Hollywood exerts influence over many areas of modern life, even down to how people think about and refer to different types of work. Movies and television shows often depict the professionals who deal with computer security as Cybersecurity or information security specialists. These terms are often used in the entertainment industry in a way that implies that they are identical, which can create confusion for those who are interested in pursuing a career in one of these exciting and growing fields. Prospective students need to be able to distinguish between these two professions in order to determine which career path is the best fit.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is the use of various technologies and processes to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. Since all computer systems rely on operating systems and networks to function, those areas are often targeted for attack and are the main sources of many security vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity jobs require strong technical skills and most require a technical degree in Cybersecurity, computer science, information technology or engineering. Cybersecurity degree courses often offer classes in:

  • Computer forensics
  • Advanced computer security issues and practices
  • General computer topics. 

Cybersecurity jobs might include information systems security professional, senior system manager and system administrator.

Information Security

Information security involves protecting information from unauthorized access, use, disruption, modification or destruction, regardless of whether the information is stored electronically or physically. Cybersecurity is a subset of the larger area of information security.

Similar to Cybersecurity jobs, information security jobs also rely on strong technical skills since most information is stored digitally. A solid background in networking, system administration, software development and data integrity and security is an asset to those looking to enter this field. Prospective students should also consider supplementing technical courses with general communication and business courses. Information security jobs include security systems administrator, security auditor and security analyst.

Understanding technology and security issues is critical for any Cybersecurity or information security professional, regardless of the specific field of specialization. By understanding the differences between these two related but distinct fields, individuals choose the most appropriate educational options that will best prepare them for a career that matches their goals and interests.

The Bottom Line

When deciding on one of these computer security-related career paths, it is critical to be clear and detailed about exactly what it is you’re looking for in a career.  Cybersecurity and Information Security are two similar fields which offer a great variety of job options, but they are distinct career choices. 

By fully understanding the differences and similarities between these two fields of study, individuals will better be able to select the educational path that best matches their skills, interests and career goals. By researching potential professions carefully, you’ll be able to discern the differences and similarities between several possible programs of study.  Gathering data about your prospective field and evaluating it carefully will allow you to make an informed choice about the best career path for you.

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