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Job opportunities in cybersecurity nearly all require the completion of a Bachelor's degree. Cybersecurity professionals must have a foundational competency in Computer Science and Information Technology. Such competencies might include network vulnerability analysis, pen testing and terminating unauthorized intrusions.
What is the Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Degree?
A Bachelor's degree in Cybersecurity usually takes four years to complete for a full-time student. It is possible to begin a cybersecurity career with an Associate degree. Some will eventually complete a Master's degree. However, a Bachelor's degree is the most common degree of completion. The first year or two entails completing general education or prerequisite courses.
A wide array of individuals might consider a Bachelor's Degree in Cybersecurity, including:
- Recent high school graduates
- Students with a relevant certification
- Those with an associate degree.
Are there Online Bachelor of Cybersecurity Programs?
Yes, online cybersecurity bachelor's degrees are widely available alongside various concentrations within similar fields. Cybersecurity adjacent fields are extensive, including:
- Information systems
- Information technology
- Information assurance
- Computer science
- Computer engineering
Specializations also exist by sectors, such as Health Informatics and Business Administration.
An online Bachelor's degree provides convenience often lacking in on-campus degree programs. Online students might have to visit a campus once in a while to meet curriculum requirements. Hybrid cybersecurity programs offering both in-person and online courses are also available.
To utilize various resources, such as cybersecurity centers, it might be necessary to visit campus. These resources can provide a greater experiential learning platform. These platforms are often not available online.
Types of Program Accreditation
Accreditation is equally important for both online and in-person degrees. Employers use accreditation to determine the quality of a graduate's education. Regional accreditation holds higher respect than national accreditation. Program accreditation from reputable governing bodies can also add prestige to a resume.
For cybersecurity, the best programs receive a National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) designation. This endorsement is through Homeland Security and the NSA. A cybersecurity designation at this level can come in several forms, from cyber operations to defense.
Cybersecurity Bachelors Degree Programs
Consider an Online Cyber program currently accepting applicants.
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Why consider a Cybersecurity Bachelors?
A four-year degree offers a more in-depth education with greater opportunities for specialization. This type of degree also offers access to nearly unlimited job openings. Such jobs are available in practically every aspect of business and technology, for example:
- Digital forensics
- Penetration testing
- Network application development
- IT consultant
Cybersecurity is typically a degree discipline or a concentration within alternative technology-related disciplines. Alternative disciplines include Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, and Network Security and Forensics.
What are the Best Online Bachelor's Degrees for Cybersecurity?
Many universities offer an online format for a Bachelor's Degree in Cybersecurity. This is an option that is becoming more common with CAE designations. Hybrid formats are also becoming increasingly common. In this case, online education might be reserved for common courses. And in-person learning is dedicated to specialized coursework.
Advanced positions within IT and cyber security often require a master's degree. As such, many universities offer both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree at the same time. These dual degree programs greatly reduce the time it takes to complete both.
Scheduling is typically the same for both online and on-campus programs. Courses will often have seasonal terms. Another time-saving alternative is to take accelerated courses on a full-time basis. Online education can maximize one's potential without a campus location commitment.
Review of some of the top Cybersecurity Bachelor Degrees
University of Maryland - Global Campus
UMGC is a designated CAE. All programs meet Cyber Defense education criteria relating to cybersecurity. It is also possible to choose degrees in network systems and software development. A popular degree is the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy. This program focuses on risk management and policy implementation within an organization.
Students learn to incorporate new technology into existing information security systems. They will also gain a solid foundation of ethics and regulations in the field. At least 120 credit hours are necessary to complete the program. One can complete the program either in a hybrid or online format. Thirty-three major courses are mandatory. Forty-six credit hours are for electives and a potential minor selection.
Examples of courses within the major include:
- Cybersecurity for Leaders and Managers
- Fundamentals of Networking
- Cybersecurity in Business and Industry
Vendor certifications are possible with this type of education. This includes the following:
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- EC-Council Certified CISO
- CompTIA Network+
- Security+ professional
Computer Networks and Cybersecurity and Software Development and Security are also available online. These Bachelor's degrees emphasize the architecture and applications of information technology. They also provide security skills to oversee and enhance networks and software.
