Cyber security is a specialty within the information systems and computer science fields. It blends network administration, computer science, and information technology to address security concerns and cyber-crime. Cyber security specialists are trained to test, implement, and monitor security frameworks for corporations and government agencies in order to protect information and prevent cyber-attacks. A bachelor’s degree in cyber security is designed to give students the knowledge and skill to analyze and troubleshoot security issues in our increasingly virtual world.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
An online bachelor’s degree in cyber security is a benefit if you have a particular interest in the field, versus computer science or network administration in general. The degree imparts a specific skill base that is in high demand, although degrees in other IT fields are also very useful. Cyber security degrees may be available at other levels of study, but the bachelor’s degree is the most thorough, with courses in general education, computer science, information security, and network and database management. It also prepares you for upward mobility, as a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for most supervisory and management roles.
Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
The admissions requirements for cyber security bachelor’s degree programs are fairly straightforward. In addition to the following items, some programs may request letters of recommendation and high school GPA requirements.
- High school diploma or its equivalent
- Passing SAT or ACT score
Inside a Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degree Program
An online cyber security bachelor’s degree curriculum includes major courses that discuss security issues in different types of networks and data environments. A standard course curriculum might include classes like network security, wireless security, disaster recovery, computer forensics, database management, and computer security. These topics in these classes will build on the foundation established in your introductory classes, like foundations of computing, computer networks, statistics, and database applications. In these classes, you might also have lab requirements where you practice trouble-shooting and problem solving.
In addition to major courses, you will take classes in general computer science, mathematics, and information systems, as well as general education classes, like English, writing, social science, humanities, and more. You will learn to install and monitor cyber security systems, software, and hardware, test new security technologies, and carry out disaster recovery protocol. Altogether, you will complete approximately 120 hours of course credit to earn the degree, which can take at least four years of full-time study.
What’s Next for Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Cyber security bachelor’s degree holders face strong prospects upon entering the job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cyber security field can be lucrative, as qualified professionals are in demand. The BLS projects 22% growth for information security analysts by 2020. And, qualified security analysts can earn approximately $81,565 per year on average. Professionals with cyber security bachelor’s degree often find mid-level positions with growth potential with job titles that include network security administrator and information security officer. These positions are available through information technology departments in most mid-size to large corporations, as well as government law enforcement and security agencies.
While advanced degrees in cyber security may be difficult to find, particularly in an online format, other technology disciplines are relevant to a cyber security background. A graduate degree in criminal justice can make you eligible for management positions with higher education requirements or academic teaching positions. If you plan to return to graduate school, consider a master’s degree in computer science, network administration, or computer information systems, all of which will build on your existing skills and experience.