What Jobs Can I Get With an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Cybersecurity?
The best online bachelor’s in cybersecurity can lead to a good salary right away.
The wide variety of online cybersecurity bachelor’s jobs contribute to the increasing popularity of the cybersecurity field among prospective and present college students! Of course, cybersecurity jobs demand industry-specific and organization-specific technical skills, such as in programming languages, encryption algorithms, and plans for disaster recovery and security breaches, for successful career advancement.
Transferable skills are also a must and, in the cybersecurity field, these include critical and analytical thinking skills, problem-solving and decision-making skills, and collaboration and communication skills.
Why is there a high demand for cybersecurity professionals?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that occupations within the fields of computer and information technology and security solutions have a much faster than average projected growth in the overall employment forecast (2022-2032). About 377,500 job openings are projected every year for occupations like information security analysts, network administrators, and security consultants.
Furthermore, the median wage for computer and information technology occupations was $100,530 per year (May 2022), which is $46,310 higher than the median annual wage for all occupations.
The high demand for cybersecurity professionals is attributed to the following factors.
- The growing cybersecurity threat landscape, such as security breaches, cyberattacks, and cybercrimes, make it imperative for organizations to hire skilled cybersecurity professionals. With sensitive information at stake and with ever-evolving cyber threats, installing and maintaining safe and secure computer systems and networks are a must.
- The legal and regulatory compliance not only protects organizations against data security threats, breaches, and other forms of cyberattacks but also from potential legal consequences and their financial costs.
- The benefits of business continuity cannot be overemphasized, too, and professionals working in cybersecurity are crucial in safeguarding critical data and systems in this regard.
- The protection of intellectual property, which for many organizations is its most valuable asset, can be strengthened with the assistance of those working in cybersecurity.
- The protection of customer’s personal information from cyber threats, such as identity theft, is a must for organizations whose businesses rely on customer trust. Again, professionals working in cybersecurity possess the technical skills that will ensure customer information remains safe and secure.
- The financial costs of cybersecurity breaches and attacks can be enormous! Organizations hire cybersecurity and information security analysts as a proactive approach in minimizing these financial costs.
Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand because of their knowledge and skills in the design, development, and management of security systems, technologies, and strategies that minimize the security risks related to cyberattacks. Their high demand is also a result of the cybersecurity skills gap — the law of supply and demand at work.
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What jobs are possible with an online bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity?
The beauty of cybersecurity careers is in their diversity of workplaces and flexibility of applications! On one hand, cybersecurity professionals are needed in a wide range of industries including:
- Business organizations and corporate offices, either as in-house employees or consultants
- Government agencies, such as the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency
- Financial institutions like banks, credit card companies, and insurance companies
- Healthcare organizations
- Technology companies
- Consulting firms
- K-12 schools and colleges and universities
- Nonprofit organizations
- Military and police, among other law enforcement agencies
- Cybersecurity research and think tanks
- Critical infrastructure including utility companies
- Penetration testing and ethical hacking firms
Those with a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity can also perform freelance work including remote work, thanks to the gig economy.
On the other hand, those working in cybersecurity can move between specific occupations, too, by gaining occupation-specific knowledge and skills while building their cybersecurity foundation. For example, as an information security engineer, you can become an information security analyst with relevant experience.
You can also transition from being an information security engineer to a security architect or from a computer network architect to a network and computer systems administrator.
Indeed, such fluidity makes it possible for those working in cybersecurity to change their career paths yet still be relevant in the cybersecurity field! The trick is in proper planning so that a career shift results in the desired career advancement.
In terms of the specific occupations, here are several examples that require an online bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and, in case of a supervisory role, relevant and sufficient work experience. (Dollar amounts in parentheses are the specific occupation’s median salary per year from reliable sources)
Cybersecurity Analyst ($112,000)
Also called information security analysts, cybersecurity analysts are responsible for planning, monitoring, and evaluating an organization’s computer systems and networks in relation to security breaches and other threats. Their job duties include the analysis of data and development of incident response plans, too.
Network Security Administrator ($90,520)
These professionals focus on protecting an organization’s computer networks including protection against data breaches and unauthorized access. Network security and computer systems administrators design and develop security systems and their protocols, implement firewall management measures, and install and manage intrusion detection and prevention systems, among others. Their job also includes access control, management of security patches, and security audits and assessments as well as security awareness training.
Penetration Tester ($119,064)
Also known as ethical hackers or security consultants, penetration testers specialize in the objective evaluation of computer systems, networks and applications, among other digital assets, including SWOT analysis. Their job responsibilities also include controlled simulated attacks on an organization’s digital assets, as well as social engineering, network security testing, and compliance testing.
