In today’s world, cyber security the roles of professionals in this field are vital. The servers of large companies are attacked every year. Bad actors in other countries hack entire cities, holding their utilities hostage. Elections are compromised. The list gets longer almost every day. It’s up to you and other cyber security specialists to detect and thwart such attacks.
Why a Cyber Security Bachelor’s?
Because of several well-publicized hacks of government and company servers, government and business leaders are now aware that tougher computer/security systems are a must-have.
- Your work will never be dull. You’ll stay ahead of cybercriminals, as well as helping remedy the damage that successful criminals can inflict. It will be your responsibility to keep vital infrastructure protected and secure.
- Because this is a newer profession, job opportunities are plentiful. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, between 2007 and 2013, job postings for cyber security positions jumped 74%; employment is predicted to grow another 18% between 2014 and 2024.
Types of Bachelor Degrees Available in Cyber Security
A bachelor’s degree in cyber security provides you with rigorous coursework and training, allowing you to learn the basics of cyber security, recognize best practices, and identify IT security threats and products. You’ll learn how to write software, hack ethically, and determine weak penetration points. Your education will take you into cybercriminal law, where you’ll also learn about digital forensic investigation.
BS in Cyber Security
Learn the basic knowledge you need to earn industry certifications. With this degree you can gain even more knowledge and skills on the job, as you work to protect government agencies and private companies from cyberthreats such as data theft and ransomware. You’ll learn how to design, implement, and evaluate computing-based solutions to satisfy computing requirements.
- Network Security
- Ethical Hacking
- Digital Forensics
BS in Computer Forensics
In a bachelor’s-level program in computer forensics, you’ll learn about the foundational computer investigation skills you need on the job. Learn and gain needed competencies such as the collection and analysis of digital evidence, the basics of effective computer investigation techniques, basic computer theory, knowledge of white-collar crime, and the use of all available digital forensics tools.
- Criminal Law
- Networking Fundamentals
- Criminal Procedure
BS in Network Security
Every good network security bachelor’s degree program offers learning in both the theory and practice behind the design and maintenance of network infrastructure. Your program should give you access to well-equipped lab facilities. Look for hands-on practice in configuring switches, routers, and firewalls as you secure computer networks, measure and evaluate their performance, and make sure they meet business’ requirements.
- Applied Networks and Security
- Fundamentals of Information Assurance
- Fundamentals of Network Security
- Network Protocols
BS in Computer Science
Earning a computer science degree gives you a good foundation for entering the cyber security field. Computer science is one of the fastest-growing employment fields in the US. By using applied lessons and experiential learning, you’ll gain the skills to work with computer languages, test new tools, and build software.
BS in Computer Engineering
With a degree in computer engineering, you’ll be able to design computer hardware and software. You’ll gain a broad foundation of knowledge so you’ll be able to work within multiple functions. Earn certifications in more than one specialization, such as Microsoft Server 2016, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Project+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ to really earn your place as a computer engineer.
Bachelor’s in Information Technology
With a bachelor’s degree in information technology, you’re entering a broad field. You will have plenty of opportunity to gain extra certification and experience that can let you move into the cyber security field. Look at each school’s information technology program; you want something that will enable you to specialize. Your options will include data management and analysis, computer programming, cyber security, and project management.
Bachelor’s in Information Assurance
This degree falls within the cyber security field. It prepares you to assess and investigate any potential misuse of data and information systems. A strong information assurance degree program should be developed with the guidance of data security leaders.
Not every cyber security bachelor’s degree program offers concentrations. If you know you have a focus you want to work in, then look for that concentration in as many cyber security degree programs as possible. Cyber security should give you the knowledge and ability you need to use your technical know-how in securing computer systems.
Some programs prepare you for cyber security-related work in government agencies such as the FBI, the NSA’s signal intelligence operations, US Cyber Command, law enforcement agencies, or in corporate environments. These cyber security programs are provided by Centers for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD). They provide concentrations in general cyber security and cyber operations. These concentrations provide you with the specialized skills you’ll need to work at the forefront of cyber security operations systems.
