Best Online Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity in California


With a $3.6 trillion gross state product (GDP), California is among the largest economies in the world. Its economy is more advanced than many others, outpacing both Italy and the Russian Federation in terms of GDP. The competitiveness of California on the global stage is primarily based on new technologies and constantly changing systems.

But despite being home to Silicon Valley, a central tech hub, California cannot keep up with the rapid growth of technology and the increasing number of businesses storing data digitally. Like any other state worldwide, California is experiencing a talent shortage of cyber security professionals.

Because of this, there’s a significant rise in the number and sophistication of cyber threats, making it increasingly challenging to protect businesses and individuals from cyber attacks.

The demand for skilled cyber security professionals continues to outstrip the availability of workers with the necessary qualifications. This difference suggests that professionals who gain the required skills and knowledge in cyber defense will have excellent job security, career options, and higher-than-average wages. Even better, continuing your education to include a graduate program can mean increased access to these opportunities.

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Cyber Security: A Top Degree for the Next Decade

Cyber security is definitely growing in demand in California, just as it is around the world. Information security jobs are expected to grow by 35% over the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s much faster than average career growth.

With current median salaries around $102,600 a year, it’s a good time to prepare yourself to compete in the cybersecurity job market in California. That’s why we’ve ranked cyber security degrees as the #1 degree for jobs over the next decade.

Cyber security is also new and its need is very widespread. In our interview with world-leading cyber security expert Isaac Ben-Israel, Ben-Israel says, “Because we understand that nowadays everyone is dependent on computers, not only military organizations, [but also] defense organizations. And therefore, the citizen, the simple citizen, needs protection as well as the big organization. And we decided to make it legitimate for education and industry. At that time, 2011, it’s hard to believe but this is true, there was not even one university in the world in which you could go and study cybersecurity. It’s hard to believe but this was the situation [12] years ago. Today, you can learn about cybersecurity in every university.

If you are still wondering if a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree is worth it, we answer that, and we can give you the playbook for how to become a cybersecurity analyst.

cybersecurity professional analyzing a company's data structure
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California Colleges Answering the Demand for Cyber Security Degrees Online

We’ve identified 4 colleges with online cyber security bachelor’s degrees in California. Cyber security degrees online offer students in California maximum flexibility and convenience so they can study while working.

And they don’t have to sacrifice quality. These programs are offered by some of California’s top ranked colleges like California Baptist University and National University.

For more about California colleges visit The Best Colleges in California.

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For detailed information on accreditation, financial aid, college applications and more, check out our Complete Guide to Applying for College.

cybersecurity professional sitting at a desk in front of a laptop
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Best Online Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Programs in California

  1. Other Rankings

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    Career Outlook for Cybersecurity degree at California Baptist University

    Cost of Degree: $38,058
    Expenses: $15,414
    Starting Salary: $53,702
    Salary after 4 years: $64,068
    Cost Recoup Time: 14 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    California Baptist University is one of the best religiously affiliated institutions in the United States. The school is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. This is one of the best higher education institutions for students seeking a degree that adheres to Christian principles and values in its educational programs and community life.

    CBU offers several certificate, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs in various fields, including those that prepare students for the tech industry. CBU is one of the few educational institutions in California with an online cyber security degree program that satisfies the academic requirements of the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CD) program and aligns with the Joint Task Force on Cybersecurity Education.

    The online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity at California Baptist University offers students a flexible and affordable cyber defense education. The online program’s curriculum is the same as their on-campus curriculum.

    Students will learn about the latest cutting-edge technologies and industry best practices through courses that include Cybersecurity Engineering, Computer Forensics, Database Security, Security Design, and Computer and Operating System and Security Architecture, among others.

    Recognized as one of the best cybersecurity programs, graduates can apply for various positions in the information security industry, such as Information Security Analysis, Network Administration, and Cyber Security Engineering.

    Online Cybersecurity Degrees

    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
  2. #2

    National University

    San Diego , CA
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    Career Outlook for Cybersecurity degree at National University

    Cost of Degree: $13,320
    Starting Salary: $66,703
    Salary after 4 years: $79,579

    National University is a California-based private, nonprofit university with satellite campuses and online programs catering to students nationwide. It’s one of the pioneer schools in online education. NU offers affordable and accelerated programs from undergraduate to graduate levels.

    National University is among the most preferred schools for students seeking diversity in the classroom. The school’s year-round enrollment allows students to create a schedule that better aligns with their personal and professional commitments.

    The National Center of Academic Excellence (NCAE) in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) acknowledges the online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity program at National University. This online bachelor’s degree program was created to expand on the achievements of NU’s cybersecurity-focused graduate degree. Students will learn basic security knowledge, fundamental IT management ideas, and ethical issues related to cyber security in the 21st century.

