As the need for cyber security continues to grow, the career opportunities for security experts are rapidly expanding. In response to this need for skilled professionals, many universities have developed new programs that provide students with opportunities to earn security degrees and certifications at the same time.
These programs aim to provide students with the defensive skills needed to protect against cyber attacks as well as the insight and expertise required to create preventative cyber security strategies. For those considering this rapidly expanding IT sector, these educational programs are an exceptional avenue into this career path:
Cyber Security Degrees 101
Whether a school’s cybersecurity program is a specialization, a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree, much of the coursework has similarities. The focus of curriculums center on ethical hacking, network security, detection tactics, cybercrime, preventative tools and strategies, and systems defense. Prerequisites for these programs often include advanced mathematics (a year of calculus plus linear algebra, discrete mathematics, or differential equations) and programming languages like Java or C++ as well as data structure and computer organization courses.
The University of Southern California’s IT Program Security Specialization features a course specifically on Ethical Hacking and Security Defense. According to the university’s website, it was “designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of ethical hacking and becoming an ethical hacker. The course focuses on the code of conduct and ethics of attacking systems.”
The following universities are leading the pack in cybersecurity education:
- University of Maryland University College
- Johns Hopkins University
- DePaul University
- George Mason University
- Northeastern University
- University of Houston
Tracks Within Cybersecurity
Within the cybersecurity educational realm, there are a few common paths for students to take:
- The Analysis Track: This track focuses on providing the skills needed to analyze security systems for potential weaknesses and detect intrusions based on a curriculum of ethical hacking, cryptology, digital forensics, and reverse engineering.
- The Networks Track: As the name suggested, this track focuses on designing, implementing, administering, securing and troubleshooting corporate networks based on a curriculum of network security, digital forensics analysis and troubleshooting.
- The Systems Track: The curriculum for this track focuses on all software components of security. Coursework includes a substantial focus on programming languages and relational databases as well as learning industry and government recommendations and best practices.
Cyber Security-Focused Scholarly Research
Within the scholarly research community, Cornell University has launched a wide variety of cybersecurity related research initiatives. The ivy league university is working to ensure security and reliability of within the global critical computing infrastructure and boasts faculty members involved in DARPA, DoD, and Microsoft advisory boards.
Similarly, Northeastern University has assembled an internationally-recognized cyber security group. The group has received grants from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research for their works while also co-founding and co-directing the International Secure Systems Lab — a collaborative effort of European and U.S. researchers focused on Web security, malware and vulnerability analysis, intrusion detection, and other computer security issues.
Being on the cutting-edge of a hot topic in IT can reap a lot of benefits for one’s career. At Modis, we’ve been tracking the trends of the security sector and taking note of the professional talent needed. We work with companies large and small every day looking for talented tech workers. Submit your resume today.