In today’s digital age, cybersecurity is a crucial field that is constantly evolving to keep up with the latest technological advancements and security threats. Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated, making it imperative for businesses, organizations, and individuals to have a strong cybersecurity infrastructure in place. This has led to an increased demand for professionals with expertise in cybersecurity. Pursuing a cybersecurity education can open up a range of opportunities for individuals interested in this field. In this article, we will explore some of the key reasons to get a cybersecurity education, as well as some of the top institutions offering cybersecurity programs. Continue searching online to learn more about the best schools to get a cybersecurity education in 2023.
Why Get a Cybersecurity Education?
As per the PricewaterhouseCoopers 2022 Global Economic Crime Survey, 46% of global organizations reported being affected by cyber crime within the last year. This is an alarmingly high figure, and with no indication of a decrease in cyber crime, it is clear why the demand for cyber security as a career field is high in both private and public sectors. Thus, there has seldom been a better time to invest in a cyber security education.
Forbes reinforces this statistic, with Chuck Brooks in his article “Cybersecurity Trends & Statistics for 2023: What You Need to Know,” stating that despite the improvement in cybersecurity capabilities and awareness, the threat and sophistication of cyber-attacks are advancing at the same pace. He highlights that the current digital environment is treacherous, where every company, regardless of its size, is a potential target for hackers, and its brand, reputation, operations, and revenue pipelines are at risk from a breach. Although this sounds ominous, it offers an opportunity for those interested in joining the cyber security field.
Levels of Education for Cybersecurity
To apply for a job in cybersecurity, one must have some form of education and training. There are various levels of education available to prepare individuals for cybersecurity jobs. The first level is an associate degree or certificate in cybersecurity which can provide the necessary training to secure an entry-level job in the field. This type of education can also aid in obtaining industry certifications, which are highly valuable in certain information security positions. Obtaining certificates and associate degrees demonstrates that one possesses a more advanced understanding of technological knowledge related to operating systems and information networks than what is typically learned in high school, explains Cyber Security Education.
A bachelor’s degree is the next level of education in cybersecurity. Nowadays, many information security jobs require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, which is why this level of education is rapidly becoming the standard expectation for cybersecurity careers. A bachelor’s degree can also better prepare individuals to take industry certification exams, notes the source. And lastly, graduate degrees in cybersecurity, at the master’s and doctoral levels, are usually recommended for more advanced cybersecurity positions, says Cyber Security Education. These are essential for research, managerial, and business-oriented information security careers.
Where to Get a Cybersecurity Education in 2023
According to Intelligent.com, the following four programs are the top cybersecurity education degree programs offered at reputable collages across the United States. The source evaluated the programs based on factors such as tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation, along with resources provided for on-campus students. They also compared their results alongside college rankings from other reputable publications, like U.S. News & World Report.
- Stanford University: Offer an online graduate-level cybersecurity program leading to an advanced certificate, as well as a master’s level cyber policy and security program. Students can choose electives and graduate with a master’s degree in international policy, specializing in cyber policy and security. The cybersecurity program is asynchronous, and the six courses take one to two years to complete.
- Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals: Offer a degree in cybersecurity through its Whiting School of Engineering, which can be completed on-campus, in a hybrid format, or online. The online program is part-time and provides access to the university’s advanced virtual classrooms and computing facilities. The university also offers a post-master’s certificate program with five advanced level courses.
- Purdue Polytechnic Institute: They offer an undergraduate cybersecurity program that combines practical and theoretical skills with analytical thinking and criminology. Students are encouraged to participate in hands-on projects and internships. The faculty is composed of cybersecurity experts and industry professionals, and the labs are industry-standard. The program leads to a degree in computer and information technology, and financial aid is available.
- Georgia Institute of Technology: The Master of Science degree program in cybersecurity is a 32-credit-hour course with a practicum that includes three areas of specialization: information security, cyber-physical systems, and policy. It is one of the least expensive programs with graduate credit hours costing $310/credit. Financial aid options are also available, and the program can be completed online in two to three years for less than $10K.
Top Careers in Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is a field that requires a range of skills and knowledge, from technical expertise to risk management and communication skills, notes CourseCompare. Before entering into a cybersecurity education, get familiar with the potential career opportunities. The same source lists the following as these top 4 careers, along with the education requirements for each…
- IT Security Consultant: To become an IT security consultant, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or engineering, along with industry training in cybersecurity, is required.
- Information Security Engineer: A bachelor’s degree in computer science is required, along with good writing skills for communication with the company or customers.
- Forensic Computer Analyst: A bachelor’s degree in computer science is required, along with additional certification from organizations such as the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners and the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists.
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): To become a CISO, at least a decade of experience in security roles with increasing levels of responsibility, a relevant university degree in computer science, additional security-related certificates, and ideally some business education are required.
The cyber security sector is experiencing a surge in growth, largely due to the increase in cyber crime. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that the job opportunities for information security analysts will increase by 34.7% at least until 2031, which is significantly higher than the job growth rate for all other occupations, says Cyber Security Education.
A cyber security degree equips professionals with diverse career paths and opens up opportunities to work in various industries, including information firms, credit and financial institutions, e-commerce companies, and government agencies, adds the source.