Network and information security professionals often find themselves scrambling to stay ahead of hackers who mean their employers harm. For this reason, a cybersecurity curriculum aims to teach critical thinking skills so that alumni can not only counter known threats but also predict the forms that future cyberattacks might take.
At the associate degree level, professors introduce computer science concepts such as networks, programming, and databases. They also survey the fundamentals of cybersecurity, including data privacy, cloud computing, security architecture, and vulnerability analysis. Cybersecurity bachelor's degrees contain this foundation but add more advanced coursework that may cover digital forensics, critical infrastructure, offensive security exploitation, wargaming, and digital privacy law.
Master's degree faculty assume a student's familiarity with computer science, so a typical curriculum is loaded with strictly cybersecurity courses. These classes cover topics in strategic operations, intelligence and counterintelligence, preemptive deterrence, database management, and cryptography. Doctoral degree students usually take the same courses as master's learners, but may also take a research methodology course to aid their dissertation.
Schools may offer cybersecurity education in several forms. The first form is a degree in computer science, information technology (IT), or business with a concentration in cybersecurity. This includes some Master of Business Administration degrees designed for students who want to work in cybersecurity management.
The second type is a degree with cybersecurity as the specific major, such as a Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity or Master of Science in Information Systems and Cybersecurity. Some of these programs feature concentrations that let you focus your studies on a particular specialization. We've listed a few of those here.
Computer forensics courses focus on gathering digital evidence of computer crimes. Topics usually include data recovery, the chain of evidence, and criminal trial procedures. Employers also use forensic specialists to aid in disaster recovery.
Governance, risk management, and compliance is about designing and managing a strategic security program for an employer. As a student, you typically learn how to audit your IT staff, comply with regulatory requirements, and present risk analyses to executives.
Network security classes are about defending the vulnerable connections between machines, including wired, Wi-Fi, and distributed networks. Professors discuss network architecture, virtual private networks, firewalls, and intrusion detection and prevention.