Most Affordable Online Cyber Security Degrees

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Albert Einstein famously said that it had “become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

 

Einstein lived much of his adult life in the early 20th-century when computers and the internet were just becoming a thing in people’s everyday lives. Even back then, in a generation that did not grow up with social media or smartphones, Einstein could see how much society had changed due to technology. In the present day, many companies profit from the idea of the “internet of things,” or products that are embedded in computing technology that allows them to communicate with a computer. While it may seem convenient to be able to use your at-home entertainment speaker by merely speaking to it, all technology that interacts with a computer is vulnerable to data security breaches.

Cyber Security is a field that deals with protecting individuals and corporations from cybercrime. According to Consumer Affairs, 1.4 million fraud reports were processed by the Federal Trade Commission in 2018. Identity theft is just one form of cybercrime that is on the rise. Merely having one’s personal information leaked can cause massive damage to one’s personal life. Consumer Affairs also reports that IoT devices are attacked about 5,233 times per month on average. A simple device such as a router that provides a household with the internet is so vulnerable to everyday attacks. Based on these statistics, a career in Cyber Security is one that is part of a growing field and highly valued.

What kind of Cyber Security degree should you get?

At the undergraduate level, Cyber Security will be offered either as a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. In this ranking, only one of the degrees is a BAS. What is the difference between a BS and a BAS? A BS is usually a four-year degree that focuses on both the technical and theoretical sides of the discipline. Some schools offer BS programs that are designated as “completion degrees,” meaning that they enroll only students who have completed their general education courses. Because BS students are exposed to theory and research, this degree is a great precursor for those who wish to move on to the graduate level. In contrast, a BAS degree is more focused on the technical side of the industry, specifically in preparing students to obtain advanced hard skills so that they can enter the workforce immediately after graduation.

BS and BAS degrees are offered both on-campus and online. An online degree may be more favorable for working adults or non-traditional students who do not have time for traditional classes. Online classes meet at designated times a few sessions per week but are mostly self-paced when it comes to completing coursework. Coursework can be accessed 24/7 via the school’s distance learning platform. Technical support is also offered just in case students encounter any problems with the technology.

Check out our ranking of the best online Cyber Security degrees

How much money does an online Cyber Security degree make?

Even with just a bachelor’s, an online degree in Cyber Security has a very strong starting salary. According to PayScale, the average salary of BS holders is $68,000. In this field, hard skills and experience are valued more than just a fancy degree title. Therefore, although Master’s degree holders in this field typically earn slightly more than those with only an undergraduate education, most people may find it wiser to work right after graduation before deciding to pursue further education.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, regardless of degree, the median wage of those employed in Computer and Information Technology occupations is $86,320, as of May 2018. Below is a sample of jobs that only require a bachelor’s degree and their median pay:

  • Computer programmer – $84,280
  • Computer system analyst – $88,740
  • Information security analyst – $98,350
  • Software developer – $105,590

What can you do with an online Cyber Security degree?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that Information Security Analyst jobs will increase by 32% from 2018 until 2028. This statistic is not surprising as industries are becoming more technologically dependent. Cyber Security degree holders can find work in both the public and private sector: government agencies, health providers, and IT companies all need professionals to protect their institutions from everyday data breaches. Cybersecurity professionals work to maintain cybersecurity networks, develop new software, and find potential system vulnerabilities.

After receiving one’s bachelor’s degree, most graduates will be prepared to sit for major industry certification exams. The Certified Ethical Hacker, CompTIA Security+, and the Cisco Certified Network Associate Security certifications are just a few main certifications available. Several of the degrees listed here explicitly state that their curriculum prepares students for these exams. Having extra certifications can boost one’s potential salary and job outlook.

What are the requirements for an online Cyber Security degree?

Applicants interested in an undergraduate Cyber Security program must have a high school diploma from an accredited school. Taking advanced math and science courses, while not mandatory, is advised. For instance, schools like to see applicants who have taken advanced Calculus, Computer Science, and Physics exams and courses. Schools will also look more closely at one’s math and science sections on the SAT/ACT. Taking additional SATs such as the Math II exam may also be helpful.

While colleges are aware that not every high school provides ample exposure to STEM fields, any other outside related extracurricular activities are highly favored. For instance, joining a computer science or engineering club gives students basic knowledge and experience in the field. Many undergraduate students enter college with already some exposure to computer science fundamentals. Taking advantage of high school resources is a plus to ensure a smooth transition into college.

Methodology

We’ve found that the best degrees are those that offer not only fair prices but ample flexibility and convenience as well! To find the best degrees for you, we look at the best schools in the country based on reputation, student satisfaction, program quality, and return on investment. Then we review the bottom line – just how much is this going to cost? Check out our methodology page for a more in-depth description of our data.

Once we determine all of the above, we curate a list of stellar schools for you! These represent not only the best degrees you can get but also ones that will fit your budget. Check out our picks below!

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