Syracuse offers an online Bachelor of Professional Studies. This degree has a concentration in Cybersecurity Administration. The BPS program is ideal for working professionals and transfer students.
Students will learn to develop and administer the network of an organization. They will also understand different system aspects regardless of industry. BPS students will identify vulnerabilities that might impact performance or compromise sensitive information. Graduates have gone on to work in finance and accounting, retail and health care.
Courses follow a schedule structure of eight-week modules. This creates an opportunity to focus on one or two courses at a time. Up to 90 credit hours are transferrable into the program. There are no prerequisites necessary to gain admission. On-campus activities and learning opportunities are available. They are not mandatory.
Technical requirements will be necessary to complete an online degree successfully. Many students use a computer with Windows or a Mac OS. A Linux-based computer, or rather an Android operating system, is also popular. Students must be able to access learning management systems with high-speed Internet access. A webcam, microphone, headset and a compatible web browser are necessary.
Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity. It is available through the College of Arts and Letters and the Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research. This program has CAE in Cyber Operations accreditation. It focuses on content from computer science and technical aspects of the field. Students will need to complete at least 30 major credit hours of a total of 120 hours to graduate.
Sample core courses include:
- Basic Cybersecurity Programming and Networking
- Cybersecurity Strategy and Policy
- Cryptography for Cybersecurity
Prerequisites are necessary from general education and basic core curriculum for advanced courses. This program utilizes the Blackboard Learning Management System to maintain coursework for students.
Course formats vary between lectures on-demand and live classes through video web conferencing. Some may feature both formats, though live lectures have limitations in this scenario. Local facilities near a student's location provide hands-on training requirements. If they are near the university, they can use on-campus resources even as an online student.
Students can meet with faculty members and other advisors through virtual office hours. They can also use instant messaging, discussion boards or email communication. Online resources are also available to communicate and work with program peers. The course management system distributes exams through focus-only mode or with a proctor.
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Cyber Operations. It is available through the College of Applied Science and Technology. Students can choose from three concentrations. Concentrations include Cyber Law and Policy, Defense and Forensics and Engineering. Program customization is an option for different cybersecurity career pathways. Students will learn vital skills, such as analytical and critical thinking. Such skills prepare students to create effective organizational solutions. Students can also learn to protect cloud-based networks.
120 credit hours are necessary to complete this Bachelor's degree for all concentrations. Students who live in the state have access to several locations for hybrid learning. Courses in Cyber Law and Policy will cover intelligence analysis, issue escalation and American security policy.
Students work in CyberApolis, the school's virtual and unstructured real-world scenario. Over 15,000 simulated people are operated by AI algorithms. The simulation provides an opportunity to protect sensitive information and identify key problems. The scenario will cover banking transactions, email distribution, and other various activities.
This program accepts up to 60 credit hours of coursework. It is ideal for students looking to complete the second half of their undergraduate education. Transfer students must be pursuing a degree from an accredited institution. They will also have to maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA or higher. A current resume and statement of cybersecurity career goals are also necessary.
The online Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security has two concentrations. They include Computer Forensics and Vulnerability Management and Information Warfare and Security Management. This program has many start dates throughout the year for convenience. Graduates have taken jobs within healthcare, banking institutions and the US Military.
This program is ideal for Associate degree transfer students. Or students with at least 30 credit hours of college-level courses might qualify. A total of 90 credit hours are transferable. Thirty credit hours must be completed at Norwich University.
Overall, the curriculum includes:
- General education
- Foundational cybersecurity
- Capstone project
Many transfer credits will meet general education and foundational-level courses.
Examples of foundational courses include:
- Windows Server Administration
- Relational Database Management with SQL
- Management of Information Assurance
Concentrations require 18 credit hours of specialty courses. Students can explore advanced topics in cyber investigations or national security.
University of Illinois at Springfield
The Department of Computer Science offers education in infrastructure security and computer systems. A degree in Information Systems Security requires 120 credit hours to complete. This program is verified within Information Assurance education through a recognized CAE.
Students will learn about the architecture of information security. They will be able to identify suspicious activities and vulnerabilities within the network. Students will be able to understand various organizational processes. And the legal and ethical aspects of cybersecurity are a program priority.
