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Is a degree in cyber security worth it?

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By: Rachel Laura M

November 21, 2016

  • The following statistics are very sobering and disturbing:
  • More the 80% of US-based companies have been hacked
  • This number includes major companies such as Target, Sony, and Home Depot
  • These incidents caused consumer’s sensitive personal and financial information to be exposed, making millions vulnerable to things such as identity theft and tax fraud (to name only two of many possibilities)
  • Cyber crimes continue to rise and cost an estimated $445 billion worldwide
With increasing technology use and more people using unsecured WiFi connections to work away from the office, security of private and confidential information is an issue and along with it, there is the need for professionals in cyber security, also known as Information Security (IS). All this in mind, it is important to ask: is a degree specifically focusing on cyber security worth it? Now, consider the following:
  • An average of 65,000 Information Security jobs are posted annually. 
  • Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 37% growth in this field through 2022, more than three times the growth for other fields
  • The average salary for a cybersecurity professional is $95,000 annually
  • The field offers opportunity for advancement
  • It can prepare you for certifications from CompTIA, Microsoft, and Cisco
All of this is positive and would make one think, yes, a degree specifically focusing on cyber security IS worth it. But, not so fast. Professionals in the field of cyber security need to be well-rounded and have a variety of skills as they can be called on to perform any number of tasks ranging from evaluating software and user interfaces to assessing web site security and incorporating security requirements. For this reason, many professionals in this field found their Information Technology major combined with the mandatory business and writing classes taken during college prepared them for this field, as it gave them the communication skills necessary to communicate and determine what was valuable to companies. Basically, don’t be married specifically to this degree as one in Information Technology could be even more valuable as it can even offer more options for career opportunities should you decide cyber security isn’t for you. Want to learn more about this growing field? Check out Information in this piece adapted from the following: 
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