What are the Ways of Getting a Cyber Security Degree?
All the professions dedicated to solving problems regarding network and cybersecurity are essential for a modern way of life.
A lack of basic Internet-related knowledge can open the door to a bunch of cyberattacks that can harm the entire system, no matter if it’s about the one you use at home or the comprehensive one that’s used for business purposes.
You must’ve heard about the big-name companies that suffered severe data breaches that affected the privacy of the sensitive data of their clients, customers, or even patients – such breaches cost companies millions of dollars, and most of them lost their integrity and reputation. Therefore, every company needs a certified IT guy who’ll prevent such incidents.
If you’re considering getting a cyber security degree, you must have a lot of questions regarding certificate, salary, and other vital things about the job – let’s get started then!
What’s the Aim of Cybersecurity?
Technology is an essential part of our lives, and it facilitates the everyday tasks. Paying bills right from your phone, ordering food using the app, and taking classes are just some of the benefits of the perfect combo of the Internet and mobile devices. But we shouldn’t forget about the dark side of the entire idea.
The exposure of critical data, including credit card numbers and personal information such as ID and Social Security details, presents a goldmine for data thieves and hackers.
Since such attacks are mostly targeted at small companies and enterprises, you must be wondering how they protect the sensitive data of their customers – the answer is cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity can be established via appropriate software, such as server antivirus. Still, organizations often hire a professional IT guy who specializes in specific areas of the field, such as ethical hacking, network security, risk management, security engineering, and more.
As a cybersecurity specialist who focuses on specific types of threats, you’ll be able to detect, identify, and block the potential malware, saving companies from a total disaster.
How to Get a Degree in Cyber Security?
A career in cybersecurity provides you with a lot of job opportunities, including working in industries such as healthcare, finance, manufacturing, retail, and more. The demand for specialists in this field is never-ending and getting a cyber security degree is the first step of a successful journey.
Many educational institutions today offer plenty of cyber security programs, and most of them provide both online and traditional courses.
Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degree (Undergraduate)
Most jobs will require you to have a four-year bachelor’s degree in cyber security, especially in fields of information technology (IT) or computer science.
Speaking of that, you can choose between the two programs that will certify you with different degrees – Bachelor of Science (BS) and Associate Degree in Cyber Security. Both courses will provide you with the technical and analytical skills required for successful jobs in cyber security.
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science degree is usually obtained after a four-year program that focuses on both the technical and theoretical sides of the discipline. Some schools that offer this particular program will enroll only those students who have completed the general education courses, which means that you’ll get a so-called “completion degree.”
The curriculum in Bachelor of Science degree encompasses foundation in programming, database applications, and statistics – here are some of the courses offered by this program:
Fundamentals of Networking
This cyber security program allows you to achieve comprehensive knowledge in networking technologies for local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), and popular wireless networks.
By the end of the course, students will be able to recognize the network design adequate for a given scenario, and they’ll become skillful in networking and security protocols.
Installation and Configuration of the Windows Server
This course is adequate for those students who would like to learn how to install, configure, and troubleshoot Windows Server operating systems.
The participants of this program will go through the preparation for the Installing and Configuring Windows Server exam, which is a part of MCSE Server Infrastructure Certification.
The MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) certification validates that you have skills and abilities required for running highly-efficient and modern server networks, data centers, and mainframes with expertise in security administration, virtualization, and identity management.
The Ethical Hacking program develops the fundamentals of the structured knowledge base, which is crucial for discovering vulnerabilities and recommending solutions for data protection.
This course focuses primarily on penetration-testing tools and the development of safe techniques that include defense of LAN and computers against advanced security attacks.
Once you complete the four-year studies in this program, you’ll be qualified for employment as cybersecurity analysts, information security analysts, and computer forensic analysts. Still, you’ll have the opportunity to delve into more advanced disciplines, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and cryptography.