Examples of core courses in this program include:
- Foundations of Network Security
- Information Assurance
- Systems Programming Languages
- Windows Network Administration
Cybersecurity program completion requires 120 credit hours. Within this requirement, 48 credit hours must be taken at the 300 to 400-course level. Thirty of the 48 credit hours must be from the university directly. As a result, 18 credit hours can be transferable. Admission into the program has the prerequisites, such as:
- Java programming
- Discrete or finite mathematics
Similar courses to those listed above are also available for meeting prerequisite requirements. An applicant must have at least a 2.0 GPA from high school or transfer school.
George Mason University
The Volgenau School of Engineering offers an online Bachelor of Applied Science. This degree offers a concentration in Cybersecurity. It is catered to those in Associate degree programs. The degree is available to individuals with previous education in a similar field.
Certain locations have admittance restrictions exclusive to previous education. Students can choose to study from anywhere if the requirements are met. All courses are available in an asynchronous format. Availability may differ based on terms, such as advanced course prerequisites.
Between 120 and 126 credit hours are necessary to complete the degree. This includes 33 credit hours in core courses and the concentration itself. Ninety-five credit hours must be from advanced coursework, electives and technical writing. At least 15 credit hours must be from technical elective options.
The school also offers a BS in Computer Science and a BS in Cyber Security Engineering. A concentration is available in Information Security from the Information Technology discipline. These have similar completion requirements.
The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity is available through the university's global campus. This campus offers a complete experience in the field without any on-campus requirements. Students gain competence in design and analysis within information system security. As a graduate, they will have the capability to lead others within an organization. There are multiple start dates offered throughout the year. And the program is designated as a CAE within Cyber Defense.
180 total quarter credit hours are necessary to complete the program. The curriculum will mostly consist of general education in the early part of the program. The later part focuses on the core cybersecurity subject matter. Specific examples of courses include:
- Certified Ethical Hacking
- Routing and Switching
- Digital Forensics
Each course lasts for 10 weeks for 15 to 18 hours each week per course. Typically, students can finish the program within a span of three to four years. An accelerated program is available to complete a cybersecurity Bachelor's and Master's degree together.
Transfer credits are permissible. A standardized exam is also an option to bypass certain courses. Community college credits are transferable if coursework is like Purdue courses. Up to 75 percent of the curriculum can be from transfer credits. All transfer credits must meet approval standards.
City University of Seattle
An online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance is available. This program is a more convenient process to complete higher education in this field. Examples of skills and topics students will learn include:
- Network security
- Information system terminology
- Processes overviews
- Networking protocol
The curriculum is divided up into 180 total quarter credit hours. An accelerated format allows students to complete the program in two years. Certain general education credits are necessary. Such credits include college-level mathematics, humanities and social sciences. Eighty-five credits are necessary in cybersecurity core competencies. These disciplines include Cybersecurity Technology, and Governance, Risk Management and Compliance.
Students will pursue 20 credit hours worth of preparatory courses. Ten credit hours of electives are part of the curriculum. And the program culminates with a bureaupathology capstone course. Program graduates work in risk analysis, information assurance, corporate investigations and more.
The academic year begins on July 1st for the summer quarter. This program is spread into seasonal quarters throughout the year. For consideration, admission deadlines are at least 30 days before the start of the quarter. The Prior Learning Assessment program will review previous work. Students may be able to test out of certain courses if they have the experience needed.
Dakota State University
The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences offers a BSc in Cyber Operations. Students will explore traditional and specialized computer science courses. Some courses include data structure, networking and information security management. It is possible to combine this program with a Master’s degree in Computer Science. Both programs together only take up to five years.
The Bachelor’s degree will teach students to analyze information systems for vulnerabilities. They will be able to implement any actions required to eliminate threats. Actions might include using software and other tools. Students will also become familiar with many programming languages, devices and systems.
The online program requires 120 credit hours. Seventy-eight credits are for the base program. Thirty credit hours of general education and 12 elective credit hours are necessary. It is possible to bypass the Introduction to Discrete Mathematics. However, they will need to make up the three credit hours with an extra elective.
Graduates have become cyber security analysts and information systems security managers. Examples of organizations that have hired individuals from this program include:
- The National Security Agency
- The Pacific Northwest National Library
- The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab
Another online program to consider at DSU is the BS in Network and Security Administration.
