The great increase in cybercrime in recent years means that all organizations around the world are facing daily threats to vital financial information, consumer data and trade secrets. To keep this critical data secure from criminals, cybersecurity and information security experts must protect their organization and the public from hackers, scammers and many other types of cyber criminals.
The seriousness of the problem of cybercrime can be seen in the huge surge in demand for experts in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that demand for information security experts will rise by a 18% by 2024. This is a very rapid growth rate, and professionals who have a master’s degree in cybersecurity and related fields will be in great position for a very lucrative and exciting career.
By earning this advanced degree, you will be able to work in the following careers, among others:
- Information security analyst: They plan and carry out advanced cyber security measures to protect the computer networks and systems for all types of organizations. As cyberattacks increase in frequency and intensity, their job duties will expand and evolve. It is very important for these workers to stay a step ahead of cyber criminals, and constant study and research is needed to learn about how to prevent new attacks.
- Computer and information research scientist: These computer experts invent and design new ways to use computing technology and come up with more innovative ways to use technology to thwart cyber criminals. They also must study and solve complex cyber crime issues in computers, science, medicine and many related fields. They will often work with information security experts to ensure that systems at the company are secure.
- Computer and information systems managers: These professionals plan, coordinate and direct most of the computer related activities in an organization. They will help to determine the latest information technology goals in a company. Further, they will work with cybercrime experts to ensure that the company is as secure from cyber criminals as possible.
Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity?
Cybercrime is a very serious and dangerous problem in the 21st century. Cyber criminals target all businesses, financial institutions, government agencies and military organizations. There are few organizations in the world that have not been targeted by cyber criminals at one time.
These dangerous criminals can inflict serious damage on many organizations and businesses through denial of service attacks, theft of intellectual property, network viruses, financial theft, and theft of private customer information. Every day, hundreds of Americans have their identities stolen and credit damaged due to the actions of cyber thieves.
Cybersecurity professionals have a very important job in keeping these criminals at bay. They use their expertise in analysis, forensics and reverse engineering to diagnose dangerous events and to monitor vulnerable areas of security. They also make recommendations to solve potential vulnerabilities. Their recommendations can include advanced hardware and software systems to reduce risk.
Cybersecurity professionals are relied upon to design tough firewalls and to monitor how data is used, as well as limit access to important information.
In short, the role of the cybersecurity expert is of great importance in all organizations today that use computer networks. Earning a master’s in this specialty will make you a trusted expert in this field, and you will have no shortage of good paying work for the foreseeable future.
To be admitted into a master’s program in cybersecurity, you will need to meet these types of requirements:
- 0 GPA in your bachelor’s program
- Bachelor’s degree in IT, IS, computer science, programming or information systems
- Official college transcripts
- Updated resume with extensive computer science background
- You should have coursework in networks, statistics, algebra, and computer programming.
- Statement of purpose
- 3 recommendation letters
Curriculum and Courses
If you think that you want a career in cybersecurity, you should consider the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering from the University of Southern California. This advanced, two year degree is made for graduate students who want to obtain jobs in advanced computer network operations. It also is well suited for professionals who want to eventually earn a doctorate, and those who have jobs with responsibilities in information security.
This high quality computer science degree focuses on how to develop, engineer, and operate secure IS systems. Students will learn how to secure operations systems and to secure applications. They also will learn how to create secure networks, and use key management and cryptography. Also, they will understand how to create good security policies and learn how this policy should drive decisions about technology.
This degree will provide you with the skills and knowledge to provide administration of environments which need high levels of security. You will have plenty of hands-on experience in real world situations in intensive laboratory work. These scenarios are designed by current and former information security professionals who are experts in their field.
Your required courses include:
- Applications of Cryptography and Cryptanalysis
- Policy: The Foundation for Successful Information Assurance
- Assurance in Cyberspace and Applied to Information Security
- Distributed Systems and Network Security
- Secure Systems Engineering
- Security Systems
- Applied Cryptography
- Trusted System Design, Analysis, and Development
- Secure Systems Administration
- Computer and Network Forensics
Career Outcomes and Job Titles
With your master’s in cybersecurity, you will likely find excellent work opportunities in these areas:
- Homeland Security
- Computer Engineering
- Computer Software Engineering
- Information Security
- Computer Systems
- Software Development
- Computer Architecture
- Network Administration
- Intelligence Analysis
Job and Salary Outlook
- Information Security Analyst –Employment in this field will rise by 18% by 2024, which is much faster than average. Demand in the field will continue to rise because cyberattacks are becoming more serious and more frequent. As technology becomes more advanced and pervasive in all areas of business, the importance of information security analysts will only rise. Median pay is $90,100 per year.
- Computer and Information Research Scientists –This field will see 11% increase in job demand by 2024. The fast growth of data collection by companies will mean there will be more need for data mining and computer scientists; they will help companies to write algorithms that assist companies in making sense of large amounts of information. The median salary is $110,000 per year.
- Computer and Information Systems Managers –Employment in this field will rise by 15% in the next eight years, as demand will grow with companies expanding their services and operations to more digital platforms. Median pay is $131,000 per year.
Scholarships and Grants
- Department of Homeland Security: DHS offers many grants and other educational opportunities to increase your cybersecurity skills and to enjoy a career in this dynamic field. Financial help is available for both bachelor’s and graduate students.
- Cybercorp Scholarship for Service: This is a program that is offered by the US Office of Personnel Management. Scholarships are offered that total $34,000 for graduate students and $22,500 for undergraduate students in cybersecurity.
- Information Systems Security Association: An international organization of dedicated security professionals and practitioners. Offers educational forums, publications and networking.
- National Cybersecurity Student Association: This is the largest association of students at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level in cybersecurity. Opportunities abound in research and development; internships, scholarships, mentoring and jobs; training and events; and networking.