As everything in the modern world becomes connected to the internet, from refrigerators to motor vehicles, the need to protect ourselves from cyber threats also grows. As long as technology is a dominant force in the world, there will be a need for people who can provide that protection.
Just by looking at career salaries, you can spot some immediate advantages to working in cybersecurity. But exactly what is cybersecurity? What’s the importance of studying cybersecurity for students or people who are growing a career? And why would anyone want to consider this field above others? Answering a few questions about the benefits of learning cybersecurity can explain everything you might need to know about the future of the field.
Why is Cybersecurity Protection Important?
According to the FBI, there were 791,790 complaints of suspected cybercrime during the year 2020. However, those figures are likely a shadow of the real extent of domestic cybercrime, since these types of crimes are frequently underreported. Nevertheless, cybercrime is estimated to cost the global economy $400 billion annually.
Part of the reason the problem is so widespread is because there are so many forms of cybercrime. For example, in October 2020, there were six ransomware attacks on American hospitals within the span of 24-hours. The attacks were able to take control of sensitive patient data and lockout administrators from using their system. As of 2016, the FBI estimated there were more than 4,000 ransomware attacks on average each day.
Ransomware is just one type of threat faced by governments, businesses, non-profit organizations, and private individuals. Any person or organization with data can be at risk. Common examples of stolen data might include names, addresses, bank card information, trade secrets, social security numbers, and more.
In short, we rely on cybersecurity to protect financial data, health information, intellectual property, and countless other forms of sensitive data. It’s what allows us to do banking online, to have password protected emails, or to use cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. It’s not an exaggeration to say the modern world depends on cybersecurity.
What is the Need of Cybersecurity for Businesses?
In an increasingly data-driven economy, virtually every industry requires the skills of cybersecurity professionals in one capacity or another. Some common job titles include:
- Vulnerability Assessor
- Forensic Engineer
- Security Software Developer
- Security Administrator
- Chief Information Officer
- Information Systems Security Manager
But that list is by no means complete, and it’s perpetually growing. For instance, someday we may need many specialists who are trained specifically in blockchain, or focus primarily on cloud computing.
The importance of cybersecurity has only grown in recent years. The 2019 pandemic accelerated businesses, schools, and other public services moving online. One of the most important benefits of learning cybersecurity is that these types of careers are expected to have perpetual growing demand into the foreseeable future, especially as more and more careers offer remote opportunities.
As such, career prospects continue to look promising for cybersecurity positions. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 31% growth for Security Analysts over the next decade. They also list the median salary for security analysts at $99,730.
The high wages associated with cybersecurity careers are often reflective of the high level of demand for qualified personnel. According to the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS), it’s estimated there will be roughly two million unfilled cybersecurity positions by 2022.
What are the Advantages of Studying Cybersecurity?
High tech crime requires people who know how to stop it. However, cybersecurity positions aren’t ideal for everyone. Working around computers all day can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. These positions also require excellent attention to detail, persistence, communication skills, and a fairly extensive technical background.
Someone who studies with a program like the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity is prepared for a variety of entry-level positions, like becoming a security analyst. Students learn to analyze potential threats, apply best practices in cybersecurity management, admin Linux and Windows security networks, and understand the broader nature of security in relation to networking, cloud computing, operating systems.
Putting aside those factors, is a cybersecurity degree worth it? Like any career path, you’ll have to weigh your personal goals, personality, and other individual factors. But hearing the perspectives of students in starting out in the field and taking a closer look at the facts and figures can help answer some of those questions.
Educational Benefits of Learning Cybersecurity
An undergraduate program can provide a broad base of skills, like learning to devise mitigation plans against vulnerabilities from both inside and outside of their organization. But a Master of Science in Cybersecurity can bolster and specialize those skills, like learning to better protect enterprise infrastructures and their digital assets.
In these programs, further technical expertise in relation computing and information systems is often paired with advancement in professional and managerial skills. Students may also have opportunities for further specialization. For example, the National University Master of Science in Cybersecurity allows students to pursue specializations in Ethical Hacking & Pen Testing. Outside of their specialization, graduates learn to think more critically about cybersecurity issues, to better forecast cybersecurity needs, or otherwise grow core competencies. The full program can be completed entirely online, where courses include subjects like:
- CYB 602 Threat Modeling & Intel
- CYB 607 Cloud Security
- CYB 612 Cybersecurity Policy
- CYB 613 Governance in Cybersecurity
- CYB 616 CybSec Program Management
While BLS data suggests most cybersecurity careers require no more than a bachelor’s degree, a closer look at who ends up in senior management positions reveals a clear preference towards postgraduate degrees and years of experience.