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Should I Get an MS or an MBA in Cybersecurity?


For those working at an advanced level of cybersecurity, employers may request that employees earn an MS or an MBA in cybersecurity. Earning one of these degrees can benefit the perspective candidate in a variety of ways. For example, an advanced degree can help build strong leadership skills and give a candidate better chances for future promotions. Another example is that the degree will offer career-focused courses, such as cybersecurity-specific topics benefiting a graduate’s career path. Depending on which course program chosen will determine what main courses will be necessary to achieve the MS or MBA degree in Cybersecurity. Here are some differences between the two types of degree paths.

The MS in Cybersecurity Degree Program

There is a variety of courses that require students to take for the MS in Cybersecurity. Some common courses are Network Assessment and Defense, Investigation and Digital Forensics, Cyberlaw and Ethics, and Incident Detection & Response.  The courses taught are not just basic or foundation classes, but also concentrated courses as well. Graduates of the program will also learn Operational, Leadership, and Management skills to become a better leader in the field. Those taking the MS degree in Cybersecurity may have the opportunity to earn a high salary and experience job security. Another great benefit of earning an MS in Cybersecurity is that most classes provide flexible scheduling. Which is awesome for working professionals. The MS degree program may also give the student a better understanding of the cybersecurity field itself. The average MS degree takes approximately 12-18 months to complete, depending on the program format.

Other MS degree options

Many students may also find other opportunities within the MS cybersecurity degree program to pursue. For example, the MS in Computer Science. Graduates may choose this option if they are looking for courses in technology innovation or focused on AI strategies in a degree program. Other options are the MS in Computer Engineering, the MS in Information Technology, or the MS in Information Assurance.

The MBA Cybersecurity degree Program

As mentioned above, the MS degree is surely a great choice. However, let us not forget the MBA in Cybersecurity.  An MBA itself stands for a master of business administration. Similar to the MS degree, the MBA does offer flexible scheduling for working professionals in the field. Yet, the courses will focus not so much on IT or computer-based topics. The MBA in Cybersecurity will provide graduate students with a management-focused curriculum and ecommerce skills. Students will combine management and leadership skills while studying the technological side of the business field.  The MBA in Cybersecurity will provide high salaries for graduates, if they also come with years of strong working experience. The average MBA degree takes about 1-3 years to complete, depending on whether the student chooses a part-time, full-time, or accelerated program.

Career and Salary Outlook for MBA and MS in Cybersecurity Graduates

With the field of cybersecurity booming, the job outlook is very promising for those who are just graduating with an advanced degree. No matter which degree in cybersecurity you earned, there are a wide variety of options for careers in cybersecurity with a MBA or MS degree under your belt. Here are a few of the most sought out careers in cybersecurity for new graduates to consider. Most employers will expect the graduate to have at least three to five years of management experience, along with the MBA or MS in Cybersecurity. As you will see, some salaries will offer six figures.

  • Information Security Analyst: Evaluates threats and implements procedures, may make recommendations on security hardware and software. Salary: $103,590 per year.
  • Chief Information Security Officer: oversees all the duties and tasks related to a company’s security. Salary: $222,829 per year.
  • Forensics Analyst: specializes in gathering and analyzing data related to cyberattacks and illegal online activity. Salary: $73,900 per year.
  • Information Security Tester: Also known as a penetration tester, they are responsible for managing information systems correctly and keeping them secure from attacks. Salary: $95,510 per year.

The Bottom line of the MBA vs MS Cybersecurity

The primary difference between an MBA and a master’s degree in cybersecurity is where the student’s focus lies or where they spend the majority of their study time or course training. In a MS cybersecurity, the focus is on computer science and information systems; however, an MBA may concentrate more on business policy, practice and leadership. Whichever the graduate chooses, the degree will offer the skills needed to be the best in the cyber security field, earn a very lucrative salary, and achieve success in cybersecurity.

Related: 

Top 25 Online Cybersecurity MBA Programs

Top 10 Online Cyber Security Associate’s

Top 10 Online Cyber Security Undergraduate Certificate Programs

Top 10 Online Cyber Security Graduate Certificate Programs


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