What Degree Do I Need In IT To Work In Cybersecurity?

CybersecurityMany people who want a job in cybersecurity will ask the question “Is there a specific degree needed to work in cybersecurity?” With more and more people relying on the Internet for day-to-day personal and professional tasks, cybersecurity has never been more important. Defined as the body of technologies and practices that is designed to protect computer networks and data from attacks and unauthorized access, cybersecurity is an important effort that the government is funding and will continue to fund. If you would like to work as a specialist who monitors a network or system for risks and breaches, you may be wondering what educational path that you should take to get your feet wet in this growing field. Read on, and learn what you need to know about degree options and where these degrees can take you.

Earning a Cybersecurity Degree vs. an IT Degree

One of the most common questions that prospective cyber security professionals ask is whether you should earn a specialized degree in cybersecurity or a more comprehensive computer science degree in Information Technology. The answer to this question depends on where you plan to attend school and what type of role you want to play in cybersecurity after you graduate. If you want to work in cybersecurity, you will undoubtedly need experience in programming which you can gain by completing either program. When you enroll in any program, C systems-level programming classes will be a must.

A Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity is designed to teach students what they need to know to protect data assets and to manage technologies that secure information and networks. You will take 120 different credits, with nine foundation courses and six major courses when you take this type of program. If you select an IT degree program instead of majoring in something as specific of cybersecurity, you can enroll in an Information Technology degree program and then specialize in cybersecurity courses. By taking this route, you will learn the fundamentals of IT and business while still benefiting from taking programs that are specific to securing networks and host-based security. You can also decide if earning your Master of Science in IT or Cybersecurity is ideal for advancing your opportunities.

What Kind of Jobs Can You Pursue in Cybersecurity?

Now that you know the major differences between IT and Cybersecurity degree options, the next step is learning what you can do with your degree once you graduate school. Demand for highly trained IT network security professionals is high, but you will need to have an educational background. If you have a B.S., you may be able to land an entry-level position as a Cyber Systems Analyst or Specialist. If you have an advanced degree, you may be able to find upper-level positions as a Chief Security Officer, Director or Manager.

Related Resource: Network Architect

Cybersecurity specialists are experts in systems engineering, cyber risk, strategic analysis, and incident response. If you are looking to work in this field, you may be able to average a salary of $86,170 depending on your education level and your level of professional experience, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Be sure to compare all of the programs, and once you do this, you can decide what degree needed to work in cybersecurity will take you the furthest.