With an associate degree or certificate in cybersecurity, you can be prepared for an entry-level job in this exciting and growing field. Why is the field of cybersecurity growing? According to Accenture and Ponemon Institute’s study, 2017 Cost of Cyber Crime, the average business is impacted by a cybersecurity attack 130 times. Cyber Defense Magazine notes that 31 percent of organizations have dealt with some kind of cyberattack. Forty-three percent of all cyberattacks are on small businesses. What’s more, cyberattacks cost businesses of all sizes about $11.7 million annually in recovery expenses.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for information security analysts (another name for cybersecurity analysts) are predicted to grow by an astounding 32 percent through 2028. As of 2019, only 38 percent of organizations around the world claim that they are ready and able to handle a complex cyberattack. This is just one more reason why well-educated, trained cybersecurity professionals are needed in businesses and organizations worldwide, to effectively fight these attacks.
Cybint Solutions notes that there are more than 300,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States alone. Job postings in the cybersecurity arena have increased by 74 percent over the past half-decade. If you want to learn more about getting an associate degree or certificate in cybersecurity and breaking into this burgeoning field, read on.
Why Should You Earn an Associate Degree or Certificate in Cyber Security?
While some people choose to dive into a bachelor’s degree program to begin their studies in cyber security, this isn’t possible for everyone. Perhaps you are a career changer, with an interest in protecting cyber systems, and just want to see what the field of cyber security is all about—dip your toe into the water, so to speak. Maybe you are pretty certain that you want a career in cyber security but can’t afford the cost of a four-year bachelor’s degree cybersecurity program right now. Whatever the reason, there are many options for you to pursue an associate degree or certificate in cybersecurity. With programs ranging from a few months to two years in duration, and costs much lower than those of a bachelor’s degree program, you should be able to complete your studies and begin a cybersecurity career in no time!
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What Types of Personalities Should Pursue Cyber Security Education?
If you are still in high school or considering a new career, you might wonder which jobs best fit your personality traits. Cybersecurity jobs are best suited for people who:
- Enjoy analyzing complex ideas and concepts
- Like figuring out puzzles
- Are very detail-oriented
- Are ingenious and enjoy finding new ways to solve complicated problems
- Are flexible
- Work well individually and as part of a team
Additionally, cybersecurity jobs are perfect for men and women of all ages and backgrounds with an interest in math and science (think STEM–Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). You don’t have to be a math whiz to pursue a career in cybersecurity, however – don’t let a lack of affinity for mathematics stop you if you truly have an interest in pursuing a career in information security.
Associate Degrees and Certificates in Cybersecurity Examples
There are many different titles of associate degrees and certificates that are related to cybersecurity and can help you to land your first job in the field. Most are available online, on-campus or as a hybrid program (a combination of both). Some of the most commonly found associate degrees and certificates in cybersecurity include:
- Associate of Science in Cybersecurity
- Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity
- Associate of Applied Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity
- Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity and Computer Networks
- Associate of Applied Science in Cyberdefense – Information Assurance
- Associate of Science in Network Security Management
- Undergraduate Essentials of Cybersecurity Certificate
- Undergraduate Certificate in Cybercrime Investigation
- Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy
- Information Security Certificate (Graduate or Undergraduate)
Cybersecurity Associate Degree Program Courses
Certificate programs are often focused on one aspect of cybersecurity. Therefore, classes within a cybersecurity program will usually differ from one certificate program to the next. Associate degree programs in cybersecurity, too, vary from one school to another. However, you can usually count on finding the following basic, fundamental cybersecurity courses in an associate degree program in cybersecurity:
- Principles of Programming
- Database Management Systems
- Problem Solving with Computing
- Cyber Security Fundamentals
- Communication and Network Security
- Management of Information Systems
- Introduction to Web Page Construction
- Principles of Computer Networks
Cybersecurity Jobs Available for Associate Degree and Certificate Holders
What can you do with an associate degree or certificate in cybersecurity? Plenty! The following types of entry-level cybersecurity jobs are typically attainable with an associate degree or certificate:
- Junior Cyber Security Analyst
- Junior Security Analyst
- Associate Cybersecurity Engineer
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Entry-Level IT Security Engineer
- Cyber Security Associate
- Entry-Level Systems Engineer
- Entry-Level Cybersecurity Engineer
- Cybersecurity Mitigations Engineer/Systems Vulnerability Analyst
- Wireless Network Analyst
Salaries for Cybersecurity Associate Degree and Certificate Holders
Per the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual mean wage for information security analysts working nationwide as of May 2019 is $104,210. Those working in the 75th percentile can make up to $128,640 per year; and those in the 90th percentile can earn up to $158,860 annually. Shelling out money to pay for that one-year certificate or two-year associate degree program can pay off with salaries that can hit six figures! More importantly, you will be working in a rewarding, challenging career that keeps you on your toes from day to day.