An information security associate's program will focus on practical skills, allowing students to put what they learn to use in real-world situations. After completing this program, they are eligible for entry-level IT help desk or technical assistance positions.
A bachelor's degree program in information security offers coursework in programming languages, advanced mathematics, and security network design. While a graduate certificate program is a continuing education option that will allow students to stay current on changes within the field.
Programs in information security range in length from about a year up to four years and some require a handful of IT courses to have been completed as prerequisites.
Associate's Degree Programs in Information Security
Undergraduate programs in information security require a high school diploma or its equivalent prior to admission. Typically completed in two years, an associate program teaches students how to design, monitor, and secure computer networking systems. Students also learn about router configurations, common networking problems, and techniques in data security, often including the following course topics:
- Server administration
- Infrastructure security
- Programming in C#
- Security administration
- Database table construction
Bachelor of Science in Information Security
A Bachelor of Science in Information Security is a program that provides students with practical skills needed for computer networking and systems administration. Typically, a student's curriculum combines laboratory work with classroom education to enhance practical skills and provide exposure to multiple standard industry hardware systems and software. Data security is often explored in detail through the following course topics:
- Algorithm writing
- Database architecture
- Business ethics
- Data architecture
- Network security systems
Graduate Certificate Programs in Network and Information Security
Students with bachelor's degrees in related fields, such as network administration or computer science, who desire to increase their knowledge of data security techniques may pursue a graduate certificate in computer network security or information security. This program is directed toward working professionals and teaches students methods in network security, common security holes, and system recovery techniques. Many programs do not require students' bachelor's degrees to be in any specific field.
Coursework focuses on common security measures useful to network design and digital forensic techniques to track and patch network weaknesses. A student may also take courses in the following subjects:
- Network infrastructure
- Security policy design
- Wireless technology security
- Remote monitoring
Popular Career Options
Associate's degree graduates are prepared for beginner-level positions. After building several years of experience in the field or earning professional certification, a graduate may qualify for more advanced positions, such as the following:
- Database administrator
- System administrator
- Data security analyst
IT professionals need to keep current with network and data security techniques; a graduate certificate may, therefore, be useful in the following career areas:
- Database administration
- Network security engineer
- Director of security
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Graduates often pursue careers in network or systems administration. Those with skills in data and information security may be sought for their expertise in secure database design and administration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of database administrators was expected to increase 9% from 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that as of May 2018, database administrators earned a median annual salary of $90,070.
Students in information security programs learn about a broad range of topics including network administration and computer science, among others. These programs prepare students for a variety of work environments that require data management and protection.