What is Cyber Security?
Cybersecurity is all about securing computer networks from cyber-attacks. Professionals in the cyber security field are trained to protect a company’s computer systems against data breaches, malware infections, and much more.
In today’s society, cyber security professionals are extremely critical, especially as more and more people continue to work from home and industries turn to big data and large networks where they keep all their data. Many aspiring cyber security professionals are unsure which industry to pursue. According to much research, Arkansas has a huge stake in the professional and business service industry, generating a total revenue of $13.8 billion.
Since the professional and business service is a top industry in this state, many schools in Arkansas offer cyber security degree programs that are specifically designed to prepare students for job positions in computer services. A locally useful degree, these cyber security programs will provide students with the necessary knowledge to excel in a wide range of computer service positions including network security specialists, information security analysts, secure software developers, cyber security specialists, and many more.
Cybersecurity Education in Arkansas
Over the years, cyber security has become a fast-growing industry. Due to the increasing rise of cyber-attacks in Arkansas and beyond, there has never been a greater need for cyber security specialists than now. Cybersecurity specialists are expert technology professionals who specialize in maintaining the security of an organization’s information systems.
As part of their everyday work, these technology professionals are expected to perform the following duties: access system vulnerabilities, install security measures such as firewalls, monitor information systems, and create reports for senior-level management. Cybersecurity specialists are likely to obtain positions in many different places including computer companies, financial businesses, and consulting firms.
Associate Degree in Cyber Security (AS)
An associate cyber security degree prepares students for entry-level jobs such as information security specialists and computer support specialists. During this program, cybersecurity students will learn exactly how to respond to cyber-threats, perform data analysis, and apply security plans. By learning practical security techniques, graduates will be able to protect an organization’s computer systems.
Bachelor's Degree in Cyber Security (BS)
A bachelor’s cyber security degree program is a great option for students who would like an entry or intermediate-level position in the cyber security field. As future cybersecurity professionals, students will be required to complete education courses such as Cyber Forensics, Cyber Defense, Legal Issues in Cyber Security, and Developing Secure Software.
Cybersecurity students will be equipped with key skills, from critical thinking and programming to solution design and ethical hacking. At the end of the program, graduates will be able to successfully apply security principles in an organization.
Master's Degree in Cyber Security (MS or MC)
Many Arkansas colleges offer a Master of Science in Computer Science degree with an emphasis on cybersecurity. A master’s cyber security degree/MBA program is only recommended for cybersecurity students who have a strong desire to obtain a management or executive cyber security career.
The program will offer students the opportunity to take classes that focus on key cyber security concepts like security analytics, computer forensics, cyber defense, and much more. Students will learn computational problem-solving techniques and advanced programming skills.
A master’s cyber security degree/MBA program is not the only path for advance opportunities in the cyber security field. A cyber security graduate certificate is also designed to prepare students for senior-level management positions.
PhD Degree in Cyber Security (PhD)
A PhD/Doctorate computer science degree is the ideal option for cyber security students who want to work in a national research laboratory, academia, or high tech company. This degree offers students the opportunity to engage in independent study, allowing them to choose cybersecurity as an area of research. Most students who are admitted to these programs already hold a master’s in computer science or cybersecurity degree.
Top College Programs in Arkansas for Cyber Security
- University of Arkansas
- University of Central Arkansas
- Southern Arkansas University
- Southern Arkansas University Tech
- Arkansas Tech University
Become a Cybersecurity Professional in Arkansas
Step 1: Earn A Degree
Most careers in the cyber security field require an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, or even a PhD/doctorate cyber security degree.
Step 2: Obtain Industry Certifications
In order to qualify for certain cyber security positions in Arkansas, technology professionals will need to earn an industry certification. Many of these industry certifications require several years of cyber security work experience. Here are the most common industry certifications for technology professionals in Arkansas.
- CompTIA Security+:
This is the first security certification that technology professionals should receive.
- CompTIA Network+:
The CompTIA Network+ is also considered a basic certification for cyber security professionals who want to learn about networking infrastructures and operations.
- Encase Certified Examiner:
The Encase Certified Examiner is highly recommended for cyber security professionals who would like to become skilled in computer investigation methodology.
- Certified Ethical Hacker:
As the name implies, this certification allows technology professionals to excel in a career as an ethical hacker.
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional:
Technology professionals who pursue this certification will learn key cyber security concepts like management, architecture, and engineering.
Step 3: Choose A Cybersecurity Field
As future cybersecurity professionals search for a job, it’s extremely helpful to know about the various cyber security fields. While future cyber security professionals should have some idea of the type of career they want to pursue, these cyber ecurity fields should help them narrow down the options:
- Network Security:
Network security is a common field for cyber security professionals. This popular field is suitable for technology experts who want to protect computer networks.
