Fight Threats in Cybersecurity with a Bachelor of Science (B.S) in Cybersecurity

Cyber attacks are threatening our species’ ability to protect vital information, money, and even digital systems that were implemented to keep our world safe and secure. It’s estimated that cyber security attacks will be responsible for $6 billion in damages each year by 2021. By 2020, it’s expected that the average cyber attack will cost an organization $150 million. To make matters more dire, almost 50% of American adults have been the victim of a cyber attack already.

A big part of why cyber attacks remain so prevalent, damaging and unchecked is a lack of understanding about the nature of attacks, and what organizations and individuals can do to protect themselves from attacks. As a Cybersecurity professional, you’ll be responsible for teaching people from all walks of life about cyber attacks, and basic steps they can take to decrease their chances of being victimized. Strong communication skills and an ability to explain complex technical issues to the layman will make your job easier and help mitigate threats you’ll face. You’ll also probably have to pitch your organization on raising its budget for improving cyber security. Often the cyber security budget only goes up for an organization after they suffer an attack. IBM has worked with the Ponemon Institute to estimate the Cost of a Data Breach in an effort to convince organizations to beef up their cyber security before it’s too late.

Another major threat you’ll deal with as a Cybersecurity graduate is malware. Whether it’s infiltrating systems then ransoming them back to their owners, phishing for confidential information, destroying data or other nefarious goals, malware is an easy, common, decentralized form of attacking systems, and something you’ll have to grapple with as a Cybersecurity pro.

Why Get a Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity?

In addition to helping to secure the future of digital information, Cybersecurity is a lucrative, quickly growing field with a shortfall of qualified professionals. Research into Cyber Security job postings shows that approximately 86% of them were looking for candidates with Bachelor degrees to fill their open positions. So by earning a Bachelor’s in the field of Cybersecurity, you can gain access to a large, untapped job market that is poised to continue to grow, with qualified professionals holding great leverage over hiring organizations. From 2010-2014, there were three times as many new Cyber Security positions compared to general IT job growth. Research shows 53% of organizations looking to fill Cybersecurity positions waited as long as six months to find them. Other reports suggest there will be 1.5 million more openings in the cybersecurity field than professionals to occupy them by 2020 (another report said there will be a deficit of 2 million desired cybersecurity professionals by 2019). Here’s comprehensive ranking of Bachelor programs in Cybersecurity.

Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity Vs. Related Degrees

Bachelor’s in Computer Science: students learn comprehensive skills in programming, computer architecture, algorithms, data structures, and information theory. This degree gives graduates the foundational skills they’d need to approach cyber security.

Bachelor’s in Cyber Security: In-depth tutelage in programming, information technology, law, ethics, management, analytics, and how they interact with protecting information, preventing cyber attacks, and investigating attacks after they happen. Also engages students on cyber security-related policy, management, information technology, and development.

Bachelor’s in Information Assurance: Similar to a cyber security degree but more concentrated on management, policy, law, psychology, and conceptual understanding of cyber attacks.

Bachelor’s in Information Technology: Combines aspects of Computer Science and Cyber Security but with a heavier focus on hardware and networking than programming, algorithms, data systems, and operating systems.

Bachelor’s in Cyber Security Curriculum

Every program is different, but Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity often require 120 credit hours. Common core courses include:

  • Computer Hardware
  • Cyber Technologies for Criminal Justice
  • Information Security
  • Network Security
  • Fundamentals of Networking
  • Ethics in Information Technology
  • Cybersecurity Processes and Technologies
  • Advanced Information Systems Security

Bachelor’s in Cyber Security Electives

Cyber Security Bachelor programs often give students the opportunity to specialize in different aspects of the field, and common electives are often:

  • Cryptography
  • Operating Systems
  • Ethical Hacking
  • Linux Systems
  • Information Assurance Risk and Compliance
  • System Vulnerability Assessments
  • Introduction to Malware Analysis

Bachelor’s in Cyber Security Careers

What are the actual positions that graduates holding Bachelor’s in Cyber Security often fill? Look no further:

  • Information Security Analyst: In this role, you’ll prepare and install a security strategy to protect networks and systems. You’ll often work for tech companies, consulting firms, financial companies, and really any organization that needs to protect their information.
    • Median Salary: $92,600
    • Job Outlook, 2014-24: 18%
  • Security Engineer: You’ll focus on the security systems that systems are designed with, either creating them, fixing them, all the while keeping abreast of how they could be damaged by natural disaster, cyber attacks, and much more.
    • Median Salary: $85,177
    • Job Outlook, 2014-24: 18%
  • Ethical Hacker: You’ll try to find vulnerabilities in systems, networks and organizations, then help your “targets” fix weaknesses that allow these attacks.
    • Median Salary: $72,000
    • Job Outlook, 2014-24: 18%
  • Security Software Developer: In this position you’ll help create software that is obtrusive to malware and detects attempted intrusion. You’ll also help create digital forensic tools, and be responsible for managing junior developers.
    • Median Salary: $102,280
    • Job Outlook, 2014-24: 17%
  • Computer Forensics Investigator or Analyst: Here you’ll work with law enforcement or private organizations to try and recover lost or otherwise compromised information following a cyber attack. You’ll help find evidence to identify cyber criminals, or prove attacks took place.
    • Median Salary: $85,800
    • Job Outlook, 2014-24: 21%