What will I study during a Cybersecurity degree? As the world continues to struggle against rising cybercrimes and digital security threats, the demand for cybersecurity continues to grow.
The increasing demand for cybersecurity is also boosting career and educational opportunities. Given the current state of the cybersecurity job market, the demand for security professionals is higher than ever as worldwide millions of jobs go unfilled.
There has never been a better time to study or start a career in cybersecurity than now. As unemployment rates in the cybersecurity industry continue to remain a persistent challenge for global businesses, high salaries and a steadily growing global demand for cybersecurity professionals makes it one of the best career options available today.
However, starting a career in cybersecurity or getting a cybersecurity degree has its own set of challenges. Cybersecurity is a highly technical and complex subject to master and a significant number of students do not complete the computer science courses needed to obtain a degree.
In fact, higher education officials have also raised concerns at the high dropout rates in computer science courses. Read this article if you’re still unsure about obtaining a degree; however, if you are thinking of pursuing a cybersecurity course or a degree, there are a multitude of factors that you must consider before making a decision.
Continue reading the article as we lay out a rundown of what you’ll likely study in a cybersecurity degree.
Deciding between a cybersecurity degree and a course
There are many types of cybersecurity courses and degrees available today. Different Information Security programs focus on different aspects of digital security. If you want to study cybersecurity, it is crucial to determine whether the program is aligned with your interests and expected outcomes.
An ideal way is to first ask yourself whether you need a certification or a degree. If you’re looking for a certificate, a single cybersecurity course is the way to go. However, if you are looking to earn a degree, then you will need to find a university offering a cybersecurity curriculum.
It is always a good practice to first study the admission requirements and career pathways for cybersecurity degrees and certificates. Earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in cybersecurity will take a few years but can open doors to a myriad of job opportunities and career paths, while a short-term course may help you secure entry-level cyber security jobs. There are also other ways to learn the subject, including earning a PhD or postgraduate certificate.
How to Study Cybersecurity the Right Way!
While each cybersecurity program may focus on different areas of specializations, most cybersecurity programs teach students to identify, contain, prevent and mitigate security threats. As far as program contents are concerned, different educational institutes around the world can have different curriculum depending on the type of program.
If we look at a specific program, for instance the University of Tulsa, the curriculum of a cyber security bachelor’s and master’s degree typically includes the following course titles with slight variations depending on the elective and specialization courses.
Defensive Cybersecurity Technologies
This course helps students to learn and develop an understanding of defensive technologies, which is critical to working in the field of cyber security. Students learn to prevent and mitigate security risks by implementing various security protocol such as:
- Backup and disaster recovery
- Risk assessments and profiling
- Two-factor authentication
- Network security and VPNs
This course equips students with practical knowledge and skills needed in jobs such as:
- Cyber defense manager
- Information system security professional
- Incident responder
System Security and Cryptography
The subjects in this course focus on systems analysis and security. Students in this course learn to protect critical systems and the data stored on them. In addition to system security, students also complete a cryptography course, which offers math and algorithm-focused approaches to data security. Jobs requiring cryptography and security knowledge include:
- Security engineer
- Blockchain software engineer
- Information assurance engineer
Information Systems Assurance
Information assurance is one of the most important aspects of cyber security and involves mitigating the data security risks. In this course, students learn to protect sensitive data and information and gain skills for job such as:
- Information security manager
- Systems engineer
- Information assurance engineer
Security Audit and Penetration Testing
Conducting security risk assessments is one of the most critical aspects of maintaining digital security. In addition to the essentials of security and risk management, this course also teaches students the foundations of ethical hacking, also known as penetration testing. Jobs requiring such skills include:
- Software reverse engineer
- Penetration tester
- Ethical hacker
- Application security engineer
Network Security Concepts and Applications
Network security includes VPNs, packet switching, network designs and so on. Developing a sound understanding of this field is critical for cyber security professionals. Student with network security skills can secure jobs such as:
- Network security analyst
- Information security engineer
- Cyber defense analyst
In addition to the above mentioned, a cybersecurity degree may also include courses like; Cybersecurity Law and Policy, Secure System Administration, Hardware Security, Organizational Cyber Security, and other courses depending on the type of the degree and the educational institution.
Cybersecurity is a dynamic industry with high demand for talent. Earning a degree in cybersecurity can help you secure a lucrative career path with room to grow. However, making an informed decision is important.
It is recommended that you visit the official website of the educational institutions offering cybersecurity courses and degree programs to understand the admission requirements, the program curriculum and other factors. This will help you make an educated decision that may align with your long-term career plans and personal learning goals.