With the world rapidly turning to the internet and computer-based means of processing and storing most of its data, cybersecurity has become more than a service. It is now a necessity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for IT and computer professionals should see rapid growth as more businesses move their operations online. Information security analysts could see a job growth rate of 33% between 2020 and 2030. As more companies and organizations go online, cyber-attacks will increase, hence the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals. Here, we look at the top programs in cybersecurity and explore common questions in the field.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity, alternatively called computer security, is simply the fortifying of networks and systems from disruption, misdirection, damage, or theft of information and services. It is a series of practices based on technology used to protect data.
Cybersecurity aims to prevent ten major types of attacks. They include:
- Man-in-the-Middle (MitM)
- Denial of service
- SQL injection
- Zero-day exploit
- Password attack
- Cross-site scripting
- Internet of Things (IoT) attacks
Cybersecurity experts work round the clock to offer solutions from such attacks to keep business flowing.
Careers in Cybersecurity
offers a wide range of career paths with enticing incentives, mainly in terms of time and office space flexibility.
Regardless of the kind of work environment a person thrives in, cybersecurity is one field that has options for everyone. Cybersecurity is broad enough to accommodate everyone interested in working in the corporate world to those who prefer freelancing their services and working remotely. Nevertheless, the goal of pursuing a career in cybersecurity is to reach its zenith. Here are the five best-paying jobs to pursue in cybersecurity.
Computer and Information Systems Management
With infinite opportunities for the storage and use of information on computers and the internet,focus on cybersecurity.
An information system manager ensures that organizations have the right set of security goals and helps to improve the existing ones. They direct computer-based projects, with most of the focus on information protection. The average pay comes in at $142,530.
This part of cybersecurity focuses more on future security threats and prepares for them with safety measures. They base their work on researching future possible cybersecurity failures. These findings help to set security goals. These goals are incorporated into the company’s procedures to keep them safe.
At the rank of mid-executive, such as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and upwards, salaries start at $142,530.
These professionals analyze security threats and use them to develop or upgrade computer security hardware and software. They are directly involved with decisions on the security infrastructure. On average, they earn close to $133,000.
This profession entails the active use of mathematics in combating the issues that stem from cybercrime. They deal primarily with encrypting data to address challenges from cyber threats. Their salary falls at $119,918.
Cybersecurity Software Development
Developing cybersecurity software tailored to meet the specific needs of individual corporations has become the recent norm. For all companies utilizing computers in one way or another, it is now necessary. This career path is a fast-growing one with a salary potential of close to $114,000. Professionals in this field develop, maintain, and upgrade software for their clients or organizations.
What You Can Learn in a Cybersecurity Program
Despite its wide application, the basic things you would most likely learn from a cybersecurity program are:
- Protection of networks and operating systems from cyber attacks
- Mitigation of cyber threats
- Monitoring of networks and systems for potential cyber-attacks
- Development of computing skills for the safety of data and privacy
- Data analysis
- General security design principles
- General networking concepts
- Policy, legal, ethics, and compliance
Types of Cybersecurity Programs
Cybersecurity programs fall into the following types:
- Business-based (with a major in Information Technology)
- Management-based (with a major in Information Technology)
Computer and engineering-based cybersecurity programs teach direct manipulation and use of cyberspace. Examples include programs on operating systems, digital forensics, object-oriented programming, secure software design, and data mining.
On the other hand, business and management-based cybersecurity programs take more indirect approaches to influence cyberspace. They are more involved in decision-making and tailoring. Examples of programs in this category are information assurance, project management, telecommunication systems, and risk analysis.
Top Cybersecurity Programs Online
According to statistics, the job market for these professionals has a growth of around 28% through 2026. Apart from that, the median salary is almost $100,000. As an attractive field for job security and pay, cybersecurity programs are getting much attention. Learning cybersecurity allows you to protect companies and their computer systems from bad actors. You learn to enact strategies that protect from vulnerabilities, threats, and attacks. You will also know how to create contingency plans to mitigate damage and recover the data when attacks occur.
Below we detail varying levels of educational programs from certificates, associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees in this field.
Utica University: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity / Network Forensics & Incident Response
Utica University offers a cybersecurity program with multiple specialization options. Students can specialize in Cybercrime & Fraud Investigation, Cyber Operations, Network Forensics & Incident Response, and Information Assurance.
The program is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE/CD) by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security. To apply for this program, applicants should have a minimum of 2.5 GPA and can transfer up to 57 credits.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater: Master of Business Administration / Cybersecurity Management
Wisconsin-Whitewater University designed the cybersecurity management MBA program for working professionals. The program’s curriculum covers information security, computer forensics, intrusion detection, and ethical hacking.
Experts in the field teach these courses. Students also have opportunities to build connections. AACSB accredits the program. The university holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Applicants have to take a GMAT / GRE test, but there is a chance for a waiver.
