//What is a Cyber Security Master Program and Why Study It
What is a Cyber Security Master Program and Why Study It2019-06-10T18:53:49+00:00

What Is a Cyber Security Master’s Degree?

Data breaches, network hacks, password theft, phishing scams and cyber crimes — including everything from power outages to customer data fraud — are all major issues affecting citizens around the globe. Cyber threats have influenced everything from consumer security to election outcomes. As a graduate with a Master’s in Cyber Security degree, you can help combat serious cyber threats that affect worldwide communities, or work for a business whose industry you’re passionate about.

What Type of Master’s Degree is Needed for Cyber Security?

  • MS: Master of Science in Cyber Security, Master of Science in Information Security
  • ME: Master of Engineering in Cyber Security
  • MDTM: Master in Digital Technology Management — Cyber Security
  • MSIA: Master of Science in Information Assistance with a Specialization in Cyber Security
  • MICS: Master of Information and Cyber Security

The types of graduate degrees conferred differ, depending on the conferring institution, and the above list is just an example of the types of master’s degrees that are offered in this emerging field. Although this site often refers to the MS degree, information about program features, careers and salaries — and what to expect from an online program — can apply to most if not all types of master’s degrees in cyber security.

Features of Online Programs

Master’s degrees in cyber security cover essential skills that today’s corporations and governmental agencies look for.

Cybersecurity skills:

  • Network creation, monitoring and troubleshooting
  • Threat detection, prevention and protection
  • The ability to work with the most complex systems, including government networks
  • Data synthesis to optimize systems

An online master’s degree in cyber security features an interdisciplinary focus so students can graduate with a comprehensive skill set. These programs also include features that make the online learning environment one that’s comprehensive and enjoyable. Such features include:

  • Live and recorded class sessions
  • Collaborative coursework
  • Creative idea sharing
  • Instructor access
  • Innovative lesson delivery through videos and self-paced learning
  • Assignment tracking
  • Student services

Graduates leave prepared to work for organizations where they can make a difference, and they can graduate armed with new contacts in the industry.

Online cyber security graduate programs make it more accessible than ever for students to obtain higher education in this growing field. Working professionals and those with personal responsibilities that make attending school in a classroom difficult can learn on their own time in a place that’s convenient to them. The flexibility of an online program can also be a disadvantage for some students because they have to work school into their professional and personal lives, which means time management is key.

Why Study Cyber Security in a Master’s Program

People choose to pursue master’s degrees in cyber security for many reasons. There are three basic motivations that students have for pursuing master’s degrees:

  • Earn more money. According to the 2015 Economic Value of College Majors study by Georgetown University, those who hold graduate degrees earn an average of $17,000 more annually compared to those who hold bachelor’s degrees. The study reports that computer science and information systems majors are among the highest earning fields.
  • Obtain a more prominent position. If you want a leadership position in your current company or enter one somewhere else, employers may consider candidates with master’s degrees to be more qualified. Of course a master’s degree by itself will not guarantee career advancement, but it can certainly help you stand out among lesser polished candidates.
  • Move into a different field. Perhaps your current role is not stimulating you at work. The 2017 State of the American Workplace report by Gallup suggests 70 percent of American professionals are not engaged at work. Reasons range from working in a role where one’s strengths are not used, to not feeling adequately challenged or appreciated. A master’s degree in cyber security can help you move into the exciting and in-demand field of information technology (IT).

Why is Cyber Security Important?

With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that information security analyst jobs are growing much faster than average, with an expected growth of 18 percent through 2024, there are opportunities for those with a master’s degree in cyber security to find meaningful work. The BLS reports responsibilities are increasing as the prevalence of cyber attacks increases.

While some people who hold a Master’s in Cyber Security find work at top government agencies, there are many other work environments where you can thrive. You probably have interests in addition to cyber security. You can pair those other interests with your cyber security knowledge at roles in environments including:

  • Consulting firms, where you may work on a wide variety of networks across diverse organizations
  • Independent businesses and corporations, where you may be in charge of creating and managing a network in-house
  • Financial companies, such as banks and wealth management firms
  • Computer companies, including hardware and software developers

Graduating with a Master’s in Cyber Security allows you to pursue work with a wide variety of employers, achieve leadership positions as your expertise expands and apply for positions that will fulfill you and bring you better life satisfaction. In a growing and diverse field like cyber security, work always brings new challenges and allows you to continue learning on the job, well beyond graduation.

Ready to start comparing programs?
See which Master in Cyber Security program is right for you.

Learn More