Is a Cyber Security Degree Worth It?

Thinking About A Master’s in Cyber Security?

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

5 Reasons Why A Cyber Security Degree is 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.

You might be wondering if a Master’s in Cyber Security degree may get you a return on your investment of time and money. Data from the Online Degree Database indicates that the average tuition for this degree is $30, 828 which may be easy enough to pay off. For instance, in 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) points to a median annual wage of $95,510 for information security analysts alone.

Reports also show persons with an MBA in Information Systems have a great chance of getting hired. The reasons include a very fast growing demand (28 percent ) for well-educated cyber security professionals through 2026. Plus, many of these jobs may go unfilled due to the cyber manpower shortage.

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 2017 Security Analysts in the highest 10 percent bracket earned above $153,090
  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 of between $139,220 and $208,000 (BLS.org)

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?

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. Data shows there’s a growing need for Forensic Audit Experts.

It doesn’t stop here. 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

What is the Highest Paying Cyber Security Job?

Based on BLS data for median annual salaries in 2017, the highest paying cyber security job was Computer and Information Systems ($139,220) followed by the following cyber careers:

Highest Paying Cyber Security Jobs

Job Title

Median Income

Hardware Engineers

$115,120

Computer Research Scientists

$114,520

Chief Information Security Office (CISO)

$104,700

Computer Network Architects

$104,650

Software Developers

$101,790

Information Security Analysts

$95,110

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 Analyst

23%

Cyber Security Analyst

17%

Cyber Security Consultant

19%

Penetration and Vulnerability Tester

22%

IT Auditor

22%

Cybersecurity Architect

27%

Cybersecurity Engineer

23%

Cybersecurity Manager/Administrator

24%

Incident Analyst/Responder

23%

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.

#1: Rochester Institute of Technology

Master of Science in Computing Security

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)

#2: Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Master of Science in Cybersecurity

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)

#3: Grand Canyon University

Master of Science in Cybersecurity

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)

#4: Southern New Hampshire University

Master of Science in Cybersecurity

You can prepare to fill the worldwide demand for up to a million high-growth, high-paying cyber security jobs with SNHU’s affordable online Master of Science in Cyber Security program. SNHU's 12-course, 36-credit program provides an in-depth learning experience, with a core focus on network management and security, knowledge management and web fundamentals and a strong emphasis on intelligence, computer forensics and cyber operations. This degree can help prepare you to become a chief security officer, information security analyst, cyber security manager or other highly sought-after positions within the IT security sector.

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.)

#5: Purdue University Global

MS in Cybersecurity Management

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)

#6: Bellevue University

MS in Cybersecurity

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)

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:

Find Schools