What is Cyber Security?
Cyber security specialists handle a myriad of responsibilities, which includes monitoring and detection of potential threats. They investigate and analyze these threats so they will understand how to respond to potential intrusions. These professionals also protect computer networks from risks, vulnerabilities, and threats.
A cyber security specialist may work on teams with other IT professionals who focus their efforts on protecting the safety and integrity of an organizations data and network. In the past, IT technology and network operations were a supplement to the main business of the organization. More and more, however, the strength and capability of the organization’s network contributes heavily to the organization’s success. This means that dedicated cyber security teams are a necessity in many industries.
Cyber Security Education in Louisiana
In the cyber security profession, professionals closely monitor computer networks and their data kept in the cloud, looking for signs that unethical hackers are trying to get into networks, systems, or databases. A large part of this profession involves scanning for weaknesses in each of these systems, then strengthening them with encryption and firewalls. Cyber security professionals also ensure that software, systems, networks, and cloud systems are updated frequently. They may study the newest technologies and methodologies so they are able to prevent attacks for their organization or to their clients’ organizations.
All of this is important in states throughout the country, though they all have their own infrastructures and industries that are particularly susceptible or important. In Louisiana, with mining, oil, and gas extraction and quarrying being one of their larger industries, the computer network for these organizations must be protected. If you consider the possible outcome of an attack on a corporation that extracts oil and gas, this can demonstrate how destructive a hacking attack in this sector can be. Annually, the corporations and organizations in Louisiana that are involved in this industry, along with quarrying and mining, bring in $12.2 billion to the state’s coffers.
The cost of data breaches can cost an individual company about $3.62 million, and not every company can absorb that kind of loss and stay open.
As businesses are turning more and more toward automation, cyber-criminals find more ways to break in and steal confidential information. Even car alarms, airplane systems, and power grids are now vulnerable.
Associate Degree in Cyber Security (AS)
Community college students in Louisiana may find an information technology or computer science degree program will fit their needs if they are looking for entry-level careers in this field. Graduates from associate degree programs in information technology, cyber security, or computer science should be able to easily find positions within a variety of companies in many industries.
Graduates will need to demonstrate effective communication skills (nonverbal, written, and oral) and they should have the ability to troubleshoot issues and solve them through the use of their technical knowledge and diagnostic software.
They should also expect to use their communication and customer service skills on the job, since many early-career positions are in the customer service sector. They will be expected to explain the terminology being used, common rules and practices concerning common IT issues, and how to solve them. Finally, they should be able to routinely observe and use basic safety rules and processes as they apply to information technology hardware and software.
Some entry-level positions graduates can expect to find include IT technical support specialists, computer network specialists, network administrators, IT managers, system administrators, and IT help desk support staff.
Bachelor's Degree in Cyber Security (BS)
In this fast-growing industry, cyber security professionals are in short supply. Organizations are struggling to hire them as they expand or create cyber security departments. For this reason, these professionals are some of the highest-paid college graduates. Top salaries in this field range from $50,000 to $65,000.
These undergraduate programs may have concentration options such as business intelligence, which may attract students who want to work in analytics, and information technology or computer science, which may involve courses in designing, programming, and testing website applications or database systems, among other skills. An online bachelor’s degree student can expect to study the same materials and have the same curriculum as their in-person counterparts.
Graduates of these programs will find career opportunities as network systems managers, app developers, information technologists, computer systems managers, database analysts, and cyber security specialists, among others.
Master's Degree in Cyber Security (MS or MC)
Earning a Master of Science in Cyber Security, Cyber Security Management, or a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in cyber security can help graduates to improve their chances of earning promotions and pay raises. Students are able to earn these degrees via on-campus, evening/weekend, or distance learning options throughout the state.
These master’s programs allow students to refine their skills and find their way into supervisory or other high-level positions. Industry professionals often teach the classes at this level and students develop the skills they will need by breaking down and tackling real-world cyber security challenges using IT solutions.
Graduate students may also choose to elevate their careers by earning an MBA with an Emerging Technology specialization. This concentration exposes students to cyber security and other new technology concepts. If this is the specialization they need, their MBA, in combination with their specialization, will inform potential employers about their wide-ranging knowledge of this field. Graduates possessing the needed skills and tools to succeed will be more attractive to employers than those with only a bachelor’s degree.
