What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Internet Security Program?

In your online internet security degree program, you can expect the same level of knowledge that you would find in a traditional, on-campus program but with more flexible scheduling and attendance policies. You can pursue your education even if you need to work full-time or have other daily or weekly obligations. Before deciding on an online program for your master’s in internet security, take the time to look at several schools to ensure you choose the program that best helps you meet your career goals.

Available concentrations

Choosing a concentration allows you to dive deep into a particular area of interest. Here are a few of the concentrations you may find through your program in internet security:

  • Network security: Provides students with the training to identify and resolve vulnerabilities in a network. Graduates with this concentration may be interested in jobs as network security engineers or network security administrators in a corporate environment.
  • Systems: Examines security design and protecting operating systems. This focus allows graduates to find jobs as security engineers or cryptographers in an office setting.
  • Analysis: This concentration studies ways to identify hacking, digital forensics techniques, and cryptology. This concentration equips graduates for positions as intelligence analysts for private corporations or government agencies.

Common degree curriculum

The courses you will take in an online program in internet security vary from school to school. Some of the required classes may include the following:

  • Network Security: Covers the principles and practices of securing computer networks, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, VPNs, and secure protocols.
  • Cybersecurity Policy and Governance: Examines the legal, ethical, and policy aspects of cybersecurity, addressing issues related to privacy, compliance, risk management, and governance strategies.
  • Cryptology and Cryptographic Systems: Explores cryptographic algorithms, protocols, and systems used to secure information, focusing on encryption, digital signatures, and secure key management.
  • Web Application Security: Focuses on securing web applications against common vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and other threats to web-based systems.
  • Incident Response and Digital Forensics: Covers methodologies and techniques for responding to and investigating cybersecurity incidents, including digital evidence collection, analysis, and incident handling.

Certification and license preparation

Several certifications are available to individuals with a master’s degree in internet security. Earning these certifications may make you more marketable when looking for the right job.

  • CompTIA Security+ Certification: Completing an online master’s in internet security program prepares students to pass the CompTIA Security+ Certification exam. This global certification signifies competence in identifying and finding solutions for network security breaches. This certification ensures individuals know the latest relevant security techniques and skills, such as risk management, risk mitigation, and intrusion detection.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker: An internet security graduate degree lays the foundation for the CEH certification. Students who can meet or exceed the ethical standards set by the EC-Council to use their hacking skills to identify potential weaknesses in their clients’ systems are eligible for this certification.

Program accreditation

Accreditation from a respected organization is an important factor to consider when choosing a school for your master’s degree in internet security. Accredited programs meet or exceed the educational standards and high-quality curriculum necessary to promote success within the industry. Choosing an unaccredited school can impact future educational, job, and certification opportunities.

Confirm that your school and program are accredited by visiting the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s database.

Program completion timeframe

Most online internet security graduate programs are designed to be completed in two years with a standard full-time course load. Those who choose to complete the required 30-36 credit hours part-time will take longer and may be subject to a time limit, often five years, to maintain eligibility for their degree. Some schools offer accelerated programs, allowing students to cut their completion time to 12-18 months.

Another factor that can influence the amount of time it takes to complete an online master’s in internet security program is the program structure. A self-paced or asynchronous learning program allows students to move through courses at a speed that matches their comprehension and efforts. A cohort structure (synchronous) requires students to advance together, encouraging cooperation and fostering networking opportunities.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Internet Security Graduates

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 32% job growth for IT security through 2032. This is much higher than the average projected growth for all careers and shows that qualified professionals in this industry are in high demand. Students should know that while a bachelor’s degree is the minimum education level required for most internet security jobs, many employers prefer a graduate degree.

Because the field is so technical, obtaining your master’s degree gives you additional years of training in more specialized classes. Additional experience is always beneficial regarding security matters, so spending the time and money to complete an online master’s in internet security program opens doors to more jobs.

Depending on the concentration you choose for your online master’s in internet security program, you could take several career paths. The advanced skills that come with completing your graduate degree open the door to lucrative positions that offer better benefits and more job security.

Job Title Job Description Median Yearly Salary Projected Growth Rate
Information Security Analyst Information security analysts design and implement security measures to protect the networks and systems of a business or organization. Responsibilities include identifying security breaches, assessing any damage caused, testing the system for potential weaknesses, and developing company-wide security protocols. $112,000 per year 32%
Network Security Architect Network security architects are responsible for designing and building an organization’s network so that it meets the company’s needs with possible security risks in mind. This process includes testing the network for potential weaknesses throughout its development and after it is complete and addressing new weaknesses as they are found. $126,900 per year 4%
Network and Computer Systems Administrator A network and computer systems administrator is responsible for the daily operations of a network. Tasks include implementing new software, training users in the use of network hardware and software, monitoring the efficiency and performance of the network, and working to maintain and improve network security. $90,520 per year 2%
Database Administrator Database administrators are responsible for collecting and storing data for businesses and organizations. Their function is to use specialized software that organizes and stores the data collected and then allows authorized users access to it while maintaining the integrity of database security. $112,120 per year 8%
Security Software Developer As a security software developer, your responsibilities include conceptualizing, designing, and developing desktop, mobile, and network security software so programmers can write code. Developers then test the software for issues and develop solutions to those problems so it is ready for consumers. $124,200 per year 25%

Professional organizations

The world of IT evolves rapidly, especially regarding internet security, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the industry. Professional organizations are a great way to do this. They also encourage collaboration between colleagues and offer additional education opportunities. Here are a few organizations that can benefit anyone with a graduate degree in internet security.

  • CompTIA: This organization was created for IT professionals and is dedicated to advocating for causes that impact the IT world. Members have access to a wealth of resources, educational opportunities, and career tools to help them grow.
  • International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2: The (ISC)2 offers members a range of certification options. The organization maintains an events calendar that provides in-person networking opportunities across the globe. The organization gives members access to industry publications, training opportunities, and professional development tools.
  • The SANS Institute: The SANS Institute is considered one of the world’s largest and most trusted security training and certification organizations. Home to the Internet Storm Center, the early warning system for the internet, the organization provides professionals access to a massive database of publications, research and programs related to internet security.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Internet Security Degree

Online master’s degree programs are often less costly than on-campus classes. However, students may need some financial help. After filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out if you qualify for federally funded grants and loans, private loans and scholarships are also an option to help you cover the tuition for your online master’s in internet security program.

Student Finance Resources and Guides

Understanding the ins and outs of the financial aid world can be helpful when putting together a financial package that meets your needs. The resources below can help you get started if you need to seek out financial assistance.

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