Purdue University Global: Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology / Cybersecurity
In this program, students gain technical skills and general knowledge in cybersecurity. They learn how to install and maintain computers and wireless networks, troubleshoot hardware and software problems, build webpages, manage databases, and create Java applications.
Graduates of this associate degree can work as computer programmers, network technicians, IT support specialists, and web developers. The degree, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), is 100% online. However, the following states restrict it: California, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Utah, Rhode Island, Indiana, New Hampshire, and Wyoming.
Eastern Kentucky University: Master of Business / Cybersecurity & Digital Forensics
Eastern Kentucky University offers an MBA program concentrating on cybersecurity and digital forensics. Students in this program learn how to stop cybercrime and keep organizations secure. Courses include accounting, marketing, financial markets, economic principles, and organizational behavior.
AACSB accredits the program, and Eastern Kentucky University holds accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Applicants must submit a statement of intent, recommendation letter, official transcripts, and take the GRE to apply for this program.
Utica University: Bachelor of Business Administration in Cybersecurity Operations Management
Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), this program teaches management skills while preparing students for a career in cybersecurity. The program is 100% online with interactive sessions. Courses cover computer network investigations, cyber operations, system vulnerability analysis, and strategic management.
After completing the program, graduates can work as cybersecurity consultants, IT project managers, IT database administrators, and assistants to a chief information security officer. The program has 120 credits and costs $475 per credit hour.
Pennsylvania State University: Master of Business / Cybersecurity Intelligence Leadership
At Pennsylvania State University, their MBA cybersecurity intelligence leadership program prepares students for leadership roles in the industry. Courses such as the Legal & Regulatory Environment of Information Science and Technology will be dissected and taught. There are also lessons on Information Security Management and Visual Analytics for Security Intelligence.
The university designed the program to be collaborative and engaging, focusing on teamwork. To apply, candidates must submit a writing sample, official transcripts, portfolio, resume, letter of recommendation, and sit for an interview. There’s an available GMAT / GRE waiver for candidates who need it.
University of Saint Mary: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
Firstly, this program is ideal for associate degree graduates because it’s not a beginner program. Students will use cybersecurity resources, tools, and methods to analyze and evaluate computer systems defense throughout the program. To enable students to gain experience while studying, the university has integrated an internship of three credits into the study outline.
Faculty teach the fundamentals of programming, networking, and cybersecurity using interactive sessions, discussions, and visual presentations. Graduates can work as information security analysts, IT managers, security auditors, and database administrators.
National American University: Bachelor of Science in Information Technology / Cybersecurity
Students interested in data threats, risks, and attacks might find this program worthwhile. The university developed this BS degree to prepare students for leadership roles in system analysis. Coursework includes Cybercrime, Forensic Methods, and Java Programming.
Management skills are taught in the program via courses like project management and data management while also teaching decision-making, problem-solving, and collaboration skills. Students can select and customize their elective courses, apart from the core IT courses.
Capitol Technology University: Master of Business / Aviation Cybersecurity
Capitol Technology University has several cybersecurity programs, but this program focuses on the aviation industry. While taking MBA core courses in marketing, finance, accounting, and human resources management, the students also study aviation technology.
Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), this military-friendly program teaches students information technology and the peculiar cybersecurity challenges in the aviation industry. Capitol Technology University is also a partner of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), so students can benefit from additional resources.
Villanova University: Certificate in Cybersecurity
Although Villanova University’s cybersecurity program’s certification is non-credit, the industry recognizes the value of this certificate. Specially designed for professionals already working in network and security sectors, this program prepares students for a position in cybersecurity.
It teaches investigation, analysis, security ethics, and maintenance skills.
Students choose courses from several categories. Some of these courses are Security Risks Assessment and Management, Ethical Hacking, Legal Aspects of Computer Security, Blockchain Technology and Uses, Unix and C Programming, and Embedded Systems Architecture.
Norwich University: Master of Science in Cybersecurity / Project Management
Norwich University offers an MSc in Cybersecurity / Project Management with six specialization or concentration options. The students can choose to focus on:
- Computer Forensic Investigation and Incident Response Team Management
- Project Management
- Critical Infrastructure Protection and Cyber Crime
- Cyber Law and International Perspectives on Cyberspace
- Government Contract Management
- Vulnerability Management
Each specialized group gets detailed lectures with real-world experiences. The program’s curriculum is practical and in line with the current situation in the industry. While primarily online, students have to attend a week-long residency at the campus in Vermont.
Norwich University: Master of Science in Cybersecurity / Computer Forensic Investigation & Incident Response Team Management
The Master of Science in Cybersecurity program offers six specializations, and this program is one of them. Students interested in the Computer Forensic Investigation & Incident Response Team Management program are encouraged to have knowledge of the Microsoft Windows operating system. However, this knowledge isn’t a requirement for the program. Having a background in systems administration is also helpful.
During this program, students learn how to set priorities and protect personnel against burnout. Students learn through case studies how to apply their knowledge to real-world situations.