As you are preparing to request admission to the universities of your choice, make careful note of the admission requirements for each one.
Here are some common admission requirements:
- High school diploma, with at least a 2.0 grade point average
- Take and pass at least three units of math
- Take and pass a minimum of four units of English
- Take and pass at least two units of science
- Take and successfully pass two units of social sciences
Traditional - Online - and Hybrid Programs
Online degree programs are carried out completely through a course management system and are completely internet based. Professors teaching these classes primarily use online videos, forums, and discussion boards to present class materials to their students. Interactions and communications between the instructor and students take place solely online.
Hybrid (blended) courses have an online presence, like their online counterparts, and some of the instructional activities and coursework are done online only. However, students are also expected to show up in a physical classroom for a specified number of hours or during specific events.
Traditional classrooms are what we are used to thinking of when we think of college. A certain number of students file into a classroom at a specified time to learn from their professor, do group projects, and take quizzes and tests.
Bachelor’s Sample Curriculum and Courses
Year 1 Sample Curriculum and Courses
- Introduction to Cyber Security
Examine the concepts and challenges of cyber security from its beginnings through several decades into the worsening cyberthreats being seen today. Changing trends that impact cyber security are discussed, including the use of mobile devices, cloud computing, and the ever-increasing sophistication of cyber-attacks.
- Certified Ethical Hacking I
Learn about the tools and procedures used in ethical hacking. Also called penetration testing, ethical hacking is one tool used by testers within an organization to compromise or penetrate a computer or network. This allows ethical hackers to bring organizational vulnerabilities to light, and then correct them.
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional I
Learn the essential material that makes up the first two study domains in the Certified information Systems Security Professional Common Body of Knowledge (CBK). Each domain covers specific areas in information systems security.
- Network Security Concepts
You will be introduced to the essential knowledge needed to help secure today’s networks. Learn to identify threats and vulnerabilities, then apply effective strategies that help to prevent data breaches.
- Computer Forensics
In this course, you explore the spreading nature of illegal and unauthorized activity that takes place in cyberspace, as well as computer crime. Learn about the various types of computer crime and the structured procedures used in its investigation. You’ll learn about systematic investigative approaches of corporate and criminal-related offenses.
Year 2 Sample Curriculum and Courses
- Networking with TCP/IP
In this class, you experience a complete examination of the protocols and services used in the TCP/IP protocol suite. You’ll gain and understanding of how network traffic is captured and transported by TCP/IP on local area networks and wide area networks, including the internet.
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional II
This class covers the essential material making up three study domains in the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Common Body of Knowledge (CBK). These domains are security engineering, network security, and software development security. The information you cover is vital in beginning to understand the field of cyber security.
- Linux System Administration
This course helps you to prepare for the Linux Professional Institute’s LPIC-1: System Administrator Certification. Learn how to install, configure, and secure the Linux operating system. Using command-line instructions will be heavily emphasized.
- Python Programming
This class discusses basic programming concepts using the Python language. Learn concepts such as variables, decision making, data types, logical and relational operators, iteration, arrays, and other data structures. Other course topics include file management and security, modules, built-in tools, and related topics.
- Networking Concepts
In this course, you’ll be introduced to the concepts behind today’s networks. You’ll cover current network design, the methods of carrying data over wired and wireless media, and the OSI Model. You’ll cover topologies and access methods, network design components, administration of network operating systems, and other topics.
Year 3 Sample Curriculum and Courses
- Computer Forensics
This class introduces and covers the intrusive nature of illegal and unauthorized activity taking place in cyberspace. You’ll learn all about the various kinds of computer crime and how a well-organized investigation is initiated, different systematic investigative approaches used in both criminal-related offenses and corporate offenses, data-retrieval principles, data collection, and other topics.
- Technology Infrastructure
You’ll explore the concepts and the purposes of information technology infrastructure. The strongest emphasis is put on expanding your knowledge of computer networks and transmission of data and how to apply those concepts to an organizations technology requirements.
- Routing and Switching I
This is the first of two routing and switching courses that teach you how to design, configure, and maintain network routing and switching. You’ll work on understanding the basic concepts, protocols, and functions of network routers and switches.