Cyber Security Associate Degree
In order to get a cyber security associate degree, you’ll have to complete a two-year program, which is appropriate for the following situations and careers:
- Computer support technician who performs securing entry-level work
- An additional qualification for those who already work in a similar position
- The base for a four-year cyber security degree
By the end of this program, you’ll be able to detect and fix the vulnerabilities of different hardware and software systems, manage network technologies, and learn the fundamental concepts of security administration and intrusion detection.
This program also provides preparations for many certification exams that are required for full-time employment – CompTIA Security+ and ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
Here are some of the courses offered by this program:
Introduction to the Basics of Computer Forensics and Cyber Crime
As the title says, this course provides the fundamentals in concepts, terminology, and terms used to communicate and understand the history and idea of computer forensics and cybercrime.
The students will learn how to process crime scenes, manage digital evidence controls, recover image files, do email investigations, and perform network forensics successfully.
Security of a Database
This course is an excellent choice for those who’d like to dedicate themselves to protecting the company’s technology infrastructure and intellectual property.
By understanding how database security models work and gaining knowledge of typical integrity constraints, you’ll be able to defend a sensitive database against the most advanced cyberattacks.
CompTIA Security+ is a global certification that proves your skills and abilities requires for performing critical security functions and pursue a successful IT security career.
By attending this course, you’ll understand the most important fields of computer security and its application to other areas of information technology. Apart from getting the right preparation for CompTIA+ certificate, you’ll learn how to harden systems, secure networks, and perform encryption.
Cyber Security Master’s Degree
Having a master’s degree in cyber security means that you’re among the sophisticated practitioners in the industry of cybersecurity.
The program lasts for two years, and you’ll have the opportunity to investigate some vital technologies such as digital forensics, cryptography, and biometrics during the coursework.
Once you’ve obtained a master’s degree in cyber security, you can work as a security-application programmer, penetration tester, vulnerability analysts, and security architect.
Here are the most common courses you can choose during master’s studies:
Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Assessment
Vulnerability assessment and penetration testing are two types of vulnerabilities testing combined to achieve a complete analysis.
Since these tools are quite essential for cybersecurity in general, this course will introduce you to methodologies, techniques, and tools to analyze and identify vulnerabilities in both stand-alone and networked applications.
Cryptography, a discipline in between math and computer science, is essential for most cybersecurity tasks, especially when you need to decrypt the message or manage website accounts.
This course emphasizes the provable security and application case studies. By the end of it, you’ll be able to apply your theoretical knowledge to the actual situations.
If you’re interested in digital forensics, computer crime, and recovery and investigation of materials found in digital devices, then this course is the right for you.
It includes the introduction in the application of forensic science ideas and practices for collecting, preserving, analyzing, and presenting digital evidence. Additionally, it covers topics from legal, forensic, and information-technology domains.
If you have a solid foundation in computer science, you can start the D.Sc. Cyber security program – it usually takes students 3-5 years to complete it, it includes a dissertation, and even though there are online courses available, students are required to attend annual on-site research seminars.
Some of the seminars offered by a cybersecurity doctoral program are Full scope security testing and Advanced malware analysis.
Online Cyber Security Degree Courses
As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to get a cyber security degree online as well. The online degree is suitable for those who work and don’t have time to travel to campus, as well as for students who are not fans of traditional classes.
The institutions offer courses for obtaining both bachelor’s and cyber security masters degree online, and even though the course is mostly self-paced, you must respect the task deadlines set by your instructors to complete the session successfully.
You can access the LMS (Learning Management System) platform at any time, and you can always count on help from technical support in case you get stuck with something that prevents you from completing your tasks appropriately.
Some of the best cyber security degree colleges you can complete online are:
- Bellevue University
- Arizona State University
- University of Illinois – Springfield
- Grand Canyon University
- Colorado Technical University
What are the Most Common Cyber Security Degree Jobs?
Cyber security degree jobs are versatile – you can work in both public and private sectors, as well as in IT companies who seek a professional in dealing with threats and data breaches.