Penn State University
The College of Information Sciences and Technology offers a Bachelor’s degree in Security and Risk Analysis. This program has a CAE designation by the DHS and NSA. Students will learn many essential skills, such as:
- Analyze and manage security threats
- Communicate threats properly
- Use analytical tools like ArcGIS
Another program to consider is the BS in Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations.
Both of these programs are available online through the Penn State World Campus. Between 77 to 85 credit hours are necessary for the Security and Risk Analysis major. This includes 15 credit hours for general education. Examples of courses include:
- Introduction to Security and Risk Analysis
- Decision Theory and Analysis
- Threat of Terrorism and Crime
An internship is part of the college’s requirements. This counts for one credit hour toward the program and approval is mandatory. Students can pursue additional help through the World Campus Student Affairs center. The center also aids in connecting with other students, interview preparation and managing anxiety.
Internship experiences give students the ability to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world situations. This includes disaster recovery efforts after a significant attack or developing security policies. Graduates have worked as an application security specialist, information protection associate and counter-terrorism analyst.
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
The School of Information Systems and Applied technologies offers a BSc in Information Technology. This degree has five different course tracks from which to choose. One of them is directly under Cybersecurity with subjects in network protocol and information assurance. Another similar concentration to consider is in Network and System Administration.
Regardless of the selected track, at least 15 credit hours are necessary within the concentration. All courses are at the 300 to 400 level. All of these courses must be passed with a C grade or higher. One of the final courses is the senior project, which puts students together in groups to develop and solve real-world information technology problems.
Altogether, there are 120 total credit hours needed for both on-campus and online students. In addition to major electives, there are 15 electives to further customize the degree. Other credit hours are allocated to core university courses in mathematics and social services for general education and courses specific to the Information Technology Major.
Prospective students should have at least a high school diploma with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or above. Alternative admission criteria include ranking in the top 10 percent of a student’s graduating class or a test score of 23 on the ACT or 1140 on the SAT. Transfer students from a different university should have at least 26 transferable semester credit hours with at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA.
University of Phoenix
An online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity is available. Prospective students can enter into the program many times throughout the year. The university also provides a Cybersecurity Policy and Governance certificate.
The Bachelor’s degree provides students with foundational skills. These skills allow for students to thrive in a cyber security career. Students will be able to use skills from engineering and science courses in real-world situations. Risk management, computer forensics and ethical hacking are also part of the program.
Courses that students will see within the 120 credit-hour curriculum include:
- Computer Network Defense
- Infrastructure Administration
- Web and Cloud Computing and Security
Graduates will be able to sit for various certification exams. A few certification options include Certified Security Analyst, Chief Information Security Officer and CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst.
Many benefits of the University of Phoenix programs exist. Students can waive courses if they already have credit for the course. The maximum number of transfer credits eligible for the program is 90 credit hours. Students will receive vouchers to take certification exams if they wish.
Majors and Minors in the Bachelor’s Degree
Cybersecurity concentrations are available as a major or minor within Bachelor’s degrees. The major will be the main focus of the degree. To begin, students must meet general education and entry-level computer science requirements. Examples of advanced topics include digital forensics, information technology management and ethics and legal issues.
A cybersecurity minor must be in combination with a major. The major cannot be a directly related field. Elective courses, however, can be in computer infrastructure and network security. Minors typically require around four or five courses in addition to major courses. These courses can be in business administration, health care, public policy and others.
Top Typical Coursework for a Bachelor’s Degree in Cybersecurity
A highly common general education requirement for cybersecurity degrees is college-level mathematics. This might include linear algebra and business calculus. Concepts involved in these courses help in various security processes, such as cryptography. Entry-level cybersecurity positions do not require advanced mathematical courses. However, they may be necessary for future promotions.
College Writing and Composition
Writing is an essential component of cybersecurity. Individuals will likely have to write reports on vulnerability testing. They might recommend innovative cybersecurity solutions for infrastructure design or improvements. These all require strong writing skills to properly convey their message. And it is important to understand which type of writing format is necessary in different situations. Courses in speech preparation and presentation can also build on this area.
Another common general education requirement within Bachelor’s degrees are social sciences. These courses are studies within economics, sociology and US history. Understanding these concepts helps with improving the cybersecurity infrastructure. It might also help with further infrastructure implementation in society.
