We live in a digital universe. In this day and age of smartphones, smart-homes and even smart-cities, we know for sure that the volume of data created in the world is rising rapidly. Did you know? An IBM study estimates that people are already generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, that’s 2.5 Million terabytes in 24 hours! Consequently, with all this data out there in the world, there is an increased risk of cybercrimes too. And since businesses hold large amounts of data, they are especially at risk of these cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity deals with protecting and recovering networks, hardware, systems, and programs from all kinds of digital attacks such as theft, damage, and unauthorized access. Like white knights in a world of numbers, cybersecurity professionals are the saviours that protect our data from falling into the wrong hands. Hence, careers in this field of digital warfare (a.k.a cybersecurity) are endless.
So how do you set foot in this virtual battlefield? What do they do? And how do they do it?
Cyberattacks come in many forms, some of which are trojans, spyware, phishing and social engineering. The goal might be anything, to steal personal data, to intercept a transaction, or spy on your computer to peek at confidential information, and criminals are getting sneakier with the ways they can achieve these objectives. To prevent and protect users from these attacks, cybersecurity professionals must get craftier too. This field can be divided into three interconnected components, IT security, Cybersecurity and Network security. They rely on cryptographic protocols and other electronic security protocols to improve the defence of both the user and the hardware.
Due to the increased demand for cybersecurity specialists, this has become one of the hottest careers of the 21st century, on par with data science and data analytics. We know for a fact that there are never going to be enough cybersecurity professionals in the world, and that the demand for them will only keep rising. For this reason, more and more universities are focused on creating competent cybersecurity specialists. The USA offers some of the best master’s programs in cybersecurity to students from all around the world with unique specializations that complement the student’s interests.
Here are 5 of the coolest cybersecurity programs in the country.
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia
This degree is a combination of theoretical and practical learning. Students are allowed to choose among three specializations including a technology specialization, policy specialization and a cyber-physical (energy systems) specialization.
Program Cost: $27,000
Master of Engineering in Cybersecurity Engineering
University of Maryland, Maryland
This program is offered in collaboration with the Electrical and Computer Science departments and is designed to help technical professionals through courses like hacking, network security, secure operating systems and more.
Program Cost: $35,000
Master of Science in Security Informatics
Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
The Whiting School of Engineering at JHU offers students a full-time program in cybersecurity to address the nation’s growing demand for information security professionals. Students learn courses like cryptocurrency, ethical hacking, cloud computing and network security with a research perspective.
Program Cost: $55,000
Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering
University of Southern California, California
This degree focuses on the development, engineering and operation of secure information systems. The curriculum is constructed in a way that allows students to understand the challenges faced by cybersecurity professionals practically. The program focuses on security policies and their effect on technology decisions of today’s world.
Program Cost: $59,000
Program Duration: 2 years
Master of Science in Cybersecurity Risk and Strategy
New York University (NYU), New York
This is a one-year program jointly offered by the law and engineering schools of NYU. With a detailed analysis of technology, regulations, and human behaviour, this program helps students cultivate a security mindset. Students from here are well-versed with the regulatory forces when talking about cybersecurity and are ready to dive directly into the professional world. The extensive curriculum at NYU offers students multiple career options as well.
Program Cost: $85,500
Program Duration: 1 year
Other programs: MS Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity professionals have never been more in demand, in fact, the demand is outpacing the supply with an estimate that the unfilled positions in this sector will be over 3.5 million by 2021. A master’s degree from any of these top universities allows students to earn an average starting salary of $66,000 as a fresh cybersecurity specialist, and go all the way to over $150,000 as an information security officer. Some of the leading players in the cybersecurity field are Fortinet, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft and McAfee, and most of these companies come to recruit students from these colleges. So, if you have an interest in being a rich and righteous cybercop, now is the perfect time to jump on the bandwagon.