Interested in an IT security career? Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative disciplines in IT. It’s clearly an excellent time to consider joining the fight against hackers and cyber criminals. To help you in this endeavor, there are numerous cybersecurity scholarships that can subsidize your tuition fees, guarantee you a job after graduation, and even provide you with a free ride through college.
You are probably aware that many government agencies, private corporations, and non-profit organizations provide incentives for students to pursue STEM fields. (STEM includes the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.) But what you may not know is that a large number of scholarships are directed specifically towards the computer sciences and cyber security.
The rapid growth of computer technology and services has led to an interconnectedness of critical devices that has generated risk and exposure far greater than the industry can keep up with. Whether it’s Russian hackers or compromised Yahoo accounts, there is no doubt about the potential threats now and in the future.
An effort is being made to help our country be more competitive and safe with the potential threats of cyber terrorism and cyber warfare. Many in the U.S. Intelligence community feel that cyber warfare trumps terrorism as the number one threat to the United States. A key factor in our country’s future strength depends on convincing more technology students to pursue a career in the field of cyber security.
“The university system, and the existing pools of professionals in the industry, simply can’t keep up with the increased demand,” said Jacob West, formerly the CTO for enterprise security products at HP, and now the Chief Architect for Security Products at NetSuite.
There are many recent initiatives relevant to supporting the need for more security professionals. Here, we take a look at some of the major scholarships available in information security:
CyberCorps Scholarship for Service is a unique program offered through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to increase and strengthen the cadre of federal information assurance professionals that protect the government’s critical information infrastructure. This program provides scholarships that may fully fund the typical costs incurred by full-time students while attending a participating institution, including tuition and education and related fees. Additionally, participants receive stipends of $22,500 for undergraduate students and $34,000 for graduate students. The scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation.
The Center for Cyber Safety and Education is a non-profit charitable trust committed to making the cyber world a safer place for everyone. The math is simple: A high demand for skilled cybersecurity experts and not enough supply of qualified candidates equals a world of opportunity. The Center aims to bridge this gap by providing future information security professionals with scholarships to prepare them for a rewarding career in this important field.
Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security provides scholarships of up to $10,000 for women studying for their Bachelors and Masters degrees in fields relating to information security. With the addition of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s multi-year financial commitment to this program starting with the 2014-15 academic year, and Symantec’s addition in 2017, ACSA has been able to increase the number of scholarships, in turn helping to increase the number of women in the field.
The Department of Homeland Security offers a variety of prestigious scholarships, fellowships, internships and training opportunities to expose talented students to the broad national security mission.
The individuals most likely to benefit from these awards must not only show technical aptitude, but care deeply about the field and have a unique learning approach. “[IT security] is the kind of field that requires a little bit of passion,” West explained. “The people who have that passion, and who have a love of understanding the adversarial learning model—by which I mean the idea of breaking things, or understanding how they’re broken—those are the people who end up being most successful.”