Computer Systems Security
Comprehension of the organization’s operating system is essential. These computer systems have different features available. As a result, they have different vulnerabilities and disaster recovery methods. Many programs offer a curriculum with multiple operating systems. The most popular are Windows and Linux.
Accessing and manipulating information requires competence in computer programming. This includes C++, Java, Python or SQL for database management. Programs that specialize in data analytics will typically focus on the Python language as it is the most popular in the sector. Programming courses are often more common in computer science degrees. These degrees can offer specializations in cybersecurity and information assurance.
Data science programs can frequently have aspects of cybersecurity topics. The basics include analytical processes and tools necessary to gather and organize big data. Courses may include data mining and cleaning information. Algorithms are essential to quickly sort information in an automated process. Data visualization makes information easily understandable for others.
Top techniques used in securing information are encrypting and decrypting sensitive data. Data privacy and protection is of critical importance. Such data might include a client or employee address, banking details. Cryptography helps to keep information hidden even if it is intercepted by unauthorized activity. These courses also look at tools that extract data through decryption.
These courses explore the investigation process of digital information storage. The storage is on devices and over networks. The information contributes to the detection and solving of criminal activity. Students learn to recreate information that was attempted to be destroyed or erased. Other topics include rules and regulations. This is in reference to online activity and the dark web as set by the federal government.
Students looking for a career in cybersecurity at a national level must take specific courses. Such courses focus on defending American citizens and the economy from cyberterrorism. Cyber attacks frequently take place and protections must be in place. This helps to keep attackers from gaining access to the national infrastructure. These attackers might be from other countries or are domestic cyberterrorists. They often wish to create damage and chaos in media and network communications.
Enterprise security is the protection of networks, communication and access points within a large organization’s computer systems. Courses can look at the differences in these large-scale cybersecurity solutions and tools. These courses generally tackle advanced topics beyond the Bachelor’s degree level. Some programs may provide introductory concepts. Programs might also include the architecture of a large enterprise’s information systems.
Full-Time Versus Part-Time Enrollment for a Bachelor’s Degree
It will typically take three to four years as a full-time student to complete a Bachelor’s degree in most areas. These areas include cybersecurity, information assurance and related disciplines. A total of 120 credit hours is often necessary to graduate. This may vary slightly based on the program. Fewer hours may be necessary if the student is able to test out of graduate-level courses by receiving credit at a community college.
Some universities may have an accelerated format that reduces the time it takes to complete a Bachelor’s degree. Students may be able to test out of certain general education requirements. These are most often available at the beginning of the program. Some students might choose to take summer courses or extra credit hours to graduate faster.
It is often advisable to pursue a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity full-time. This equates to roughly 15 credit hours per semester to graduate in four years. Part-time education will require at least five to six years. This can contribute to higher tuition costs and fees.
What to Expect with Part-Time Enrollment
There are benefits to pursuing an online Bachelor’s degree on a part-time basis. This educational format provides the most flexible option to learn cybersecurity and other aspects of computer and network security. There are no requirements to take courses on-campus. Students might have the option to complete some coursework on campus at different times.
Part-time coursework allows students to continue working in a professional setting or commit to other life obligations. This flexibility makes it easier to pay for schooling instead of relying exclusively on loans to pay for one’s education. Students can also use this education to improve their position at their current employer.
Financial aid may be limited for some part-time students. Both scholarships and federal aid have limitations and ineligibility. Students must meet a minimum amount of credit hours each academic year. They must also be responsible to get their coursework done. This can be more difficult to accomplish with more freedom to view lectures and complete assignments.
Tuition Costs for A Bachelor’s Degree in Cyber Security
Tuition ranges significantly for a Bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity, such as:
- Location of the university
- On-campus or online
- State residency of the student
Smaller colleges may offer cheaper tuition than larger institutions. However, it is important to remember that tuition is only a portion of the cost of higher education. Many schools have additional fees and expenses, such as room and board, books and more.
Generally, students can expect to pay anywhere from $6,000 to $30,000 per academic year for a Bachelor’s degree program. The rough national average for tuition is around $10,000 for a Bachelor’s degree. Total costs can reach between $50,000 and $70,000 once fees, books and room and board are included.
