Online Cybersecurity Degree

In this Information Age, so many aspects of our lives are online.

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We use the Internet for banking, socializing and working. Because online security is more important than ever, there is a growing demand for people skilled in this area of technology.

If you’re considering an information technology degree, specializing in cybersecurity could make you more marketable in this growing field.

Qualities of a Cybersecurity Professional

To succeed in the cybersecurity profession, it helps to be detail-oriented and analytical. People with a strong background in mathematics generally do quite well in advanced information technology fields. The ability to problem-solve complex issues and use inductive and deductive reasoning are also key traits needed for a cybersecurity professional.

Cybersecurity Coursework

When you study online security, your coursework will cover a wide range of issues that go beyond firewalls and computer code. You will be immersed in topics such as law and ethics, terrorism and crime. It is important to understand these big-picture issues. After all, you might end up working for clients such as the Department of Defense or a corporation with a sensitive product line. Your work may shield a vital military server or the information property for revolutionary technology.

Some specific courses might include:

  • Networking
  • Linux Systems Administration
  • Trends in Computer Science
  • Introduction to Python Coding

Cybersecurity Career Paths

With an online degree in cybersecurity, you can choose from a number of different career paths. You might work for a government contractor and help to secure our nation’s databases. You could be an auditor who consults with businesses and technology firms on their security issues. Even high-level programmers need someone with specific knowledge in security to ensure that their intellectual property remains safe and secure.

Most graduates start out as analysts in a wide range of industries including finance and insurance and computer systems design.

Job Outlook for Information Security Analysts

The job outlook for a graduate with an online cybersecurity degree is excellent. While the entire information technology sector continues to grow, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the security area to increase by more than 28 percent over the coming decade. On average, other fields are expected to grow at a rate of 7 percent over the same time frame.

Choosing a Cybersecurity Program

When choosing a cybersecurity program, do your research to find a curriculum that suits your interests and learning style. You might prefer writing software that can protect servers or you might want to work more directly with network security. There are also programs that focus on management and policy issues which could help you land a spot as an administrator.

After you find a few online programs that suit your needs, go a bit further and determine which have produced the best results. Find out what their graduates are up to. Also, look for programs with a well-established computer science or information technology department. If it has been around for a while, there may be alumni in the job market who can offer internships or advice. Other aspects of an online program to consider are:

  • Flexibility: Does the class schedule align with your work and family’s schedule?
  • Accreditation: Is the school accredited by an agency recognized by the Department of Education?
  • Faculty: Do the professors have experience in the field? Have they been involved in cybersecurity research or published key papers?

How Cybersecurity Differs from Other Areas of IT

While cybersecurity dovetails with other areas of information technology, it’s still its own field. Where some in computer science might spend time studying artificial intelligence for games, a security specialist will be interested in how an artificial intelligence program can help fend off hackers.

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