Virtually every company in the world now uses technology for their businesses, particularly when it comes to storing data and customer information. The cloud is filled with sensitive data that companies will pay good money to protect. And that’s where knowing the ins and outs of cyber security starts to fall hand in hand with job security. As technology advances, so does hacking software, with each new attack bringing about ever more devastating results to the affected companies and their reputations. Most companies rely on customers trusting them with sensitive information such as their address, date of birth, social security number and of course, their bank details. Due to this, many big companies are willing to pay a lot of money to a cyber security expert to ensure that their data is kept safe.
This really is the best time to get into a career in cyber security – and what better way to do it than by taking an online degree course? You could alternatively choose to go to a traditional university or college to get your cyber security degree, but an online course holds many advantages over a traditional course.
Why Choose an Online Cyber Security Degree?
Online degrees are definitely growing in popularity. In the US, over 5.8 million students are currently studying online for a full degree, while 28% of students study one or more modules alongside a traditional degree.
Why? Well there are several reasons:
Online Courses Are Cheaper
The cost per academic year for a traditional college degree is, on average, between $25,620 and $34,740. The average cost of an online degree per academic year however can be as little as $16,580. And that’s before you take into account the money you’ll save on accommodation, travel etc.
Online Courses Are More Convenient
You can choose when to study and when to work on your degree. And you don’t even have to leave the house – not even to attend your lectures. This makes an online degree a great choice for anyone who wants to work around college.
Online Courses Offer More Choice
You will find hundreds of modules and sections of study you can study online that aren’t offered in traditional universities. This is great if you’re interested in a particular area of cyber security as you can pick and choose which topics you study.
Online Courses Let You Choose How You Work
While the idea of a self-study course appeals to some people, other people report that they worry they won’t be motivated to complete the course without the moral support of other students. The good news is that studying online offers you both options.
Synchronous Programs – These programs allow you to learn online in real time. With live video lectures, you can ask questions and receive instant answers from professors, and you can network with and study with other students from your group.
Asynchronous Programs – These programs are for people with busy schedules or those who want to power through their degree quickly. With pre-recorded lectures that you can watch in your own time at your leisure and coursework delivered via an online messaging system, these programs are great for flexibility.
Why Choose a Cyber Security Degree Over an IT Degree?
Cyber security is one of the fastest growing jobs on the market right now. With virtually every company using technology, then virtually every company will need the support of a cyber security expert at some point. They are particularly in demand in the technology, banking, government and finance industries.
On any given day, a cyber security expert is expected to keep the company’s data safe, which includes completing tasks such as building and installing firewalls, monitoring critical files, and designing company wide security plans. A standard IT degree will touch on this stuff, but won’t give you all of the skills you need to hit the high paying cyber security roles.
Below are just some of the cyber security roles you can find yourself applying for and their average salaries:
Security analysts assess existing cyber security and strive to improve it by highlighting any weak points, pre-empting vulnerabilities in the system and tracking any attempted cyber attacks.
The average salary for a security analyst is around $95K a year.
Forensic engineers investigate attacks and data breaches. They must recover any lost data and work to rebuild the systems that have been destroyed. They are also responsible for spotting any hacks to the system in the first instance.
The average forensic engineer earns $84K a year.
Security Software Developer
Security software developers design and build new software to help to strengthen security and prevent attacks. They also integrate security systems into other new software that is being build.
Security software developers earn, on average, $69K each year.
A cryptographer encrypts sensitive data using a prebuilt algorithm. They are responsible for building the algorithm and for constantly testing and monitoring it for any vulnerabilities.
Cryptographers earn an average of $112K per year, but it’s worth noting that this career path relies heavily on mathematics knowledge, and most cryptographers are also qualified mathematicians.
How to Get the Right Cyber Security Degree Online
Starting an online degree is as simple as starting any college program. Simply apply and wait to see if you are accepted onto your chosen course. Before you apply, make sure you do your research and choose the right course and online school for you.
Think about which area of cyber security you would like to go into and find out which online schools offer this program. Next, check to make sure your shortlisted schools are accredited (not all of them are, and not all credits are transferable if you choose to change courses down the line). You should also check the school’s ratings and reviews and make sure their education quality and reputation is# high.
Once you’ve chosen your school, you can then start researching if there are any grants or scholarships available to you for your chosen school.
Good luck with your search and your cyber security career.