South Dakota

Information Assurance and Cyber Security Degrees in South Dakota

With a $48 billion GDP, South Dakota ranks among the smallest in the US, but cyber security professionals still have plenty of opportunities. The unemployment rate is just 3%, and CNBC has recognized South Dakota as a top-10 state for business. Retail, finance, and health care are the largest industries, but military and defense make up a major part of the economy, as well. To help train future IS professionals and grow the state’s tech sector, three universities and technical institutes offer cyber security programs.

Cyber Security Jobs in South Dakota

South Dakota has above-average wages for IS analysts relative to comparable states, with an annual mean pay between $80-90k. Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Pierre, and Watertown are the largest cyber job hubs, and about two-thirds of openings are for entry-level positions, making South Dakota a great place to start your career. In addition to cyber defense opportunities at Ellsworth Air Force Base, the state’s second-largest employer, numerous medical centers, health insurers, banks, private companies, and government agencies are in need of qualified IS experts to secure data, detect vulnerabilities, and develop new security tools. Over 80% of jobs are full-time, but contract, commission, and part-time work is available, as well.

Cyber Security Degrees in South Dakota

Two-year associate degrees in cyber security are available from Lake Area Technical Institute, Southeast Technical Institute, and Dakota State University, whose program includes CAE-designation by the NSA and DHS.

For those interested in advanced undergraduate and graduate programs, Dakota State also offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in information security specializations like Cyber Operations, Network and Security Administration, and Computer Security & Information Assurance, plus a unique PhD in Cyber Security (one of the few of its kind in the region) and graduate certificates in Ethical Hacking and Banking Security, which are especially relevant for professionals in cyber defense, systems administration, and security engineering.