The program curriculum in an associate's degree in information security explores the multitude of threats facing information systems, including cyber threats to the security of networks, databases and financial information. The program consists of introductory computer science courses and security courses, such as computer forensics, which is a method of retrieving hidden information from a computer's hardware drive. Graduates are eligible for CompTIA certifications. Applicants to these 2-year programs need a high school diploma or equivalent.
Associate Degree in Information Security
Students complete classroom coursework and train on computers in student labs where they learn about programming languages, operating systems and methods of improving system security. By the close of the program, students will be able to set up firewalls, secure networks and develop a plan of action in the event of security threats and attacks.
Students will become proficient in numerous operating systems, software applications and security measures through a combination of traditional coursework and hands-on training. Topics of discussion include:
- Viruses and spyware
- Internet protocol (IP)
- Intrusion recovery
- Virtual private networks
- Security policies
- Windows and Linux operating systems
Popular Career Options
Graduates prepare for jobs in business, government, information technology, education and more. Career options for graduates include:
- Network administrator
- Technical support specialist
- Information security technician
- Information security manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for computer support specialists were expected to increase 12% during the 2014-2024 decade, which is about average. Computer network support specialists earned a median annual salary of $62,250 as of May 2015, per the BLS.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Graduates are eligible to take certification exams offered by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), including the CompTIA A+ examination. CompTIA A+ certification is for entry-level IT technicians and is mandatory for many information technology organizations. Those who became CompTIA A+ certified by December, 2010 are certified for life; those who are certified after this date are required to recertify every three years. Certificate holders can recertify by passing an exam or completing CompTIA's continuing education program.
Other certification options include the CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+ designations. CompTIA recommends but does not require examinees to have at least nine months of professional experience to take the Security + examination and five years of experience to take the Network+ examination.
Students interested in studying information security can earn an associate's degree in the field to learn about security policies, operating systems, software applications and more. Graduates can work as computer support specialists and may need to take certification exams for employment.