The Best Online Cybersecurity Degrees of 2021
Updated August 11, 2021
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Cybersecurity pertains to the protection of information and technology in electronic systems, computers, networks, and servers from unwanted invasions.
These attacks can affect organizations of all sizes in any industry. Therefore, many employers value the expertise of professionals with cybersecurity degrees.
Graduates with a bachelor's in cybersecurity enjoy a steadily growing career path. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 5% increase in jobs for network and computer systems administrators between 2018 and 2028.
This guide ranks the 20 best online cybersecurity bachelor's degrees. We also cover important information for prospective students, such as common careers and potential salaries for graduates.
|#1||Drexel University Philadelphia, PA|
|#2||Champlain College Burlington, VT|
|#3||Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA|
|#4||Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI|
|#5||Dakota State University Madison, SD|
|#6||California Baptist University Riverside, CA|
|#7||Lewis University Romeoville, IL|
|#8||The University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX|
|#9||Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY|
|#10||Wilmington University New Castle, DE|
Featured Online Schools
The Best Online Cybersecurity Degree Programs
Online Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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What Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity degrees prepare graduates to protect organizations from illegal hackers and viruses that target sensitive information. The term "cybersecurity" applies to a broad field, including network security, information security, operational security, and application security.
Concentrations vary by program, but cybersecurity students can potentially specialize in areas like web and mobile development, business analytics, database and analytics, and computing technology. Today's digital society allows cybersecurity professionals to find employment in nearly any field, but the most common fields include computer systems design and educational services.
Constant advances in technology pose ongoing challenges and changes; cybersecurity professionals must stay abreast of any changes to maintain relevance and a competitive edge in the job market. Cybersecurity professionals also need integrity and strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
What Is the Difference Between Information Assurance and Cybersecurity?
Information assurance and cybersecurity both refer to the protection of information. However, information assurance refers to the protection of both non-digital and digital information, while cybersecurity emphasizes digital information.
Information security professionals analyze how organizations use and communicate information, identifying possible areas of exposure in order to advise companies. Cybersecurity professionals develop methods of protecting digital hardware, software, and information systems from data breaches or other damage.
What Is a Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Degree?
During a bachelor's in cybersecurity program, students explore computer system administration and electronic safety concepts, learning how to protect digital data, computer systems, and networks from infiltration. Courses may include usability in data structures and algorithms, project management standards and behaviors, Linux systems administration, and server-side scripting PHP.
Some programs offer cybersecurity specializations. Concentrations that focus on the business aspect of the field include project management and business analytics, while field-specific concentrations may include secure software development and mobile development programming.
Students typically earn this degree in four years of full-time attendance. However, online programs may offer accelerated options or modified academic calendars that require shorter time commitments. Admission requirements vary, but applicants usually must submit a resume, letters of recommendation, and SAT or ACT scores. Universities may also require an interview and a minimum GPA.
During a cybersecurity bachelor's degree, students gain soft skills in research, writing, adaptability, and networking. They also gain hard skills, like how to design and assess network architecture, compose custom scripts, and understand anti-malware.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Degree?
While most employers seek cybersecurity professionals with a bachelor's degree, an associate degree can satisfy requirements for some entry-level roles, including network security analyst, cybersecurity penetration tester, or cyberthreat analyst. Earning an associate degree also provides students with a strong foundation to pursue a cybersecurity bachelor's degree. In fact, some schools require applicants to hold an associate degree or professional experience before enrolling in a bachelor's program.
Professionals with a bachelor's degree have more opportunities. Potential roles for graduates include information security manager, IT security consultant, information assurance engineer, and ethical hacker.
A master's in cybersecurity provides further advancement opportunities, typically allowing students to specialize in an area like IT auditing or risk management and compliance. Cybersecurity professionals can also earn a doctorate, which prepares them for leadership roles like computer security researcher and developer, computer security system architect, director of information security, or senior security consultant.
The need for highly qualified cybersecurity professionals continues to grow. There are roles that only require an associate degree, allowing graduates to enter the field within two years and begin building professional experience. However, employers more often look for candidates with at least a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity. Several common careers for graduates with a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity are listed below.
Computer Systems Administrators
Computer systems administrators manage network-related tasks within an organization. These professionals must maintain network transfer performance, review protocols, and develop scripts that enhance networking devices. Other responsibilities include updating computer systems, reviewing software installations, and developing run-times for multiple programming languages.
This position requires analytical, IT, and business skills. Computer systems administrators need to perform well in teams while operating with minimal supervision. Most employers require applicants to hold a cybersecurity bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Employers may also require prior related experience or industry certifications.
Information Security Analysts
Information security analysts improve data safety within an organization. Primary responsibilities include research, data collection, strategy development, and efficiency improvement. These analysts also implement and uphold privacy policies and security guidelines. This role requires constant assessment of enterprise environments, log monitoring, and computer traffic management.
The best candidates can multitask and pay attention to detail. Information security analysts also need problem-solving skills. Employers typically require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and experience in the field.
Network architects create and review network capabilities and needs for their companies. Other responsibilities include providing technical support regarding advanced wireless networks and managing client relationships under the guidance of organizational protocols and standards. These professionals work closely with network administrators.
This role requires advanced organizational skills to prevent detrimental network issues. Network architects must maintain detailed reports of their work to prevent and manage connectivity problems. These professionals also need strong communication skills to stay abreast of changes within the field. Employers typically look for candidates with a bachelor's degree. Some roles may also require prior experience.
Cybersecurity Membership Associations
Technology evolves rapidly, so cybersecurity professionals need to stay updated on changes within the field. Membership organizations help professionals collaborate and share their knowledge. Professional organizations also offer discounted coursework and certification programs, digital databases, and online resources.
Cybersecurity certifications allow professionals to demonstrate specialized knowledge and skills, creating opportunities in a competitive job market. The list below includes highly recognized certifications that cybersecurity professionals should consider pursuing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Cybersecurity?
Digital attacks aim to access, destroy, or change sensitive information in an organization. Cybersecurity protects computer systems from these threats and attacks.
What Is a Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Degree?
A bachelor's in cybersecurity teaches students how to protect various information systems and data, emphasizing technical knowledge and skills.
What Kind of Degree Do You Need for Cybersecurity?
While employers may accept applicants with an associate degree for entry-level cybersecurity positions, most employers require a bachelor's degree at minimum. Certifications can provide an additional advantage in the job market.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Cybersecurity Degree?
Students can earn a cybersecurity bachelor's degree in four years of full-time attendance. However, online programs may offer accelerated options, which allow students to graduate sooner.
How Much Do You Make in Cybersecurity?
According to BLS data, network and computer systems administrators earn a median annual salary of $82,050.
Do You Need a Bachelor's Degree for Cybersecurity?
Professionals may find limited entry-level jobs with an associate degree in cybersecurity, but most employers require a bachelor's degree.
How Much Do Cybersecurity Majors Make?
Cybersecurity salaries vary by location, experience, industry, and title. For instance, professionals who provide educational services earn median annual wages of around $71,990, while information administrators earn median salaries of $88,440.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity professionals typically offer computer systems design services. They may also work in education-related services, finance and insurance, or management.
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