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What is the Fastest Way to Earn a Degree in Cyber Security?

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According to a 2018 survey from the University of Phoenix, U.S. adults are not familiar with certain cybersecurity jobs, and the majority has never considered a career in the field. Most are unfamiliar with what cyber security professionals do and the education it takes to work in the field. The survey included 2,000 US adults over the age of 18. Only about one in 10 respondents were very familiar with the eleven different cybersecurity job titles presented in the survey, and at least 20% had never heard of them.

The above survey seems to contradict a 2016 report from Raytheon and the National Cyber Security Alliance. This report concluded that an increasing number of millennials are considering careers in cybersecurity. According to the report, a high-paying career as a cybersecurity professional requires skills millennials value, such as problem-solving, analytical thinking, and communication. First, you need a degree to enter the cyber security market, which expects to exceed $1 trillion globally over the next four years.

Associate’s Degree

This is the most expeditious way as most associate’s degrees are two-year programs. An Associate of Arts in CyberSecurity will provide the essentials to begin your career. Core requirements include classes such as Computer Systems, Programming in C/C++, Principles of Networking, and System Administration. Other topics covered include network defense, managing information security, computer forensics, and ethical hacking.

One of the quickest programs is a 15-Month Occupational Associate of Science Cybersecurity Degree. It is ideal for technology-minded individuals who love working with computers and are interested in the field of cybersecurity. Offered by Valley College online, you will receive industry-relevant instruction and real-life exercises in a variety of subjects, including:

  • Creating, supporting, and securing various types of networks and systems
  • Establishing security measures for wireless and cloud-based networks
  • Working through complex technological challenges facing many industries today

Bachelor’s Degree

There are schools that have a trademark name for their accelerated programs. Colorado Technical Institute refers to theirs as Fast Track. It is a way of reducing the time it takes to complete your undergraduate degree. CTU Fast Track offers a series of exams designed to test your knowledge of key course objectives, giving you the opportunity to earn college credit for what you already know and earn your degree faster. This format allows you to save up to 30% on time and money by earning college credit for prior knowledge. As an added bonus, Fast Track exams are available at no additional cost to all CTU students.

The system works by offering exams that take 3-5 hours to complete. If you obtain a 70% or higher, you pass. You earn the credit and are ready to move to the next course.

Another means of accelerating the pace is to check and see if the school allows transfer credits. You may be eligible to transfer credits from an associate’s degree in cybersecurity or related discipline. Military and work experience may also be eligible for credit. However, there could be a limit on the transfers. For example, the school requires that a minimum of 25% of the total credit hours must be obtained at their institution. This still allows up to 75% transferable.

Students living in the St. Louis area can benefit from Lindenwood University’s School of Accelerated Degree Programs. Located in St. Charles, Missouri, they offer a Bachelor of Science Degree in Cyber Security.  By combining extensive self-directed study with a once-per-week class meeting, students earn nine semester hours of credit in twelve weeks. Because of the accelerated format, students can expect a minimum of twenty hours of out-of-class work per week. The school states that you can complete the degree in a few as 18 months.

 

Master’s Degree

By adding a master’s degree in cybersecurity to your bachelor’s, you can complete both in five years. One of these programs allows you to count up to six approved credits toward both a Master of Science in Cybersecurity with your Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering or Computer Network and System Administration. This program, offered at Michigan Tech, combines academic and industry experience across multiple disciplines, with blended learning in theoretical and applied research.

Students who have completed a bachelor’s degree may opt for an online Master’s Degree in Cyber Security in a 20-month program. Whether you are currently working in a cybersecurity role, or are preparing yourself to enter the field, this particular online degree program will teach you cyber security concepts and skills in the areas of technology, law, policy, compliance, governance, intelligence, incident response, and management.

One online program has shaved the time to 16 months through an accelerated year-round schedule. This cybersecurity graduate degree is designed for IT professionals, executives, and baccalaureate degree graduates. The degree provides you with theoretical, practical, and applied skills in computer-based information systems and the technologies that support them.

Recognition

When searching for prospective programs at the bachelor and master’s levels, there are those recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense (CAE IA/CD). The certification applies to their respective degrees in Computer and Information Science, Cyber and Network Security, and related majors.

Additional Resources

What should I know about Designations for a Degree in Cybersecurity?

What are the best Certifications to add to my Degree in CyberSecurity?

What is the Difference in a Degree in Cybersecurity and Network Security?

Why should I consider a Degree in Cybersecurity?

Where are Jobs in Demand with a Degree in Cybersecurity?

How can I use my Cybersecurity or Network Security Degree in Finance?

 

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