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As the threat to security grows alongside the information technology sector, so does the need for cyber security schools that can train students. Computer science departments nationwide are responding to the needs of government and corporations for strengthened data security as well as for well-developed plans and policies to protect privacy. These departments offer a wide range of programs that have their own core specializations for students to choose from. Luckily, you can choose to take some classes online if your desired program is too far away.


When you decide that to attend cyber security school, make sure that you are adequately prepared and have done your research and have completed the right prerequisites. Most students of higher-level technology are skilled in mathematics, are analytical, and often have some knowledge of programming. Too, many cyber security programs are only offered at the masters level, so if you are considering one of these, you'll need to already have a degree in computer science or information technology.


Be certain to thoroughly research programs in your field, particularly at the masters level, because they are not all created equal. Some schools will prepare you for an investigative role or to work with networks, and others might focus more on policy and bigger-picture security issues in a corporation. If you have been working in IT for a while, it is likely that you already have an idea of where you would like to focus your energy. However, if you are just starting out as a first-year student in an undergraduate program, there is less pressure to specialize and many programs are likely to be more broadly focused.

Once you determine the type of program you would like to pursue, research the programs in your general area. If there is a university in your local area that offers the sort of program that appeals to you, then you're in luck. You won't likely have to consider moving across the country, finding a new job, or leaving your friends and family. However, there may be a perfect program in some other state, but moving is out of the question. In that case, see if you can attend classes online for the entire degree, or until your situation allows a move.


Online programs offer greater flexibility in terms of location, but also in terms of daily and weekly scheduling. Working professionals are opting for online master's degrees, for instance, because they allow them to stay where they are and to complete their coursework in their off-hours. For those who cannot commit to a full two-year master's program, there are also many schools that offer certificates in cyber security. A certificate can be beneficial because it offers robust training and a credential in a shorter amount of time than a full graduate degree. Plus, most schools will let the credits from a certificate count towards their master's degree. Even if you opt for a master's in computer science, some of your certificate coursework may transfer. Consult with your school's technology department to confirm what they offer. But do make sure any online cyber security school you choose is accredited, so your credits can transfer and you are eligible for federal financial aid.

Whether you choose a real world program or an online education, it is important to check the faculty, as you'll want the best qualified instructors. Check to see whether your instructors have much experience working in security or whether they are primarily academic. The more academic professors are often very up-to-date with security technology and advances in artificial intelligence and they may offer a bigger-picture view, which is valuable in an ever-changing profession. The best programs seek a balance in their departments, so don't be afraid to ask questions and investigate. After all, this is your education.


The primary keyword in cyber security education is interdisciplinary. For a cyber security department, this will mean that the coursework and faculty places an emphasis on computer science, engineering and management. Whether you are looking to work for a corporation that is seeking to protect its data or a law enforcement agency, this is an important thing to keep in mind. If you come out of your program with a well-rounded view of the field, you will likely be more hire-able.

After interdisciplinary, look for programs that highlight computer science. Knowledge of artificial intelligence (AI) and cryptography is likely to serve you very well in the professional world. Some students have even created artificial intelligence programs that they have been able to sell on the open market. As a security professional, you will surely come across a need to outsmart a criminal's AI that is trying to learn and hack your system.

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Cyber Security Education