Between corporate data breaches, government hacking and leaks, and perennial virus outbreaks, it seems data and cybersecurity make the headlines daily. The growing threat of digital information becoming vulnerable requires equally incredible and evolving security measures. But what exactly is cyber and data security, and what can you do to protect yourself, as well as those around you from the increasing threats? 

What Exactly is Cyber & Data Security?

At its most basic, cybersecurity aims to protect networks, programs, and systems from cyberattacks, which are typically designed to:

•    Access and change or destroy sensitive materials or information
•    Harass, bully, or influence individuals or entities
•    Extort money from individuals or entities
•    Disrupt the operations of businesses and governments for political or ideological purposes

As these issues become more pressing, now might be the perfect time to consider a Bachelor of Science in Cyber & Data Security Technology.

The meticulous practice of cyber and data security helps to keep everything from exploitative individual behavior to global terrorism at bay. If you pursue a degree in cybersecurity, you can expect not only a meaningful and gratifying career but also an exciting and secure one. While the United States looks to spend upwards of $19 billion on cybersecurity, there’s no reason to think this number won’t continue to exponentially expand. Meanwhile, there’s already a projected labor shortage of 3.5 million unfilled positions by 2021. 

Is Cybersecurity Really Such a Big Deal?

Recent major breaches illustrate the growing need for skilled professionals in the field of data and cybersecurity:

  • Marriott was breached in 2018, exposing a mind-blowing 3 billion users’ personal information 
  • Yahoo! failed to provide sufficient security to protect 500 million users in 2016
  • Equifax lost 150 million users’ private data in 2017

Countless other examples of data breaches have plagued the on and offline landscapes, affecting international corporations far and wide. And if you think government agencies (and the government itself) are immune, think again. They have their own problems: consider the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S presidential election, and the seemingly endless volumes of stolen top-secret information posted on Wikileaks. It goes to show, no one is immune to the threat of data and cyber terrorism. 

Why You Should Pursue a Career in Cyber & Data Security, and What To Expect

Some of the more recent incidents alone prove there is an overwhelming need for cybersecurity professionals. If you enter the burgeoning field of study and expertise, you can expect a wide range of focus, including:

  • Network security, which seeks to keep computer networks safe from malware and attackers
  • Security risk management, which focusses on the process of identifying security risks and implementing plans to address them
  • Information security, which is a data-oriented field focusing on the storage and transmission of private materials
  • Data security, which includes digital privacy measures applied to prevent unauthorized access to, and potential corruption of, computers, databases, and websites. 

As with any highly dynamic career, if you are considering this line of work, you will need to possess and develop the following eight general skills:

  1. An ability to consistently work with a methodology and be extremely detail-oriented
  2. Enthusiasm for diving deep into technical issues and investigating all aspects of any given scenario/situation
  3. High adaptability and an ability to move between projects quickly
  4. Diagnostic and analytical skills
  5. Innovation and a willingness to collaborate creatively
  6. An interest in staying current by engaging in related news outlets and resources
  7. Solid communication skills, particularly an ability to communicate deep and confusing concepts to laypersons
  8. A desire to learn the technical skills needed for your focus: programming, operating systems, database management, etc.

A Degree in Cybersecurity is Worth It

While cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving and fast-paced field, it is also very demanding. As such, you may be wondering if a degree in cybersecurity is really worth it. Indeed, it is a field that offers nearly unparalleled benefits relative to the effort required to succeed, and now is perhaps the best time that there has ever been to get started.

  • You’re needed. 90% of companies reported being hacked at least once in 2016. Being part of the solution to a global economic and political problem, as well as assisting vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly, may be fulfilling to you.
  • It’s highly respected. A 2015 study found that most Americans have some level of fear of identity theft or cybercrime, and playing a role as protector could garner you a lot of respect.
  • A degree will set you apart. While it’s possible to find jobs in cybersecurity without a degree, 84% of postings specify a bachelor’s degree.

When you pursue a bachelor’s degree in cyber and data security technology, you will become equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to work against some of the most serious threats to domestic and international security. In addition to creating an information security policy framework, when you graduate with a degree in cyber and data security, you also will know how to develop a risk management plan, construct appropriate countermeasures, evaluate impacts of attacks, and prepare the appropriate solutions to minimize the impact of a disruption or disaster from an attack. 

While the primary coursework focuses on the fundamentals of the technology associated with computing, software, and information technology, as well as relevant business topics such as project management and technical writing, your major course requirements will allow you to hone your cyber and data security skills to protect everything from web apps and social networking sites to systems and more. 

Cybersecurity is many things: thrilling, challenging, rewarding, and ever-changing. But to truly make the best of a career in cybersecurity, a degree is essential. By choosing to pursue this degree which includes classes such as System Administration and Security, students will learn the foundational knowledge employers demand. 

A career in cybersecurity requires work and dedication, so let the University of Arizona Global Campus give you the tools you need to be first in line.

The time has never been better to get started in cybersecurity — visit our admissions page today.

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