If you enjoy learning new technologies and want to be on the front lines in the war against cybercrime, one of the best bachelor’s in information systems security might be the right choice for you.
Information systems security, also known as cybersecurity or information assurance, is a rewarding field with the potential for a serious payout. Not only is this field incredibly in-demand (meaning you’re likely to find a job anywhere you look) but it’s also extremely high-paying.
When you’re an information systems security major, you’ll learn how to protect vulnerable information for all kinds of organizations, including government entities, public enterprises, and even small, private corporations. You’ll leverage your skills in technology to prevent cyberattacks and deal with them when they do occur.
If you have a strong background in things like coding, software development, and criminal justice, you might want to consider a career in this lucrative field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this field are expected to grow a whopping 31% by 2029. That’s nearly six times the national average!
What Is an Information Systems Security Degree?
When you enroll in an information systems security degree, you’ll learn all kinds of skills that will be helpful in the fight against cybercrime. You will learn how to monitor your company’s networks for data breaches and how to install protective software, like firewalls and data encryption programs.
Not only that, but you’ll learn how to research the latest trends in information systems security so that you can prevent cyberattacks before they have a chance to occur. A degree in information systems security will also provide you with the interpersonal skills you need to communicate your findings and strategies to other stakeholders who might not have a technological background.
To be eligible for admission into one of these programs, you will usually just need a high school diploma or its equivalent. Strong skills in mathematics, computing, and science are often required, as are high scores on those relevant sections of the SAT or ACT. Otherwise, admissions requirements vary widely between universities.
Careers for Information Systems Security Majors
Although information systems security is a field that was once only associated with government agencies and major defense contractors, this career path is now one that has entered mainstream recognition. There are all kinds of industries and employers who will hire information systems security majors, including those such as finance, healthcare, retail, education, and more.
As an information systems security major, you could find yourself working as a chief information security officer. In this mid-executive level position, you’ll overlook the operations of a company’s IT division. You could also work as a forensic computer analyst and review computer-based information for evidence after an organization’s security breach.
Another popular career is as an information security analyst, who at the most basic level is responsible for protecting an organization’s networks and computer systems. The options are endless, and in most cases, a bachelor’s degree is all you need to get started. However, going on to earn an additional master’s degree is wise if you really want to rise to the top of the chain of command!
Information Systems Security Salary Potential
Curious about how much money you’ll make with an information systems security degree? Although you’ll be likely to earn a much higher salary if you earn an advanced degree (like a Master of Science or even a Master of Business Administration), you can expect to earn a respectable wage even with just a bachelor’s.
In fact, the average salary for professionals in this field is around $99,730. Professionals who work in finance and insurance, computer systems design, and the management of companies and enterprises tend to earn the highest salaries in this niche.
To make things even sweeter, many information systems security professionals are able to work from home. While you may have to be on call outside of normal business hours, you’ll rarely have to work more than 40 hours per week. You’ll enjoy a career that is rewarding, exciting, and best of all, well-paying with one of these degrees.
What Are the Best Information Systems Security Degrees?
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West Lafayette, Indiana
Average Net Price
A public land-grant university in West Lafayette, IN, Purdue University is the flagship campus of the Purdue University system. Founded in 1869, the school first opened as a school dedicated to technology, agriculture, and science. Today, there are more than 200 majors for you to choose from, but technology remains at the core of the university’s mission.
The cybersecurity major at Purdue University is part of the school’s computer and information technology program. Accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, the goal of the program is to provide learners with information on the many ways they can keep data secure. The demand for cybersecurity professionals is high, and this program helps to meet the demand in a myriad of ways.
A holistic program, the curriculum combines skills like cryptography, digital forensics, secure coding, and UNIX fundamentals with those in criminology and analytical thinking. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to engage in hands-on projects, whether you’re working to test vulnerabilities or create new security protocols. You’ll benefit from strong relationships with industry partners as you put your cybersecurity knowledge to use in internships. One hundred twenty total credit hours are required for graduation.
University of Maryland-College Park
College Park, Maryland
Average Net Price
With more than 41,000 students representing all fifty states and more than 120 countries, the University of Maryland-College Park offers learners some of the best opportunities for networking and career development. Not only will you benefit from learning alongside a diverse group of peers, but you’ll join an extensive alumni network of 360,000 strong after completing your degree, too.
One of the fastest-growing undergraduate programs at the University of Maryland is the Bachelor of Science in information science (InfoSci). A four-year degree program, it will provide you with training in technical areas like database design, web and mobile development, information architecture, and cybersecurity. Plus, you’ll gain a solid foundation in areas like leadership, social sciences, and humanities, too.
It’s an innovative curriculum that combines practical skills and hands-on learning with a solid theoretical core. You’ll be able to work on projects with the school’s more than 400 industry partners and engage in extensive opportunities for hands-on learning at the school’s many cutting-edge labs and research centers. This program is highly regarded by ranking publications, with the school recognized as one of the top public research institutions as well as one of the best for entrepreneurship.
University of Virginia
Average Net Price
The University of Virginia has a storied history, founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson himself. As a flagship university of Virginia, this school is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its many historic foundations, secret societies, and most importantly, it’s more than 121 different academic majors.
If you’re ready to “accelerate your career with IT,” you might want to consider the Bachelor of Science in commerce with a concentration in IT at the University of Virginia. This program prepares learners not only for careers in information systems security but also for those in consulting, big data, e-commerce, business analytics, and more.
You’ll take two core classes—Product and Project Management and Database Management Systems and Business Intelligence—before moving on to a series of electives. You’ll be able to choose from courses like Intro to Cybersecurity, Business Analytics, and Digital Safari.
To apply, you will need to first complete at least two years of liberal arts and business prerequisites courses before you enroll directly in the program.
Average Net Price
Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, VA, was founded by the well-known televangelist Jerry Falwell. As one of the globe’s largest Christian universities, it began offering distance programs in 1985. To date, the school has one of the most extensive online campuses.
The online degree in information systems security is highly unique, a concentration you won’t find anywhere else. The Bachelor of Science in information systems has a concentration in accounting information systems that is best for students who wish to work in one of the field’s most in-demand careers. You’ll learn from industry-leading faculty with real-world experience as you gain experience in auditing accounting information systems, analyzing data, and more.
You will also be required to complete a series of general education credits, including those in subjects like Bible studies, theology, and Christian worldview. If you already have credits from another university, not to worry—Liberty will transfer in up to 75% of your undergraduate credits from accredited programs. With a commitment to affordability, Liberty hasn’t raised its tuition costs since 2016. Plus, you can get all the books you need for your classes at no cost!
Grand Canyon University
Average Net Price
Grand Canyon University is a private, for-profit Chrisitan university located in Phoenix, AZ. The school has more than 70,000 online students, making it the largest Christian university in the world.
Despite the school’s large size, it remains one of the best places to earn an education in information systems security. The Bachelor of Science in information technology: cyber security degree program from Grand Canyon prepares students for careers working with computer-based information systems. You’ll learn everything you need to know about user and data security as you engage in your coursework.
Courses are varied but cover topics like cloud computing, object-related databases, computer security, ethical hacking, cyber forensics investigations, and information technology project management. This program can be completed online or on-campus, with online courses lasting only seven weeks apiece. One hundred twenty credit hours are required for a low cost of just $470 per credit hour.