Is a Master’s in Cyber Security Worth It?

Why just talk about the state of cyber security when you can actually do something about it? Obtaining a master’s degree in cyber security can put you in the center of an increasingly important IT discipline, in charge of analyzing, defending, and preventing data breaches. Companies typically pay a premium for cyber security talent which makes a master’s in cyber security well worth your time, money, and effort.

computer code on screen

The Need for Cyber Security Specialists

2017 saw some of the largest, and potentially most damaging, user data hacks come to light. Consider the breach at Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the U.S.. To date, the company has identified almost 148 million consumers who had at least some of their data stolen, from names and e-mail addresses to credit card, social security, and driver’s license numbers. All of this information can be used by criminals to illegally assume someone’s identity and carry out fraudulent transactions.

How did it happen? The company reports that the breach took place from mid-May through July 2017 with hackers accessing data through a bug in the Apache Struts web application framework. Professional cyber security firm Mandiant was brought in by Equifax to help them with the analysis, assessment, and remediation of the breach.

Other high-profile data theft cases announced in 2017 include Yahoo’s admission of 3 billion accounts accessed in 2013 and Uber’s coverup of 57 million accounts poached. The Identity Theft Resource Center reports that as of April 30, 2018 there have been 383 reported breaches of almost 13 million records across all categories of business – medical, financial, education, even in government and the military.

Career Opportunities in Cyber Security

The jobs that help examine and prevent data theft include Information Security Analyst, Computer Network Architect, and Software Developer. All three of these positions are in demand, with the infosec analyst and developer positions predicted to grow by at least 24 percent in the decade spanning 2016-2026. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median salaries for all three positions are over $95,000 per year. These seem like excellent choices, considering that the median salary of all jobs is under $38,000/year. Earning a master’s degree in cyber security and stepping into one of these positions looks to be a solid investment for years to come.

Start Your Cyber Security Career at Maryville University

A master’s degree in cyber security can be well worth the initial investment, resulting in a career that is not only personally gratifying – defending innocent people from cyber criminals – but can be financially lucrative as well, helping you and your family achieve financial security. Maryville University’s online Master’s in Cyber Security program allows learning at a flexible and self-directed pace, putting you in control of your schedule.

Maryville also offers a unique opportunity in its innovative, student-run Cyber Fusion Center, which allows students to gain real-world experience while providing valuable cyber security services to nonprofits, schools, and small businesses. The answer to “is a master’s in cyber security worth it?” is clear. If you want your skills to be in-demand and highly compensated, there’s hardly a better degree to earn.

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Software Developers

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer Network Architects

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cyber Attacks

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Security Analysts

Identity Theft Resource Center

The Washington Post

The Apache Software Foundation