Network security is a growing industry which covers many different specialties. Network security is a primary concern for nearly every business, as maintaining the protection and integrity of their information is critical.
What is Network Security?
According to Cisco (a leading technology company), network security is “any activity designed to protect the usability and integrity of your network and data. It includes both hardware and software technologies. Effective network security manages access to the network. It targets a variety of threats and stops them from entering or spreading on your network.” Simply stated, network security is the lock and key to a business’ information.
Why is Network Security Important?
In this day and age, keeping private data confidential is a daunting task. The steady increase of cyber attacks and data breaches demonstrates the “war zone” business, governmental and industrial networks are in. Hackers and Security Specialists play a game of ‘cat and mouse’ around unauthorized access; each side becomes more and more sophisticated as time goes by. Not only is proper training important, but continuing education is vital to the successful defense of any computer network.
What Careers exist in Network Security?
The field of network security is wide; there are many different, yet coordinated, roles to fill. Job titles include Network Security Manager, Security Engineer, Information Technology Auditor and Data Security Analyst. Opportunities in the field of network security are available in virtually every business or organization that maintains computerized data storage and access. Among the potential employers for degree-holding candidates are government, financial institutions, insurance companies, healthcare organizations, schools and technology consultant firms (to name a few). These jobs can be lucrative, as mid-range and upper salaries can be well into six figures.
What Degree Programs are available in Network Security?
Degrees in network security will be within the Information Technology category. Examples of Bachelor’s Degrees include: BS in Information Technology, BS in Information Technology: Digital Investigation and BS in Information Technology: Data Networking and Security. Post-graduate degree programs are available for those who wish to further their studies and advance in their careers. There are also Professional Certifications programs designed to continue the learning process for established professionals.
Is there specific Accreditation for Network Security Degree programs?
The best programs will be a part of NSA’s National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense – a governmental program that regulates curriculum and specifies standard requirements. The two most popular accrediting organizations are ABET, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) program which is a program sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
How can I find a a Network Security Degree Program that has Job Placement Assistance?
The best way to find a program that is right for you is to do your research! There are many resources available to gather information about network security degree programs; most (if not all) will also offer Job Placement assistance. Beyond the school’s career department, there are abundant Job Boards and other websites on the internet offering positions, guidance and other valuable information (caveat: be wary of offers that sound too good to be true!). A simple search in your area of study or your geography will yield many options worthy of consideration. The field is still wide open and growing year by year; the need for qualified, competent candidates is great.