Purdue University Global: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity / CISSP Certificate Preparation
In this program, students learn about the fundamentals of cybersecurity and the best practices for solving problems. The program’s primary purpose is to prepare you for critical certifications, but you get a degree after the program.
Students enrolled in this preparatory program study IT security products & threats, ethical hacking, networking, computer and digital forensics, intrusion detection, Python programming language, etc. Once completed, graduates can work as information security officers, security architects, security policy analyst managers, IT auditors, and more.
Purdue University Global: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity / Programming and Analytics
Compared with the BS CISSP Certificate Preparation program from Perdue University Global, these programs are quite similar. The course outlines and career opportunities are almost the same. However, this program focuses on programming and analytics, and students learn more about programming languages.
The university has an accelerated degree program called ExcelTrack. Opting for it gives students a more affordable and faster way to gain a Cybersecurity BS degree.
Like most programs from Perdue University Global, this program is 100% online. However, the following states restrict it: New Hampshire, Indiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wyoming.
Southern New Hampshire University: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity / Data Analytics
With this online course from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), students learn to analyze, design, implement, and evaluate network security solutions. Some courses in this program include an Introduction to Structured Database Environments, Data Gathering Requirements, the Role of Data Analysis in an Organization, and more.
ACBSP and the New England Commission of Higher Education accredited the program and the university. Online students in this program have access to academic advisors, career services, and the university’s exclusive online community.
Eastern Oregon University: Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity
Depending on your educational background, you can tailor this cybersecurity program through their three bachelor’s degree offerings in Arts, Science, and Applied Science. Unlike many other university programs where theory holds precedence in the classroom, this program emphasizes practical cybersecurity skills.
Enrolled students will study general computer knowledge before moving to intensive cybersecurity courses like System Hardening, Secure Configurations, Reverse Analysis, and Offensive Security Tactics and Techniques.
Classes that teach essential skills include Access Management, Data Privacy, Security Threat Intelligence, and Compliance. In addition to being 100% online, this course has a robust transferable credits policy.
Kennesaw State University: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
Kennesaw State University offers a cybersecurity program focused on technicalities. It is designed primarily for working students. One major thing that distinguishes this program is its perspective. Unlike other Bachelor of Science cybersecurity programs, this one teaches the subject through a business, administrative, and managerial perspective.
Topics covered include concepts in hardware and software, operating systems, and cybersecurity management.
The Kennesaw State University’s cybersecurity program is 100% online. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredits it.
University of Montana: Certificate of Technical Studies in Cybersecurity
At the University of Montana, students can gain technical knowledge of cybersecurity through this program. It is ideal for high school certificate holders and computer and networking professionals who want to transition to cybersecurity. While a separate program, the coursework for this technical studies program is quite similar to that of Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) preparatory programs.
Students learn about risk assessment, contingency planning, security investigation, troubleshooting, and mitigation techniques. There are also sessions on programming and scripting, policy, legal aspects of cybersecurity, compliance, and ethics. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) accredits the program.
University of South Florida: Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity Awareness and Education
Individuals in the education sector or those trying to get into the education sector should check out this program. The program prepares professionals for leadership roles in various educational environments. Coursework aims to impart communication, evaluation, and problem-solving skills essential for professionals in the education field.
The program covers cybersecurity core courses like safety issues, implementation procedures, and digital tools and media literacy.
Of course, the program also teaches the best practices to use in the classroom. Graduates of this program can lead in K-12 or a higher education environment.
Concordia University-Saint Paul: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
Designed for information technology professionals, this program has all it takes to advance your career. Your classes include Ethics in IT, Malware and Intrusion Analysis, IT Project Management, Research in IT, Risk Management, Managing a Secure Enterprise, and Business Strategy.
Also, graduates of this program can sit for the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certificate because the curriculum prepares explicitly for this exam. This certificate is the predominant accreditation in this field.
How To Choose The Best Cybersecurity Program
There are so many cybersecurity programs with great lecturers and a solid curriculum. But it is crucial to choose a program that suits your career goals. These are some factors to consider before selecting a cybersecurity program:
Attending an accredited institution can improve your chances of qualifying for graduate school, obtaining financial aid, and earning professional credentials and licenses. Accreditation is also a seal of approval that the institution or program meets the required standards.
Cost is a significant factor when searching for a cybersecurity program. Before deciding which program is best, create a budget, and determine how much money you’re willing to spend.
- Career Services
A lot of universities provide career development assistance to alumni and students alike. These career services can come in networking events, resume building, and mock job interviews. Students can also benefit from internships and job prospects through the school’s career office.
Should I Enroll in An Online Cybersecurity Program?
Attending an online cybersecurity school allows you to learn anywhere at your own pace. Online programs appeal to those who have full-time jobs or family responsibilities.
Many online programs offer asynchronous learning, allowing you to log in and submit assignments at your own pace. In most cases, online cybersecurity degrees might even be more affordable than traditional learning.
Some other things to consider include schedule, learning style, extracurricular activities, and career services that the school offers.
Learn more about, certificates, and other related information technology careers through the GetEducated.com database!