One of the biggest reasons for high tuition rates is when a student attends college outside of the state they reside in. Out-of-state tuition fees can double or triple. In some cases, the impact is not as severe. The University of North Dakota charges $9,493.92 annually for in-state residents and $15,977.28 for other United States citizens.
Ways to Save on Tuition Rates
Colleges will often charge per credit hour. This allows students to transfer in other credits to lower tuition costs. A common pathway is completing college-level courses in high school where available. Another way is to complete an associate degree at a community college. Then, transfer the credits. All transfer credits must go through an approval process to be applied toward a bachelor’s degree.
Online programs with similar formats to on-campus programs often have comparable costs. However, these programs might waive out-of-state tuition. In some cases, students who look around might find cheaper online tuition rates per credit hour. This is due to the lower requirements for using student resources that are available on campus. Instead, they use features through the online learning management system.
Scholarship Options For A Bachelor’s Degree
Students have the option to save money on tuition by applying for scholarships. These opportunities may be available through a number of sources, including:
- University programs
- Corporate sponsors
- Professional associations
- Government incentive programs
Scholarships give students a discount on tuition by term or academic year. It can also cover all tuition in some cases.
Students must meet requirements set by the organization or university distributing the award. Standards are often based on prior academic record or financial hardship. Students who are able to demonstrate a strong academic background with a high GPA may qualify. The same is true of someone who may not be able to afford higher education without financial assistance.
Application requirements for a scholarship often require the individual to submit an essay. The essay might ask students to detail the reason they wish to pursue a cybersecurity degree. They may also have to explain the reason they feel they are more deserving over another person. Scholarships may also be tailored toward a specific demographic. This might include BIPOC students or women. Generally, many scholarships might be for those who are underrepresented or underserved in the IT sector.
Examples of Cyber Security Scholarships
The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, referred to as (ISC)^2, offers a cybersecurity scholarship for undergraduate students that ranges between $1,000 to $5,000. To qualify, students must maintain a 3.3 GPA. They must also be either a senior in high school or entering into an undergraduate program in the upcoming fall semester.
The Center for Cyber Safety and Education, in conjunction with (ISC)^2, offers the Women’s Cybersecurity Scholarship. This scholarship has similar application requirements to the standard scholarship. However, it is only for women. Additional requirements in the application process include a letter of recommendation. This recommendation must verify the skills of the individual. A resume with work or volunteer experience may also be necessary. And several essay questions may be on an application.
Harmony Tech offers an annual $1,000 scholarship for students entering a cybersecurity or information assurance undergraduate program. To be eligible for this award, students must be a United States citizen. They must also have a GPA of 3.5 or higher. And the university must be regionally accredited. Students can be pursuing online or on-campus programs on a full-time or part-time basis.
What To Do With a Bachelor’s Degree in Cybersecurity?
Holding a Bachelor’s degree is a standard for cybersecurity professionals. Many positions require advanced skills in various computer and network systems. Advanced skills in operating systems are also necessary. These skills are used throughout various processes to implement and analyze security solutions. This requires the completion of a Bachelor’s degree with a major or minor in cybersecurity.
A minor in cybersecurity is often best when it complements the degree subject. Learning a few concepts in cybersecurity, such as cryptography, can be beneficial for certain majors. This might include business administration or health informatics majors. Working with sensitive patient data or private business transactions must be encrypted. If information is compromised from an unauthorized intrusion, a person must know the steps to take next.
Many job opportunities will list that a Bachelor’s degree is a requirement for cybersecurity positions. Individuals with little computer science or IT experience should pursue a Bachelor’s degree. This degree helps people gain a full understanding of most cybersecurity concepts. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in any field may only require certification.
Other factors, such as prior work history and an associate degree, may still open the door for these jobs. Graduates should review all job requirements to determine the best way to showcase their skills, education and work experience. The way one presents themselves on a resume and in an interview is the key to professional opportunities.
Building on a Bachelor’s Degree
A Bachelor’s degree can be a stepping stone to job opportunities in cybersecurity and more. There are also other ways to put this education to good use. One way is to go back into a university after gaining a few years of work experience after a Bachelor’s degree. Continual education can lead to more advanced positions in cybersecurity. This might include building and innovating information system architecture to improve security. Or it might lead to executive positions within the information technology sector.
