Private military/security contractors are found within the national government and even among the nation's military. In an effort to bridge the gap between national security and international involvement, teams of contractors are found around the world working in an effort to protect against potential threats.
In current times, the need for increased cyber security has allowed for a whole new branch of private military/security contractors to assist in maintaining a safe environment in which the government can protect private and secured data online. Cyber security contractors may be employed by government agencies or the military. These contractors are responsible for maintaining secure information systems and working hard to develop programs that assist in the encryption of valuable information.
It is vital that delicate information systems are handled by only the most experienced and educated professionals available. If you are interested in being a part of this highly relevant and innovative field, take a look at what our experts have provided for you below.
- Point Park University - Master of Arts in Intelligence and Global Security
- Utica College - BS in Cybersecurity, MS in Cybersecurity
What Level of Degree Is Needed?
If you have a desire to become a private military/security contractor for cyber security, you should first look into joining a bachelor’s program that focuses on information technology, computer science, or related discipline. Degree programs that are specific to computer science are rising in popularity due to the increasing reliance on technology for every day functioning.
The government and military are also deeply involved in the use of technology, which brings to light the importance of secure systems and communications. The foundation of expertise for this career includes the need for diverse knowledge in different operating systems, computer programming, and cyber security. Through bachelor’s level programs, you can learn how to create your own secure programs, providing encryption services as part of your provisions, and even monitor current systems for signs of intrusion.
While the minimum requirement for most positions is a bachelor’s degree, this is the highest level you are required to obtain. Some may find that moving forward to higher level degree programs provides more benefits, seeing that information technology and computer science are popular among new college students. Pursuing a master’s or higher level degree program could set you apart from other graduates when entering into the workforce. Regardless of which level you choose to pursue, there are benefits associated with all levels. After graduation, it may be in your best interest to gain some experience working in information technology or specifically in careers that monitor cyber security. This experience can set you on track for obtaining more lucrative positions working for government or military agencies.
Once you have completed some work experience, you can seek out companies that provide security services via the national government or through military agencies. A security clearance is necessary for most positions that work with sensitive data, so the agency in which you plan to work must sponsor your application for a security clearance. Following the application phase, you may be subjected to a background check as well as an adjudication stage. In order to work with sensitive data, it is important that you meet the national standards for security clearance prior to being released as verified.
The process that is required can take some time to complete, but is worth the effort considering the significance of having a security clearance and the job options that result from having it.
Common Courses To Expect
When diving into this career choice, you should make yourself aware of some of the core requirements of a degree program focusing on information technology or cyber security. Our team has researched some popular degree programs to give you an idea of what to expect throughout your educational experience. Take a look at some of the courses below.
- Computer Forensics: The purpose of this course is to teach students how to gather relevant data to be used to prosecute cybercrimes. Main topics of this course include the theory of forensics, the analysis of intrusions, risk discovery, and data recovery. Students in this class will learn how to properly gather and preserve evidence so that it can be used during the course of an investigation and is managed in an ethical way.
- Computer and Network Security: Computer and network security touches on the security from the perspective of the user, as well as from a software and hardware point of view. The identification of risks, inappropriate hardware and software identification, and methods for detection and prevention of harmful intrusions on computers and networks is also a main focus of this course.
- Database Systems Security: This course teaches students the principles and practices necessary to ensure the security of data that is located within various databases. Students may learn the various attack methods and threats that are commonly apparent, as well as the different types of databases and management practices for each.
Salary and Career Growth Estimates
When considering how important this career field is to the security of sensitive government data and correspondence, it is clear why this can be a lucrative and exciting opportunity. The military itself handles extremely sensitive data regarding the safety of this country as well as troops located in distance areas. This information deserves the most security provided by the best trained professionals.
Considering that the internet and information networks may consistently be a method for transmitting data from one source to another, the need for security contractors can continuously be high. When you are planning for a career in this sector, you should always weigh the pros and cons of your decision prior to enrolling in any degree program. Obtaining a degree in computer science or information technology on its own can be very providing for your future. With technology playing a huge part in the change and innovation of society, experts in the operations and management of systems may be in constant demand. The expected growth for this field over the next decade is at 18%, which is a huge increase for this short of a time period (BLS; 2015).
As you begin to see more technologically-advanced software and hardware be released, you should rest assured that these items will require experienced professionals to continuously improve them. In response to the changing technologies and constant innovation, it may be realistic to assume that hackers and other threatening entities will also be at work – finding ways to breach secure networks and cause harm using their different devices.
As an information technology professional, it is vital to continuously work to achieve current knowledge and pursue constant protection for the agency in which you work. Professionals with these skills may continue to be a delicate resource to government, military, and private agencies that harness protected information via the internet. Working in this field may also have its benefits financially.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals working in this field have the potential to earn $92,600 per year on average (BLS; 2015). In comparison to other careers that have a minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree, this field pays higher than average. If you are intrigued by the idea of providing security to agencies such as the national government and the country’s military, this is definitely a field to consider.