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What is Cyber Security?
The main role of cyber security specialists is to protect sensitive data collected by companies on behalf of their customers. The information might be general information such as names and phone numbers, addresses, or clothing sizes. But it could also be more sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or bank information. Other industries store their customer’s health information, and other data that most people would not want the general public to have access to. This information must be protected because, if it were to fail into the wrong hands, not only could it be financially detrimental to the customers, but it could also be the ruin of a company. In order to prevent this from happening, companies employ cyber security specialists who spend their careers keeping this information safe.
In the state of New Hampshire, the top industries are real estate, business, and education. It’s not hard to comprehend that these industries take data security very seriously, but they aren’t the only ones who use these specialists. They are also common in healthcare, financial services, and other industries. Basically, any industry that handles customer information in any capacity has an obligation to keep that information safe. All branches of the government use cyber security specialists, from local municipalities and state governments, up to and including the federal government. A person can seek a career in practically any industry or area of interest. If cyber security sounds like a career that might interest you, continue reading. There is information regarding the education and certifications needed, the types of cyber security careers that are available, and the path people take to start their cyber security careers.
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Online Cybersecurity Education in New Hampshire
Cybersecurity specialists either prevent cyber-attacks or track down those who have committed them. In the areas of prevention, cyber security specialists create safeguards for data and develop programs that are capable of handling and processing information more securely. When it comes to combating cyber-attacks, cyber security specialists may track the locations of the attackers and attempt to reverse and correct any damage done during the attack. They work with other specialists to create and promote training for businesses and the general public that educates on the threats of cybersecurity attacks and provides guidance on how to safely navigate the cyber world.
Online Associate Degree in Cyber Security (AS)
A two-year degree in cyber security can get a person on the ground level of an IT department but not much further than that. However, it’s a good start and a way to determine if a person is truly interested in the career field.
Some of the classes included in an associate degree in cybersecurity includes:
- General Education Courses
- Computer Science
- Database Administration
- Entry-level Cybersecurity Courses
- And More
Associate degrees typically take four semesters and two to three years to complete. If a person decides that cybersecurity is a viable career option, then an associate degree can easily be transferred as part of a four-year college program at another school.
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Online Bachelor's Degree in Cyber Security (BS)
A >bachelor’s degree in cyber security is where someone who wants a long-term career in cybersecurity should start. At the bachelor's degree level, graduates can vie for entry-level cybersecurity positions or other information technology positions at small and midsize companies. Also, with a bachelor's degree, graduates can start earning certifications in information technology and cybersecurity.
Some of the classes covered in a four-year cybersecurity degree program includes:
- Data Security
- Computer Science
- System Administration
- And More
A bachelor’s degree typically takes eight semesters or four to six years to complete. The amount of time needed to complete a program will vary depending on the time the students dedicate to it. An internship with a local company in their IT department is often required, but some schools have in-house programs for hands-on learning.
Online Master's Degree in Cyber Security (MS)
At the graduate level, students can choose specific areas of study for their career goals. For example, someone who wants to become a cyber security specialist can take courses focused on programming or network management. Graduate programs in cyber security vary by school, so there is no set curriculum to pinpoint, but it's safe to assume many of the courses that were studied in a four-year program will also be revisited at the higher level and more vigorously. Most people enrolled in graduate degree programs have been working in information technology or cybersecurity for several years and have started to accumulate the required certifications to advance in their careers. The graduate degree will help them further advance as well as open up other opportunities such as teaching at a community college or technical school. Graduate degrees take roughly three to five years to complete, and either a capstone or comprehensive exam is required for completion.
Online PhD Degree in Cyber Security (PhD)
For the most part, a cybersecurity specialist does not need a doctorate degree to advance to the top of the field. However, if you plan to transition to the classroom and teach full-time, a doctorate will make you eligible for tenured positions at colleges and universities or to run research labs at a college. The terminal degree can take up to seven years to complete, and a dissertation and a successful defense of that dissertation are required to attain the degree.
Become a Cyber Security Professional in New Hampshire
Information technology and cyber security have some of the most linear paths to success of all careers. There are different paths you can take to get to the upper echelon but, for the most part, each path is parallel to the others and therefore someone can hop from one area to another without derailing their career.
Most people who work in cybersecurity start as database administrators. It is in this entry-level position that a person learns the basic parts of information technology and lays the groundwork to move into other areas of tech administration and cyber security.
Most people attain a position in technology, work the job for a couple of years, attain the certifications that are attainable with their level of education and work experience, then move on to the next career position. Certain licenses and certifications require work experience and education, and many positions also require a certain educational level and specific certifications, so a career in cyber security can build on itself in an almost organic fashion. As long as you are continuing your education and attaining certifications as you qualify for them, it will be easier to move up in this field. Another perk to the natural order of attaining education and certifications is that moving from one area of security and administration to another isn’t as difficult as one might think. Each area has its own certification but, for the most part, the educational requirements are roughly the same. And, since many areas of IT crossover with each other, the required work experience is also often easy to obtain. It’s very common for a database administrator to also have experience as a systems administrator, or even as an analyst. Having more than one area of expertise is a good idea because it makes you more attractive to potential employers. The more well-rounded a person can be as a cybersecurity professional, the better.
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Professionals can earn the Computer Information System Security Professional (CISSP) certification, which qualifies a worker to apply for acceptance into the (ICP)2 organization. Then they can work as a security engineer, security analyst, security auditor, or security consultant. You could also earn a management information systems (MIS) certification and gain more experience in various areas of IT.
Potential Careers for Cybersecurity Graduates
There are many careers that information and cybersecurity professionals can choose from. Many in the field work in several different areas and receive training in more than one area. Below are some of the more common careers in the field.
- Security Analyst
A security analyst monitors an organization’s information network for breaches and attacks. When an attack occurs, the analyst locates the area of the attack and prevents further damage. They also create and analyze firewalls and other data security controls to ensure they are working properly and work with other cybersecurity specialists to create more attack-resistant programs and protocols.
- Security Engineer
Security engineers create the processes and protocols used to protect data. These people are experienced programmers and they use this skill to produce firewalls, authentication levels, and other tools that make getting to the information more difficult.
- Information Systems Manager
An information systems manager is the team leader for information system specialists. They oversee the handling of information technology projects throughout an organization, ensure that teams are dispatched when there is an issue, maintain the inventory needed to complete the project, and make sure they have the manpower to fix issues as they arise.
- Penetration Tester
A penetration tester takes what has been created by the engineers and specialists and sees how effective they are in regard to data protection. They test firewalls and authentication protocols to make sure they are safe. They do this by trying to beat the system. They will deliberate use methods that bad actors use to infiltrate data systems.
- Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
A chief information security officer leads the information technology department. All sections of the IT department often report to a CISO. CISOs report to an executive, such as the chief operating officer. A CISO works their way up in IT departments and has an understanding of how departments should work together and knows how to create teams that will keep a company’s information technology department running smoothly.
- Information Security Manager
An information security manager oversees the security of the IT department. The IS manager works closely with the IT manager to make sure the department runs without issues. In the event of a breach, the security manager is expected to work with other specialists to locate the breach, remove the issue, repair the damage, and implement steps to prevent a future breach with the help and input of the IT Manager.
Other careers in the cybersecurity professional industry include:
- Network Engineer
- Network Administrator
- Systems Administrator
- Information Technology Director
- Cloud Information Security Engineer
- Information Security Analyst
- Security Software Engineer
- Security Architect