Computer Network Architect ($126,900)
The primary duties of computer network architects are the design, development, and implementation of wide area networks, local area networks, and intranets, among other data communication networks. Their job involves hardware and software selection, capacity planning, security planning, and network optimization, as well as documentation, cost management, and disaster recovery and redundancy.
Database Administrators and Architect ($112,120)
These professionals have many different, if complementary, roles and responsibilities. On one hand, a database administrator oversees the day-to-day security protocols including the maintenance and troubleshooting of issues related to database systems. Their main duty is in ensuring that the security infrastructure is in place, with databases functioning in a safe, reliable and efficient manner and, thus, meeting the organization’s needs.
On the other hand, a database architect oversees the design of the database system and its overall structure and architecture. Their main focus is on the design and development of efficient and effective, well-organized, and scalable databases aligned with the business objectives of an organization.
Computer and Information Systems Manager ($164,070)
Aside from a relevant bachelor’s degree, such as in cybersecurity or computer science, computer and information systems managers must also have extensive work experience in technology and computer systems. Their job involves strategic planning, project management and team management, and infrastructure management as well as budgeting and cost control, regulatory compliance, and disaster recovery and business continuity.
Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers ($124,200)
These computer and information technology professionals have distinct but complementary roles in the cybersecurity field and, in case of security software development projects, work together as a team. Software developers design, code, and maintain software systems and applications. Quality assurance analysts ensure the overall reliability and quality of software applications before their release to end users while testers usually focus on the execution of predefined test cases.
Cryptography Engineer ($102,953)
The design, development, and management of cryptographic systems and technologies are the primary duties of cryptography engineers. Their specific responsibilities include cryptographic algorithm development, system integration, security assessment, key management, and cryptographic hardware, libraries and APIs, as well as cryptanalysis.
Keep in mind that choosing a cybersecurity career is a significant decision you must carefully consider. Even with the skills shortage, there’s tough competition for jobs, too! You must be mindful of the factors that can make or break your career in cybersecurity, many of which are in your hands.
Keep these tips in mind when planning your career in the cybersecurity field:
- Consider your personal interests and passion.
- Think about the required education, training and skill sets, and work experience for every occupation you’re considering
- Look beyond the common career paths and adopt an open mind when considering unorthodox occupations
- Determine your preferred industry and workplace
- Research the job market including its projected growth, average salary, and career advancement opportunities
- Consider your work-life balance
- Look into the job satisfaction rate and related aspects of the occupations you’re considering
Most importantly, you should develop a strong commitment to continual learning! With cybersecurity being an ever-evolving, fast-changing, field, lifelong learning is a must for a rewarding career.
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What else can you do with an online bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity?
In the general scheme of higher education and the job market, an online bachelor’s degree is only the first step! Consider earning a master’s degree in cybersecurity or in another related field, if and when you want to be competitive for career advancement opportunities, like job opportunities to move into a leadership role, such chief information security officer.
You should also consider earning one or two professional certifications in your preferred sub-field of cybersecurity.
Pursue a master’s degree
Due to the STEM nature of the cybersecurity field, the master’s degrees are usually Master of Science (MS), meaning more emphasis is placed on the STEM aspects. While an MS in Cybersecurity degree is a popular choice, you can also look into other fields within the broader computer and information technology field.
- MS in Computer Science, a graduate degree with advanced coursework on the underlying theories of computer science. Concentrations are available, too, in visual computing, software engineering, or human-centered computing.
- MS in Computer Engineering, a master’s degree where students learn and apply engineering principles in designing and developing computer hardware and software.
- MS in Information Technology, a graduate degree that incorporates information security principles, operating systems, and cybersecurity practices.
- MS in Information Assurance, a master’s degree with an emphasis on the protection of physical and digital data.
If you’re interested in the combination of business management and cybersecurity, you may want to consider a Master of Business Management (MBA) with an Information Security or Cybersecurity concentration.
Earn a professional certification.
Cybersecurity professionals with an online bachelor’s degree, appropriate training, work experience, and keen interest are well-advised to earn a professional certification. These professional certifications will increase your marketability, thanks to the specialized knowledge and skills as well as the prestige that these bring to your resume.
Popular professional certifications include:
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- CompTIA Security+
- Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
- Certified Information Security Technician (CIST)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- Certified in Risk & Information Systems Control (CRISC)
- Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP)
- Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
- GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)
As with many things related to career choices, your choice in a professional certification should ideally be aligned with your professional interests and goals.
In conclusion, an online bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity is a worthwhile investment, both in terms of the financial benefits that a well-paying job brings and in the non-pecuniary benefits associated with a college degree.