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This article provides an overview of the masters of information assurance degree program, some of the subjects and courses that the degree covers, and why this degree could lead to significant career advancement. It also presents a high-quality masters of information assurance program that can be completed online.
What Is a Masters of Information Assurance?
The masters of information assurance degree program is designed for those who already have academic and/or professional experience in the field of information technology, and who want to learn about advanced information security. Graduates take on positions of management and leadership. Most schools will require students to already hold a bachelor’s degree, have a number of years of professional experience, and have certain GMAT/GRE scores.
The degree is interdisciplinary in nature, covering business concepts, criminology, computer technology, and more. Students usually have to complete group work and research papers. A core curriculum is generally made up of:
- Information Assurance History and Theory
- Information Assurance Technology
- Computer Forensics
- Identity Theft Protection
- Computer Network Security
Why Earn a Masters of Information Assurance?
By completing a masters of information assurance, you can choose to obtain Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC), which is voluntary. Mainly, you will manage cultural and legal aspects of computer networking, personal identity protection, and data security, something for which there is a tremendous need.
In 2010, there were more devices connected to the internet than that there were people on earth. This was estimated to grow to 25 billion by 2015, which means that every person on earth has an average of three internet-connected devices. This puts into perspective the importance of data protection, which continues to be a major challenge in the world today.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that information security analysts had a median salary of $92,600 per year as of May 2016. However, this is at the bachelor’s degree level. Those with a graduate degree or above are more likely to find themselves in the top 10% of earners, who earn $147,290 per year or more. The BLS has also reported that there will be an 18% increase in demand for these professionals from 2014 to 2024, which is must faster than the national average and will translate into some 14,800 new jobs.
Online Option for Masters of Information Assurance
If you are interested in a masters of information assurance, you may want to consider the Master of Science in Information Assurance (MSIA) program offered by the College of Computer & Information Sciences at Regis University. This degree is offered online, on campus, or in blended format. Students are equipped with the skills to make today’s technology-focused world safer overall.
The degree provides students with unique expertise. It also offers two different specializations:
- Information assurance policy management
Either concentration delivers high quality, expert graduates who are able to grow with the changing world of technology and computer security. Furthermore, students are prepared to take any of a number of industry relevant examinations, certifications, and licenses. While many of these are voluntary, they do significantly increase someone’s potential for career advancement. They include:
- ISC – Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCO)
- Cisco – Cisco Certified Network Professional Security (CCNP)
- ISACA – Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Electronic Commerce Council – Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
The degree is also suitable for those who already have one of those certifications and want to ensure that they remain relevant. Alumni are also offered the opportunity to access continuous professional education (CPE) credits at a discounted rate, thereby ensuring that their degree always remains relevant and up to date. With the speed at which technology changes, this is a vital element.
Regis University has been designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. This means that they meet the recommendations and guidelines as included in the:
- Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) 4000 training standards
- International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. (ISC)2 Eight Domains of Knowledge
- Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA)
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework
- National Initiative on Cybersecurity Education (NICE)
Furthermore, the school has a highly respected faculty, who deliver hands-on training and prepare graduates who can make positive contributions to the world of data security. Indeed, graduates are prepared to make the world a safer place overall.
To complete the degree, students must first choose a program that is most suitable to their personal learning style. They can choose between a graduate capstone, a graduate thesis, or an information assurance practicum. They must then complete 36 hours of study. The core requirements for the information assurance policy management degree include:
- Information Technology Concepts
- Enterprise Architecture
- Information Technology Research Methods
- Managing a Secure Enterprise
- Risk Management
Should they wish to specialize in cybersecurity, they must undertake:
- Advancing to Cyber Security
- Legal Basics In Cyber and Information Security
- Offensive Cyber Security
Graduates can take on management positions within a variety of corporations or consultancy groups, or with the government. There is a rapidly increasing demand for those who are able to keep computers and information systems secure from viruses, hackers, and cyberattacks. This is particularly true because the safety of the world as a whole depends on it.
Common career options include:
- Government Information Security Specialist
- Network Security Consultant
- IT Manager
- Certified Information Systems Auditor
- Certified Information Security Manager
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- Security Systems Certified Practitioner
- Application Security Engineer
- Chief Information Security Officer
- Computer Support Specialist
- Database Administrator
- Data Security Strategist
- IT Security Consultant
- IT Security Lead
- IT Security Engineer
- Information Assurance Analyst
- Information Assurance Engineer
- Information Assurance Specialist
- Management Information Systems Director
- Network Administrator
- Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst
- Senior IT Security Consultant
- Security Systems Administrator
As you can see, completing a masters in information assurance degree is a great way to significantly advance your career, and also to gain a great deal of personal pride in the fact that you will play an important role in keeping the entire world safe. The reality is that more and more of our lives are run on computers and through technology, and this has led to a requirement for people who are able to ensure that those elements remain safe. Through this degree, you can be one of those people.
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- Information Security Analysts. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
- Master of Science in Information Assurance. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://informationassurance.regis.edu/ia-programs/ms-ia
- GIAC Certifications. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.giac.org/