The field of cyber security is still evolving right along with technology, generating jobs at a much faster pace than the national average. In fact, information security jobs are projected to grow by 40 percent or more over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Lorain County Community College has unveiled an exciting new associate of applied science degree in cyber and information security.
The degree is offered by the division of engineering, business and information technologies and prepares students for employment in a variety of careers in cyber security with roles such as network security specialist, information security technician and cybersecurity specialist.
“Cyber security is a booming industry right here in Northeast Ohio,” program coordinator Lawrence Atkinson said. “Fraud, identity theft, and trafficking in child pornography have all been identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as serious crimes, and trained experts are needed to track down perpetrators and prevent illegal activities.”
In addition to basic computer and networking skills, this degree provides a solid foundation in information assurance, cybercrime investigation, ethical hacking, digital forensics, network forensics, cyber operations, Internet of Things, data collection, software exploitation, analysis of malicious code, reverse engineering, data integrity, risk assessment and mitigation techniques. Lab work and assignments will present real world cyber security scenarios encountered in the work place. Industry standard software will be used for digital forensics studies.
Because technology spans all industries, being skilled in computer forensics and data analysis opens up dozens of career doors beyond the criminal justice or government-related fields one might associate with cybersecurity. The pay is way ahead of the national average, too; cybersecurity agents earn a median wage of nearly $90,000 a year.
Many cybersecurity experts work in the corporate world, where they protect social security and credit card information and financial transactions, or prevent leaks of products still in development.
Businesses employing cybersecurity workers can include banks, healthcare providers, tech and retail firms, “or any small business connected via the internet,” according to the BLS. These employees may be focused on upgrading computer networks and regulating data access, or responding to breaches and viruses. The technology needs of businesses, large and small, are growing every day. On the forensics side, computer analysts may track down criminals like money launderers or drug dealers by following electronic trails and tracing cell phone calls.
This degree program goes well with other IT programs, such as computer networking, network systems and other programs. Students who have already earned an associate degree in an IT area can add this credential by taking a few semesters of classes, Atkinson said. Veterans may also do very well in this field, he added.
Short-term and one-year certificates are also available in computer security. LCCC has articulation agreements with colleges and universities including programs offered by LCCC’s University Partnership that lead to bachelor’s degrees.