What Can I Do with a Cyber Security Degree?
As data breaches and hacking are becoming increasingly prevalent, businesses are recognizing the need to protect themselves from such attacks. This demand for cyber security services means that there’s never been a better time to pursue an education and career in this growing field. Keep reading to learn what you can do with a degree in cyber security.
Last Updated: 08/14/2020
What Is Cybersecurity?
- Cybersecurity is a series of protective practices, processes, and technologies used to guard computer information.
- It also refers to the protection of networks, systems, and data from unauthorized access and criminal attacks, like data breaches.
- Cybersecurity is a multifaceted approach to ensuring safe access to public information as well as maintaining the confidentiality of private digital data.
- Also referred to as information technology security or electronic information security, cybersecurity is essential in the safe operations of critical infrastructure and systems used daily.
Types of Cyber Attacks
Effective cybersecurity can protect from a range of different cyber attacks and malicious attempts to breach information systems. Below are some common types of cyber attacks you may deal with in a cybersecurity career.
What Jobs Can You Get with a Cybersecurity Degree?
If you’re considering a degree in cybersecurity, now is a great time to join the industry. Cybersecurity jobs are in high demand across many sectors and are expected to keep growing. Information security analyst careers, for instance, are expected to grow 32% between 2018 and 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is significantly higher than the average national growth rate for all occupations, which is +5 percent. Below are some common cybersecurity professions and their salary potential according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale.com.
|Job Title||Job Duties||Salary Potential|
|Information Security Analyst||These professionals protect computer systems and networks by watching for security breaches and taking measures to test for and resolve vulnerabilities.||$98, 350|
|Security Management Specialist||Security management specialists may design or improve security systems based on vulnerabilities they find.||$70,530|
|Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)||CISO’s determine, develop and implement information security goals for an organization. CISOs generally focus on long-term rather than immediate security issues.||$142,530|
|Cyber Crime Analyst/Investigator||Investigators look into cybercrimes to find flaws in an organization’s systems.||$94,000|
|Penetration and Vulnerability Tester (Pen-Tester)||These professionals use various tools and software to test systems and networks for weaknesses.||$103,000|
|Cybersecurity Architect||Cybersecurity architects help develop security hardware and software based on their analyses of security threats. They may also install security infrastructure and education employees.||$133,000|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||These professionals plan and direct a variety of computer-based projects, set organizational goals and suggest improvements. Some information systems managers focus specifically on cybersecurity.||$142, 530|
|Cryptologist||Cryptologists analyze and decipher encrypted data using mathematics to solve cybersecurity issues.||$119,918|
|Computer Systems Analyst||Computer systems analysts assess and evaluate an organization’s computer systems and find ways to make operations safer and more efficient.||$88,740|
|Cybersecurity Software Developer||These professionals develop software to aid in cybersecurity efforts based on specific organizational needs.||$114,000|
Where Can You Work with a Cybersecurity Degree?
Cybersecurity experts can be found in every sector, but there are some sectors that have a great need for cybersecurity experts because their operations rely on IT and the information they store is very valuable. Below are the most common places you’ll find cybersecurity professionals.
Earning a Cybersecurity Degree
Prospective students can find cybersecurity degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and even doctorate levels. . While no degree is a guarantee of any job or career, below are some degrees to look at if you’re interested in working in cybersecurity.
Where Can You Earn a Cybersecurity Degree?
To meet the demand for cybersecurity experts, many colleges and universities around the country offer cybersecurity degrees at all levels. Depending on the department and the degree level, cybersecurity degrees can have different names, so simply searching for cybersecurity might not yield all of the options available to you.
Additionally, cybersecurity degrees can be found in different academic departments within a school. For instance, computer science, engineering, business, health and criminal justice departments may all offer cybersecurity-related degrees. Do ample research and talk to an academic advisor to find a cybersecurity degree program that best suits your interests and career goals.
Can You Earn a Cybersecurity Degree Online?
With its focus on computer systems and networks, cybersecurity is an ideal degree to earn online. Cybersecurity training is largely hands-on, and as long as students can meet their degree program’s software and hardware requirements, they can gain and apply their knowledge at home as easily as they could in a classroom. Cybersecurity professionals often work remotely, so online coursework can actually be an additional benefit to students, who will already be familiar with realistic work conditions and strategies while still in school.
Because of high demand, students may have more online cybersecurity degree options than traditional, on-campus ones. These vetted online cybersecurity degree programs can help you get started in your search.
What Skills Will You Learn with a Cybersecurity Degree?
- Data analysis: Analyze data for the purpose of identifying system weaknesses and improving security.
- Computer coding and programming: Understand programming languages to better protect systems and create security programs.
- Effective communication: Communicating well with a variety of different people is essential in addressing and resolving security issues.
- Solution design and implementation: Assess problems and use various skills and knowledge to create and execute cybersecurity solutions.
- Problem solving: Solving problems begins with finding security weak points. This is a critical cybersecurity skill.
- Information management: Learn how to effectively organize and protect sensitive data and other information.
- Risk management and prioritization: Not all cybersecurity issues can be addressed at once. Use critical thinking and analysis skills to prioritize the highest-risk threats.
- Legal and ethical decision-making: Hone decision-making skills using legal and ethical best practices as a guideline.
- Safety and security plan development: Gain skills in helping organizations create security plans that employees and consumers can follow.
- Teamwork, responsibility and professionalism: While cybersecurity professionals may not work in close proximity with others, they are a part of a team. Understanding this dynamic and professional best practices is necessary.
Cybersecurity Job Resources
This digital magazine offers industry news, reports, blog posts, featured jobs, events and professional organizations.
Cybersecurity Career Pathway
See where different cybersecurity careers can take you with this interactive career pathway tool. Also find salary and job skill information.
Cybersecurity Education & Career Development
This page from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) provides information and resources pertaining to furthering cybersecurity education and workforce development.
(ISC)² Cybersecurity Certifications
(ISC)² offers a variety of cybersecurity certifications that can help showcase your expertise and increase job opportunities. Note that you must pay to take certification exams.
National Centers of Academic Excellence
The National Security Agency Central Security Service sponsors cybersecurity education programs. Learn about them here.
National Cybersecurity Student Association
Join the nation’s largest association of cybersecurity students to participate in local chapters and events; access scholarships, mentorships and job opportunities; and network with others around the country.
National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) – Discovering Cybersecurity Careers
This page from NICE provides comprehensive information on cybersecurity careers, including different work roles and career resources.
Learn about different careers, including salary information and the hard and soft skills they typically require.
Security Bloggers Network
This corner of Security Boulevard is a hub for cybersecurity-related blog posts. Stay up to date on industry issues and connect with other cybersecurity professionals.