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Would you like to make $200,000 a year, or more?

An average starting salary for an Application Security Engineer is between $100,000 and $210,000. Or, maybe you’d prefer to become a Network Security Analyst and bring in between $90,000 and $150,000 every year.

By the year 2019, it’s believed that there will be more cyber jobs than there are qualified people to fill them. The cyber security skills gap is a real concern for employers all over the world.

Now, more than ever, companies need trained professionals with the right knowledge to stop hackers. You can secure your place in the growing job field by furthering your education.

Here’s a short, but complete guide, on how to choose the best online cyber security degree. We’ll explain the differences between a bachelor’s, master’s and a certificate program.

Read on to discover the different education paths related to cyber security.

Finding the Best Online Cyber Security Degree

Individuals will have a variety of different cybersecurity jobs to choose from. Luckily, you can tailor your education to match the specific job role you’re interested in.

You can start your career in a variety of areas. Here’s a short list of the career paths you could take:

  • Information Security Analyst
  • Computer System Analyst
  • Information Systems Manager
  • Computer System Administrator
  • Cryptographer
  • Penetration Tester
  • Security Architect
  • Security Director
  • Network Security Engineer

Every day your work environment will be handling a new threat or situation. The atmosphere is usually fast-paced, engaging and filled with unlimited growth opportunities.

Next, we’ll explain the different education options to help advance your career.

Choosing Your Education Path

Before you choose the ideal cybersecurity job, you have to pick an education path. You can always start off with a certificate and later choose to further your education.

The three different education paths include:

  • Certificate
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master degree

You may find you want to eventually use all three education options. However, before you pick one, it will help to know your ultimate goal. If your main goal is a specific job title, make sure your education path will get you there.

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree is the best place to start if you want a comprehensive education. The courses you take are likely to focus on:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Programming
  • Technical Practice
  • Academic Theory

With a bachelor’s degree, you’ll gain a basic understanding of how cybersecurity works.

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Intelligence Analysis

A B.S. in Criminal Intelligence analysis means you’ll get to stop bad guys cold in their tracks. Your analysis of information will be used to stop a wide range of criminal activity. Every day you’ll implement data-driven strategies to identify criminal patterns.

It will be your job to protect your company’s network and information systems. To enter into the bachelor’s program you’ll have to already have an Associate’s degree.

If you don’t have an Associate’s degree, you’ll need to have 57 complete credits. Some of the areas you’ll specialize in include:

  • Cyber Operations
  • Homeland Security
  • Emergency Management
  • Information Assurance
  • Cybercrime
  • Fraud Investigation
  • Network Forensics
  • Intrusion Investigation
  • Financial Investigation
  • Fraud Prevention

When you complete your BS in Criminal Intelligence analysis you can take a certification program. Completion of your B.S. in CIA qualifies you to sit in for the following certifications:

  • Certified Crime Analyst Exam in NY
  • Certified Law Enforcement Analyst (IACA)
  • Criminal Intelligence Certified Analyst (CICA)

Enjoy the hunt of capturing a criminal without ever leaving the office. Another great thing about this degree is its availability to take online. When you take an online class you’re able to exercise more flexibility with your current job.

Master’s Degree

Do you want to specialize in one specific area of study? A master’s degree is perfect to help students who want to focus on a specific area. You’ll participate in courses like:

  • Software Design
  • Cryptography

You’ll be happy to learn that you’re masters degree is a continuation of your bachelor’s. You’ll already be familiar with many of the different topics and areas of studies.

A master’s degree will cover familiar areas of study but at a more in-depth level. If you already hold a bachelors degree your masters won’t cover any brand new material.

However, what if you have a bachelors, but it doesn’t relate to anything with computers? Perhaps you have a bachelors in another area but would love to redirect your education. For the IT expert looking to build their credentials, a masters in cyber security would help a lot.

In a lot of cases, an individual will have technical skills and knowledge without the professional degree. That’s why so many people decide to enter into the cyber industry from an IT background.

To set you up for success your school may require you prove your IT experience. In many cases, a technical background of some type is a requirement to enter a masters program in the cyber industry.

Masters of Professional Studies in Cyber Policy and Risk Analysis

Here’s an example of an in-depth degree, the masters of professional studies in cyber policy and risk analysis. You will learn how to create offensive strategies that address specific cyber threats.

Two of the areas you’ll focus your studies on include:

  1. Cybersecurity
  2. Cyber Policy

Along with leading the offense, you’ll also be in charge of creating defensive plans of action. Your job will be to protect your company from threats against ethical, economic and social cyber threats.

Having a masters that specialize in risk analysis will prepare you for the following careers:

  • Director of Cyber Threat Intelligence
  • Program Manager of Cyber Intelligence
  • Cryptanalysts
  • Forensic Expert
  • Network Security Engineer

The MPS (Master of Professional Studies) program takes 30 credit hours to complete. The MPS program is a candidate for a leading accreditation association. The ACBSP is an accreditation association specifically for business education programs.

They focus on finding courses that teach excellent material that allows the student to excel in their career.

Online Certifications

Finally, you can choose to get a specific certification. Certifications are a great option for someone who wants to focus on one area of study. Here are a couple of the different certification programs you can explore:

Cyber Operations

A certificate that will build your fundamental knowledge to identify threats. Students will also learn about current issues and best practices within the industry.

Computer Forensics

This certificate will build the fundamentals needed for computer investigations. Students will receive technical training on the proper way to investigate cyber attacks.

A computer forensics certificate is a great addition to any law enforcement career. If you are going into local, state or federal law enforcement, a computer forensics certificate will help.

Choose Your Program

Now you know more about how to choose the best online cyber security degree. Careers in CyberSecurity would love to help you on your journey. We have a wealth of resources available for your educational needs.

Enjoy looking at different degree programs and the career paths they lead to. You can also learn more by reading our recent articles. We take great pride in helping our readers find useful information about cyber security careers.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.