PhD Degree in Cyber Security (PhD)
Doctoral degree programs can cover the breadth of computer science learning. One such program in Louisiana is in Information Technology Engineering; others might cover cyber security or focus on education in computer science concepts. Doctoral students who choose to focus on this field can focus their studies and research on cyber security or in a related subject.
Students studying at the doctoral level will be required to complete courses and focus their dissertation on the field and specialization of their choice. Some doctoral programs require students to fulfill certain requirements, such as credit hours in engineering or another field. You should make sure to check out all requirements for a degree before you consider signing on.
Potential careers for PhD graduates may include research and academics. This level of degree can also prepare graduates to work as consultants within a particular field or provide them with obvious expert-level knowledge.
Become a Cyber Security Professional in Louisiana
Unlike with educators or accountants or counseling professionals, Louisiana does not have any specific requirements for cyber security professionals within the state. There are no specific licensures that you will be required to maintain. However, professional certifications may be required by some employers in order to make sure that they find the best employees for the positions that are open. Some certificate programs require that you already have a certain degree or a number of years of experience within a particular industry. No matter the requirements, those who earn degrees find that their resume garners a lot more attention from prospective employers, especially if they are working within a niche industry.
Here are just a few of the many cyber security certifications available to professionals in the field:
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
This certification is intended for cyber security professionals with experience. It helps professionals to move their careers forward so that they can reach new highs. As a prerequisite, certification candidates are required to have at least five years of cumulative, full-time, paid experience. And their experience should fit within a minimum of two of the eight domains of the Common Body of Knowledge. Professionals who hold a degree may receive an experience exemption of one year.
- Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
This globally recognized certification gives professionals the chance to display their skills in the design and management of infrastructure, data, and applications which are hosted in the cloud. They should have at least five years of experience in a paid, full-time, IT role and at least three of these years must be in information security. If the professional earns the CISSP certification, this can substitute for all other experience requirements.
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
This certification is one of the most recognized by security professionals. The EC-Council provides two eligibility options. The first requires professionals who want to take the CEH exam to attend an official CEH training, which takes place at an Accredited Training Center. The second option, for those who don’t want to go through the official training, allows professionals who have a minimum of two years of information security-related experience to pay an eligibility application fee.
Careers for Cyber Security Graduates
- Information Technology Manager
This professional may also be called an IT supervisor or information systems manager. They hold responsibility for the supervision, rollout, and maintenance of the organization’s computing needs. They ensure that the computer systems, applications, software, and hardware are being securely and effectively operated. They should be able to demonstrate a detailed knowledge of industry best practices and show a professional track record of strong technical management, information analysis, and a full understanding of computer hardware and software systems.
- Network Administrator
The network administrator ensures that the computer networks are operating as expected. To make sure of this, they plan and develop all network hardware, software, and communication links; they also configure, maintain, support, and optimize these so that the networks function as required. The network administrator may analyze and resolve end user issues, as well.
Other duties include carrying out research on network products, services, protocols, and standards as they support network procurement and development efforts.
- Information Technology Director
This manager directs and controls the development and implementation of an organization’s information and communications strategy and systems. They also operate and maintain these systems through the staff of the IT department, ensuring they have all necessary training and development and are well motivated. They may also add to the development of the organization’s strategic and business plans where it concerns information technology.
- Cloud Information Security Engineer
Because information held in an organization’s cloud account often includes financial or sensitive information, it must be protected. This is the responsibility of a cloud information security engineer. They are deeply involved in the design and implementation of organization’s cloud security systems. Should systems be attacked, this professional is responsible for ensuring the attack doesn’t lead to the theft of data. Shutting down the servers and cloud structures may be necessary until the breach has been found and repaired. Once the attack has been mitigated, the cloud information security engineer and their team have to strengthen the system to make sure future attacks do not happen.
- Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts design and maintain security systems, ensuring an organization’s data and computer networks are protected. They are also responsible for establishing and maintaining high security standards. As they monitor computer networks for security weaknesses, they document these. Analysts may inspect and protect information infrastructure, data encryption programs, and firewalls, among others.
- Security Software Engineer
The primary role of a software security engineer is to develop and put into action advanced security techniques that correlate to the organization’s technical architecture. They troubleshoot and debug issues right away and also carry out regular security testing and code reviews to improve the security of software. This professional also carries out regular preventive and countermeasures as software is being developed.