paying for college.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees

With a BS in Information Systems Security, the University of Illinois at Springfield offers an outstanding online bachelor’s degree programme. Both candidates must have two semesters of Java programming experience, but it offers a comprehensive education on the nuts and bolts of cybersecurity.

A BS in Information Systems Technologies is also offered at Southern Illinois University, with a focus on network and information security. Although it is not a cybersecurity degree, it covers many of the same subjects and gives you a strong background in computer science, allowing you to pursue a variety of career paths.

Purdue University’s Global University online education programmes are renowned for their rigour and academic excellence, making them an excellent choice. They give a BS in Cybersecurity with no prerequisites, making them a top option for students who know exactly what they want to do with their lives.


Campus-based cybersecurity master’s degrees in Illinois

Master’s degrees are a step up from bachelor’s degrees. These programmes are typically very intensive, focusing much more on basic cybersecurity principles, and they frequently allow for specialisation and research-oriented career placement.

The University of Illinois offers four master’s degrees in cybersecurity:

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Online master’s degrees

Lewis University also provides an MSIS with a cybersecurity focus that is a virtual version of their on-campus curriculum. This outstanding degree choice is ideal for aspiring or working cybersecurity professionals.

DePaul University offers a master’s degree in computer, information, and network security, and it’s one of the few schools that doesn’t require applicants to have a technical background. Instead, the program’s beginner courses will help non-tech students catch up to other students in the programme, but this could mean taking longer to complete the programme and hiring someone with a cybersecurity experience.

Purdue University offers a master’s programme in cybersecurity management to students who have completed their online bachelor’s degree. This curriculum blends many IT courses with content covered in other cybersecurity degree programmes.

Finally, Northwestern’s MSIS programme enables students to specialise in information systems security and is a good option for those who do not have an IT or computer science background. This curriculum, like Purdue’s, includes many management classes, making it a good option for potential cybersecurity administrators.


Campus-based cybersecurity certificate programmes in Illinois

Certificates aren’t specifically needed for employment in the cybersecurity sector. However, they do indicate specific cybersecurity, programming languages, or operations skills, which can make you a more appealing employee or enable you to hold roles that are not directly related to your profession (as a forensic cybersecurity specialist, for example).

Throughout Illinois’ colleges, there are 11 on-campus credential options. Other universities only offer one credential, so Rock Valley College is a good place to get several certificates from the same institution.

Online Certificate Programs

There are a total of seven online credential options available from Illinois universities, three of which are offered by the Illinois Institute of Technology, and they are available at various levels of education. Purdue University is another great option, but all of their qualifications are post-baccalaureate.

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Cybersecurity jobs in Illinois

We may use to see how well the cybersecurity industry is doing in Illinois.

Currently, there are 40,299 cybersecurity professionals working, and 17,753 cybersecurity job openings. This results in a 2.3 supply/demand ratio for cybersecurity jobs, compared to a national average of 2.0. Simply put, there is plenty of potential and demand in this state for new cybersecurity jobs.

The job diversity is also impressive, with titles ranging from entry-level cybersecurity analysts and researchers to systems engineers, cybersecurity managers, and administrators.

In Illinois, the average hourly wage for cybersecurity employees is $47.42, translating to a yearly income of $98,640. Given that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median income for many IT jobs is only $86,000, working in cybersecurity in Illinois can be very profitable.

What is the maximum amount of money that you can spend? On a scale of one to one hundred, Illinois has a lower cost of living than the rest of the nation, with a score of 93.4. This ensures that even though you live in Chicago, every dollar you receive from your cybersecurity job will go further.

Illinois and Cybersecurity

Overall, Illinois is an excellent state for those interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity. There are a plethora of high-quality educational options accessible, as well as a plethora of high-status companies in which to seek jobs after you’ve earned your degree and related certificates.

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