Students can also add an additional year onto a program to complete a Master’s degree in cybersecurity. For this pathway, students can enter more advanced positions immediately after college. To do so, a student must demonstrate high academic merit through their junior year. This format overlaps similar courses in the major and within the core coursework of the Master’s degree program. As a result, students might only require five full years instead of six years on a full-time basis.
Information security analyst positions are one of the most popular jobs for graduates with cybersecurity degrees. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, average salaries hit near the $100,000 mark. These salaries are often found in the financial and insurance industries. Information system development jobs can also pay similarly. The highest salaries, which are over $108,000, can be found in a few states. This includes Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC, where many federal government positions exist.
Security analysts can have a number of specific roles. Overall, they monitor an organization’s information systems and ensure that operations run smoothly. They will also limit vulnerabilities and determine upgrades. These actions improve security and help employees understand necessary security procedures to use various applications.
Massive growth is expected for security analysts, which has a 31 percent growth projection between the years of 2019-29. The public continues to upload more of their personal information and utilizes cloud computing. As a result, organizations rely more on data-driven decision-making. Organizations must improve security measures to keep up with growth and the increase in advanced attacks.
One of the specific activities that security analysts can perform is penetration testing. Bachelor’s degrees can cover the basics of this process. It is recommended for completing these tasks. This activity identifies any vulnerabilities within a network in a controlled environment. It provides the organization with an opportunity to discover potential issues without having to deal with them in a live setting.
Penetration testing gives professionals the ability to report on specific issues. They can report on the effects issues can have on networks and computer systems. Individuals can also test disaster mitigation efforts to determine if capable processes are in place. This might include firewalls and backup recovery to minimize or prevent data breaches.
These degrees can provide opportunities in jobs without a security focus. Database administration is one such role. Duties in this opportunity include storing and maintaining sources of data. This data may need to be identified and verified to ensures processes and activities run efficiently. It is important to make sure that information within a database is secure. This helps to avoid unauthorized access from employees, clients, bad actors and rogue applications.
Other needs exist from administrators in these positions. It might include updating the database management systems that an organization uses. By updating platforms and applications, security measures can improve. Updates to systems and the use of additional innovative software and hardware solutions can protect this information further.
Obtaining a Bachelor’s degree with a discipline or emphasis in cyber security will open up many entry-level positions in IT and IS. A cybersecurity degree teaches essential theory and concepts into the profession. It will also help prepare students for certification exams. Some programs even provide a path to receive certification from top vendors, such as CompTIA, Cisco, and Microsoft.
Risk assurance associates will primarily focus on organizational risk assessment. They will work with other team members to ensure everyone understands and follows protocols. Organization and task management skills will be essential. They must be able to accurately analyze client information. Professionals must have strong communication skills. And they must be able to work with various levels of employment and potential clients.
A business intelligence analyst analyzes the data flow within an organization and determines its validity. Such analyses will be used by higher-level decision makers to advance and improve the company. They might also aid in mining and cleaning raw data. And they must protect information on the network and data stored in various locations.
Counter-terrorism analysts monitor the threat of enemy activity in other countries. They determine any potential attacks that might occur against the United States. These analysts will frequently write detailed actions. They will report their findings to other team members and higher-level management. And these positions are often available through government agencies and for military purposes.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analysts receive an annual mean wage of $99,730. Cybersecurity professionals fall into the category of information security. This is because they monitor networks and ensure no unauthorized intrusions or data breaches take place. Other categories within information security are available, such as:
- Penetration testing
- Software development
BLS recommends that job seekers have a Bachelor’s degree to secure jobs in this field. There are plenty of opportunities in information security. Overall, the field has an expectation of 32 percent job growth between 2018-28. Employment levels are high across the country. These jobs are highly concentrated in Virginia, Washington DC, New York, California, Texas, and many parts of the Southeast.
The highest salaries are generally found in the northeastern part of the US. The New York City metropolitan area averages $127,850 annually among the estimated 8,850-plus employed in the area. Washington DC is home to the largest amount of information security employment. These individuals have an average salary of approximately $117,810 in the area.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an expected rise in employment of 10 percent between 2019-29 for database administration jobs. This growth is due to the rising usage of cloud computing. These roles also analyze big data through machine learning and artificial intelligence. Average US salaries for administration and architecture positions are estimated at $93,750.