Which Cybersecurity Career Track is Right for You?
The need for cybersecurity professionals shows no sign of slowing. Cybercriminals grow more sophisticated each year in how they attack computer systems and databases. IT departments have also grown more sophisticated, expanding to include different cybersecurity career tracks.
That’s why New England College offers two distinct career tracks in its online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree program, each preparing students for success in different areas of the business. The IT track has coursework geared to the technical side of the business, such as programming and database administration, while the business track focuses on leadership and project management in cybersecurity.
For students, the key is investigating the options and determining which track best matches their interests and skills. There is always a need for those with high-level technical skills. Those with knowledge in leadership are also needed to manage projects and communicate with business leaders about the best ways of leveraging cybersecurity technology to achieve business goals.
Core Courses for Both Cybersecurity Career Tracks
The online BS in Cybersecurity from NEC follows the Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense (CAE IA/CD) model. The model, sponsored by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, establishes core program standards.
Students in either cybersecurity career track begin the degree program in courses that cover the core principles and foundations of cybersecurity, as well as the basics of networking and IT system components. They also take a course on cybersecurity policy, legal, ethics, and compliance issues.
At that point, the tracks diverge. The following provides an overview of the coursework and goals of each track.
The Business Track in Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is no longer a problem only for computer programmers and network administrators. It touches all areas of a business. Creating a strategic cybersecurity plan requires both technical and business knowledge.
Those who specialize in the business track in cybersecurity will likely find themselves working with business leaders on the “why” of cybersecurity. As pointed out by the Harvard Business Review, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach in cybersecurity. Each business must develop its own strategic plan.
Those who earn a degree in cybersecurity with an emphasis on the business side bridge the gap between technical knowledge and its application in business strategy. They also learn the skills needed for successful leadership and leading teams on important cybersecurity-related projects.
Courses in the business track include:
- Cybersecurity Planning and Management
- Security Program Management
- Security Risk Analysis
- Fraud Prevention and Management
Those who focus on the business track assess cybersecurity risks, identifying potential areas of concern, and developing solutions. They guide an organization on developing cybersecurity plans that address the latest threats to vital company computer systems and data.
The Technical Track in Cybersecurity
Cyberattacks and data breaches continue to evolve and become more sophisticated. Statistics reported by CSO are an eyeopener. For example, 63% of companies reported that their data was potentially compromised within the last 12 months. The attacks on IoT devices tripled in the first half of 2019 alone. And 60% of data breaches involved a vulnerability for which a patch was available but had not been applied.
Those who specialize in the technical track of cybersecurity work to change those numbers. They focus on programming, networking, and managing databases. They keep track of the latest threats and know the technical details of how to protect data from such attacks. They may also design and implement complex security structures that provide increased network and computer system protections.
Courses in the IT track in cybersecurity include:
- Basic Scripting and Programming
- Basic Cryptography
- Operating System Concepts
- Network Defense
The BS in Cybersecurity program also offers students the opportunity to earn certifications through the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). Certifications include Security Analyst, Network, Cloud, Linux, and more.