    Students have three cyber security specialization options:

    • Computer Network Defense
    • Digital Forensics
    • Information Technology Management

    Online Cybersecurity Degrees

    BS in Cybersecurity
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion time: 4.5-5.5 years
    • Format: Online
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    Student body


    Career Outlook for Cybersecurity degree at California State University San Marcos

    Cost of Degree: $7,733
    Expenses: $17,774
    Starting Salary: $64,410
    Salary after 4 years: $83,578
    Cost Recoup Time: 7 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    California State University San Marcos is a large public research university. It’s a member of the California State University system that has grown to be a dynamic organization renowned for its dedication to diversity, community involvement, and academic quality. CSUSM offers online degree programs and courses to give students flexible learning alternatives.

    California State University San Marcos is a designated National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education school. One of its online programs is the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, which provides students with a rigorous curriculum that explores cyber security principles, techniques, and technology. Graduates will be prepared to work in information security and cyber security.

    CSUSM provides students with experiential learning opportunities, including cooperative education projects and internships. Students will also get career services and guidance to prepare them for cyber security jobs following graduation. In addition to lectures, students must complete a capstone project in which they’ll collaborate with a cyber security business to solve an actual issue.

    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 2-4 years
    • Format: Online

Career Outlook for Students with Cybersecurity Degree

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Computer And Information Systems Security/Auditing/Information Assurance

Degree Level: Bachelor's

  • Location: California (Private Schools)
  • Avg. Starting Salary*: $57,211
  • Avg. Salary after 4 Years*: $86,880
  • Job Growth: 11.36%
  • Number of Jobs: 1,573,500
  • * denotes ‘annually’

Career Salaries

CareerJob GrowthAvg. Salary
Computer and Information Systems Managers15.41%$198,950
Managers, All Other3.35%$162,690
Database Architects10.00%$155,290
Information Security Analysts31.56%$134,830
Computer Network Architects3.55%$133,190

Average Career Salaries

Bottom 10%MedianTop 10%

Promising Job Markets

StateCost of LivingAvg. Salary
#28 California26% higher than average$126,026
#2 Georgia13% higher than average$108,150
#3 Virginia5% higher than average$117,193
#4 North Carolina11% higher than average$105,853
#5 Texas10% higher than average$105,429
#6 Washington7% higher than average$124,389

Top Industries

IndustryAvg. Salary
Computer and Information Systems Managers$198,950
Managers, All Other$162,690
Database Architects$155,290
a team of cyber security professionals working in an office

How is California coping with the lack of cyber security professionals?

The demand for cyber security experts is rising and will continue to grow due to constant technological evolution and the increasing number of businesses relying on computers to store private company data. While being one of the most in-demand fields, cyber security is not gaining much attention. Countries worldwide are not getting enough talent to fill vacant cyber security jobs.

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the demand for infosec jobs increased to 38% this year and is expected to reach 3.5 million open cyber security roles by 2025.

With 69,213 job openings, California has the highest employment demand for cyber security jobs.

More trained cyber security professionals are urgently needed to battle the threat as an increasing number of hackers target businesses, organizations, and industries with crippling attacks. And while a bachelor’s degree can give you the higher ground, this is not the only qualification that will land you a high-paying position in the cyber security industry.

Several companies—even big ones, such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and IBM—have adjusted their recruitment techniques and requirements to fill in the gap for cyber security experts in their companies. Many companies based in California no longer require applicants to possess a four-year degree.

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Certificates for Aspiring Cyber Security Experts

Companies have realized that certificate programs can be completed far more quickly than traditional degrees, which can help them to keep up with the pace of demand. Because of this, California’s colleges and universities offer more certificate alternatives than master’s and bachelor’s degrees.

Some of the most popular certificate programs in cyber security in California include:

In addition to completing cyber security programs in colleges and universities, certain positions also require industry certifications. The best cyber security certification depends on your career goals, experience/degree level, and specialization.

