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Online Cyber Security Degrees
In an global economy where businesses may be subject to cyber threats, there is a growing need to protect information stored and sent by computers. Earning an online cyber security degree could be the first step to jumpstarting your career in cyber security. If you are interested in pursuing such a degree, there are lots of colleges and not-for-profit schools that offer such a program. Before applying there are certain things you may want to know.
A glimpse into the realm of computer security
Cyber security mainly consists of securing computers and networks from malicious attacks, viruses, worms, trojans, and malware.
Those with a cyber security degree, may protect organizations against cyber threats that could compromise sensitive information or, at worst, harm clients by exposing their identities, private materials and more. As the world becomes more and more reliant on technology the responsibilities of information security analysts constantly grow.[a]
As you may have guessed, those with a computer security degree often work in offices as they do most of their work on a computer. However, where exactly these offices are located varies greatly. Information security professionals are hired by consulting agencies, financial firms, big businesses and more. These tech-savvy people can be valuable in almost any organization that relies on computers to carry out their daily work operations. As the number of companies bringing their services online grows, so does the need for capable information security professionals. Internet threats such as hackers, fraudulent programs and computer bugs can wreak havoc for an unprotected business. It's the information security professional's job to combat these tech problems and keep an organization safe.
What are some of the courses offered in online cyber security degrees?
Cyber security students don't just learn how computers work. They also learn how to protect the information within a computer or a computer network system. Courses in inforamtion security may include:
- Principles of Programming
- Mathematical Logic
- Fundamentals of Computer Security
- Introductory Algorithm Analysis
- Network Security
- Operating Systems
- Computer Concepts and Applications
- Legal and Ethical Issues
- Linear Data Systems
- Computer Science Fundamentals
- Networking and Data Communications
- Systems Design
- Risk Analysis
- Security Breaches
- Software Engineering
- Advanced Programming and Algorithms
- Database Management
What skills might I learn from an online cyber security degree program?
The skills typically learned via cyber security degrees will vary according to your concentration, but here are a few relevant skills
- Knowledge of how to use computers and networks to store information
- Ability to identify weaknesses in a computer network
- Development of software to safeguard a network's vulnerabilities
- Familiarity with all relevant operating systems, server types, and platforms
- Ability to ensure that computer systems run smoothly without interference from malicious software or hackers
- Capability of working with law enforcement to investigate computer crimes such as identity theft, "white collar crimes," or cyber-terrorism
- An understanding of business and management principles
While there are many schools offering information security degree programs online, it may be wise to look for ones that are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of ABET, the accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering and technology. ABET accreditation means that a college or university program meets the standards of today’s computing profession. The ABET accredits programs, not institutions, paying particular attention to post-secondary programs within an accredited college or university.
Preparing to Pursue a Career in Computer Information Security
Once you’re enrolled in an online cyber security degree program, you may learn a variety of skills, including the ability to design an organization’s security systems procedures and protocols and ensuring that an organization’s online security systems are compliant with standards, policies and laws.
- Employment in the computer and information technology field is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all other occupations.[ii]
- You may even want to consider pursuing a career as an information security analyst, a career that is expected to grow 18 percent from 2014 to 2024.[iii]
Taking an online computer information security degree program can be very different than traditional on-campus learning. To make it more enjoyable, seek out the valuable resources that lots colleges and schools offer. They may include IT services, tutoring, disability support, online library assistance and the chance to speak to a professor if you need extra help. When signing up for classes, be sure to contact your school’s program representative or counselor to find out where you can access such resources.
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Choosing the ideal college and the right online information security program can be a difficult task. That’s why it’s important to know what you may need to look for. While school location, size and campus life may not be as important to an online student as it is to one on campus, there are other factors you should consider. Examining a school’s graduation rate, its retention numbers, its career assistance, along with its loan default rate may all be important. Not all online degree programs may be eligible for federal student aid and not all may be accredited. Earning an information security degree may be a great way to pursue entry to this growing field as well as opening the door to the career of your dreams.
[i]abet.org/accreditation/ [ii]bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm [iii]bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm#tab-6 [iv]studentaid.ed.gov/sa/prepare-for-college/choosing-schools/consider#statistics [a] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
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