Students with bachelor's degrees in areas such as information technology (IT) or network administration may want to consider an online graduate certificate program in information security. Individuals can find programs delivered entirely through distance learning. Some courses in this program will include a final project and may even incorporate fieldwork that allows students to test their new knowledge prior to completing the program.
Graduate Certificate in Information Security
Most graduate certificate programs in information security require that students have some experience in the IT world or hold a bachelor's degree in an area such as applied mathematics, engineering, computer science or computer information systems. These programs typically take less than a year to complete, and all coursework is accessed online through virtual classrooms
Program Information and Requirements
Schools usually require that information security students use a high-speed Internet connection to log on to their classes. Schools may also require that students use computers running certain operating systems, such as Windows XP or Mac OS X, and utilizing certain hardware. Software such as the Firefox browser or Java may be necessary as well.
Graduate certificate programs are usually comprised of a small number of courses - typically between three and five. Below are examples of some courses these programs may include.
Strategies and Procedures
A strategies and procedures class will cover how to identify and control risks, as well as how to create a comprehensive plan for managing and mitigating threats. Discussion may also include subjects such as protecting classified and sensitive information, data recovery after a disaster and criminal activity.
Network security courses look at security risks and solutions that are specific to large computer networks. Discussion regarding threats against certain operating systems, backup options and issues that pertain to remote access may also be part of the class.
A forensics course teaches students what to do after an attack on a network or system. Techniques and tools for investigation, the investigation process and report writing may be discussed. Other topics may include data acquisition details, file recovery and how to process an incident/crime scene.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of information security analysts is expected to grow 18% from 2024 through 2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual salary for this profession was $90,120 in 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Some schools that offer a graduate certificate program in information security will allow the credits earned to be applied toward a master's degree. If students wish to pursue this option, they should speak with an academic adviser prior to enrolling in the certificate program to ensure that credits will be properly transferred.
Graduate certificate programs in information security give trained IT professionals the opportunity to take advanced coursework focusing specifically on cyber crime and other computer threats. They can apply the training to their careers or to a more advanced degree in the field.