CYBER SECURITY GRADUATE PROGRAMS
If you already have your undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering, or information technology, you may wish to consider a graduate program in cybersecurity. This is a growing field that is experiencing high demand from both the government as well as the private sector. There are simply too many cybercriminals prowling around all over the world who seek to do harm to the United States and its digital assets to ignore.
A FAST GROWING FIELD
Cybersecurity is growing at nearly twice the pace of most other employment sectors. Cybersecurity jobs are expected to expand by at least 28 percent through 2026, where the average growth rate for jobs rests at 7 percent. Students are therefore clamoring for the training necessary to work as a cyber security professional. To meet this demand, universities that offer programs such as computer science, are working hard to create graduate degrees that specialize in cybersecurity.
If you are considering a graduate program for cybersecurity, it is likely that you are already working in the IT field in some capacity. With the fact that you're already working in the field in mind, you might not necessarily have two or more years to dedicate to a full masters degree. Rather, you might want to consider a certificate program.
A certificate program can take much less time than a full graduate degree and coursework can often be applied to future graduate work. Enrolling in a certificate program is often the perfect solution for working professionals. They are able to gain the knowledge and skills they need to get ahead in their careers, but also receive the credentials they need for their resumes. In fact, since computer security is in such high demand, if you achieve the certificate level in your studies, you may not need to continue any further in your education,
When you consider graduate programs, you might want to take a look at taking courses online. Online programs are often the best option for working professionals, particularly in ever-changing technical fields. You will be able to apply your knowledge directly to new technologies and trends and you can bring your working experience into the classroom and projects to enhance discussions. In fact, you might find that your work environment is exposing you to IT solutions for security issues that have yet to make it into a course syllabus.
GRADUATE SPECIALTIES AND COURSEWORK
Graduate school is all about specialization. Prior to entering a program it will be helpful to know exactly how you would like to proceed as a student. Knowing how you would like your career to progress will be immensely helpful when researching programs. A few areas of specialization may include network security, computer security, and risk management and compliance. When you can articulate how and what you would like to study, you are well on your way to success in graduate school.
When you enter school, there will be a wide array of courses available to you. The course list may include some of the following:
- Legal Issues in Information Assurance
- Network Programming
- Secure Electronic Commerce
- Discrete Structures
- Computer Forensics
- Audits and Regulations
- Computer Security
- Database Security
- Database Design
Note that different universities often have different names and descriptions for courses that are very similar, so always try to compare course descriptions when deciding which university to attend for your graduate degree.
Since there are so few graduate programs in cybersecurity and so many students who wish to attain a certificate or degree, the admissions requirements are bound to be stringent. Make sure you do the very best you can if you are still taking undergraduate courses and that you enhance your work life by attending conferences. Try to give panel discussions or lectures while at those conferences. The closer your topics are to the security field the better off you will be. It may also help to write articles for computer science journals or even blogs. Some people may start their own blogs and become known in the field by finding their own audience.
Since your degree is likely to launch your career or take it to a new level, don't be afraid to uproot and move closer to campus if you feel that in-person instruction will be a benefit. There is no substitute for education, so it would be a shame to let your future life take a backseat to temporary circumstances.