Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security Worth It?

degree in cybersecurity

Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security Worth It- People on the ground in organisations and governments all throughout the world used to commit major crimes like espionage, theft, blackmail, and fraud. All of these offences, and others, can now be committed while sitting in front of a computer screen.

Cybercrime has become a new battleground for businesses and governments all around the world. The majority of these crimes are motivated by financial gain, and cybercrime is estimated to cost the world $6 trillion by 2021, according to Cybercrime Magazine.

As the prevalence of cybercrime and the damage it causes grows, so does the demand for cybersecurity experts. But, in order to advance in this field, do you truly need a master’s degree?

The Rapid Growth in Demand for Cybersecurity Professionals

The number of jobs in cybersecurity is expected to grow dramatically. Careers in cybersecurity are expected to expand by 32% by 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result, cybersecurity is one of the top ten fastest-growing occupations in the United States.

“Cybersecurity is a field that’s in demand in nearly every industry,” says Todd Whittaker,  Department Chair of Computer and Information Sciences and Program Chair of the Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity at Franklin University, “Because cybercrime has a real impact on finances, brand reputation and trust, and everyday people’s lives, corporations large and small, governments, and academic institutions—they’re all looking for cybersecurity experts to keep up with the rapid change and sophistication of cybercrime.” 

By 2024, jobs for Information Security Analysts are predicted to expand by 15% in the United States alone.

Not only is demand increasing, but the supply-demand disparity is widening as well. Cybersecurity Ventures analysed dozens of job numbers from the media, analysts, job boards, suppliers, governments, and organisations around the world to estimate that 3.5 million cybersecurity roles will remain empty by 2021.

A bachelor’s degree and work experience are excellent starting points. A master’s degree in cybersecurity, on the other hand, can help you get ahead by sharpening your abilities and expanding your options.

5 Reasons a Master’s in Cybersecurity is Worth It

A master’s degree is a significant time, energy, and financial investment. However, if you’re serious about getting your master’s degree in cybersecurity, it might have a huge impact on your career.

These are five of the most compelling reasons to pursue a master’s degree in cybersecurity.

  • A master’s degree provides you with cutting-edge knowledge. Cybersecurity is a field that is continually evolving. A master’s programme can renew your technical skills while also enhancing your critical thinking, problem-solving, and management abilities if you’ve been in this field for a while or don’t currently specialise in cybersecurity.
  • It is easier to shift occupations with a master’s degree. Transitioning to a profession in cybersecurity will provide you with prospects for advancement and job security. A master’s degree in cybersecurity is an excellent approach to prove your knowledge and gain a job in the industry if you work in computer science or a similar technology field but don’t specialise in it.
  • A master’s degree allows you to grow in your career. Employers are seeking for qualified individuals to lead their cybersecurity initiatives. A master’s degree can help you stand out and advance to management and executive roles, whether you desire to work for a huge firm, an independent consultant, or at the highest levels of government.
  • A master’s degree raises your earning potential. While information security analysts earn $98,350 per year on average, cybersecurity occupations have a high median salary. You’ll be better prepared for leadership roles with a master’s degree, as the top 10% of cybersecurity professionals earn $156,583 per year.
  • A master’s degree is a lifetime qualification. A master’s degree demonstrates commitment to your work and skill development. It’s a practical way to demonstrate your skills to companies, and it’s an investment that pays off over time.

Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity vs. Certifications: Understanding the Value of Each

Professional certifications are another factor to consider when pursuing cybersecurity credentials. Many professionals are undecided about whether they should pursue a master’s degree, a professional certification, or a mix of both. Here’s a quick rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of each sort of certification.

Certifications are often beneficial for persons with minimal practical experience because they are well-known in the business and can help you break into the field. They established a knowledge threshold. However, certain qualifications are regarded as more valuable than others. Hiring managers prefer certifications that require renewal, but they are also more expensive in the long term due to the necessity for continuing education.

Certifications are also useful for demonstrating in-depth knowledge of a cybersecurity specialism. A master’s degree, which demonstrates your breadth of knowledge, critical thinking, and leadership abilities, and a certificate, which demonstrates particular skill competency, may be useful depending on your career aspirations.

Here are three of the most sought-after cybersecurity expert certifications:

  • To become a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), you must have at least 5 years of on-the-job experience in cybersecurity, making this an elite professional qualification. Earning the CISSP validates your ability to plan, develop, and manage a world-class cybersecurity programme.
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM): The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is a management-focused cybersecurity credential that promotes international security best practises and acknowledges those who manage, design, oversee, and assess a company’s information security.
  • CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker): Learn to think like a cybercriminal and hack like one. Then put your abilities to good use by assisting in the identification and strengthening of security flaws in order to protect your company’s or clients’ data.

Five Cybersecurity Career Paths for Master’s Degree Graduates

The number of chances in the cybersecurity industry is increasing, as is the variety. When it comes to choosing a cybersecurity job path, a master’s degree gives you the most options, demonstrating your ability to grasp both the technical and interpersonal complexity required at senior, management, and executive levels.

Here are five possible career choices that would benefit from a cybersecurity master’s degree.

  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): This c-suite executive position picks, oversees, and leads any efforts relating to an organization’s overall security. CISOs used to have to earn an MBA with a specialty in IT, but with specialised master’s degrees in cybersecurity, these professionals may get an advanced degree that is targeted to their careers.
    Penetration Tester at the Senior Level: A penetration tester, often known as an ethical hacker, exploits computer system flaws. While entry-level penetration testers may not require a specialised degree, employment requirements for mid-level experts are increasing, requiring at least a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and, preferably, a master’s degree.
  • Security Consultant: This position develops and implements the best security solutions based on the demands of a certain organisation. This post is appropriate for someone with a master’s in cybersecurity who has developed both their technical and interpersonal skills, from talking to stakeholders and setting budgets to directing teams and executing security testing.
  • Security Engineer: Detects IT threats and software flaws, designs and tests security solutions, and is the lead person for security policies and procedures. Companies search for a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity and prefer applicants with a master’s degree in cybersecurity for progression because of the highly technical nature of this profession.
  • Security Architects are senior-level employees that plan, create, and oversee an organization’s network and computer security. You’ll also be in charge of giving technical advice, determining costs and risks, and implementing security policies and procedures. A master’s degree in cybersecurity is the best curriculum to equip you for this career because security architects have both technical and managerial duties.

Find a Cybersecurity Master’s Program Designed to Help You Meet Your Goals

A career in cybersecurity is a promising alternative for IT experts due to rising demand, employment security, and high compensation. A master’s degree in cybersecurity might help you stand out among other IT workers who lack specific credentials.

If you’re a working professional looking to better your career without spending time away from it, Franklin University’s Master of Cybersecurity programme offers a flexible, online, and hands-on programme designed and taught by cybersecurity specialists. Franklin University is also the only private, nonprofit university in Ohio with a cybersecurity curriculum recognised by the National Security Agency. Learn more about Franklin’s cybersecurity master’s programme and how it can help you advance your career.

Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.