Network Security Degrees

An increasing number of college and university students are earning network security degrees each year. The field of cyber security—the securing and protection of digital information—is a major concern today for CEOs, government officials, consumers and databanks of all types in the U.S. and worldwide. Online hackers and thieves steal data and intellectual property of all types every day. According to CNN Money, reports from the Ponemon Institute, a network security research company, reveal that about 50 percent of all adults across the nation were the subjects of cyberattacks from May 2013 to May 2014.

In addition, records from the U.S. Government Accountability Office reveal that from 2006 to 2012, federal agencies dealt with an increase of nearly 780 percent in network security incidents. Many college degree programs now prepare graduates to detect, eliminate and prevent crime in digital environments. Courses included in this degree program provide detailed instruction in information technology, forensic practices and methods of investigation. Students at colleges and universities around the country can graduate with certificates or associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the specialized field of network security.

 

Network Security Degree Programs Offered on Campus and Online

Some college network security programs combine online and campus classes in their degree programs. Others offer students the choice between online and campus-based classes. In this particular academic field, online training is especially advantageous. When studying cyber security online, students gain expertise in methods and tools of advanced electronic communications and security, which gives them a definite advantage when seeking employment after graduation. Also, students can interact with one another more rapidly when communicating online via Web CT, Skype or Blackboard and through webinar participation than on campus. Many faculty members also favor use of Internet-based teaching platforms when offering instruction in network security. Students become familiar with all areas of cyber security first-hand, as they learn.

Information security classes taught through distance learning may be real-time or self-paced courses. During self-paced study courses, teachers give student assignments—targeted reading, recorded lecture viewing and independent or collaborative projects. These assignments, issued to students in this asynchronous manner, are meant to be completed according to each student’s schedule. The more traditional synchronous method uses real-time class meetings. All students progress together at the same pace to finish each assignment.

Because network security is computer technology based, it may require powerful computers with excellent and reliable Internet connections and speed. Some courses may require specific Web applications and specialized tools as decided by each professor or instructor. A bachelor’s degree program in cyber security is generally a four-year course of study. It is more detailed in technical aspects of the subject than the associate’s degree program. All aspects and challenges of data protection and information security are included as in-depth courses.

Employment Opportunities for Network Security Degree Graduates

Many students who enter an online degree program gain practical experience by taking jobs in the field, and many schools will help students find internships before they graduate. After acquiring necessary knowledge in the study of technology foundations, they can focus on such subcategories in the curriculum as ethical hacking or desktop and mobile security. Qualified graduates get responsible jobs in such industry areas as cyber crime control, criminal network behavior management, security policy analysis and software engineering security as well as homeland security and intelligence. Graduates with degrees in network security from accredited colleges and universities currently earn annual salaries of from $30,000 to $64,000 and above, depending on their areas of specialization and internship or practical experience.

Spotlight on Network Security Degrees

University of Maryland – University College. – UMUC initiated the first complete bachelor’s and master’s degree study programs in cyber security in 2010, later adding a certificate program. The department’s curriculum is evaluated regularly by some of the leading network security experts in the country to ensure that all new developments in the field are covered by courses. UMUC has been named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education by both the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. The UMUC Cybersecurity Team has won international acclaim in network security competitive events. Tuition for the bachelor’s degree program is $31,920 for Maryland residents and $59,880 for out-of-state students annually. Fees for the certificate program are equal to $299 per credit for Maryland residents and $499 per credit for students from out-of-state locations.

University of Southern California. – USC’s comprehensive network security degree programs offer students top quality courses in system security, network intrusion detection, malicious coding, ethical hacking and all cyber-centered crime. California is home to a vast number of advanced computer companies, such as those in Silicon Valley, and the state’s university system offers excellent network security degree programs. With the demand for cyber security experts rising, USC is meeting the challenge of providing advanced training to all students seeking degrees in cyber security. Annual tuition fees for undergraduates equal $47,562. Students can also register for individual courses, paying fees according to accumulated credits.

Rasmussen College. – At Rasmussen College in Illinois, a diploma or associate’s degree in Technology Management with a specialization in Network Security equips students with a thorough understanding of both emerging and current security technology updates and trends. Students also study network administration, disaster recovery and security risk control. Those enrolled in the associate’s degree program can register for the Flex Choice study plan, a mixture of faculty-paced and self-regulated courses. The college also offers a career program in Information Technology Management for bachelor’s degree program students. Classes and practical experience are combined for well-rounded training. Annual tuition fees for the associate’s degree program equal $27,807. Tuition fees for the diploma program are $20,033. Fees for the bachelor’s degree program equal $27,807 plus the cost of all additional career-oriented courses, per credit. (Fee per credit is $299.)

Typical Curriculum

An interdisciplinary study of the purpose of technology in current-day society is typical a core class for most network security students. Applying ideas and principles from the social sciences, it examines the influence technology exerts on society and the results of technological advancements on populations. Students learn all the basic concepts and operations of cyber technology. They study network analysis, business applications, computer programming and cyber security.

A student will usually take an extensive introduction to the security of business, government and organization databanks and digital systems, this course defines commonly occurring attacks and threats. It carefully examines the value of security models and cryptography. It also analyzes problems relevant to management of network security.

There is usually also a course within ethics and cybersecurity. There are a lot of question marks around what is or is not legal. Ethics courses are a detailed study of individual and group ethics concerning decision making that involves global information networks. The focus is on ethical questions concerning both emerging and existing technologies. Decisions and risks are examined according to a framework of defined values. Students learn the mental activity of a criminal hacker and professional methods for securing digital networks against ethical hacking.

Network security courses introduce students to networking configuration variations and security fundamentals. They cover complete network securing measures, starting with private servers and moving outward to include public usage servers. At the end of such a course, some universities require students write a proposal for small business network security coverage.

Enterprise Network Design is based on the basics of networks at the enterprise level involving managed switches and configuring routers. Students learn to comprehend and then configure a targeted enterprise router.

Desktop and Mobile Security is an interesting course for some programs where students learn the foundation of secure information transmission via various operating networks like digital mobile devices.

The number of colleges and universities offering network security degrees is increasing rapidly. With the need to secure more complex communications networks and digital data sources every day, there is certain to be a constantly growing demand for greater numbers of cyber security experts in the workforce. With a bachelor’s or associate’s degree or a college certificate in network security, recent graduates can look forward to challenging and rewarding careers as specialists in this exciting digital technology profession.