Cybersecurity Higher Education: Which Path Will You Choose?
October 20, 2022 | Ryan Clancy | ECCU
Choosing a cybersecurity higher education path can be tough. You have to weigh the options of different schools, programs, and concentrations. And then there’s the question of what you want to do with your degree when you graduate. Do you want to work in the public or private sector? Or are you looking to become a certified professional? This blog post will help you decide which cybersecurity career path is right.
How to Start a Career in Cybersecurity
There are many different ways to get started in this field, and the best way for you will likely depend on your existing skillset and experience. This article outlines some of the most common ways to get started in cybersecurity to decide which path is right for you.
If you’re starting, one of the best ways to get into cybersecurity is by pursuing a degree or certification in information security. This will give you a strong foundation in the basics of cybersecurity and prepare you for various entry-level jobs. Many different information security programs are available, so research your options carefully before enrolling.
If you already have experience working in IT, you may be able to transition into a cybersecurity role without pursuing additional education. In many cases, employers are looking for candidates who have a background in IT and are familiar with networking and security concepts (TechTarget, 2022).
Career Path: Roles and Career Progression in Cybersecurity
Many different roles are available in cybersecurity, from entry-level to senior management.
The entry-level roles in cybersecurity typically involve supporting more senior staff or carrying out basic tasks such as data entry and analysis. Some common entry-level roles include cybersecurity analyst and cybersecurity engineer:
- Cybersecurity analysts are responsible for identifying and investigating security threats. They may also be involved in developing security policies and procedures or carrying out audits of systems and networks.
- Cybersecurity engineers design, build and maintain secure computer systems. They may also research new technologies or develop plans to respond to c cyberattacks.
Some common senior roles include cybersecurity manager and cybersecurity director:
- A cybersecurity manager is responsible for overseeing the work of a team of analysts and engineers.
- A cybersecurity director is responsible for the overall management of a company’s security program.
There are many different career paths available in cybersecurity. Some people choose to specialize in one area, while others may opt for a more generalist approach. There is also great flexibility when choosing a career path in cybersecurity.
Many start their careers in entry-level roles, such as analysts or engineers. They may progress to more senior positions, such as manager or director. Alternatively, some people may choose to move into other areas of IT, such as network security or software development.
Assess Your Current Skill Set
If you’re looking to get into cybersecurity or are already working in the field, it’s important to take stock of your skill set. This will help you identify where your strengths lie and where you need to improve.
Here are some key skills and areas of knowledge that are essential for a career in cybersecurity:
- Computer networking: A strong understanding of computer networking is essential for anyone looking to work in cybersecurity. You’ll need to understand how networks work and how they can be secured.
- Security principles: A good foundation in security principles is also important for a cybersecurity career path. You’ll need to know about common security threats and how to protect networks and systems from them.
- Coding languages: As a cybersecurity professional, you’ll need to be able to code to create programs that can help secure networks and systems.
- Cryptography: Cryptography is another essential skill for anyone looking to work in cybersecurity. You’ll need to understand and use encryption algorithms to protect data.
What Degree Do You Need to Pursue a Career in Cybersecurity?
There are numerous cybersecurity degrees available, ranging from associate’s and bachelor’s degrees to master’s degrees and doctorates. While a degree is certainly useful, it is not the only learning path to secure a footing in cybersecurity. Certifications or short-term non-degree programs with specializations are also a great way to master the skills to stand out amongst your peers and employers, However, if you are keen to pursue long term programs, then degree programs are the ideal path. The type of degree you require will be determined by your career objectives and the level of position you seek.
An associate degree may be all that is required for entry-level cybersecurity positions. For more advanced positions, such as security analyst or information security manager, a bachelor’s degree is typically required.
Some schools offer specific cybersecurity degrees, while others include coursework in cybersecurity as part of a larger computer science or engineering program. Many employers prefer candidates who have completed a cybersecurity program at an accredited school (ECPI University, 2022).
Where Are You on Your Cybersecurity Career Path?
If you’re starting in cybersecurity, you’ll likely begin your career in an entry-level position. These roles monitor networks for security threats, install software and perform basic troubleshooting.
While entry-level positions don’t tend to be very high-paying, they can provide a good introduction to cybersecurity and help you develop the skills and knowledge needed to climb the ladder.
If you’ve worked in cybersecurity for a while, you may have already advanced to a more senior position. In these roles, you’ll be responsible for leading a team of security professionals and overseeing the security of an organization’s networks and systems. Senior positions tend to be well-paying, so this is the route if you’re looking to boost your pay package.
If you want to start a career in information security, EC-Council University (ECCU) courses can help you chalk out your career path. Accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), ECCU is a credible destination for online cybersecurity learning. Our programs can equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in this rapidly growing field. Our programs are mapped to a wide range of cybersecurity careers. Learn more about our degree and non-degree programs today and take the first step towards a successful career in cybersecurity!
TechTarget. (2022, September 22). How to start a career in cybersecurity from the human side. https://www.techtarget.com/searchsecurity/feature/How-to-start-a-career-in-cybersecurity-from-the-human-side
ECPI University. (2022, September 22). What education do you need to be a cybersecurity specialist? https://www.ecpi.edu/blog/what-education-do-you-need-to-be-a-cybersecurity-specialist
About the Author
Ryan Clancy is a writer and blogger. With 5+ years of mechanical engineering experience, he’s passionate about all things engineering and tech. He also loves bringing engineering (especially mechanical) down to a level that everyone can understand. Ryan lives in New York City, and writes about everything engineering and tech.