Cyber Security Degrees in Iowa

Cyber Security Degrees in Iowa

If you pursue a cyber security degree in Iowa, it places in a region called the Silicon Prairie. It is home to many tech start ups including ones focused on cyber defense. While there are cyber security degrees programs in Iowa at all levels, not all schools offer it as a major. According to the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s College Scorecard, there are 79 colleges in Iowa. Of them, only 8 awarded degrees in information assurance  in 2018. In order of the number of graduating students, these are: 

  • Iowa State University – 52
  • Purdue University Global-Davenport – 33
  • Western Iowa Tech Community College – 11
  • North Iowa Area Community College – 5
  • Saint Ambrose University – 4
  • Eastern Iowa Community College District – 2
  • Indian Hills Community College – 2
  • Des Moines Area Community College – 1

Online Cyber Security Programs in IA

As cyber attacks rise many Iowa colleges offer cyber security degree programs online. Online cyber programs bring the class to you, and may include virtual labs. The experience may help you set your own study pace and schedule. As a result, many at work and busy adults turn to this flexible format. For those who seek the convenience, are a few IA colleges with 100% online learning options.

Iowa State University 

Iowa State offers a few cyber security programs. Their bachelor’s degree programs are on campus only. But they do have online master’s degree programs. One is a Master of Science in Information Assurance (IA). It features core coursework in information warfare and computer security. The MSIA program comes with an option to complete a thesis or not. The thesis may be useful if you think you want to pursue a PhD.

There is also a Master of Engineering in IA. It focuses on many of the same courses. But adds more computer engineering. If not ready for a degree, ISU also offers a Graduate Certificate in IA. It is a four course program which includes one elective.

Purdue University Global - Davenport

Purdue offers online cyber security degrees at all levels. These come with a choice of four start dates and 10 week terms. For those starting out, there are associate’s degrees. You can focus in homeland security or information technology (IT). 

The AAS in IT is basic. It lays out the technical skills needed to install, set up and trouble shoot systems and networks. There is also a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security that goes deeper. It aims to help students identify IT security threats and products. 

Master’s degree students have options too. There is a MS in IT and a MS in Cyber Security. The MS Cyber Security program goes further into digital forensics, risk, and cyber policy.

St Ambrose University

St Ambrose offers two cyber security programs at the bachelor’s level. One is a BA in Cyber Security, offered on campus. The other is BBA with an anchor in cyber security management. It features 8 week classes mapped out over two years. A business admin degree, it starts with accounting, marketing and int’al business. You also study computer science and telecomms. These classes are about learning to assess the security needs of IT systems. Then also craft tactical plans to prevent and defend against cyber attacks.

Cyber Scholarships in IA

One way to make the cost of a cyber degree at an Iowa college affordable is with a scholarship. Scholarships are a popular kind of financial aid since the money is a grant. Unlike a loan, if you stick to the terms, you do not have to repay the funds. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify.

Iowa Last Dollar Scholarship

The Last Dollar Scholarship is a state funded program for Iowans. It is one you must first submit a FAFSA for. As the name implies, the funds aim to fill a gap. This gap may exist when a student does not get enough from federal and state grants and scholarships. The scholarship then kicks in the cost of remaining tuition plus qualified fees. It applies to a post secondary certificate, diploma or associate degree.

If eligible, you may use the funds at eligible Iowa community colleges and approved IA private colleges. To qualify, you must be a high school grad or adult learner aged 20 or older. You must also plan to earn a credential for an in demand job.

Iowa National Guard Scholarship

The Iowa National Guard Scholarship is a state funded program. It is for Iowans who are also Iowa Army or Air National Guard unit members when they receive the benefits. And, who who attend eligible Iowa colleges. Amounts paid vary. For the 2019-20 academic year, the max amount was $8,073. The Iowa Adjutant General determines eligibility.

Kibbie Grant

The Kibbie Grant is a state funded program for Iowans. Also called the Iowa Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant. To qualify, you must enroll in an approved career or technical program at Iowa community colleges. Two of the approved majors are IA and Information Systems Security. There are 15 in total.

The max Kibbie Grant award is one half of the average Iowa community college tuition and mandatory fees. If eligible, the grant pays per year for up to two years of cyber security education. Part time students may be eligible for prorated amounts.

Cyber Workshops and Conferences in Iowa

One way to expand your network of cyber security professionals is to attend an event. Many conferences take place once per year. They tend to last from one day to a few days in a row. Many include workshops, trainings, speakers and discussion panels. There is usually a room where vendors display security products and tools too.

CornCon

A cyber security conference slated to take place in River Center Davenport. On the menu are networking events, a Linux workshop, speakers and more.

CyberCon

The Iowa Communications Alliance puts on this conference. You can look for topics like cyber threats and the dark web but the agenda changes each year.

