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Here is a look at some of the key benefits for choosing a degree in this field.

1. Demand

Nearly every sector of the economy uses computer networks and relies on them to run their daily business. Network security is vital to healthcare, banking, insurance, energy, pharmaceuticals, government, and universities. All of these business sectors depend on data stored on internet-connected systems to remain secure.

2. Work Conditions

Most jobs in computer networking and security will take place in offices that are comfortable, air-conditioned environments with a professional atmosphere. You will work with a team of other IT specialists and may enjoy the camaraderie of others who have a strong understanding of computers and networks.

3. Employment

A new report out from Cybersecurity Ventures estimates there will be 5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, up from 1 million openings last year. This figure extends to all areas of computer security. “Every IT position is also a cybersecurity position now” according to the Cybersecurity Jobs Report, 2017. “Every IT worker, every technology worker, needs to be involved with protecting and defending apps, data, devices, infrastructure, and people.”

4. Certifications

These will boost your knowledge and provide the credentials to accelerate your career. Employers look for certifications when hiring IT security personnel. Some of the relevant ones in the field of information security are:

5. Job Diversity

Security-related job roles cover a lot of ground, such as information security specialist, security analyst, network security administrator, system administrator (with security as a responsibility) and security engineer, as well as specialized roles such as malware engineer, intrusion analyst, and penetration tester.

The diverse nature of the profession offers different career opportunities. Examples of job titles and a recap of the principal duties for each:

Security Analyst: You establish plans and protocols to protect digital files and information systems against unauthorized access, modification, and/or destruction. You will also manage the network, intrusion detection, and prevention systems.

Security Architect: You develop requirements for local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), virtual private networks (VPNs), routers, firewalls, and related network devices. You perform vulnerability testing, risk analyses, and security assessments.

Security Auditor: The auditor probes the safety and effectiveness of computer systems and their related security components. You evaluate the efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance of operation processes with corporate security policies.

Security Specialist: In the majority of cases, you are responsible for designing, testing, implementing, and monitoring security measures for your company’s network systems. To accomplish this, you configure security tools such as firewalls, anti-virus software, patch management systems, and more.

Vulnerability Assessor: In this role, you are looking for trouble spots by performing vulnerability assessments for networks, applications, and operating systems. You conduct network security audits and scanning on a predetermined basis.

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6. Application of your degree

Your degree in network security can be applied to other security-related jobs. As mentioned above, security-related positions take on many different titles. For example, the degree is applicable to cybersecurity and information technology. Studies show that 46% of those who transition from IT to cybersecurity say their IT career helped them gain experience with different types of technologies.

The cross-application of your network security degree is possible through courses relevant to various areas of computer/network/cyber security. For example, a school offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Network Security that includes classes associated with cybersecurity. These are cryptography, cyber law, ethical hacking, computer forensics, the psychology of a cyber attacker, and computer incident response. In addition, one of the program competencies is that graduates will be able to analyze requirements for cybersecurity projects using best practices and current methodologies.

In the above example, the program attests that their degree affords job opportunities in 25 different computer-related security roles. The list runs alphabetically from Computer Crime Investigator to Technical Support Specialist. A 2016 article from an online computer training center, referring to a career in Information Security, supports this information. Their list of cybersecurity jobs totals ten titles, one of which is Network Security Engineer.

7. Salary Potential

Income potential could be one of the most enticing benefits of the degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report on Network Security jobs. They do report on the occupation of Information Security Analysts. This particular job title, according to the BLS, involves the creation of innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or causing problems for computer networks. Their median income as of May 2017 was $95,510 with a Bachelor’s degree. The BLS projects the job growth to be 28% or a change in 28,500 jobs through 2026.

The job growth per the BLS seems incompatible with the figures in benefit #3. However, the BLS data refer to only one occupation that employs 100,00 (May 2016). Whereas independent surveys conclude that the demand for all cybersecurity and related jobs far exceeds the supply of candidates.

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