If jumping straight into a four-year bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity seems daunting, there are lots of reasons to seriously consider courses for an associate’s degree.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts that the employment of information security analysts will grow by 55% from 2018 to 2028.
Demand for skilled cybersecurity specialists is rising dramatically as the industry can’t develop specialized skills fast enough to handle the rate of cybercrime.
Basically, the demand is rising, the skills gap is widening and the pay is increasing. An associate’s degree in cybersecurity may be your doorway to the industry.
Why Get an Associate’s Degree in Cybersecurity?
An associate’s degree is a two-year degree that can be used to credit the first two years of a full bachelor’s degree.
This shorter course will allow you to test the waters in cybersecurity before committing to a four-year bachelor’s degree. While it won’t qualify you for the top tier jobs in cybersecurity on its own, getting a foot into the industry is a great first step.
Experience in the workplace will set you apart from other applicants and if you decide it’s for you, you can complete the full bachelor’s degree and move up the ranks.
Completing an associate’s degree in cybersecurity is also a way to build and expand your skillset in IT, making you more employable or more useful in your current workplace.
Here is a list of 10 jobs you can pursue with an associate’s degree in cybersecurity.
1. Web Developer
Web developers use their knowledge of computer coding, languages and systems to put together websites. They can work for companies, businesses or as freelance developers.
The role of a web developer is more technical than a web designer. Web designers are more focused on the actual design of a site, the developer’s focus is on making the site function properly and securely.
2. Security System Administrator
This role manages all aspects of a business’s cybersecurity.
A security system administrator analyzes a business’s computer networks and organizes them against cybersecurity threats. They do this by creating security procedures and backups and identifying threats.
3. Cyber Data Analyst
The role of a data analyst is to interpret data results and use them to develop strategies for business outcomes.
Data science is usually associated with business and marketing but now extends to cybersecurity. A cyber data analyst will interpret data to find the best solution to a business’s cybersecurity needs.
4. Information Security Associate
Information security associates work alongside the head of security to manage a company’s cybersecurity.
This is a broad role that involves testing security systems and applying updates. It also extends to the day to day IT needs across all business departments.
The average salary in this role is $61,498 but varies depending on experience.
5. Penetration Tester
Penetration testers are also known as ethical hackers. Their job is to test out a security system by trying to breach it as if they were a true threat.
Their job centers around identifying weaknesses in a network’s security and then working to resolve it. They document their process, produce reports, and then work with other IT team members to come up with solutions.
Landing an entry-level job as a penetration tester requires experience as a hacker and in-depth knowledge of computer systems and IT.
6. Computer Support Specialist
An associate’s degree coupled with industry experience can qualify you to work as a computer support specialist.
This role involves giving technical advice to users, companies or IT teams on the use of computer software and hardware.
Working as a computer support specialist is a good opportunity to gain work experience in IT and move into more specialized roles.
7. Information and Assurance Engineer
An information and assurance Engineer works with other IT security specialists to develop security systems to protect a companies data.
Their systems must protect sensitive information while making the right information and data available to the right people at the right time.
As well as installing security infrastructure like firewalls and anti-virus software, information and assurance engineer’s also create company policies and procedures relating to cybersecurity.
This is a more advanced role in cybersecurity but it isn’t impossible to get if you have the right experience.
Cryptographers create algorithms and ciphers to secure data. Their main focus is to encrypt information so that it can’t be hacked and read.
Usually, the encrypted information is being sent between businesses or departments and the cryptographer’s work stops it from being accessed by hackers.
A cryptanalyst will often do the job of a cryptographic and vice versa. The role of the cryptanalyst is to break the code created by the cryptographer and translate it into meaningful information.
A cryptanalyst will often need to break encryption code and reconstruct it again, making cryptography and cryptanalysis roles that usually overlap.
10. Network Support Engineer
A network support engineer looks after all aspects of a computer network, from the hardware, software, and other pieces of equipment. They test, troubleshoot, and resolve network issues as well as update and maintain software and hardware.
They can also design and manage data systems for business activities.
This is another role that might be difficult to land as a first job but is definitely something you can pursue as you gain experience.
The Growing Need in the Industry
Not only is there a growing need for IT professionals that businesses are finding difficult to fill, but there is also a gap in specialized cybersecurity skills because of the rate that technology is advancing.
The average cost of a data breach is estimated to be $3.92 million. Combine this with the fact that there is estimated to be a cyberattack every 39 seconds and it’s clear that businesses can’t afford to not have cybersecurity.
If you would like more information about working in the cybersecurity industry, check out our associate’s degree in cybersecurity.