Without a doubt, cybersecurity is one of the hottest careers within the fields of criminal justice and information technology (IT). In fact, cybersecurity was recently listed among CNN Money's list of "Best Jobs" in America, and with a growth rate of nearly 30% it is one of the top ten fast growing careers in the nation. Almost every company, entity, or organization worldwide is dependent on information technology and information systems. As such, cybersecurity is critical. While not all cybersecurity professionals are technical gurus, most cybersecurity jobs are quite technical in nature.
The majority of students planning on a career in cybersecurity will pursue a degree in cybersecurity, information technology, computer science, engineering or a closely related field of study. While a degree is recommended, some professionals get their start in cybersecurity through on-the-job training – however, given the technical nature of the field, formal training from a good program is often necessary. Some employers will hire cybersecurity professionals with non-technical degrees, but job candidates with technical degrees stand a better chance of getting top jobs within the field. Given the phenomenal growth this industry has experienced over the last decade, many higher education institutions now offers degrees specifically in cybersecurity.
If you're set on a career in cybersecurity and haven't earned a degree yet, we highly recommend earning a cybersecurity degree or a technical degree in closely related discipline, as this will give you a leg up on the competition. If you have a non-technical bachelor's degree, earning a master's degree in a technical field will go a long way to ensuring your success and marketability within the field.
Bachelor's Degree in Cybersecurity
There are various academic paths that will prepare students for a career in cybersecurity. One option is to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science and then transition into cybersecurity once in the field. Students who pursue this option will often earn a minor in cybersecurity while they complete their major in computer science.
Another popular option is to major in cybersecurity. A traditional major in cybersecurity will prepare students to be experts in the protection of data assets (e.g., mission critical, valuable information). Curriculum in the cybersecurity major focuses on techniques, strategies, policies, procedures and technologies that are essential for defending and securing the integrity, availability, confidentiality, authentication, and nonrepudiation of information systems--as well as the information they store.
Earning a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity will prepare students for careers as systems administrators, senior system managers, information systems security professionals, and independent IT consultants.
Master's Degree in Cybersecurity
For aspiring students and professionals who want to take their expertise to the next level, the master's degree in cybersecurity is a great option. This program is designed for midcareer information technology and security professionals who want to enhance their knowledge and skillset to meet the challenges posed by the next generation of cybersecurity threats. Most cybersecurity programs at the master's level provide a broad analytical framework for evaluating and solving cybersecurity threats and problems.
Specifically, the master's degree in cybersecurity is designed to teach students how to detect, prevent, counter, and recover from cyber attacks and intrusions. Students will be introduced to cutting-edge tools and practices such as access control, disaster recovery, evidence collection, and business continuity planning that will prepare them for advanced industry roles.
Below you can browse a database of colleges and universities offering degrees in cybersecurity and/or technical degrees that will prepare you for a career in cybersecurity. Many degrees in cybersecurity are also available completely online.
Cyber Security Degrees and Programs