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The field of computer science has maintained steady growth for several decades, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. As the hardware fundamentals of computing continue to advance exponentially, the utility of computing will continue to compound.

Future computers will be miniaturized to the point where sophisticated logic can be incorporated into almost any household item, and supercomputers will have the power necessary to replace human decision-making.

Cyber threats will continue to become more prevalent as computers play a more prominent role in daily life. Today, millions of people have had their lives disrupted by encountering viruses and spyware on their personal computers.

Although malware can be costly and destructive with ordinary computing, the consequences of cyber threats can be catastrophic when they occur with life-saving equipment, corporate databases, and critical governmental infrastructure.

Therefore, significant career opportunities are available for proactive students who major in cyber security in anticipation of these future threats.

What Cyber Security Majors Learn

Protecting computer systems necessitates a thorough understanding of the fundamentals that enable a computer to operate. Most cyber security programs begin by teaching students about the history of computing and its basic applications in today’s world.

Next, students will learn about the hardware layer to understand the physical technologies that enable software to function. Finally, introductory students will be taught basic coding languages for learning purposes.

Once students possess a solid foundation of knowledge in computer science, many cyber security degree programs will begin teaching advanced computing theory while asking students to learn more advanced programming languages. Students will often have to learn binary machine languages and even learn about electronics. Students who pass their fundamental classes will be able to advance to learning about cyber security.

Curriculum Overview

Cyber security classes focus on identifying software vulnerabilities and patching them before a system can be harmed. When a threat is ongoing, students are taught to rapidly identify the threat, block the perpetrator’s system access, and prepare the system to be brought back online. In order to learn about cyber security, students often have to play the role of the hacker so that they can foresee the methodologies that will be used by an attacker.

The core classes in a cyber security curriculum will usually focus on networking, cryptography, and application security. Networking classes will teach the fundamentals of stopping remote cyber threats across many different layers.

Cryptography courses teach the specifics about how cryptography functions, common vulnerabilities, and strategies for the secure transfer of data. Advanced application security classes will teach students how to diagnose potential code vulnerabilities and apply effective solutions.

Many cyber security programs partner with local information technology companies to provide students with experience in solving real-world problems before graduation.

Advantages of Pursuing a Masters Degree

Universities are offering cyber security degrees for both undergraduate students and students at higher levels. Unfortunately, the amount of preliminary knowledge necessary to teach cyber security means that students who complete only an undergraduate program often start their careers with inadequate or limited knowledge.

Although some employers are willing to teach new graduates additional information about defending against cyber threats, this entails a cost that will make a job candidate less attractive. Moreover, graduates who launch their careers with a masters degree can expect greater compensation and accelerated promotions for the remainder of their lives.

Employers find students with a masters degree in cyber security attractive because of the advanced information that these programs teach. In many cases, employers will end up sending students to correspondence classes after they graduate so that they understand everything necessary to carry out their responsibilities.

Employers will, therefore, have to wait several months or years before they can begin using a new graduate at full capacity. Additionally, students who earn a masters degree often learn about new systems and methodologies that they can teach to their coworkers, so employers perceive new graduates from a masters degree program as valuable assets.

Job Prospects for Cyber Security Degrees

Moore’s law states that computing technologies will become twice as powerful every 18 months. As a result, the benefits that computers can offer society will continue to increase for decades to come. Moreover, new applications are constantly emerging as computers become more miniaturized and robust. With new devices and hardware necessitating a constant stream of new software, security threats will be continuously problematic.

Every update requires careful work by cyber security experts to ensure that unforeseen vulnerabilities will not jeopardize a system, and administrators must keep pace with cyber threats as hackers continue to develop new techniques. The job prospects for cyber security degrees are, therefore, higher than average and growing.

Cyber Security Masters Degree Online

Studying online is an important option for students in the modern world. Online education enables students to learn from anywhere in the world while studying at their own pace.

Since students enrolled in an online degree program do not have to be physically located near the educational institution of their choice, they can look across the world to find the best degree program for their own situation. Online education can even be less expensive, and the same financial aid options are usually available for online students.

The decision to pursue a cyber security masters degree online can be especially advantageous for students who have to work while pursuing their education. For example, a current employee wishing to advance to a higher level could pursue a masters degree while continuing to maintain their employment.

In some cases, employers are even willing to give students time during the work day to pursue their education. Some employers will even pay the cost of an online masters degree for an ambitious employee. Therefore, the advantages of pursuing a cyber security masters degree online can often outweigh the benefits of traditional education.

Salary for Cyber Security Degrees

The average graduate with a masters degree in cyber security will earn an annual salary of $94,500 within four years, according to national salary data from Payscale.

Likewise, individuals with more than 20 years of experience can expect to make about $117,500 per year. The growing demand for cyber security majors means that employers may be willing to offer additional compensation in the years ahead as competition for individuals skilled in this field continues to increase.

Who Should Major in Cyber Security

Computer science students should consider specializing in cyber security to increase their job prospects upon graduation. A masters degree in cyber security can also complement certain undergraduate majors, such as business or forensics.

Individuals who enter the job market with expertise in multiple fields that act as compliments to each other can often compound their income potential. However, with the ability to study online, almost anyone currently employed in a field related to computer science can benefit from a masters degree in cyber security.