Is a Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity Worth It?

It seems that every week there is a new story about a cyber terrorist hacking a government institution, a large company, a medical facility, or even stealing individual identities. Cybercrime is on the rise, and with it, so is the need for cyber analysts to defend against these cyber criminals.

Cybersecurity is a fast-growing degree program in the United States, with 1.9 million students graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2016, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that careers in the cybersecurity field will grow 32 percent by 2028, making cybersecurity one of the top 10 fastest-growing jobs in the United States.

You might be wondering if it’s necessary to pursue more than just a bachelor’s in cybersecurity. The short answer is yes. Pursuing a master’s degree in cybersecurity can open many doors for you, not to mention also increase your salary potential. The BLS reports cybersecurity experts in management positions (those with master’s degrees) earn $100,000–$200,000 annually.

Excelsior College’s online master’s degree program in cybersecurity prepares you to protect an organization’s cyber assets. The curriculum focuses on data communication, ethics, legal and compliance issues, operational process, ethical hacking, software security, project management and risk management, and defensive technologies. Students work on interactive projects with peers from other Excelsior master’s programs and disciplines to begin their graduate education by building connections and expanding their worldview. This happens in two courses, one on ethical leadership and one on strategic talent management. These courses focus on developing the soft skills that are crucial to the growth and longevity of a cybersecurity professional.

What Jobs Can I Get with a Master’s in Cybersecurity?

You might be wondering what kinds of jobs are in cybersecurity management and how you can become successful. These elite jobs are in industries such as banking, finance, health care, education, government, law enforcement, research and development, and e-commerce. Here are a few upper-level management jobs you can expect to pursue with a master’s in cybersecurity:

  • Chief information security officer (CISO)—CISOs oversee and provide leadership for initiatives that concern the overall security of an organization.
  • Cybersecurity manager—A cybersecurity manager oversees a cybersecurity team for an organization.
  • Cybercrime analyst/investigator—A cybercrime analyst studies details and data to identify patterns and determine how a crime occurred and how to prevent future crimes.
  • Cybersecurity architect—Cybersecurity architects build and oversee the operation of network and computer security for an organization.
  • Cybersecurity engineer—Cybersecurity engineers identify IT threats and software vulnerabilities, build and test security systems, and serve as the point person on security policies and procedures.
  • Cybersecurity analyst—A cybersecurity analyst monitors a computer network to protect it from hacking and other threats, including malware and viruses.
  • Senior penetration tester—A penetration tester, or ethical hacker, exploits vulnerabilities in computer systems.
  • Benefits of a Master’s in Cybersecurity

    A master’s degree can help you make your way to the top of the cybersecurity ladder. A bachelor’s degree provides you with the technical knowledge, but the experience and knowledge gained from a master’s in cybersecurity will add to your managerial expertise. Here are some other benefits of a master’s in cybersecurity:

  • A master’s degree teaches you critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and management skills.
  • A master’s degree increases your salary.
  • You’ll gain respect.
  • A master’s degree shows you are dedicated to your career and willing to improve your skillset.
  • It can open the door to more job opportunities.
  • Does a master’s degree in cybersecurity sound like something you might like to pursue? Contact Excelsior College today to start your journey.