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What Can I Do with an Associate Degree in Cybersecurity?

Posted by Saint Leo University Online on Aug 6, 2018 11:57:13 AM

Earning an associate's degree in cybersecurity can help you pursue a career working in a cutting-edge cybersecurity lab like the one shown here.How many times a year do you think the average business gets hit with a cyberattack? Once? Twice? Maybe three times, if they’re on the unlucky side?

Try 130 times. Yes, that’s right, the average business is hit with 130 cyberattacks per year. At least that’s what Accenture and Ponemon Institute’s 2017 Cost of Cyber Crime Study found after surveying 2,182 professionals from 254 companies operating in seven different countries.

This study also found that this type of internet-based attack costs businesses approximately $11.7 million in recovery expenses. This amount represents both the funds the company must spend to manage and clean up the attacks, as well as revenues lost when customers become too scared to continue to do business with them, choosing to take their business elsewhere instead, to another company with systems which appear to be more secure.

It also doesn’t appear that these attacks will be slowing down any time soon if the future job forecast is correct. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the information security analyst field is anticipated to grow 28 percent by the year 2026, a rate that is “much faster” than the average, which is a mere seven percent across all job categories.

So, what can you do in this sector if you have an associates in cybersecurity? One option is to find an entry-level position that uses your education and skills best.

Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs

While the BLS indicates that most cybersecurity jobs do require a bachelor’s degree, there are still a few systems security positions that can be obtained with an associate’s. They include:

  • Network or IT (Information Technology) Security Analyst. In this type of position, you will be responsible for monitoring, analyzing, and resolving a company’s online security incidents. You could also be tasked with identifying any potential computer security issues, working to prevent them by implementing software, policies, and procedures designed to make the system more secure.
  • Cybersecurity Associate. As a cybersecurity associate, you get to spend your days using your internet security knowledge and skills to help companies better protect their data from a potential attacker. This requires looking at the systems they have in place and locating where a breach could occur, closing that hole to prevent a possible attack.
  • Cybersecurity or Cyberthreat Analyst. In an analyst role, you would work to help companies develop their internal procedures for preventing and thwarting cyberattacks. And if notified that an attempted breach did occur, it would also be up to you to determine if there was an actual threat or if it was a false alarm.
  • Information System Security Officer. If you love the idea of using your cybersecurity expertise to help companies create and manage their internet-based security systems, then being an information systems security officer may be the perfect role for you. This position may also require incident response, audit log review, and the handling of integration of all of the company’s other computer systems.
  • Cybersecurity Penetration Tester. Do you have an inner hacker inside of you just dying to get out and test its skills against a company or agency’s computer system? This position lets you do just that because your job as a cybersecurity penetration tester is to try to gain access to an organization’s network, therefore identifying where any holes may be—and closing them—so a hacker with bad intent cannot get inside and wreak havoc.

Some of these positions are offered by privately owned companies or businesses, whereas others involve working for the government. For instance, in the latter category, you could find yourself working for one of the branches of the military, the Department of Defense, or Homeland Security.

Additionally, not only are cybersecurity jobs available all across the world, giving you the opportunity to work in this field from any location you’d like, but some are also offered remotely. So, if you want a job that allows you to potentially work from home, cybersecurity offers that option since its responsibilities involve doing a majority of the work online.

Furthering Your Cybersecurity Education

If you have an associate’s in cybersecurity, you also have the option of expanding your knowledge and taking your education further, like going after your Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity.

According to the BLS, this particular four-year degree prepares you for jobs with titles such as computer network architect, computer programmer, computer systems analyst, database administrator, information security analyst, network and computer systems administrator, and software developer.

You could even go one step further and get your Master of Science in Cybersecurity. This would give you the opportunity to work in higher level cybersecurity positions yet, some of which include computer and information research scientist, security compliance audit analyst, or senior security analyst.

Cybersecurity is a growing field, so you can either work in an entry-level position with your associates or take your education further and move up the chain. Either way, there is plenty of work to be had. 

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