- Penetration Testing:
Cyber security professionals who would like to be considered ethical hackers should consider pursuing the penetration testing field. In this field, cybersecurity professionals determine the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of security systems.
- Mobile Security:
The mobile security field is the perfect choice for cybersecurity professionals with a strong desire to protect portable devices including laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
- Malware Analysis:
Cybersecurity professionals in the malware analysis field use tools to identify possible threats of malware infection.
- Risk Audit/Management:
Cyber security auditing is a great field for technology professionals who want to manage the risks of an organization. They can use cyber security audits to access a company’s security measures.
- Application Security:
Cyber security professionals who work in the application security field spend their days protecting the data and code within an app from cyber-attacks.
Step 4: Network with Cyber Security Professionals
Networking with technology professionals is a great way to thrive in the cyber security industry. A few great professional organizations for cyber security professionals are Association for Women in Computing, Association for Information Science and Technology, and Information Systems Security Association.
Careers for Cyber Security Graduates
- Security Analyst:
Most security analysts are expected to protect a company’s private data by recommending powerful firewalls and software systems. In a typical day, security analysts may perform security assessments, update software, conduct penetration testing, identify possible threats, develop training programs, and present reports to IT administrators.
- Security Engineer:
As security engineers, these professionals take measures to secure a company’s computer networks. If a data breach does occur, they often partner with management to create more effective security plans.
- Information Technology Manager:
The main role of information technology managers is to oversee an organization’s technical components. These professionals typically implement security strategies.
- Information Security Manager:
One of the primary duties of information security managers is to protect an organization from cyber-threats. Often known as cyber security managers, information security managers are expected to supervise the IT information security department. These managers ensure that every employee appropriately responds to a company’s information security needs.
- Computer Forensic Expert:
As computer forensic experts, these professionals play a critical role in solving crimes. They use specialized tools and techniques to obtain key evidence during an investigation.
- Network Engineer:
These technology professionals take pride in ensuring that networks are performing optimally. Network engineers can be seen implementing network security solutions, performing troubleshooting tasks, updating software and networks, and providing tech support to users.
- Network Administrator:
Network administrators are most known for overseeing a company’s networks. Generally speaking, they are supposed to implement, maintain, and upgrade software and hardware so that a network runs smoothly.
The best cryptographers know exactly how to encrypt data so that hackers can’t access sensitive information in computer systems.
- Security Manager:
Like the title implies, security managers promote optimal security in an organization. They are supposed to solve security issues, create security policies, enhance the surveillance of a workplace, and develop reports for senior management.
- Cyber Security Consultant:
Companies may hire cyber security consultants to create and implement effective security solutions for information technology systems. Most cyber security consultants hold the Certified Information Systems Security Professional Certification.
- Source Code Auditor:
Most source code auditors ensure that codes are free from glitches and bugs. In order to excel as source code auditors, these professionals need to stay current with innovative technology.
- Systems Administrator:
Systems administrators have several duties such as solving network problems, performing system upgrades, creating security policies, supervising tech employees, and offering technical support. At the end of the day, these professionals strive to ensure that a company’s network and computer systems are functioning properly.
- Information Technology Director:
The primary goal of information technology directors is to monitor a company’s technical infrastructure. They are generally required to identify the technology needs of an organization, perform IT security audits implement IT policies, managing an IT team, and offer security recommendations.
- Cloud Information Security Engineer:
Technology professionals known as cloud information security engineers are mainly responsible for protecting a company’s cloud-based platform. During a typical day, these tech experts must improve cloud networks by implementing enhanced security methods.
- Information Security Analyst:
Information security analysts are tech professionals who strive to secure a company’s security networks, shielding them from dangerous cyber threats. In order to accomplish this goal, these employees implement innovative solutions to protect sensitive data.
- Security Software Engineer:
Security software engineers specialize in using engineering principles to develop security software for an organization. The overarching goal of these professionals is to promote optimal network security.
- Security Architect:
Security architects play a critical role in securing a company’s computer systems. After identifying the vulnerabilities within the computer system, they create security structures to prevent malicious attacks. In most organizations, security architects report to the chief information security officer.
- Penetration Tester:
The best penetration testers are able to quickly identify the weaknesses and vulnerabilities within a company’s current networks. Also known as “ethical hackers,” penetration testers use innovative hacking techniques to improve the digital security of an organization.
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO):
These senior-level cyber security experts are in charge of protecting a company’s data assets. CISOs usually have the following responsibilities: Develop security architecture, investigate cyber breaches, implement system patches, and create cyber security initiatives.