According to the U.S. News and World Report, almost 50 percent of consumers have had their personal data compromised from May 2013 to May 2014. When it comes to federal agencies, the numbers are even more staggering: Cybersecurity accidents have climbed 780 percent from 2006 to 2012.
Everyone from consumers to leaders in the business community to government employees have an interest in keeping our personal and professional data protected. Those who have earned degrees in information security are leading the charge against hackers who plan to steal information from shoppers, businesses and governments.
Information Security Degree Overview
Those who earn bachelor’s degrees in information security can fight, detect and keep digital crime from occurring in the first place. This is done after a student takes classes that combine instruction in cutting-edge technology with forensics, investigative methods and critical thinking.
Information Security Coursework to Expect
Some of the classes that an information security student would take include courses in ethics, network management and security, cybersecurity law, and foundation courses that teach students the theoretical knowledge of the information security field. In addition to courses relating to information security, students will also have to take classes in statistics, calculus and other types of advanced mathematics.
Some of the colleges and universities that offer degree programs in information security are some of the more academically rigorous institutions in the nation. These schools include Pennsylvania State University, Utica College and Saint Louis University.
Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Information Security
Penn State University has a Master’s of Professional Studies in Information Sciences with a concentration in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. Their core curriculum includes courses in social and ethical issues, web security and privacy, and even a class called “Violence, Threats, Terror and Insurgency.” Some of the elective courses that a student in this program can take include those in disaster psychology, multisensor data fusion and network security. All students must complete a capstone research project in order to be eligible for graduation.
Utica College has both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in information security. Students in the graduate program take courses in cyber counterintelligence, computer and network operations, and network forensics.
Saint Louis University offers a bachelor’s degree program in Computer Information Systems, with a concentration in Information Security & Assurance. Students take classes in enterprise architecture, computer forensics and a capstone research experience.
Specialized Information Security Degrees – Information Assurance and Computer Forensics
If a student is interested in further specialization in their information security studies, some of the fields they can pursue include information assurance or forensics. Information assurance is simply the study of regulating information-related liabilities. In other words, those who work in information assurance protect data from such outside sources as hackers and terrorists. Forensics is simply the use of investigative techniques to detect crime.
Online Information Security Degrees
If a student is interested in earning an online degree in information security, they have plenty of options. All three of the schools previously mentioned offer online study options for information security students. Some of the other schools that offer online degrees in information security include Robert Morris University, Colorado Technical University, and Capella University.
Careers in Information Security
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there should be a 37 percent increase in information security jobs from 2012-2022. This increase is much larger than the growth projected for most occupations, which means that there should be plenty of jobs available for information security degree holders after graduation.
Some of the careers that a person with an information security degree can hold include information security analyst, network security administrator, information security auditor and forensics analyst. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average salary for all information security analysts in 2012 was $86,170. The average salary of information security analysts who work in the information and finance industries was as high as $91,440 and $92,080, respectively.