All about a master's degree in cybersecurity

  • All about a master's degree in cybersecurity

    If you find the field of computer science fascinating, you might be interested in going back to school for your master’s. Even if you’re already working in the industry, you can benefit from advancing your education to improve your understanding of computer science practices and increase your earning potential and job marketability.

    Perhaps you’d like to go into the specific field of computer science that protects data from being compromised by hackers and cyber criminals. The field of cybersecurity is increasing rapidly, making the demand for capable individuals higher than ever to combat a significant number of cyber crimes. If you’d like to become a more reputable cybersecurity professional or are looking for the education needed to start this career, consider earning a master’s degree in cybersecurity.

    The rise in cybersecurity

    As businesses are relying increasingly on digital and web-based measures, they need teams of professionals that are equipped to deal with protecting this online data. According to Market Watch, the cybersecurity sector is expected to surpass 300 billion USD by the year 2024, at a compound annual growth rate of 12%. The reason this industry is growing so significantly is that there have been an increased number of cyber attacks. The financial losses resulting from cyber attacks have increased by 62% in the last five years, impacting businesses and individuals of all sizes.

    To combat hackers and cyber criminals, businesses are hiring information security analysts at increasing rates, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job outlook for these professionals is projected to increase 32% through 2028, at a much faster than average rate. Whether you’re currently working in cybersecurity or are looking to change over to this in-demand profession, you might consider earning an advanced degree in this specialized field of computer science.

    Deciding between specializations in computer science

    There are a number of master’s degrees in the computer science field, with cybersecurity making up only one specialization. Alongside an M.S. in Cybersecurity, other advanced degrees in digital security and protection include:

    • M.S. in Computer Science
    • M.S. in Computer Engineering
    • M.S. in Information Technology
    • M.S. in Information Assurance

    Why might someone pursue a master’s in cybersecurity over a degree in another area of computer science? Rather than receiving a holistic education of technology and computer systems, cybersecurity graduate students can get a specific, hands-on understanding of advanced tools in cryptography, forensics and risk management. Rather than learning the theoretical concepts of cybersecurity, most universities emphasize gaining technical expertise in the field.

    Sample master’s programs in cybersecurity

    If you’re considering pursuing a master’s degree in cybersecurity, you might be curious about what types of programs are out there. Fortunately, this field of study has grown in popularity in recent years, so several universities offer advanced degrees in this area.

    The University of Albany is currently preparing to launch its master’s degree in Digital Forensics to educate prospective and current cybersecurity professionals on the nuances of forensics examinations and cyber threats. At the moment, the university offers a bachelor’s degree in this field, but it is expanding its offerings to provide an even higher understanding of cybersecurity, as the field is growing.

    Southern New Hampshire University offers an online master’s degree in cybersecurity that you can earn in as fast as 15 months. The program is asynchronous, which means you can attend lectures and complete your coursework on your own time, making it a convenient option for full-time workers and other individuals with hectic schedules. Some sample courses you can take in this program include Cyberlaw and Ethics, Incident Detection and Response, Network Assessment and Defense and Investigation and Digital Forensics, which are crucial components in the field of digital security.

    Georgia Tech University’s online master of science in cybersecurity allows students to pursue three separate tracks: information security for a more computer science-driven path of study, energy systems for a focus on electrical power systems and policy to cover organizational, national and international concerns in cybersecurity. Each of these paths includes a cybersecurity capstone or practicum, in which students can explore the concepts they learned about in organizational, government-specific or other settings, putting their findings into context with real-world practices.

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