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Internet Security Certification and Degree Program Overviews

Learn about degree programs that can lead to career opportunities in Internet security, including common coursework and admissions requirements. Find out about certification options in Internet security for graduates.

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Essential Information

There are no degree programs specifically in Internet security, but students interested in working to protect an organization's computer information systems and networks might want to consider pursuing a degree in computer science or a related field.

In fact, many schools offer computer science bachelor's degree programs that allow students to focus on network and information systems security, and some of them are available online. These programs are math intensive and include calculus and statistics courses as part of the curriculum.

They can also prepare graduates to obtain the entry-level employment and experience needed to earn professional certifications from organizations like the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)^2, and ISACA.

Education Prerequisites

Admissions requirements for a computer science bachelor's degree program include a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some schools also require students to complete math and introductory computer programming classes before being admitted to the major.

Program Coursework

Computer science bachelor's degree programs include core courses designed to familiarize students with computer operating systems and develop their programming skills. Common courses include:

  • Computer architecture
  • Network security
  • Cryptography
  • Web page programming

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Graduates of computer science bachelor's degree programs can find entry-level employment as network and computer systems administrators who work to ensure the security of an organization's information systems, among other tasks. These IT professionals could see a 12% job growth from 2012-2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Experience as a network and computer system administrator could lead to an advanced position as an information security analyst. The BLS projected a 37% job growth for information security analysts from 2012-2022.

As of May 2013, network and computer systems administrators earned a median salary of $74,000, while information security analysts earned $88,590, according to the BLS.

Internet Security Certification

Several information security certifications are available to IT professionals looking to advance their careers. (ISC)^2 offers the Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) credential to individuals with one year of related work experience. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) designations are available to individuals with between two and five years of related work experience. Both the SSCP and CISSP credentials require passing scores on an exam.

Other certifications are available from organizations like ISACA, which offers the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) credential to individuals who pass an exam after completing five years of relevant information security experience.

Continuing Education Information

According to the BLS, some employers prefer to hire information security analysts and computer network architects with a graduate degree in information systems or business administration. For students who'd like to earn a graduate IT degree, several schools also offer master's degree programs in the areas of information security and computer network security.

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