The Value of a Cybersecurity Degree – Should You Get One?

Caleb Townsend
Staff Writer   United States Cybersecurity Magazine

Here’s an Alarming Statistic.

More than one-third of people in the United States have experienced being hacked, being infected with a cyber virus, or being the victim of a Cyber-attack. Cybersecurity is an issue that is becoming more and more relevant each day. We see headlines that feature major companies spending millions of dollars to decrypt their data and entire cities being shut out of web services. Hearing little tidbits of personal empowerment via choosing strong passwords and installing a firewall seems helpful.  But what role can one play in actively fighting against nationwide cyber-attacks?

Addressing the Shortage

Going to college to study cybersecurity can seem questionable to some. It’s a niche degree that, on the surface, might seem difficult to put to use. But the need for cyber professionals within businesses is rising rapidly. In fact, according to an article published by Forbes, “The ISACA, a nonprofit information security advocacy group, predicts there will be a global shortage of two million cybersecurity professionals by 2019,” making experts highly sought after.

Companies struggle to find people who they believe are qualified to adequately protect their data. Most companies are statistically more likely to hire people who possess formal education within the field. Cybersecurity, as an industry, is not bound to the technology world; every conceivable industry, from film to legal, from food to jewelry, has a threshold of security that they need to apply to protect their information.  This threshold only increases as industries become more digitized and people start to fully grasp the gravity of the risks that we face.

Cybersecurity Degrees Lead to Opportunities

There are many programs and opportunities that empower individuals with an interest in cybersecurity to apply their skills and equip themselves to find a career in cybersecurity. The University of San Diego, for example, offers a full on campus MS in Cyber Security Engineering program and a fully online Master of Science in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership degree. Both programs emphasize applied technical knowledge and skills within the realm of cybersecurity.  Their program, Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering, uses an integrative approach that pulls from a variety of industries, business knowledge, government stakeholders, and intelligence communities to specifically learn the differing knowledge and skills that it takes to mitigate cyber risks and attacks. In addition, faculty from both programs are industry practitioners, meaning that all course topics are subjects that can be applied almost immediately to the workplace.

An integrative approach is necessary to fully understand both the implications of cybersecurity as well as the effective execution of widespread protection. Cybersecurity does not exist within a bubble, it spans through all digital facets of our world. The risk is real. The need for cyber-savvy experts who are dynamic problem solvers with real applied experience is going to keep rising.

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