Cyber Security Degree programs in USA, MS/BS, career prospects, admissions, top programs
Cybersecurity or Information security is the procedure to shield computers, programs, and networks from unwarranted and unlicensed access and against attacks and exploitation.
Cybersecurity security degrees are relatively new in the world of higher education as interest in this field has expanded with the growth of computers. Students armed with these degrees can become ethical hackers who are employed by firms to try to discover their digital security flaws before the actual hackers do.
Choosing The Best Security Program
Choosing a college or university is a crucial decision for anyone. The rate of innovation and change within the cybersecurity field only serves to make the decision-making process that much more difficult for students who want to pursue higher education in security. The good news is that more and more institutes are offering these degree programs with many participating in path-breaking research. Students thus have the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in learning and security research opportunities at many of the top institutions. Moreover, the global lack of cybersecurity talent (a shortage of 1.5 million professionals by 2020) means that pursuing a degree or research program can turn out to be a highly rewarding career move.
The choice will depend on the student's career goals and some other key factors which are appended below:
- Well equipped and state of the art research labs and top-notch faculties.
- Ties and associations with government and the private sectors.
- Scholarships and grants for both undergraduate & graduate students.
- Proximity to tech areas, government defense agencies and hubs of corporate activity.
- Subject expertise and CAE (hallmark of quality) designations.
What does a Cybersecurity degree entail and what are the career prospects?
Individual or students with cybersecurity degrees work to analyze and decrypt information in its various forms to stop cyber-terrorism. Cybersecurity experts also work to develop digital systems for companies to store data.
In essence, if it is a digital platform that needs security, the involvement of a cybersecurity expert is the need of the hour.
A four-year cybersecurity degree will teach the students about the different methods of protecting not just data but also IT systems. This means that learners get training in system administrator roles, databases, and data recovery. The students also get to learn skills such as digital forensics and criminal psychology.
Top education institutions in the US are offering BS and MS degrees in cybersecurity for students as well as research programs for information security professionals looking to further their careers.
The jobs the students are likely to get when they get out of school are the following:
- Security Consultant
- Security Analyst
- Security Engineer
- Security Software Developer
- Cybersecurity Specialist
- Cyber threats Analyst
- Security Architect
- System Administrator
- Security Network Engineer
Specializations in Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has a number of specializations which a student or professional can opt for. The options include -
- Ethical hacking and penetration testing- to hack websites or data that is kind of malware.
- Information assurance- to ensure cybersecurity.
- Systems security- to secure any system say a PC or a laptop.
- Cybercrime- to prevent crimes committed while using the web or the internet
- Digital forensics- to investigate and recover based on information related to digital sources.
- Cryptography to protect data through unique cryptographic algorithms.
The average tuition fees and the cost of a cybersecurity degree(figure given in approx values)
A few top cybersecurity programs in the US
The US is one of the most sought after places that offer infosec programs - cybersecurity, information assurance, information security. Some universities and degree programs that are the topmost, in terms of on-campus research initiatives, study and degree programs offered, cost and scholarship opportunities, professional designations and certifications, and partnerships and affiliations are elucidated here.
Degree: B.S. in Networks & Cybersecurity, B.S. in Computer Engineering
- Emphasis: Software Development and a rounded education
- Specializations: Cyber Operations, Information Assurance
Virginia Tech is one of the top-ranked universities in the world and its college of Engineering is award-winning.
The education is top-notch and the location is favorable for students interested in cybercrime and cyberlaw. Since the institute is near Washington D.C., employment opportunities in defense and federal agencies are abundant.
Rochester Institute Of Technology(RIT)
- Degree: B.S. & M.S. in Computing Security
- Emphasis: Research, Expert Development
- Specializations: Information Sciences, Cryptography
RIT's cybersecurity degrees assist students to turn into independent experts in their fields. Students have the option of engaging in advanced research in their respective fields.
The university is renowned for its well-funded research projects which means that regardless of what career path the students want to take, he/she would likely have a chance to explore that industry through research before they graduate.
Georgia Institute Of Technology
- Degree: M.S. in Cybersecurity
- Emphasis: Practical skills
- Specializations: Information Security, Public Policy, Energy Systems
The tech program at Georgia Institute of Technology specifically focuses on the practical application of cybersecurity. In order to integrate applicable coursework, the program works closely with the college of engineering and offers three main specialization paths. The students have a good number of options depending on which career path they see themselves taking.
While studying at the school, the students also have a chance to do research work for the U.S. government and the military, apart from being hired by private organizations, thanks to the school's connections and associations in the field.
- Degree: M.S. in Computer Science
- Emphasis: IT Professional Training
- Specializations: Cyber Forensics, Information Security
Purdue University is an internationally acclaimed institute and its cybersecurity program is equipped for industry professionals. For their cybersecurity specialties, the pursuers will need a BS degree in any computer science major.
The University's programs are geared to give the students a firsthand experience and help them become an information security specialist.
Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security Lab (CERIAS) is one of the world's top research labs in cybersecurity which incorporates tons of interdisciplinary tactics. CERIAS also gives Purdue students a high degree of hands-on experience in the field.
University Of Washington-Seattle
- Degree: B.S. in Informatics
- Emphasis: Broad Security and Privacy Understanding
- Specializations: Cybersecurity, Information Assurance
The University of Washington Seattle offers a unique degree in informatics, which is the science of processing and storing data. Their research efforts focus on a wider picture of data security, tackling subjects like the Robotics, Internet of Things(IoT), and Smart Cities.
There is an abundance of job opportunities in cybersecurity and a clear demand for a skilled workforce to fulfill the need.