December 31, 2015
Cyber crime is on the rise. According to a 2014 study by the Ponemon Institute, 43 percent of companies surveyed reported that they had experienced a data breach within the last year. With the rising risk of cyber attack, there is consequently also an increase in the number of jobs available to fight the threat. Cyber security is an appealing field for technologically savvy job seekers who want to protect sensitive online data through actions such as risk assessment and defensive strategy building.
If you're interested in both technology and strategy, cyber security could be a good fit for your career ambitions. The field is a bit of a cat-and-mouse scenario, where cyber security professionals are in a race to stay one step ahead of hackers by anticipating their next moves and countering before they strike. Employment for those with cyber security certification vary from jobs such as security analyst and source code auditor to computer crime investigator and forensics expert. If you need training that works with your schedule and lifestyle, consider furthering your career by earning a cyber security degree online from Southern New Hampshire University.
At SNHU, you get more than just a diploma when it comes to cyber security. Our online bachelor's degree in IT with a concentration in cyber security will equip you to protect sensitive data, gain a greater understanding of UNIX/LINUX operating systems and master the fundamental principles underlying cyber security. The online program provides you with the necessary courses to acquire these skills at times that are convenient for you and your schedule. Most importantly, the program at SNHU gives you the knowledge and skills you need to succeed when you enter the field.
If you already have an undergraduate degree in a related area of study, consider earning an online master's degree in cyber security. This SNHU graduate degree gives students a deep dive into the preventive measures needed to combat the growing cyber threats worldwide. The curriculum's core focus is equipping students with knowledge management, web fundamentals and network management and security, critical skills needed to pursue employment in the field. Completing the master's program prepares graduates to help organizations head off the threat of a breach and maintain the confidence of the public.
In addition to earning a degree, participants in the online programs can get hands-on opportunities to practice their skills in a competitive environment due to cyber security partnerships.
"We belong to the National CyberWatch Center. It's an organization made up of a lot of different colleges and universities that offer cyber security programs and it affords us the opportunity to allow students to participate in different competitions," said Gwen Britton, Ph.D., executive director of online STEM programs at SNHU. "Right now we have a whole bunch of students who are going to be participating in The National Cyber League Competition that starts this month."
One such student is Adam Wood, an online SNHU student, who is also an active member of the armed forces.
"I chose to participate in the competition because it seemed like good, practical experience," Wood said. "Sitting through classes and certification preparation classes are all well and good, but without a realistic virtual lab set-up, which not everyone has, it's really hard to practice the lessons and techniques that are discussed and taught. The tools and techniques taught in Security+ and CEH I feel are perishable skills and if you don't practice or use them often enough they will be forgotten."
The National Cyber League (NCL) provides students with the opportunity to develop, practice and validate cyber security skills in simulated environments. The NCL Gymnasiums include lab exercises such as simulations and games, which allow for skill development and performance measurement among participants. The league offers individual competitions that are aimed at training up a new generation of cyber security professionals.
As a student, you can find competitions that will help you to prepare for your specific cyber security certification and your career goals outside SNHU. Put the knowledge and skills that you learn in classes to the test during these competitions to refine your abilities, gaining hands on experience that will prepare you for a successful career in cyber security.
"My ultimate goal is to conduct penetration testing and so the practical experience [from the competition] will greatly help," Wood said. "Also, the NCL gives you feedback on how you competed, which shows where you should improve. I can take this information and use it to focus my studies in areas that I'm weakest."
If you're looking to enter the field of cyber security, the first step could be to earn a cyber security degree online through SNHU. The unique curriculum is taught by knowledgeable instructors who have years of experience in the field and are ready and willing to help you achieve your dream.
According to Britton, the courses also help students prepare for certifications from CompTIA and TestOut. Cyber security certification can go a long way in landing a position in the field after graduation.
"Students who take those courses who don't have that credential have the opportunity to study and actually pass those certification exams," Britton said. "We are partnering with CompTIA, we're part of the CompTIA Academy Partner Program, and students have the opportunity to get discounted vouchers through that program. Student can also take the exams to get certified by TestOut."
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that the number of jobs for information security analysts will rise by 37 percent through 2022, a rate that is much faster than the average. With a growing market and the opportunity for a quality education at your fingertips, take charge of your future by earning a cyber security degree online with SNHU.
Amy Irvine is an environmental nonfiction and memoir author, a mother, and an adjunct professor in the Southern New Hampshire University Low-Residency MFA Creative Writing Program.
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