So, you’ve just earned an undergraduate information security degree and aren’t sure where to go from there? Why not pursue a master’s degree?
Taking the step toward higher education is not only a great decision to boost your career, but also to gain valuable knowledge, skills and experience.
Not convinced a Master’s Degree in Information Security is right for you? Keep reading to find out why we think otherwise.
Why Go Into Information Security?
Going into information security would be a smart decision for anyone looking to work in tech. Considering nearly everything we do is more and more technology-based, demand for information security professionals is extremely high and is only expected to grow. Especially with a master’s degree, it is highly unlikely you would have trouble finding a job.
The average salary for an information security analyst is around $96,000, with plenty of opportunity for higher salaries in different and more specialized fields. You could easily start pulling in a six-figure salary by working in this field, especially if you have a specialized degree or even a double major in a field that mirrors the job’s requirements.
Information Security Careers
Since the most important job for anyone working in information security is to keep private company data safe and protected, there is not a wide variance in job duties but rather in job industries. Nearly every business will hire an information security professional, so finding a job you love will be less challenging than you might have thought.
Some of the most in-demand jobs in the field in 2020 include app security engineering, cybersecurity consulting, security and penetration expert testing, and security analyzing. Even though all of the jobs deal primarily with security, they vary in what type of security.
App security engineers focus on creating and implementing the systems needed to keep app data secure, while cybersecurity consultants give advice and suggestions as to how to keep electronic information more safe and secure.
Security and penetration experts spend their workdays trying to deliberately hack into systems to test security and offer suggestions for how the systems could be improved. Finally, security analysts study security systems and measures to make any needed adjustments.
To put it simply, information security professionals protect information from being hacked. People often refer to the field as cybersecurity because the job focuses on the security of data and information that is commonly found electronically on servers. However, cybersecurity is more of a sub-field of information security that focuses solely on protecting electronic data from possible attacks.
Information security is an extremely important job to any and every company and business that exists. Keeping an organization’s important data safely stored and protected is a huge deal, meaning companies are always looking for the best person they can hire for the job.
Having a Master’s Degree in Information Security can greatly aid your ability to get hired in this field because when it comes to the safety of important data, employers want nothing other than the best they can get.
Best Online Information Security Master’s Programs
If you have made the decision to earn a Master’s Degree in Information Security but haven’t found the right school yet, you may want to check out some of the top-rated universities for the program. Attending the right university for your degree is just as important as choosing the right degree for your career, so we have compiled a list below of the best colleges for an information security master’s degree in the United States to help you make a decision.
Iowa State University
Iowa State University is one of the best tech schools in the United States, so it won’t come as a shock to anyone to see it has one of the best online Master of Engineering in Information
Its program is completely online and is designed for students who want to really fine-tune and specialize their degrees. Iowa State University allows students to pick classes based on their interests and career goals, rather than based on a rigid set of courses. This would be a good choice for someone who wants a specialized or unique degree for a specific goal.
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California’s School of Engineering offers a fully online Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering program. While a cybersecurity degree is a little different from an information security degree, if you are hoping to work with more electronic data, this degree may be a good option for you. If you decide to enroll as a full-time student, you can complete this degree in just one-and-a-half years and even part-time students earn their degree in less than three years.
Brandeis University offers graduate students a program for a Master of Science in Information Security Leadership. This program is regularly updated with advice and input from experts in the field, keeping the program’s curriculum completely up-to-date with the real world.
This program is also expected to be completed on a part-time basis, allowing students a bit more personal freedom while in graduate school. Instead of being totally online, Brandeis University requires students to attend seminars with a maximum of 20 students so that everyone can get one-on-one help. This program is a great option for those who are interested in an online master’s degree but aren’t quite sure if they want to commit to being fully online.
University of Denver
At the University of Denver, graduate students can pursue an online Master’s Degree in Information Systems Security. This program is good for those looking to push through and earn
their degree quickly, as it only requires 12 courses and is easily completed in
less than two years. Graduate students in this program will take four core courses, four specialized courses and four electives from other disciplines, giving them a well-rounded education with specializations that are desirable by potential employers.
Western Governor’s University
Western Governor’s University has a totally online Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance program. This program brings in outside opinions from experts in the
field, giving classes high-quality perspective into the world of information and cybersecurity to better prepare students for future careers.
Western Governor’s University also includes coursework that provides students with two certifications alongside their master’s degree, one in ethical certified hacking and the other in computer hacking forensic investigation. This not only helps improve the chances of being employed but also gives students a wider range of skills.
DePaul University offers a completely online program for a Master of Science in Cybersecurity. This program is meant to teach graduate students a good balance of theory and practice, giving them the tools they need to be successful. The program ends with a 10-week capstone project to help students find confidence in applying what they have learned in class to the real world.
DePaul University is also endorsed by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence. This gives students both a degree from an accredited university and a much higher likelihood of being employed at their dream jobs.
Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University offers an online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security program through its College of Science and Engineering. This program requires 30 to 36 credit hours to complete and provides graduate students with all the necessary skills to easily find employment in a wide variety of careers.
As part of the master’s degree program, students are required to complete a directed management and development project, giving them the opportunity to apply the concepts they have learned to real-world situations.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide
Through the Department of Technology Management, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide offers a totally online Master of Science in Information Security and Assurance program. The university offers graduate students the option to choose between three specialties: information systems security, information assurance in a global context or protecting business intelligence.
This master’s degree program is 30 credit hours and helps prepare students for careers all over the field of information security, as well as for the very specialized careers many others do not pursue, which greatly aids employability. Embry-Riddle is also declared a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, further adding to the value of degrees earned here.
New York University
New York University, commonly known as NYU, offers an online Master of Science in Cybersecurity program. NYU’s program is good for gaining important job insight and experiences because it follows the most up-to-date training standards set forth
by the Committee on National Security Systems.
This program would be great for those who are primarily focused on job security once they graduate, as you are guaranteed to have the right training and skills needed for any job you apply for.
The Metropolitan College at Boston University offers an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems program with a concentration in security. This program is great for students who want access to a broader field of job options upon graduation. It can be completed in about two years on average. For the concentration in security, students have a wide variety of courses they can choose from, including enterprise cybersecurity and digital forensics.
Florida Institute of Technology
Florida Institute of Technology’s School of Computing offers a totally online Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity program. This program provides core courses alongside very specialized elective courses for those pursuing more niche career fields. At the Florida Institute of technology, students are also given plenty of opportunities to conduct their own research and gain experience in the field by doing a thesis or a capstone project to complete their degree. For anyone looking for hands-on research, this would be a fantastic option for you.
Earning an online master’s degree can be intimidating, but it is truly a great decision for anyone who wants to further their career while also juggling a full-time job.
While there are thousands of other universities you could attend to earn your information security master’s degree, choosing one of the 11 listed above is a good idea. Attending one of these schools guarantees you the best possible education in your field, as well as the necessary experience and credibility for your resume to attract potential employers.