Now more than ever, cybersecurity is paramount as we have to remain vigilant when it comes to our personal data. When we upload personal data online for purchases, verification or other purposes, we could have our identity stolen if we aren’t careful.
Cybersecurity breaches are nothing new as black hat hackers hide behind servers from law enforcement to steal personal data or compromise huge corporations and conglomerates.
Back in 2011, Sony’s PlayStation Network came under attack from hackers, forcing its entire online system to go offline for hours and making the data of 77 million users essentially up for grabs by hackers. This monumental attack and subsequent breach of private information lasted for 23 days.
So how can we prevent attacks like this from happening again? We can create stronger passwords or implement a two-step verification process, but that isn’t always enough, so where do we go from there?
In order to counter hackers, it’s crucial for us to gain more network security and cyber defense knowledge. You may even want to consider becoming a cybersecurity engineer to become part of the solution.
Cybersecurity experts ensure the protection of computer networks; this mainly includes protecting information, software and hardware from theft and damage.
Cybersecurity professionals are absolutely vital to a company’s success. They can protect financial institutions, the framework of a company’s security apparatus and make sure everything runs smoothly.
In this guide, we’ll show you what cybersecurity can do, your options when it comes to getting a cybersecurity degree, and what you can do once you have earned it.
What Online Cyber Security Degrees do Colleges Offer?
In the age of online schooling, not only can you get your degree online, but the online learner isn’t confined to just a few majors.
Depending on where you want to begin or continue your higher education, you can earn an online computer science degree while specializing in cybersecurity and information systems. Many top-rated colleges and universities offer degrees 100 percent online.
Online programs offer a wide array of classes for eager computer science students. These different schools have more specific and unique degrees based on their computer science programs, but they all more or less cover the same ins and outs of computer science and earn you an impressive degree in cybersecurity.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at some notable schools that you may or may not have expected to see on the list.
Drexel University’s Degree Program
One such program, the Online Bachelor of Science in Computing and Security Technology from Drexel University in Philadelphia, is a fantastic option.
Online students work through a comprehensive curriculum in classes like Introduction to Computing and Security Technology, and Computer Forensics I: Fundamentals and Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing.
Drexel has long been a proponent of flexible, online learning and is just one of many schools offering online programs. Many of these universities also allow students to transfer credits and continue their education in cybersecurity-related fields at no loss in progress toward their degree.
Whether you pursue a traditional college education or enroll in a bootcamp, there are plenty of options to gain the knowledge you need to launch a career in cybersecurity.
Excelsior College’s Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
Excelsior College is located in Albany, New York, and offers online students a bachelor of science degree in cybersecurity and other likewise fields. They accept around 100 transfer credits, so you can easily take all of your hard work from a different school and pick up and finish off your cybersecurity information.
They offer two concentrations within the major itself: General Cybersecurity and Cyber Operations. General cybersecurity is more of a flexible and basic groundwork for a career in cybersecurity, while the second concentration offers a look into actually what goes into preventing cyber attacks and how to protect software through coding, reverse engineering and more.
The student will need to complete 120 credits to graduate and will go through classes like:
- Introduction to Microprocessors
- Security-Focused Risk Management
- Systems Security
- Data Communications and Networking
- Security-Focused Risk Management
- Cyber Attacks and Defense
- Digital Forensics
Excelsior offers a wealth of varied classes with the overarching theme of cybersecurity, making sure their graduates learn everything they need to know to make sure the Internet is a safe place.
They double down on this mission by having students majoring in cybersecurity complete a capstone course in which students complete in-depth research projects that gives them a more clever picture of the way cybersecurity really works on the outside of a classroom.
Champlain College’s Online Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity
Vermont is home to Champlain College and the Senator Patrick Leahy Center for Digital Investigations and Cybersecurity, touting their expertise in the field of cybersecurity. For almost 15 years, Champlain College has been formally recognized by both the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security as the best of the best.
This degree is 100% online and consists of 120 credit hours for you to complete. There are 3 semesters a year, with each semester lasting approximately 7 weeks. In this program, you’ll participate in classes like:
- Introduction to Python
- Digital Forensic Investigation Techniques
- Cloud Computing Security
- Ethical Hacking
- Mobile Security
- Emerging Threats and Defense
- Intrusion Analysis and Protection
Champlain aims to take you on a comprehensive educational journey to beef up your security skills through a course curriculum as diverse as how useful the degree will be once you graduate.
How to Excel in Earning a Cyber Security Degree and What Comes After
Aside from applying to colleges and cybersecurity degree programs, what else can help propel you along the path to a degree? Here are some valuable tips to perhaps give you a leg up.
Knowing How to Code Helps
It should go without saying, but if you’re technologically illiterate then becoming the next bastion of cybersecurity may be a tall order. That’s why learning a programming language is a surefire way to guarantee your position within the cybersecurity industry.
If you can learn relevant programming languages like Python, SQL, Java and Ruby, then you will be ahead of the pack when it comes time to hit the books with your cybersecurity degree. Studying and doing homework will come more naturally, and entering into the job market after you earn your degree will be more natural.
Coding and programming serve as the framework for nearly everything you will do in any advanced computer science field, so learning how to execute commands and prompts properly can be instrumental in your success and career advancement.
Cybersecurity Jobs Are a Hot Commodity Right Out of College
After all of that hard work you put into your homework and research projects, you’ll be rewarded with a great job market.
Every company needs some form of cybersecurity to safely and confidently conduct business. With cyberattacks like that of the 2011 Sony outage rising, so too will jobs that help curb cybercrime.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs like Information Security Analysts are going to grow at an alarming rate over the next five years; this translates into a remarkable 32 percent increase until 2028.
There are many occupations within the field of cybersecurity that are unique and may prove interesting. Here are some subfields under the cybersecurity umbrella:
- Digital Forensics
- Security Analyst
- Security Consultant
- Network and Computer Systems Administrator
- Security Software Developer
- IT Security Consultant
- Forensic Computer Analyst
- Chief Information Security Officer
By securing one of the jobs above, you could very realistically find work within the CIA, Homeland Security, Department of Defense or Department of Energy, or at companies like Amazon, AT&T, Lockheed Martin or Boeing.
You Can Earn a Lot With That Degree!
Money isn’t everything, but it sure doesn’t hurt to make a high salary and that’s precisely what you can do with a career in cybersecurity.
While you may not score a six-figure job right out of school, there are many opportunities for career growth within the cybersecurity industry. With a stable job and wealth of experience, cybersecurity specialists earn a median income of $99,730.
Upward Mobility is Possible
While many careers offer upward mobility, the potential for career advancement in the cybersecurity industry cannot be overstated.
More often than not, a dedicated cybersecurity employee at nearly any company can reap the fruits of their labor after a relatively short period of time.
Entry-level positions are also very common and easy to find, meaning you can expect to advance your career within a few years of completing your education.
Although it is by no means a walk in the park, it’s entirely possible to profit from pursuing an education in cybersecurity. Many colleges and universities offer online, offline, and hybrid courses in cybersecurity majors, both general and specific. This gives students ample space and time to learn at their own pace, at their own comfort level.
You could very well join the front lines of defense against cyberattacks and help prevent dangerous system breaches, ensuring personal data is kept safe. Are you up to the task? The safety of the internet is at stake!