In a master's degree program in computer security, students learn to protect an organization's information from cyber attacks by installing and maintaining security software and monitoring networks for breaches. Courses cover advanced technology, network security, software security, computer forensics and Unix programming. Specialization options include internet and e-commerce, wireless and networking, and banking and financial security.
Most of these one-to-two year programs offer a thesis option for students who wish to gain research experience in addition to required electives and core courses; voluntary certification is also available for information systems security professionals. Some courses may be available online. In order to apply, students need a bachelor's degree in computer science or equivalent background in computer technology.
Master's Degree in Computer Security
Coursework in a computer security master's program includes studies of advanced technology as well as general security concepts, such as vulnerability, risk analysis, and implementation. Network, computer, and software security are all emphasized. Common course include:
- Advanced Unix programming
- Data and computer communications
- Analytical methods
- Computer forensics
- Software engineering
- Advanced algorithms
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for information security analysts are expected to increase by 18% from 2014-2024, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. In 2015, the median annual salary for information security analysts was $90,120, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education and Certification
Computer security Ph.D. programs are available for students interested in a career in research or teaching. Ph.D. students develop advanced skills in the application and research of information systems. Another continuing education option is certification. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential is offered through (ISC)2 - International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc.
Overall, students who want to dedicate their careers to preventing cyber attacks can gain the technological skills they need through a master's degree program in computer security.