You’re interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity, but aren’t sure where to start. What does a career path look like? Compared to other established industries, cybersecurity is still in its infancy in the civilian sector, which means there isn’t a clearly defined path to enter this growing sector. Unlike other industries, however, this isn’t one where you get your degree, land a job and then coast through it. We’ve mentioned previously on Axiom Cyber how jobs in this field require you to be driven and constantly on top of the latest technology and trends.
As with all computer science related degrees, cybersecurity studies are heavily math-intensive, and as such require strong analytics and statistical analysis skills. Cyber security degrees that are offered are associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. An associate degree will prepare you for entry-level positions related to support, programming, help-desk IT, and basic network administration. A bachelor’s degree will build on that knowledge to open up mid to upper level positions by providing you with skills in software development, network security, as well as forensics and tactics to defeat cyber-crime. Cyber Security Degrees website reveals that with a master’s degree you will be prepared for more senior level positions, or able to step into mid-level roles with less experience.
While it’s possible to find entry or mid-entry level positions with an associate or bachelor’s degree, many employers, like government agencies and established corporations, will require candidates to have a master’s degree in cybersecurity. In their feature on cybersecurity career paths, Learn How To Become notes that a master’s degree provides advanced instruction on protecting computer networks. While it will take an extra one or two years to complete, it does provide you with better skills to tackle network security defense techniques and countermeasures. A master’s degree also allows you to specialize in areas like cryptography, digital forensics and risk analysis among others.
Degree programs are available both in class or exclusively online, with the latter a convenient option adaptable around work and family schedules. Online degrees also allow you to work at your own pace without the need to attend classes every day. Maryville University breaks down how a master’s degree in cybersecurity also has a big return on investment, with top earners receiving six-figure salaries. Therefore, a master’s degree in cybersecurity can help you land management level or even C-suite positions, with companies offering better sign-on bonuses, relocation pay, and free medical insurance. You can later further your education by pursuing a doctoral degree, which will prepare you for leadership roles and allow you to innovate new solutions.
Even if you’re not in a tech position currently, VP of cybersecurity at IT security firm Infoblox, Rod Rasmussen recommends that you should start learning IT fundamentals on your own. Self-directed learning and experimentation are critical. Once you have that, build on that knowledge by applying for a degree program and complete certifications. Many established cybersecurity analysts got their start working in entry-level IT jobs and amassed experience in positions like network administration or programming. They studied on their own, then went on to complete degree programs and various certifications, to allow them to learn new skills and stay abreast of new technologies and security measures.
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