The threat of cyber crime can affect any company, regardless of size or industry. By taking down websites, infiltrating databases or stealing confidential information, cyber criminals cause millions of dollars in losses each year.

Management teams trying to protect a company against cyber threats face constant challenges, as the complexity and scope of threats, along with the speed at which technology changes, make it difficult to stay vigilant. As the public becomes more aware of threats to their personal and financial information, new challenges arise in the form of customer relations and possible new security requirements.

The Growing Need for Cybersecurity Expertise

Cybersecurity is not just for the military, global financial companies, large online retailers, or other industries that make the news when their systems are breached. In businesses of all sizes, executives are becoming more informed about the potential impact on their companies of cyber threats.

They are learning about the implications of cyber threats and taking steps to mitigate the risks; they are integrating cybersecurity into overall risk management, and increasing the resources dedicated to fighting cyber crime. The latter includes hiring teams of cybersecurity experts, who are tasked with analyzing systems, tracking the use of digital information, controlling the use of software, and guarding against unauthorized access and inappropriate data sharing. In addition, these information assurance professionals stay on top of current cyber threats, perform extensive vulnerability testing and train staff on cybersecurity principles.

Increased Risk Means Increasing Demand

As more companies boost their efforts against cyber crime, the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals is projected to increase. According to national data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2011, employment in this field is projected to increase by as much as 22% through 2020. Prospective job seekers are encouraged to conduct independent research regarding actual job growth rates, which vary according to location, education and experience. Individuals with experience and advanced education should have the best job opportunities.

Cybersecurity Education and Preparation

Breaking into the cybersecurity field typically requires a college education or extensive computer network experience. Cybersecurity professionals usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology or a related field. Many employers will require candidates to have industry certifications, as well.

The knowledge that comes with obtaining an advanced degree may be required for certain positions. Many employers will show preference to candidates with master’s level degrees, such as the Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity.

This highly specialized program provides the opportunity to learn:

  • How to distinguish among various threats, vulnerabilities, and security architectures.
  • Understanding how security mechanisms for operating systems work.
  • Machine learning and data mining methods, and how to apply them in cybersecurity situations.
  • How to analyze biometric technology.
  • Leadership strategies needed to influence change, adopt new technology and implement security standards that help organizations keep their information safe from cyber attacks.

Some employers offer tuition-assistance programs to employees who wish to advance their educations.

What Other Qualifications do Employers Seek?

In addition to the right educational background, employers hiring for cybersecurity positions generally seek the following qualifications:

  • Analytical Skills – Cybersecurity professionals spend a great deal of time analyzing cyber threats, seeking out vulnerabilities and tracking data use.
  • Leadership Ability – Leading a team of experts is often required of cybersecurity specialists.
  • Problem-Solving Skills – Finding and fixing problems is a big part of a cybersecurity job.
  • Interpersonal Skills – The ability to work well on a team is usually crucial in this field.

Because of the nature of the industry, many employers hiring for cybersecurity positions require industry certifications. In addition, military and government jobs typically require security clearances, along with industry certifications. Employers may require CompTIA Security+TM or CISSP® or SSCP® certification through ISC2®. These respected credentials indicate a high level of expertise in cybersecurity.

The Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity Degree

Professionals everywhere can now gain access to the insider information and career-enhancing skills that employers need to fight the growing threat of cyber crime. Florida Tech University Online is offering a Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity program 100% online to meet the demand for cybersecurity professionals. In this program, created through a partnership with global security leader the Harris Corporation, students enjoy top-quality instruction from experts in the field.

Designed for technical professionals, the Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity offers instruction that results in job-ready skills in areas such as secure software development, host and application security, data mining for cybersecurity, cryptography and information hiding, and much more. With the convenience of 24/7 online access to courses, it’s possible for even the busiest of professionals to pursue an advanced education and enhance their career possibilities.

Become a Cybersecurity Professional and Keep Up the Fight Against Cybercrime

As corporate management teams recognize the real and growing threat posed by cyber criminals, the opportunities for knowledgeable, trained cybersecurity professionals are expected to grow. Why not get in on one of the most promising careers of the next decade? If you have a technical background and are seeking to advance your skills, you could be a great fit for the Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity degree program, and a successful career in cybersecurity.

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