Here are the most prestigious and highly regarded cyber security certificates in California, or anywhere in the world for that matter:

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Cyber Security Organizations in California

There are numerous cyber security organizations, groups, and chapters in California. Some well-known cyber security organizations, ranging from networking and education to job opportunities and career development, in California, are listed below:

  • San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence: This group is committed to hastening the development of San Diego’s cyber security sector. It works with business, academia, and government agencies to advance cyber security education and workforce development.
  • ISSA - Silicon Valley Chapter: One of ISSA’s most prominent and busiest chapters is the Silicon Valley Chapter, which aims to advance cyber security best practices and information through sponsored conferences, seminars, and gatherings.
  • ISACA - Los Angeles Chapter: ISACA is an international organization emphasizing cybersecurity, risk management, and IT governance. Professionals in cyber security can network, participate in events, and receive training through the Los Angeles Chapter.
  • (ISC)² - San Francisco Chapter: The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential is offered by (ISC)2. The San Francisco Chapter offers regional (ISC)2 members support and events.
  • OWASP - Los Angeles Chapter: The main focus of OWASP is web application security. The Los Angeles Chapter sponsors conferences and other gatherings to advance secure web development methods.
  • Cal Poly Pomona’s Cybersecurity Club:  This student-run organization is based at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and is actively involved in community outreach, workshops, and competitions related to cyber security.
  • UC Irvine Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute: The institute at UC Irvine focuses on cyber security teaching, research, and policy. It sponsors conferences, seminars, and events focused on privacy and cyber security.
  • Secure The Village: This nonprofit encourages a cyber security culture in Southern California communities. It provides materials, instructional programs, and consulting services.
  • Los Angeles Cyber Lab: The Los Angeles Cyber Lab is a public-private cooperation to enhance the cyber security posture of Los Angeles corporations and governmental institutions.
  • San Francisco Bay Area InfraGard: This company, part of the national InfraGard program, makes it easier for businesses, government organizations, and law enforcement to work together to safeguard vital infrastructure online.
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Top Cyber Security Employers In California

Google: Based in Mountain View, Google is one of the largest and most prominent technology companies worldwide. Google keeps a ton of user information and operates an extensive network of data centers and cloud services. This tech-based company is one of the top employers of cyber security worldwide in order to protect its user data against unwanted access, data breaches, and cyberattacks.

Apple: Apple Inc. is a multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California. Apple products and services, such as iCloud, store sensitive user data. Apple invests significantly in research and development and protects its client’s intellectual property from theft, espionage, and other cyber threats.

Facebook: Facebook, another significant digital business headquartered in Menlo Park, makes significant investments in cyber security to safeguard the platform and its sizable user base.

Cisco Systems: Cisco is a networking technology company headquartered in San Jose. It offers a variety of cyber security solutions. The business provides cyber security positions to safeguard its goods and services.

Norton LifeLock: With operations in California and a reputation for its Norton antivirus software, Symantec gives cybersecurity experts the chance to work on cutting-edge security solutions.

Palantir Technologies: Data analysis is Palantir’s area of expertise, and the company provides cyber security solutions to clients in the public and private sectors. Palantir continuously hires cyber security talents to update the company on new cyber threats and vulnerabilities. Cyber security experts examine threat intelligence data and create defense plans against ever-changing attacks.

FireEye: A cyber security business headquartered in Milpitas, FireEye focuses on threat intelligence and cyber security solutions. It provides a variety of cyber security roles to shield clients from online risks.

Imperva: Imperva, headquartered in San Mateo, CA, provides cloud-native security, data protection, and application security solutions. It recruits cloud security engineers, security operations engineers, C++ engineers, and network architects.

McAfee: Award-winning cyber security firm McAfee is based in San Jose, California. It is well-known for its antivirus software. The product’s primary functions are threat management and detection.

These are just a few of California’s many employers in cyber security. The state is a hub for cyber security jobs and opportunities due to its booming tech sector and the rising importance of cyber security across all sectors.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Online Bachelor’s in Cyber Security

What will I learn in an online bachelor’s degree in cyber security program?

With an online bachelor’s degree in cyber security program, you’ll learn specific subjects like software development and systems administration while also strengthening your math and computer science skills.

You will learn important but complicated topics like:

  • Cryptography
  • Software Programming
  • Data Analytics
  • Network Security
  • Information Security
  • Systems Administration
  • National Security Policy

Key learning skills for your online bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity include:

  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Organization
  • Time Management
  • Self-Pacing

With online cyber security degrees, you’ll learn to:

  • Analyze network components including software and hardware.
  • Identify system vulnerabilities through a combination of technological and analytical insight.
  • Create solutions for system vulnerabilities.
  • Navigate the ethical and policy issues related to the cybersecurity profession.
  • Provide both short-term and long-term organizational strategies for managing cyber security challenges.
an online cyber security student working in a computer lab

What courses will I take with in online cyber security degree program in California?

As an online bachelor’s in cyber security student, you’ll take courses in areas like network security, risk assessment, and digital surveillance. Popular online courses in cyber security include:

Cyber Threat Intelligence

Learn to identify cyber security threats and the techniques used by bad actors to attack secure networks. Study ethical hacking methodologies, permissions management, threat assessment reporting, and more.

