Now that we have solidly entered the Information Age, one thing is very clear: technology is expanding and isn’t going to go away. More and more of our personal information is stored online, and while that can be convenient and helpful, it also comes with some risks. Cybercriminals have become more and more common over the years, stealing valuable information like credit card and social security numbers. With all the data breaches coming to light, cybersecurity is becoming one of the most in-demand fields in the tech industry.
Because the field is growing and the demand for people with a cybersecurity degree is going up, many Americans are considering breaking into the cybersecurity field. Since many jobs don’t require a degree, it’s fair to ask if a cybersecurity degree is worth it. Do you need to spend the time and is a cybersecurity degree worth it?
What is a Cybersecurity Degree?
Cybersecurity degrees are growing in popularity as cyber threats become more and more common. Like all degrees, students will learn how to protect networks from attacks and prepare them for a job in the public or private sector. Many jobs requiring a cybersecurity degree are within government institutions or in healthcare, where cyberattacks are common and devastating. Yes, if your goal is work in technology or gor the government, a cybersecurity degree is worth it.
There are cybersecurity degree programs at different levels, with colleges and universities offering everything from 2-year degrees to doctorates. Many of these programs can be completed online or in a hybrid model combining online work and in-person meetings. Sometimes, cybersecurity may be a specialization within a larger program instead of a standalone option. Getting a degree in cybersecurity can prepare students for the following positions:
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Cyber Security Engineer
- Cyber Security Specialist
- Cyber Security Architects
Each employer has their own educational requirements, so it’s a good idea to try to figure out what kinds of organizations you’d like to work with before you make a decision about applying for a cybersecurity degree program.
Cybersecurity Educational Options
One of the best things about getting a cybersecurity degree is that it gives you options. Having advanced computer skills and knowledge in cognitive computing can help you excel in many areas of business and may give you opportunities in other related fields and niches.
Niches that use cybersecurity education include computer science, computer engineering, information tech, and even criminal justice. There is a lot of crossover from other disciplines once you learn the principles of cybersecurity, networks, and automation.
Make Your Cyber Security Degree Worthwhile
Is a cybersecurity degree worth it? It all depends on your future plans. Before you spend the money and time pursuing an education in cybersecurity, it’s important to have a plan. It’s also key to make sure cybersecurity is something you’ll find interesting. You don’t want to find yourself bored after a year or two while getting your cybersecurity degree.
Ask yourself a few questions. What do you want your long-term career to be, and in what areas can you apply a cybersecurity degree? Do you see yourself protecting the government’s networks, keeping healthcare robots from being hacked, or figuring out new ways to keep hackers from breaking into sensitive databases? Many of these industries are growing, with the healthcare robotics market alone expected to grow to $2.8 billion by 2021. Up-and-comine niches can easily make a cybersecurity degree worth it. Knowing the industry and the kinds of organizations you might want to work for down the line will help you make smart decisions when considering your future.
Salaries for Cybersecurity Employees
Although salary isn’t the most important factor to consider when making decisions about your education, it is a factor. How much money are you expecting to make once you break into the field? Multi-six-figure salaries are not uncommon at the highest levels of cybersecurity, but most entry-level jobs start at around $90,000 or lower annually.
A Versatile Degree
A cybersecurity degree offers graduates a variety of job options and opens up an exciting field where you can do a lot. Make your cybersecurity degree worth it by having a plan, focusing on your goals, and ensuring that this path truly leads to something you want to do. For people with the right drive and determination, cybersecurity can be a satisfying and rewarding career.