Is a Cyber Security Degree Worth It?

Is a cyber security degree worth it?

Thinking About A Master’s in Cyber Security?

With cyber attacks imminent in 2019 and a lean skilled workforce available to combat them, a Master’s in Cyber Security degree may definitely be worth it.

According to TechCrunch there are too few cyber security professionals for 2019! Many accredited cyber security schools are meeting the alarming shortage of infosec pros with affordable tuition rates and online cyber security degrees.

Is a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security expensive?

You might be wondering if a Master’s in Cyber Security degree may get you a return on your investment of time and money. A master’s degree requires between 30 and 36 credit hours at a cost of $565 to $1,940 per credit hour. So, the cost of a master’s degree in cyber security may vary between $17,000 and $70,000 according to U.S. News. This could be affordable for an information security analyst who may earn a median annual wage of $103,590 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, demand for information security analysts is expected to grow 33% from 2020 to 2030.

written by Rana Waxman

Here Are 5 Reasons Why a Master’s in Cyber Security Degree Is Worth It

  1. A cyber security degree salary. Per BLS records, in 2020 Security Analysts earned a yearly median salary of $103,590.
  2. The demand for cyber pros is higher than the supply. Cyber Seek reports the national average for cyber security jobs is 2.3 – it’s 5.8 for other jobs.
  3. There’s a skills gap in the cyber workforce. Estimates by ISACA show a global shortage of 2 million professionals by 2019 both nationally and globally and employers prefer candidates with industry certifications
  4. Potential job security for the cyber security major. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions by 2021
  5. Upward mobility. Advancement into managerial positions could lead to an average annual salary up to $107,310 according to
  • IT majors including cybersecurity, IT Management and software development.
  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year.

Cyber-criminal activity is the fastest-growing crime in the nation. Estimates by the 2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report by Cybersecurity Ventures predict it will “cost the world in excess of $6 trillion annually by 2021.”

Because it is a national priority, employers are in dire need of trained, certified and educated cyber manpower. The Master of Cybersecurity aims to meet these needs and ready students to fill crucial positions.

Students often learn to analyze, problem solve, prevent and detect cyber-attacks. This is generally accomplished through a mix of relevant technology-based courses and hands-on practices.

Graduates often leave with deeper grasp of government policies and the nature of Internet threats. Some programs also delve into strategy and leadership to help managers make data-driven decisions in multiple worst-case scenarios.

Because many schools collaborate with industry professionals, courses also delve into intelligence, financial crime, computer forensics and other crucial issues. Some also base their course plans on standards associated with Certified Information Systems Security Professional® (CISSP) certification. The Master of Science in Cybersecurity at partner school Northcentral University is just one example.

What Can You Do With a Degree in Cybersecurity?

Per the Online Degree Database, the most common concentration for the Masters in Cybersecurity is Information Assurance, followed by Digital Forensics, Cyber Operations, and Cybersecurity Policy. Each area of emphasis may lead to skills you might parlay into a career.

Per the experts at Cyber Seek, some of the widely searched for job titles of the cyber security careers list are as follows.

  • Cyber Security Analyst
  • Network Engineer / Architect
  • Cyber Security Manager / Administrator
  • Systems Engineer
  • Software Developer / Engineer
  • Systems Administrator
  • Vulnerability Analyst / Penetration Tester
  • Cyber Security Consultant

The type of program you choose may help shape your job search into one of the many possible cyber security career paths. Interested in cyber espionage? You might pursue an MBA or Masters in Cybersecurity with a focus in Computer Forensics from sponsored school Utica College. O*Net data shows there’s a growing need for Forensic Audit Experts.

What is the Highest Paying Cyber Security Job?

Based on BLS data for median annual salaries in 2020, the highest paying cyber security job was Computer and Information Systems ($151,150) followed by the following cyber careers:

Highest Paying Cyber Security Jobs

Job TitleYearly Median Income
Computer and Information Systems Managers$151,150
Computer and Information Research Scientists$126,830
Computer Network Architects$116,780
Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers$110,140
Database Administrators and Architects$98,860
Computer Systems Analysts$93,730

A report by Burning Glass Technologies also states that Cybersecurity posting advertise a 9 percent salary premium above IT jobs overall. Good news for those who want to switch careers from within the tech industry. They go on to say that 23 percent of cyber security jobs require a master’s degree.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Masters in Cybersecurity?

If you are an innovator and want to pursue a career in information research science, you’ll need a master’s degree to enter the field. While many of the entry-level careers within the cyber security realm call for a bachelor’s degree, this may not be enough. Some employers may prefer candidates with a graduate degree and specific industry certifications.

To this point, Cyber Seek put together some data which shows the percentage of online job listings requiring either less than a bachelor’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a graduate degree. Here is a brief but interesting glance at some of their findings.

