Career Options With an MS in Cybersecurity
Chief security officer, vulnerability analyst, cryptographer, and security architect are among the information security career possibilities.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security jobs are expected to rise 32% between 2018 and 2028, squarely in the “much faster than average” job growth range.1 Most companies require a bachelor’s in computer science, computer programming, information technology, or a related field to get started in cybersecurity. But if you’re looking to make an immediate impact in this growing field, a cybersecurity master’s is even more desirable.
We’ve all heard the term “cybersecurity,” but what exactly does it entail? Cybersecurity protects companies, governments, organizations, and people against cyber threats. Any personal information available online, including health records, credit card numbers, insurance claims, and online bill payments, is susceptible to attack. Cybersecurity professionals protect potential victims from hackers and malware attacks while shoring up vulnerabilities.2
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) 2019 Internet Crime Report, total losses due to cybercrime in the past five years total more than $10 billion, making a steady climb each year.3
While this is disheartening news, there is enormous career potential for those looking to switch careers and enter the cybersecurity field, or pursue an advanced degree to propel their cybersecurity careers even further. Analysts estimate there are currently 1.5 million job openings in information security, with around 6 million people currently working in the industry.4 Many cybersecurity job postings require a minimum of a master’s degree.
Cybersecurity master’s programs cover more advanced information security topics than their associate- and bachelor’s-level counterparts. In a master’s degree in cybersecurity program, you can expect to take courses in risk management, cloud computing, applied cryptography, digital forensics, secure coding, and cybercrime prevention and protection. These study areas prepare cybersecurity master’s degree recipients for careers in both public and private industry. While earlier cybersecurity jobs focused on the national security, insurance, health, and financial services sectors, this work now prevails across industries.
With a cybersecurity master’s degree, you may find work as a:
A problem solver and strategic leader, the security architect creates, builds, and maintains an organization’s computer security network and its applications. His or her work should avert malware, hacking, and other cyber threats through a complex and effective security structure. After building the network, the security architect makes suggestions on ways to monitor ongoing threats and update and maintain system security.5,6
Penetration testers, also known as ethical hackers, use their information technology knowledge to try to infiltrate an organization’s systems, much like a typical hacker. Penetration testers, however, conduct their hacking on behalf of organizations, and use their work to inform the organizations how and where to reinforce against vulnerabilities to improve overall computer and network security.7
Blending computer science, applied mathematics, and engineering, cryptographers encrypt sensitive data and information using algorithms and ciphers. They make the code that protects private data, including financial and national security information.8 In law enforcement and national security, a cryptographer may decipher encrypted data using mathematical and statistical modeling to investigate criminal matters.6
As you might imagine, a vulnerability analyst examines an organization’s computer networks and looks for vulnerabilities, or loopholes, a bad actor might exploit. The vulnerability analyst conducts assessments of the security strength of company networks and informs network administrators and security architects where networks might need bolstering.6
Chief security officer / data protection officer
A chief security officer (CSO) or chief information security officer (CISO) oversees all information technology and cybersecurity initiatives for a company. With cyber threats rising, CSO and CISO positions are gaining in popularity. In some cases, the CSO is a mid-executive position,5 but the role is increasingly included in the executive C-suite. CSOs and CISOs typically have extensive experience, as well as managerial and technical skills. Their jobs include overseeing risk management programs, responding to critical threats as they arise, and, in some cases, working closely with law enforcement and government agencies with regard to corporate security.9
In the European Union, this role is known as data protection officer, or DPO. The DPO role is so critical to corporate security that the EU mandates that every organization that collects or processes personal data employ one, per the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.10
If information assurance and bolstering cybersecurity efforts for organizations appeals to you, an online master’s in cybersecurity may help you reach your career goals. Walden University, an accredited university with flexible online education options, offers an MS in Cybersecurity online. Walden’s online cybersecurity master’s degree program combines coursework on software engineering, analytics, and risk management in an accessible format for busy working professionals, readying you to address tomorrow’s cybersecurity challenges.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Cybersecurity degree program for working professionals. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.