- Linux Security
You’ll be introduced to Kali Linux, which is used as a penetration testing and security auditing platform, using advanced tools to identify, detect, and exploit any vulnerabilities uncovered in the target network environment. You’ll explore several different assessment tools needed to conduct penetration testing within their categories: target coping, discovery, information gathering, enumeration, and vulnerability.
- Intrusion Detection and Incident Response
This class gives you an introduction to intrusion detection systems that are available to protect networks from cybercriminals. You’ll explore different security concepts and the basics of security attacks. You’ll also learn to install and configure various intrusion detection system tools.
Year 4 Sample Curriculum and Courses
- Certified and Ethical Hacking II
This course reintroduces concepts you learned in the first part and covers the tools and procedures needed to perform ethical hacking. You’ll learn more advanced penetration testing procedures and you’ll also learn how to incorporate the information you gain into a cohesive set of procedures to help organizations find potential vulnerabilities.
- Ethics in Cyber Security
New developments and innovations in information technology continue evolving around the world. This creates ethical challenges and concerns for information technology professionals. You’ll examine ethical and legal concerns in the use of information technology.
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional III
This course mainly covers two domains in the Certified Informational Systems Security Professional CBK (Common Body of Knowledge). These are security assessment and testing, and security operations. The first domain covers vulnerability assessments and secure software testing strategies. The second domain covers how to manage change and respond to incidents.
- Digital Forensics
Learn about computer forensics and techniques used in performing computer forensics examinations. You’ll learn how to gather and protect evidence used in prosecuting computer crimes and you’ll also cover acquiring digital evidence, file signature analysis, bookmarking data, hash analysis, and other forensic techniques.
- Cyber Security Policies
In this course, you learn how to defend organizational resources by putting into place and maintaining cyber security policies. These policies are used to support defense of data availability, confidentiality, and integrity.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Department of Defense Cyber Security Scholarship Program
Amount: Full tuition; $25,000 stipend (Undergrad) – Full tuition; $30,000 stipend (Graduate)
The Department of Defense (DoD) Information Assurance Scholarship program was established in cooperation with the Information Security Scholarship Program. This scholarship program’s purpose is to increase the numbers of qualified students who choose to enter the fields of information technology, information assurance, and cyber security.
STEM Major Scholarship/Cyber Security Scholarship
Deadline: April 10
STEM students majoring in cyber security are eligible to apply for this scholarship. They must be at least second-year students (sophomores or juniors) enrolling in a four-year college or university when they apply for the scholarship.
Deadline: May 30
The Crowdstrike Foundation established its NextGen scholarship program to offer support to the next generation of leadership and talent in cyber security and artificial intelligence (AI). These scholarships provide financial help to chosen undergraduate and graduate students who are studying cyber security.
Career and Salaries for Bachelor's College Grads
The range of cyber security careers is diverse, allowing you to choose a specialization that fits your interests.
- Cyber Security Analyst:
Annual pay ranges from $45,000 up to $60,000. In this position, you’ll have many responsibilities; being a valuable resource for clients and managing their network infrastructures.
- Cyber Security Software Engineer:
These professionals have competitive salaries, with a range of benefits. Working under the supervision of a software engineering manager, you’ll design software, write code, and test it for high performance mission data storage.
- Enterprise Information Security Analyst:
Making up to $2,952 a month, your primary job functions will include review of computer logs and messages to identify and report any possible security violations and assisting with the identification of any security vulnerabilities, internal and external.
- The average salary of a cyber security specialist is $56,000 – entry-level pay is $38,000 and late-career salary is $87,000.
The employment of information security analysts (cyber security) is expected to grow 32% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the average of all other occupations. Because cyber-attacks have grown in frequency and severity, these analysts are needed to develop new solutions to keep malicious hackers from making problems for computer networks. Banks and other financial institutions are just one class of corporations needing to increase their security capabilities so they can protect their information. The healthcare industry is also expanding its use of electronic data records, creating new risks and new job opportunities.