Secure Iowa Conference

The West Des Moines Chapter of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) sponsors this annual event. It is for security, privacy and audit professionals. And, offers education via workshops and speakers as well as networking.

Cyber Meetups in Iowa

Meetups are a less formal way to learn about trends in the info sec community.

SecDSM

A monthly meetup that offers the opportunity to network with other InfoSec pros. You also get to listen to short tech talks presented by your fellow members (or give a presentation yourself!). All while enjoying some beer/drinks/food.

ISSA Des Moines

If you missed the ISSA conference, you may want to still join this member group. ISSA itself is a nonprofit and the Des Moines Chapter is about  promoting effective cyber security in Iowa. As a member you might access career info, learn about new trends in risk, info sec and privacy. Plus, members may earn CPEs / CPUs for attending specific events.

ISACA Iowa Chapter

The ISACA Iowa Chapter sponsors local educational seminars and workshops. They also host regular chapter meetings. And, work to help promote IS audits, controls and security in the Iowa region.

Cyber Security Jobs in Iowa

Cyber security jobs in Iowa tend to pay above average salaries for security analysts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage in May 2018 was $83,030. When looking for a cyber job in Iowa there may be options for various of skill sets.

Humana Inc

A health insurance company and gov’t contractor. They may hire skilled cyber pros to protect health data in areas like Davenport.

Wells Fargo

A large financial services company and gov’t contractor with interests in financial data security. They may post jobs in Des Moines.

Raytheon Technologies

An aerospace and defense company and gov’t contractor. They have hire in Cedar Rapids.

WORKIVA Inc

A global SaaS company that works in the financial compliance space. Their HQ is in Ames, Iowa so they may look for new talent here.

John Deere

A U.S. company and gov’t contractor working in agricultural, construction, forestry machinery, technology, services and more.

Meredith Corp

A publicly held media and marketing services company. Their HQ is in Des Moines so they may recruit for this location.

Cyber Security Degrees in Iowa by College

Public and private colleges offer cyber security degree programs in Iowa. Some are National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE). A Center of Academic Excellence is an extra level of approval. CAEs meet standards set by two U.S. gov’t agencies. The National Security Agency (NSA). And the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). To help your search for cyber security degrees in IA, we compiled a list of 8 schools. We put these schools in order of the number of students who graduated in the 2018 year.

1

Iowa State University

1750 Beardshear Hall, Ames, Iowa

BS in Cyber Security Engineering

Iowa State University had the highest number (52) of cyber grads in 2018. This program, new since 2019 is on campus entails 120 credits. It covers cyber security through the lens of how to design safer systems. You also study ways to solve cyber security problems with tech skills. Class examples are:

  • Operating System Security – An intro to basic OS concepts such as access control and file systems as well as good practices for design
  • Intro to Computer Security – This class covers passwords, firewalls, antivirus software, malware, social networking and more
  • Cyber Security Basics – Learn about the systems and networks that support cyber security
  • Cryptographic Concepts – How hiding data benefits cyber security

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • MS in Information Assurance
  • MEng in Information Assurance

Scholarships:

  • Ginny Anderson Memorial Scholarship

School Features:

  • ISU runs 5 cyber competitions per year
  • Online Cyber Degrees – MS
2

Purdue University Global – Davenport

1801 East Kimberly Road Suite 1, Davenport, Iowa

BS in Cyber Security

Purdue had the second highest number (33) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 180 quarter credits and is available online. It aims to build the skills that help to protect companies from a wide range of cyber threats. The courses may also prep you for industry certification exams. If you plan to study further, there is a fast track path to a MS degree too. Class examples are:

  • Computer Forensics – Study the processes, tools and tech used to look into and report cyber crime
  • Ethical Hacking – This course is helps you look for security holes before a hacker can
  • Network Security – Learn about the tools that keep computers and networks secure. Passwords, firewalls, antivirus software, malware, and more
  • Computer Networks – An intro to data communications, LANs, WANs, wireless and voice networks

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • AAS in Info Tech
  • MS in Info Tech
  • MS in Cyber Security

Scholarships:

  • Purdue Scholarships

School Features:

  • Online Cyber Degrees – AAS, BS, MS
  • Fast Track BS to MS option
3

Western Iowa Tech Community College

4647 Stone Ave, Sioux City, Iowa

AAS in Cyber Security and Digital Crime

Western Iowa Tech had the third highest number (11) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 67 credits and is only offered on campus. The main goal is to build the sleuth skills that can detect and track cyber crimes. As such, you are likely to learn how to seize and recover evidence. And, help law enforcement with their case against offenders. Class examples are:

  • Computer Forensics – About cyber crimes and how to investigate them using industry tools and methods
  • Network Firewalls – This course is about the practices that keep comms systems safe
  • Security Policies – Learn how to set and enforce rules that protect networks and systems
  • Offensive Security – Study the counter measures against hacking, spam, and computer viruses

