Front Range Community College Blog

What is a Cybersecurity Degree?

Cybersecurity is the study of securing computer networks, keeping up with government regulations regarding privacy, and helping to prevent the hacking attacks that you hear about regularly – think Target, Anthem, even Gmail.

What will I learn with a degree in Cybersecurity?

First, you will gain an understanding of computer networks from a hands-on perspective. You will be building and designing secure networks.

You also will gain a general overview of the 10 major domains in network security. It isn’t just protecting against hackers or just stopping viruses or other intrusions. The cybersecurity community has defined those 10 areas:

  • Security management practices
  • Access control systems and methodology
  • Telecommunications and networking security
  • Cryptography
  • Security architecture and models
  • Operations security
  • Application and systems development security
  • Physical security
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery planning
  • Laws, investigation, and ethics

With the Associate of Applied Science degree in Cybersecurity at Front Range Community College, you will be prepared to sit for the CompTIA Security+ national certification exam. This certification is the gold standard, maybe even your golden ticket to a job.

In addition to the two-year associate degree, a one-semester certificate is available to prepare you for entry-level employment or to give working professionals advancement opportunities in the computer networking field.

Lots of hands-on work.

The technical Cybersecurity classes are designed to be 50% lecture and 50% lab. It’s likely there will be as much or more hands-on work than you would find in a four-year degree.

And all the equipment you will be working with is “state-of-practice.” That’s looking at “state-of-the-art” through a different lens. All the network components, hardware, and software are also used by medium and large organizations and industries. And as the practice of cybersecurity changes, so, too, will the equipment at FRCC.

Is a degree in Cybersecurity right for me?

You don’t need to be living in a basement somewhere nerding out on computers to be right for a Cybersecurity degree. This is a great career for anyone who likes hands-on work, likes to understand how things work, or finds that all those hacker incidents intriguing, in the how-do-they-happen or how-can-they-be-prevented kind of way.

The technical classes are scheduled in the evening, so you could work and go to school. The general-education classes for the degree are offered days, evenings, and online.

What kind of job can I get with a degree in Cybersecurity?

You could administer computer systems and be responsible for the associated security. This requires lots of the real technical work.

You could go the “compliance” route and work as a computer systems auditor for banks, financial institutions, health-care institutions, the energy sector – all industries that have lots of governmental oversight related to protecting privacy and data. This requires good people skills and technical knowledge, being the person who works between the technical administrators and the non-technical senior administrators.

You could be an analyst who analyzes all the data, looking for viruses, malware, and other intrusions or places that are vulnerable.

What is the outlook for jobs in Cybersecurity?

Here’s what you will see on the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment website for cybersecurity-related occupations:

Job Title Entry Wage Openings/year
Information Security Analyst $63,688 116
Computer Systems Analyst $60,393 623
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $54,786 435

A challenging field full of opportunity.

It seems a week doesn’t go by without news of another security breach. Threats to computer networks are not going to go away. Cybersecurity is a challenging, rewarding field, and, as the Department of Labor and Employment forecasts, jobs will be plentiful into the future.

Avatar for Dr. Tom Augustine

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Tom Augustine

is a faculty member at Front Range Community College’s Westminster Campus. He joined the faculty with 25 years experience in the Air Force, including managing the networks of the Air Force Satellite Control System and providing network security to the entire U.S Government at the National Security Agency (NSA) and United States Cyber Command.

One Response to “What is a Cybersecurity Degree?”

April 06, 2015 at 11:25 am, Colorado eClips, April 6, 2015 | Colorado Community College System said:

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