What is a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security Engineering?

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A graduate degree in cyber security or cybersecurity (used interchangeably) engineering is another on the list of qualifications to enter the explosive job market in this field.

The number for 2019 expects to be north of $124 billion. This burgeoning area creates ample job opportunities – with some statements that there is zero unemployment. A Bloomberg report in 2018 stated that 36% of companies experienced a security intrusion in 2018. A 24% increase from 2017. Financial institutions and technology companies budget half a billion dollars for cybersecurity. The cost per employee jumped from $584 in 2012 per employee to $1,178 in 2018.

The expanding job market, escalating security budgets, and surging risk factors do not negate the need for an advanced degree. Employers want the most qualified individuals to join their security operations. Companies cannot afford not to invest in fighting cybercrime.

The Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering is one to consider to increase your marketability and value. Because of the ‘engineering’ aspect, some colleges may require an undergraduate degree in one of the engineering disciplines for admission. Computer science is another option. Other programs may accept a degree in a closely related discipline. Individuals without a strong foundation in computer science may struggle. The major has a strong emphasis on computer hardware and software.

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To reinforce the relationship to engineering, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida houses their master’s program in the Department of Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering. This campus has a state-of-the-art lab where students can simulate cyberattacks and defense methods. Their 30-credit degree has the choice of a thesis and non-thesis route. The 18 core courses focus on penetration testing, software security, and software engineering.

The M.S. in Cyber Security Engineering at the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering also requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science. Located at the University of San Diego, the school requires applicants to supply proof of work or academic experience in information technology. The purpose of the 30-credits curriculum is to provide the skills in the mitigation of advanced persistent threat (APT). Therefore, the courses emphasize computer systems engineering and architecture. With the ability to design and create systems, engineers can build complex infrastructures to prevent attacks.

Integrated into most study plans are a class in cryptography. The word comes from the Greek work “kryptos,” meaning hidden. It is a method used to hide a message from unintended eyes. The intent is to create a secure message that is indecipherable because of its encryption. The discipline uses mathematical concepts or algorithms to encrypt messages and data in computer systems. Unfortunately, encrypted messages are not impenetrable.

Information assurance is another course you can expect. There are also master’s degrees in the major. In security engineering, it is essential to understand the necessity to protect information. The crux of cybersecurity is the protection of a company’s vital information against malicious attacks. The course may cover the legal implications, ethical issues, international relationships, and the protection of intellectual property.

The advancement of mobile computing will take you into the study of mobile web services, GPS technologies, and touch-control user interface (UI).

A course in network engineering explores the development of secure networks. The design and performance of the framework dictate how effective the system will be in resisting cyber attacks. Topics in the realm may include perimeter defenses, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, penetration analysis, and architectural components of systems.

When considering a master’s degree in cybersecurity engineering, you want a program that affords sufficient coursework in computer architecture and operating systems. You need to know how to mitigate attacks and to understand how the system performs the preventative operations. Courses in algorithms, digital forensics, software environments, and operating systems will provide the knowledge to address the mitigation. Classes in network security, computer architecture, hardware considerations, and systems engineering will give you the skills to tackle the preventative measures.

There are graduate programs offered online for working professionals who want to boost their education and credentials. The University of California Viterbi School of Engineering is an example. The school is home to a variety of engineering disciplines, such as aerospace, biomedical, astronautical, petroleum, environmental, computer, industrial, and more.

USC’s online M.S. in Cyber Security Engineering promotes hands-on experience and laboratory classes. You can find information on their website regarding the online format for domestic and foreign residence students.

Additional Resources:

What degree is best for a career in Cybersecurity?
What can I do with a degree in Cybersecurity?

What Is the Benefit of a Degree in Cybersecurity vs. Network Security?

How Advanced a Degree Do I Need to Work in Cryptography?