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • AA Criminal Justice

Scholarships:

  • Last Dollar Scholarships
  • WITCC Foundation Scholarships
  • Valedictorian Scholarships
  • President’s Scholarships
  • Western Iowa Tech Board Scholarship

School Features:

  • Online Cyber Degrees – AAS 
4

North Iowa Area Community College

500 College Dr., Mason City, Iowa

AS in Computer Science

NIACC had the fourth highest number (5) of cyber grads in 2018. This 63 credit program is available on campus. It introduces you to computer hardware, software while also covering general ed topics. Grads of the program may transfer the credits into a BS program. If your goal is to earn a four year degree, plan to speak with an advisor. Class examples are: 

  • Intro to Computers – All about spreadsheets, software, databases and simple web page design
  • College Essentials – For students with less than 12 credits to help with the college experience
  • Public Speaking – Learn how to argue a point in a clear and respectful manner
  • Intro to Statistics – Study things like probability and methods that test a theory

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • AA in Criminal Justice

Scholarships:

  • NIACC President’s Scholarship
  • NIACC Trustees’ Scholarship

School Features:

  • Transfer friendly
5

Saint Ambrose University

518 W Locust St, Davenport, Iowa

BA in Cyber Security

Saint Ambrose U had the fifth highest number (4) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 120 credits and is available on campus. It stacks criminal justice classes with ones in computer and network security. For those who want to earn a grad degree too, there is a MSITM 4+1 program. If accepted, you take some advanced classes in your sophomore year. Class examples are:

  • Network Forensics – An intro to network based incidents and how to handle them
  • Intro to Cyber Security – A broad look at security issues like malware, cyber crime, intrusion detection and cryptography
  • Networks and Data Comms – Learn how to handle errors plus other protocols for local and wide area networks
  • Networks and Data Comms – Learn how to handle errors plus other protocols for local and wide area networks

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • BBA in Cyber Security Management

Scholarships:

  • Iowa Tuition Grant

School Features:

  • Online Cyber Degrees – BS
6

Eastern Iowa Community College District

101 W Third Street, Davenport, Iowa

AAS in Cyber Security

EICC ties for the sixth highest number (2) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 67 credits and is available on campus. While basic, you learn about data security, privacy and desktop support. It also maps courses to line up with industry certification exams. Like Network+, Ethical Hacking Certificate and Cyber Forensics Associate. Class examples are: 

  • Networking – This class looks at models of Internet and computer networks to help students set up a LAN by the end of the course
  • Intro to Computer Forensics – An overview of the tools, tasks and tech used to investigate cyber crime
  • Network Attacks – Learn how to test system defenses, handle threats and set up defenses like firewalls
  • Trouble Shooting – An in depth look at computer hardware and op systems and practices to keep them safe

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • AAS in Networking for Cyber Security
  • Cyber Security Certificate

Scholarships:

  • Foundation Scholarships

School Features:

  • Online Cyber Degrees – AAS
  • EICC Cyber Center
7

Indian Hills Community College

525 Grandview Ave, Ottumwa, Iowa

AAS in Cyber Security and Systems Administration

Indian Hills ties for the sixth highest number (2) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 84 – 85 credits and is available on campus. In first classes, you study computer hardware and software basics. As you move through, the classes turn to networking. These cover security issues, network attacks, audits and admin. Class examples are: 

  • Security Basics – How policies, user education, software and hardware tools can help prevent attacks to these systems
  • Network Attacks – This class is about the kinds of attacks there are and how to protect against them with firewalls and other tactics
  • Security Audit – Learn about the tools and methods used by network security auditors to detect risks
  • VMware – Study the knowledge, skills and abilities to run a VMware vSphere environment

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • AAS in Criminal Justice

Scholarships:

  • IHCC Foundation Scholarships

School Features:

  • May provide transfer credits
8

Des Moines Area Community College

2006 Ankeny Blvd, Ottumwa, Iowa

AAS in Cyber Security

DMACC had the seventh highest number (1) of cyber grads in 2018. This program entails 67 credits and is available on campus. The classes cover a wide range of information security ideas, tools, and methods. You may learn to keep information systems safe. As well as study practices and processes that guide today’s IT security pros. Class examples are:

  • Cisco Networking – Learn about PC and main frame networks, data comms and tasks
  • Applied Security – This class explains passwords, firewalls, malware, phishing and wireless networks
  • Cloud Systems Admin – A class about IT security that may prep for CompTIA’s Cloud+ certification
  • Ethical Hacking – About the legit ways that a white hat hacker tries to spot weak points in systems

More Cyber Degree Programs:

  • Diploma, Certificate in Cyber Security

Scholarships:

  • DMACC Scholarships

School Features:

  • May provide transfer credits

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