The primary task of cybersecurity experts is to maintain cybersecurity networks, develop new software, and find and fix potential vulnerabilities inside the system – however, that’s just a small part of the bigger field of options that cyber security degrees provide.
Here are some of the jobs you can do once you’ve entered the cybersecurity career:
Maintaining Cybersecurity of Military and Government
The military and government are the sectors that need the highest level of cyber defense, and they always week professionals who’ll keep their networks safe and protected from attacks that could jeopardize the country’s privacy.
That said, all the cyber security professionals who understand coding, network information systems, advanced technology, and military standards are the perfect candidates for this career.
Cyber Security Specialist in Private Industry
The private sector provides innumerable opportunities for cybersecurity experts – you can work for software and computer companies that create programs and technologies that provide data protection, or you can write codes, work with software organizations to choose the best security system, and test to see whether that system provides enough safety.
In addition to the mentioned private sector careers, some jobs may require auditors, testers, and ethical hackers who’ll try to break into the organization’s system and find potential vulnerabilities.
Application Security Engineer
The role of application security engineers is to check whether the company’s business software solutions, such as Microsoft Azure, are safe and protected from online hackers.
As an application security engineer, you need to secure all the software used by a company and make sure that all the privacy and compliance constraints are followed or built into the software.
Network Security Analyst
The job of a network security analyst is to design, implement, and maintain computer and information security systems. They need to monitor networks in order to detect any suspicious or unusual activities and prevent their penetration into the system by installing firewalls, or any other software that would stop malicious activities.
You’ll need information security degree in order to perform this job.
Information System Security Manager
Information system security manager or IS security manager is another job you can do with your cyber security degree.
If you see yourself as an expert, who establishes, documents, and monitors an operating unit’s cyber security program and makes sure it’s compliant with all the necessary policies, this job is an ideal solution for you.
Information Systems Security Engineer
Information systems security engineer (ISSE) is a tech specialist within the organization whose task is to determine your system security requirements. The ISSE will design the security layout or architecture and discover the required tools that would enhance the system’s security.
The ISSE will ensure the entire system functions as planned, and such a process will be done by testing the whole system and documenting all the findings.
Cyber Security Analyst
Cyber security analysts are responsible for protecting and preventing cyberattacks, including malware, ransomware, denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, and other viruses and hacks that could affect the company’s website and computer networks.
The candidates for this job should show their thinking and in-depth cybersecurity analytics capabilities to be qualified for such a career.
Penetration Tester/Ethical Hacker
This profession includes so-called “legal hacking” because the task of a specialist is to get into the system of web-based applications, networks, and systems, and check them for vulnerabilities.
To help your company ensure security and data protection, you need to use a series of tools that would allow you to enter those systems. Some of the tools are predetermined, and you need to design some by yourself, which means that you’ll simulate some kind of real-life cyberattacks.
Although this job can be quite exciting, it can also be frustrating – sometimes, you’ll have only a couple of days to compromise the systems, and all your findings and penetration methods must be documented.
Overall, this job is an excellent opportunity to express your technical skills and apply the knowledge you’ve gained during your studies.
What is the Average Cyber Security Degree Salary?
Cyber security jobs are always in demand, and reputable companies are ready to pay as much money as needed in order to protect their data from breaches and cyberattacks that could harm even national security.
That said, a cybersecurity professional can expect an average annual salary of $92.600, and specialists in certain fields can expect even higher yearly income. For instance, information systems managers are usually paid about $136.000.
However, factors such as location, years of professional experience, and degree can also impact the total salary, which is why cyber specialists in New York earn more money than those in North Carolina.
Speaking of the level of education, we should note that cyber security associate degree salary varies from $56.500 to $59.000 per year, but overall, your salary will mostly depend on the career you choose.
Instead of Conclusion – Why We Need to Be Cyber Secured?
Today, when the use of technology is higher than ever, cyber security is a must. That said, all the careers dedicated to cyber protection can find their place in the Sun, and you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to start your studies if you’re interested in providing security to the organization’s networks and systems!