What Can You Do with a Cyber Security Degree? Exploring Your Options
These days, the topic of cybersecurity really seems to have worked its way to near the top of public consciousness. With so many organizations thoroughly dependent on digital platforms to function, it’s easy to understand the appeal of pursuing a Cyber Security degree.
By building a strong foundation of information security skills, a Cyber Security degree can help position you for success in a variety of information technology (IT) roles. That said, you might still be wondering what you can do with a Cyber Security degree and the types of job titles that are commonly associated with this degree.
Heinrich Long, privacy expert at Restore Privacy, explains the variety or roles associated with a Cyber Security degree might come as a surprise to some. “So many of us think that a degree in cybersecurity will lead to a nine-to-five IT job in an office, but it doesn’t have to,” Long says. “From app development to penetration testing, forensic computer analyst and direct-to-consumer solutions, cybersecurity has it all.”
For a sample of the variety available in cybersecurity, read on!
6 Roles commonly seeking candidates with a Cyber Security degree
To help answer the question of what you can do with a Cyber Security degree, we analyzed over 250,000 job postings from the past year seeking candidates with a Cyber Security Bachelor’s degree.1 This analysis helped us highlight six distinct job titles to explore further.
1. Systems administrator
While not strictly a “cybersecurity job,” a Cyber Security degree can be an asset for this IT role. System administrators typically install and maintain software and hardware across a large network of devices. This involves overseeing operating systems, company applications, security tools, computers and devices involved in area networks.
This is a role that overlaps significantly with many cybersecurity concerns, like user access, software updates, device management and data storage, making it a natural fit for IT professionals looking to branch out further into the cybersecurity field.
2. Security engineer
Security engineers develop technology security systems and controls to help prevent breaches. This role might also be called information assurance engineer, information systems security engineer or information security engineer.
These tech professionals are responsible for identifying potential vulnerabilities, issue documentation, and developing safeguards to protect an organization’s or user’s data from theft, loss and exposure.
3. IT auditor
Is an organization adequately prepared against security breaches? Are the systems and processes optimized for maximum efficiency? Is the company living up to its IT expectations? An IT auditor can help in finding out. These professionals review and evaluate a company’s technology and methods, prepare reports to explain their findings, and make recommendations for how the company can improve its security, efficiency and overall management of IT systems.
Given the breadth of the information technology field, audit roles are often specialized based on the type of technology and expertise needed—and that’s where a background in cybersecurity comes into play for this list.
4. Information security analyst
Information security analysts are tasked with keeping their organization’s information safe—and minimizing damage in the event of a security lapse. This typically involves monitoring networks for security breaches and investigating them, implementing security software, conducting penetration testing, and creating security practices for the company.
5. Penetration tester
This highly specialized role is all about putting your hacker hat on and identifying potential security issues before someone with bad intentions does. Penetration testers attempt to breach existing security systems to help an organization learn about vulnerabilities and root them out. These professionals are also sometimes known as ethical hackers or assurance validators.
6. Data recovery specialists
Data recovery specialists are the IT professionals you’ll want to call to recover information from damaged or otherwise compromised hard drives and storage systems. They also care for computer hardware, fix mechanical issues, perform forensics and create plans for disaster data recovery. These are the people whose work can help keep the damage from a significant security breach contained.
What will you learn in a Cyber Security degree program?
Getting a peek at the variety of roles seeking a Cyber Security degree can certainly help as you weigh education options, but that’s also at the risk of getting ahead of yourself. All of the intriguing job titles in the world don’t mean much if you don’t have a solid base of IT and cybersecurity knowledge to pull from.
So what can you expect that knowledge base to cover? Let’s take a look at some of the cybersecurity courses you’ll find at Rasmussen University:
- Security Risk Assessment
- Advanced Network Security
- Security Controls
- Risk Management and Business Continuity
- Cryptography and Traffic Analysis
- Enterprise Storage Management
- Hacker Techniques, Tools and Applications
- Malware Reverse Engineering
- Computer Forensics
Choosing the right degree for you
Deciding on a career and education path is never easy. After all the logistical considerations, it’s important to consider if you will actually enjoy or have a passion for the field you choose. “I had no idea what my career choice would be going through my freshman year of college,” says Jason Mitchell, CTO of SmartBillions. “All I knew was that criminal investigation and technology were two things that fascinated me.”
Mitchell says people often choose cybersecurity for the exciting opportunities and development potential it offers. “But I chose this major because it piqued my interest. I am really excited about my future because my career path is something I am passionate about.”
If you’re ready to explore a potential next step into the field, visit the Rasmussen University Cyber Security Bachelor’s degree page to learn more about this fully online option.
1Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 265,470 job postings seeking candidates with a Cyber Security Bachelor’s degree, Mar. 1 2020 – Feb. 28, 2021)