Why We Love It
$93,250Potential Avg. Salary*
Growing DemandJob Outlook
* Salary & growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151122.htm for 15-1122 Information security analysts 11/2021. Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
Modern technology has led to massive stores of data contained on cloud systems, in databases, on servers, and across networks. These vast data stores are under constant attack by hackers and malicious bots and programs that want to steal the data, sell it, steal identities, or just cause havoc. In a bachelor of science in information systems security program, you’ll learn how to prevent these security breaches.
What is a Degree in Information Systems Security?
Credit card information, banking usernames and passwords, social security numbers, and personal health records—these are just a few of the types of information that companies have stored on computers, servers, networks, and cloud platforms. The job of the information system security specialist is to protect that data by preventing security breaches, identifying vulnerabilities, building strong encrypted systems, and cleaning infections. This is what you’ll learn to do in an information systems security program.
Information systems security majors study information technology, programming, and computer science, but their focus is on protecting—more so than building—software, applications, databases, and networking systems. They do so by studying hacking, computer forensics, security auditing, cybercrime, and cyber laws, teaching them how to anticipate and prevent likely attacks. They learn how to monitor systems, recognize questionable behavior, and recover from DDoS and other attacks, making them highly valuable in all industries that rely on technology to function.
What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Information Systems Security?
- Security Application Development
- Cyber Security and Crime
- Critical Infrastructure Protection
- Principles of Digital Forensics
- Information Systems Disaster Recovery
- Security Planning and Audits
- Internet and Network Security
- Security Policy Analysis
What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Information Systems Security?
Every year the amount of data stored with technology increases, and every year hackers and cyber criminals discover more sophisticated ways to break into systems and steal data or crash services. For these reasons, information systems security professionals are expected to be in exceedingly high demand in the coming decades. IS security professionals should be able to find work with IT departments in most any industry, and they may even have opportunities to work as self-employed security consultants.
How Long does it take?
A bachelors in Information Systems Security will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at OnlineDegree.com that could transfer to universities in the US.
Online Information Systems Security Degree
Information systems security has gained much interest in the recent years. Information security is well suited for online learning and there are numerous universities that offer entirely online bachelor programs. Students are required to complete around 120 credit hours to earn their degree. Students are also required to participate in practical individual or group projects as well as technical discussions forums.
What Can You Do With an Information Systems Security Degree?
Information systems security, shortly known as INFOSEC, is a branch of information technology that focuses on protecting the data on computers and networks. There are growing concerns regarding this with the massive growth of the digital data. Despite the efforts done, news about massive data breaches still come out commonly affecting millions of users from around the globe. For example, Yahoo was exposed to a data breach in 2013 affecting around 3.5 billion users while First American Financial Corp. reported data breach in 2019 that involved data related to around 900 million users. Data breaches and security concerns can have huge effects that may result in loss of billion of dollars, termination of businesses, or even legal and political consequences. As a result, there is high demand for information systems security specialists and the demand is still growing at remarkably high rate.
What does an information systems security student learn?
Information systems security students learn about the fundamentals and structure of information systems. They also learn the techniques used for cyberattacks and how they can be faced. The following list shows examples for courses commonly offered in information systems security degree programs:
- Foundations of network security and information assurance: this course introduces the fundamentals of the network security including data integrity, confidentiality and availability which are known as the CIA triad.
- IT security and business continuity: this course introduces the measures needed to ensure that business continues and does not get affected by cyberattacks. This includes planning and preparing for possible cyberattacks in addition to crisis management.
- Legal issues in information security: most of the aspects related to information security are governed by laws. Authorities around the globe issue laws that determine the responsibilities of the service providers towards the protection of the users’ data.
- Digital forensics: this course introduces the tools and approaches to determine the identity of cyber-attackers. This field is also important for people working for law enforcement authorities as it can be the solution for many crimes either cyber-crimes or other crimes that involved the use of information systems.
- IT ethics and professionalism: information systems security specialists usually have access to confidential data as the users’ information, system structure as well as weak points in the system. Accordingly, they should always show commitment to professionalism and ethics related to the field.
Now I have the information systems security degree…where can I work after graduating?
Information systems security is a challenging field of study that requires deep knowledge of the hardware and software parts of information systems. Working in this field can be stressful because it is always a race between security systems and attackers who also continuously develop new tools for sneaking into the systems. On the other hand, information systems security careers are exciting and rapidly developing, and they are financially rewarding as well. This list shows career options that are available to information systems security graduates:
- Application analyst: the role of this job is to evaluate mobile applications to determine their security degree which is important also for the rating in mobile application stores.
- Cybersecurity analysts: they work in evaluating the security systems implemented for protection of data to determine weak points and provide recommendations for improvements.
- Database administrator: the advanced and comprehensive knowledge that the graduates have qualifies them to work as database administrators with the advantage of providing more security.
- Penetration tester: this is an exciting career as testers play the role of cyber-attackers and try to break into information systems in controlled experiments. This is an effective approach to determine the efficiency of security systems implemented.
- Software engineer: information systems security professionals have extensive knowledge in coding programs and are capable of developing programs for mobiles and computers.
- Systems analyst: the role of this job is to evaluate the performance of information systems in general including the processing capacity, data transfer efficiency and the security aspects.
Should I choose an information systems security degree?
Information security is an exciting field that is rapidly developing and changing. Working in this field is like solving challenging puzzles to reach a weak point in a system or to track a cyberattack to determine the identity of the attacker. It motivates the sense of competition, but this can also be stressful and demanding. If you are interested in computer coding, programing and computer hardware, then information systems security should be one of your choices. You also need to have the following skills to be successful in this field:
- Attention to details: security issues are usually caused by fine coding details. You should never miss any details when evaluating a system or investigating a cyberattack.
- Project management: implementing a security system is a project that involves financial aspects, managing human resources, planning among other aspects.
- Time management: information security is a time sensitive field that requires quick response time.
Best Jobs for Information Systems Security Degrees
As an information systems security graduate, you should be able to find work in the IT departments of pretty much any industry you’re interested in. Graduates work as security professionals in banking, healthcare, manufacturing, government, education, and software development, just to name a few. They work as security engineers, systems administrators, software engineers, and security analysts.
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