National Security Policy

Learn the laws, policies, and practices shaping the cyber security profession in the United States. Study American cyber security policy as well as international policy and policy approaches in other nations.

Enterprise Risk Management

Learn how to analyze security conditions for commercial enterprises to identify vulnerabilities and provide solutions. Study best practices as well as legal and ethical responsibilities in creating network security strategies.

Network Security Administration

Learn how to assess, operate and improve network security information for private, public, or non-profit organizations, including Homeland Security. Study cloud security, information security, systems auditing and more.

Digital Forensics

Learn how to investigate cybercrime and produce evidence to be used in prosecuting these crimes. Study the tools, techniques, and principles driving digital forensics investigation.

Do employers value cyber security degrees?

Several students interested in degree programs online back out because they’re worried about employers not honoring a degree earned online. As long as students pursue accredited cyber security programs that uphold the same on-campus academic standards, companies will see your online degree the same way as traditional degrees.

There are cyber security accreditations to guarantee that the curriculum meets the standards of the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, even though the growth of the field of cyber security is driving an increase in online programs. Together, they have established standards for programs to be named a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE). The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence is a cooperative organization that strives to keep up with cyber security’s rapidly changing legal and technological aspects.

What jobs can I do with an online bachelor’s degree in cyber security in California?

You can do a lot of jobs in computer and network security with an online bachelor’s degree in cyber security. The bachelor’s degree in cyber security is the basic qualification for students who want to become:

Computer and Information Systems Managers

As a Computer Information Systems Manager, you will plan, coordinate, and lead a wide range of computer-related activities in your organization including network security, permissions management, database management, and more. Computer and Information Systems Managers earned a median pay of $159,010 in 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 16% rate of growth by 2031, with 48,500 new jobs added.

Computer Network Architects

As a Computer Network Architect, you will design and build data communication networks. This includes local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs) and Intranets, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also reports that computer network architects earned a median pay of $120,520 and projects a 5% rate of growth by 2031, with 11,800 new jobs added.

Database Administrators and Architects

As a Database Administrator or Architect, you will work within an organization to create, organize, and oversee the systems used to both store data and keep this data secure. Database Administrators and Architects earned a median pay of $120,520 in 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 4% rate of growth by 2031, with 11,500 new jobs added.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

As a Network and Computer Systems Administrator, you are responsible for both the daily and long-term operation and oversight of internal network and computer systems for your organization. This includes maintenance, updates, data management, security, and more. Network and Computer Systems Administrators earned a median pay of $80,600 in 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 3% rate of growth by 2031, with 23,900 new jobs added.

Who should pursue a career in cyber security in California?

A cyber security career combines technical expertise, problem-solving skills, and knowledge of recent risks. This career path is best suited for individuals who want to become good analysts with the flexibility to develop novel solutions. Additionally, they should feel at ease using technology and be well-versed in computer networks and security protocols. They also need to keep up with the most recent cyber crime trends so they may foresee possible dangers before they become a problem.

What are the admission requirements for an online bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in California?

Colleges and universities in California all have different admission requirements. It’s advised to speak with the school’s admission officers and inquire about program-specific requirements.

But in general, most online cyber security schools in California require students to have a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED. Some schools may also require online students to pass an entrance exam, provide letters of recommendation, or enroll in extra cybersecurity-related courses.

Bridge degree programs will require students to have an associate degree in a tech-related field. Applicants must submit certified transcripts from all post-secondary institutions.

How long does it take to earn an online bachelor’s degree in cyber security in California?

It takes four to six years, or 120 credits, to earn an online bachelor’s degree in cyber security. Some online programs may offer accelerated or self-paced options where you can earn your online bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 to 24 months.

Is it cheaper to get a cyber security degree online?

Maybe. Online degrees in cyber security may be cheaper than on-campus programs. Although tuition online can be similar, or higher, than the on-campus program, online students will be able to save more on expenses like housing, transportation, and certain campus fees.

It may also be cheaper to get a cyber security degree online if you go to a public university in California rather a private college. Tuition costs may also be cheaper for in-state students. For more, check out our Guide to the Cost of Online College vs. On-Campus College.

What’s next after earning an online bachelor’s degree in cyber security in California?

After earning an online bachelor’s degree in cyber security, graduates have several options for advancing their career, knowledge, and expertise. Most graduates pursue industry certifications, while others pursue cyber security master’s degrees.

Are cyber security degree and certificate programs the same?

While both allow students to apply for various cyber security jobs, cyber security degrees and certificate programs are not the same; they have different objectives and distinctive features. While certificate programs often focus on practical, career-specific skills and knowledge, degree programs offer a thorough and scholarly approach to cyber security.

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