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Choosing the Right Cyber Security Degree: Factors to Consider

Finding the right cyber security degree program is essential for anyone who wants to start a career or advance in the cyber security field.

To choose the right program, you’ll need to consider several factors during your research. From curriculum to certifications, you’ll need to compare different programs so you can make a well-informed decision that matches your ambitions and objectives.

In this article, we’ll outline the factors you should keep in mind when searching for the best cyber security degree program.

The Rise in Cyber Security Degrees

Cybercrimes are a threat to everyone. Security breaches, like ransomware attacks, malware, and identity theft, continue to negatively affect individuals and organizations around the world.

Today, businesses are employing more cyber security professionals to defend themselves against cybercrimes and stay ahead of the constant changes in the threat landscape.

As a result, more specialized cyber security career paths are available. Organizations are now in need of cyber security analysts, risk management analysts, network security engineers, application security engineers, and other specialized cyber security roles.

This need has also led to new cyber security degree offerings at educational institutions across the country. These programs ensure that students have the knowledge and skills necessary for successful cyber security careers.

How to Choose the Best Cyber Security Degree Program

To find the best cyber security program, you’ll need to consider four important program attributes: reputation, curriculum, cost, and employment opportunities. Reviewing these can help you find a program that fits your educational and professional goals.

Reputation

For prospective cyber security students, it’s important to consider the overall reputation of degree programs and institutions that you’re interested in attending.

Awards, rankings, and job placement rates can help you identify trusted institutions and degree programs. For example, you can utilize objective, third-party rankings, like Intelligent.com’s Best Cyber Security Program, which reviews cyber security programs at top colleges across the country. CIAT was awarded top ranking two years running in this review based on its incorporation of industry certifications.

Student testimonials can also help you understand how certain programs help students launch or advance their cyber security careers.

Curriculum & Objectives

Curriculum is a crucial component of cyber security degree programs. It’s imperative that you find a program with a comprehensive curriculum. Reviewing the courses and materials covered by each program can help you decide which program meets your educational goals. 

Are the courses leveraging up-to-date content that aligns with the current cyber security landscape? Are the courses offered based on current industry specifications and real-world case studies? Asking questions like these can help you determine if the program has the curriculum you need.

Other objectives, including admission requirements, professional certification options, and access to experienced faculty members at the undergraduate level, should also be factors everyone considers when reviewing cyber security programs.

Degree & Certificate Program Costs

A degree is a significant investment in time and money, with benefits beyond salary and career prospects. As such, cost is another key factor to consider when comparing cyber security degree programs.

To find a program that supports your financial goals, review financial aid opportunities, military benefits, and scholarship options available at different institutions. Some schools, like CIAT, even offer ROI calculators, which give you a snapshot of the financial return on investment you can get from your education.

Connections With Technology Employers

To find a cyber security degree program that furthers your career goals, review the career services and employment partnerships offered through different programs and institutions.

Certain schools, like CIAT, offer career services that are designed to help students with professional and personal development. For example, CIAT offers personalized career coaching, industry certification workshops, resume building, LinkedIn profile optimization, mock interview practice, job placement support, and more.

Different institutions also have partner employer networks, which students can leverage for job placement. Students can access employer partners through technology career fairs or employer “meet and greets” and, in turn, be better positioned to compete for the most in-demand tech jobs.

Cyber Security Degrees: Which Ones Are the Most Popular?

Today, there are a multitude of cyber security degree program paths. Many colleges offer associate’s and bachelor’s cybersecurity degree programs, while others offer shorter vendor certification programs. Some educational institutions provide cyber security degrees with a broader IT or computer science major, while others offer single-degree cyber security programs. Several cyber security degree programs include a wide range of subject matter, including engineering, mathematics, and information assurance courses.

Online Programs Becoming a Popular Learning Option

Even before COVID-19, many students pursued their cybersecurity degrees online. Online degree options continue to gain popularity, and some cyber security degree programs now incorporate hands-on learning experiences. Many schools have even created virtual labs for students to help them gain experience that approximates real-world situations.

For example, CIAT offers online classes and hands-on training through interactive labs to give students the flexibility of online courses and the technical skills necessary for success in the cybersecurity field. 

Knowledge for Today and in the Future

Choosing the right cyber security degree program can seem daunting, but with these considerations, you can find a program that fits your goals and priorities. Gaining a degree is the first step in the exciting journey of starting or advancing your career in cyber security.

At CIAT, the following online cyber security degree programs help future cyber security professionals develop the knowledge and skills they need for a thriving career:

Book an appointment today with one of CIAT’s expert Admissions Advisors to discuss the cybersecurity pathways you can take to achieve your personal and professional goals.

Take the first step.

Building a strong coding portfolio takes hard work and dedication. Whether you’re just starting in the field or advancing your career, learning how to create an education plan that aligns with your career goals saves you time and money. This also delivers the most significant return on your investment.

Career Planning

You’ve chosen an education plan with a goal in mind, and now you’re focused on making the most of your educational resources to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success in the job market. The most impactful recommendation we give to all new CIAT students in the tech field is not to wait until graduation to start their IT career planning. When you begin your career planning steps from day 1 of your program, you graduate career-ready and are more likely to find your first job quickly, with competitive salary ranges.

Let us help you achieve your career goals.

When landing your dream job, CIAT supports its students every step of the way – ensuring you graduate with more than just a degree. Our IT career services team focuses on both your professional and personal development to help prepare you for a career in web development, mobile app development, information technology, cybersecurity, networking, and more.

Get certified, earn your degree, and start your path to a new career with:

  • Personalized career coaching
  • Industry certification workshops
  • Resume building
  • LinkedIn profile optimization
  • Mock interview practice
  • Job placement support
  • Dedicated job board
  • Specialty career-building workshops
  • Technology career fairs and employer “meet and greets”
  • Work study and volunteer opportunities

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