A security degree prepares an individual for a career in the information security field. Individuals with a security degree from a formal four-year undergraduate program are equipped to help organizations deal with security threats to their data, networks and systems. They help companies monitor networks for viruses and other malware. They investigate network intrusions and data breaches and conduct forensic analysis to determine and mitigate any security weaknesses that may have caused the breach. Security graduates help develop standards and policies for their companies and to recommend enhancements to bolster data and network security.
Promising Job Outlook
The jobs outlook for individuals with a security degree appears to be bright. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for information security jobs is expected to grow at a rate of about 22 percent annually for the next several years. The median salary for information security professionals is around $75,500 and is expected to increase steadily because of the growing demand for skilled professionals. On average, the growth in demand for security jobs is expected to outpace many other professions at least until 2020 according to the BLS.
Undergraduate Programs in Information Security
Few colleges and universities offered degree level programs in security until relatively recently. That has changed quite a ot over the past few years. These days, individuals interested in a career in information security have a plethora of security degree programs to choose from. In addition to four-year colleges, community colleges around the country too offer associate and bachelors degree programs in information security. Students who complete these courses typically graduate with a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Engineering (BE) degree in computer security or information security.
Broad Range of Topics
Typically, the syllabus for these undergraduate programs is structured in such a way as to impart knowledge on a broad range of security topics. Most four-year programs include courses in network security and management, risk assessment, cyber forensics, cryptography, web application security, database security and policy development and management. Some tracks prepare students for operational security roles while others are more focused on security management and security administrator roles.
Students who take a four-year undergraduate security degree program or an associate degree program can choose to specialize in specific career roles within the security industry. For example, a student can choose to specialize in business continuity and disaster recovery by focusing on degree courses that prepare students to quickly respond to security incidents and recover from them with minimal disruption. Similarly a student who wishes to specialize on data privacy issues could focus on courses that explore the ethical, moral and legal issues of data security. Focusing on topics that impart knowledge about topics like risk factor analysis, policies and procedures could help a student become a specialist in security audit roles within a company.