Online Cyber Security Bachelor's Degree
Cyber security is a top concern for consumers, business leaders, and government officials, and for good reason. Reports of cyber crime in the United States jumped 34 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to a report by the American Bar Association, and the number of cyber security incidents at federal agencies climbed 650 percent between 2006 and 2010, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported.
“This is the biggest threat we currently face,” Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said in an interview with Yahoo! Finance. “We are losing billions of dollars of intellectual property every year that is being stolen and it is resulting in job losses and damages to our economy.”
An online bachelor’s degree in cyber security prepares students to battle digital crime with classes that blend technology with critical thinking, forensics, and investigative techniques.
|Cyber crime investigations and forensics|
|Computer organization and programming|
|System vulnerability assessments|
|Software engineering principles|
|National cyber security policy and law|
|Terrorism, antiterrorism, and homeland security|
The course load for students earning an online bachelor’s in cyber security often includes classes such as ethics in information technology, security policy analysis, and psychology of criminal behaviors. Most cyber security students are also required to take advanced mathematics courses such as calculus, statistics, and discrete mathematics.
While many of those courses teach students how to protect governments and businesses from cyber attacks, classes such as computer forensics, criminal investigations, and criminal evidence prepare students to track down perpetrators of cyber crimes.
|Information security analyst||$70,000|
|Information technology auditor||$71,800|
|Forensic computer analyst||$76,200|
|Security consultant (computing/networking/IT)||$81,300|
|Information assurance engineer||$89,700|
|Security director (computing/networking/IT)||$118,300|
Graduates with a bachelor’s in cyber security have a variety of career options open to them, including positions within the financial sector (banks, credit card companies, and lenders) and the healthcare industry (hospitals, insurance agencies, and medical supplies). Overall, the information security field is expected to grow 22 percent by 2020, faster than most occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
New positions at federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will make up a large percentage of that growth, according to the BLS. These positions include security analysts and auditors, as well as computer analysts.
To work at the federal level, students must have a clean criminal record—no felony or drug convictions. Defaulting on a federal student loan can also disqualify students from working for a government agency.