Individuals who have careers as network security specialists are often hired with a bachelor’s degree. However, many choose to advance their education and earn a master’s degree. Master’s degree programs generally offer individuals better employment options, higher wages and a wider variety of careers from which to choose. Learn everything you need to know about earning a master’s degree in network security and what type of career you may obtain.
Typical Admissions Requirements
Earning a master’s degree in network security involves a higher level of study. Prior to entering the program, the student must meet specific admission requirements. While most master degree programs can be completed in two to three years, most also require that the student already have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. The student is required to complete not only coursework and laboratory classes but also complete a senior project.
The senior project may be a research paper that the student completes based on his or her area of interest or a thesis project. A capstone course may also be required, which can involve the student designing his or her own network system putting to use all that was learned in the program. To successfully complete the master degree program, the student must complete a designated number of credits or units as well.
Colleges Offering Master’s in Network Security Degrees
There are many colleges that offer network security master degree programs, as indicated by the National Center for Education Statistics. Network security programs may be titled as cybersecurity programs because of their similarities and the fact that they both deal with keeping a computer network safe from cyber or Internet intrusions. Students in a network security program can expect classes like network programming, systems analysis, network security, secure electronic commerce, cryptology, computer security, network management and software secure assessment, among others.
In addition to the many colleges offering these programs at their campuses, there are also many schools that offer this through online education or distance learning. Students in an online program can log into the school’s website and learn at their own pace by attending class via prerecorded videos. They can also utilize e-mails and discussion boards for assignments and exams.
Master’s Level Degree Concentrations
Network security programs may often offer different areas of concentration so that the student may focus on a specific area of interest. There are several courses that seem to be consistent across most master’s level programs:
Network security – This focuses on keeping the network and network infrastructure safe from outside invasions as well as implementing firewalls and intrusion detection policies.
Computer security – This focuses on basic security issues, cryptography and preventing software vulnerabilities.
Governance, risk management and compliance – This focuses on security risk management at the enterprise level, performing audits and dealing with compliance issues in information technology.
In addition to offering areas of concentration, network security may also be offered as a concentration in other computer-related degree programs.
Career Options for Master’s Degree Holders
Network security graduates often find many career options once they’ve finished their training. The most common careers are as computer and information systems managers; computer network architects; network and computer systems administrators, and information security analysts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that employment growth for these professions may range from twelve percent to thirty-seven percent between 2012 and 2022.
Earning a graduate degree in network security prepares the student not only for various professions but also to work in many different industries including government, education, manufacturing, law enforcement, finance and law.