Do You Need A Graduate Degree For A Cyber Security Job?

Cyber Security Job Postings% of These Jobs Requiring a Graduate Degree
Cyber Crime Analyst23%
Cyber Security Analyst17%
Cyber Security Consultant19%
Penetration and Vulnerability Tester22%
IT Auditor22%
Cybersecurity Architect27%
Cybersecurity Engineer23%
Cybersecurity Manager/Administrator24%
Incident Analyst/Responder23%

Cheap Cyber Security Master’s Program

To help you understand which Master’s in Cyber Security degree programs may be among the cheapest, the total tuition for such programs ranges from $11,560 to $97,500.

Because fully online cyber security degree programs do not require you to relocate, they may also be more affordable. These allow you to study for the future while you continue in a current career. To this end, other statistics gathered by Online Degree Database indicates:

  • 25 Online Master of Cybersecurity programs have total tuition of under $25,000 and have no GRE/GMAT requirements
  • 64 Master of Cybersecurity programs are 100 percent online

Below are 10 Partner Schools with the Most Affordable Cyber Security Programs

  1. Rochester Institute of Technology
  2. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
  3. Grand Canyon University
  4. Southern New Hampshire University
  5. Liberty University
  6. Regent University
  7. Purdue Global University
  8. Bellevue University
  9. Excelsior College
  10. California University of Pennsylvania

Learn more about available cyber security programs below.

The MS in Computing Security at Rochester Institute of Technology targets those who have an undergraduate degree in computer science, engineering or mathematics. With a strong technical focus, the courses cover both concepts and practices relevant to computing security. This is done through the lens of software engineering, computer science, mobile computing, computer networking, policy and risk management, and systems administration. Aside from core courses, the program offers a selection of electives and requires a capstone thesis, project or course.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Program: Master of Science in Computing Security
  • Average tuition: $23,901*
* (Tuition includes Total Out of State or Online Tuition)
The MS in Cybersecurity at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota aims to prepare students to pursue CISSP and CISM certifications. Students who lack the relevant background may enroll and take some preliminary courses in computer networking. The program otherwise delves into key topics in security, policy, data privacy, ethical hacking and incident response. In addition to courses in leadership, students may refine business communication skills. A final case study project asks participants to complete a risk analysis and may help to integrate learning.
  • Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
  • Program: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Average tuition: $23,400*
* (Tuition includes Total Out of State or Online Tuition)

Cyber Security Grad Programs at St.Mary’s University of Minnesota

The online MS in Cybersecurity at Grand Canyon University targets security engineers and architects, CISOs and others. There is also a Bridge option for career-changers and those whose bachelor’s degree is in an unrelated area. Students in the program take a broad array of courses in topics such as policy, cyber law and digital forensics. Beyond theory, students engage with hands-on coursework in penetration testing, enterprise security and more. The program caps with a course called Cybersecurity Program Development.

  • Grand Canyon University
  • Program: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Total Tuition*: $17,510

* (Tuition includes Total Out of State or Online Tuition)

Cyber Security Grad Programs at GCU

Tuition rates for SNHU’s online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. They offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Program: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Total Tuition*:$24,453

* (Tuition includes Total Out of State or Online Tuition, and are subject to change.)

Cyber Security Grad Programs at SNHU

The online MS in Cybersecurity Management at Purdue Global University aims to ready graduates with the capacity to lead. With a managerial undertone, the curriculum covers many of key areas in compliance, incident response, computer and network security. In other classes, students explore wireless, mobile and cloud security along with computer forensics. Emphasis is also placed on building students’ capacity to conduct industry research as well as excel in analytical thinking and decision making. The University also offers an online MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

  • Purdue University Global
  • Program: Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management
  • Total Tuition*:$25,200

* (Tuition includes Total Out of State or Online Tuition)

Cyber Security Grad Programs at SNHU

The Master of Science in Security Management at Bellevue University is available online and in-class. Students take a series of leadership focused courses that tackle critical concerns. These range from emerging threats, terrorism and homeland defense to information security and infrastructure protection. Because it has a cohort format, students may also get to share their professional experiences as they learn about industry practices. Some of the interesting topics discuss homeland security concerns such as bioterrorism, nuclear terrorism, and cyber terrorism. Several projects may help students refine skills in areas like vulnerability and risk assessment.

  • Bellevue University
  • Program: Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Total Tuition: *$20,700

* (Tuition includes Total Out of State or Online Tuition)

Cyber Security Grad Programs at SNHU

What Major Is Best for Cyber Security?

If now you’ve decided that a degree in Cyber Security is well worth it you might be wondering what degree you should have? Below are some of the most common cyber security graduate degree programs:

Want a scholarship to help?

Our partner site offers a cool 1K scholarship for cyber security programs.

  • IT majors including cybersecurity, IT Management and software development.
  • Some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year.