The digitization of the modern world has brought about incredible opportunities, including exciting new ways to buy and sell goods and services, communicate across geographic borders, and express ourselves creatively.
With these opportunities, however, come a number of new and dangerous threats, particularly those posed by hackers and other online assailants. According to a Statista report, phishing was the most common attack, affecting over 300,000 individuals in 2022.
This suggests that a real opportunity is available for cyber security professionals. Those who seek advanced degrees in cyber security can make a significant difference by helping businesses, nonprofit organizations, government bodies, and private citizens safeguard their online activity from potential hackers.
Understanding the potential career opportunities and salary for a master’s in cyber security can prepare students to choose the right path for success.
What Is a Master’s in Cyber Security?
According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, cyber security is “the art of protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.”
A master’s in cyber security helps provide computer science and information technology (IT) professionals with the skills required to analyze the security needs of a given network or IT infrastructure. Additionally, it can train cyber security professionals to assess networks for potential vulnerabilities, spot places where cybercriminals may enter, and recommend the necessary safeguards.
Program Length and Curriculum
The typical master’s in cyber security program takes approximately two years to complete, although some programs can be completed in as little as 18 months. An undergraduate degree in computer science or a related field is usually a prerequisite for applying, although some programs will accept students with bachelor’s in other fields upon completion of foundation courses.
Master’s-level cyber security programs cover subject matter that includes enterprise security, data mining, risk management, and machine learning. The goal of these programs is to prepare students not only to succeed in the workplace but also to become certified as ethical hackers, network defenders, or experts in a comparable role.
Master’s in Cyber Security Salary and Job Outlook
Cyber security is a growing field with the potential for impressive salary figures and industry growth.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for a master’s in cyber security was around $103,417. Many factors can affect an individual’s salary, including their years of experience, geographic location, and job title.
As a reference point for the cyber security job market, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that positions for information security analysts are expected to grow by 35% between 2021 and 2031.
Master’s in Cyber Security Jobs
There are many potential jobs for master’s in cyber security graduates in the tech and security sectors, such as penetration tester, cyber security director, and IT security architect.
A penetration tester helps organizations identify vulnerabilities in their cyber security infrastructure before a hacker can do the same. Penetration testers often use ethical hacking principles to try to breach a network, all with the organization’s permission.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary of penetration testers was around $118,287.
Cyber Security Director
The cyber security director assumes a leadership position over an organization's IT security measures. This may involve managing a team of cyber security professionals and a portfolio of technologies. The cyber security director may be responsible for developing internet security protocols for the entire organization and for ensuring compliance with those protocols.
The average annual salary of cyber security directors is $140,526 according to ZipRecruiter.
IT Security Architect
IT security architects help set a vision for the organization’s cyber security efforts. IT security architects research potential threats and assess the risks they pose to the organization, and then draft policies to try to contain those risks. Responsibilities associated with this role include building and maintaining IT security systems, preparing the cyber security budget, and conducting breach-of-security drills.
IT security architects had an annual average salary of approximately $145,171 according to ZipRecruiter.
Discover the Benefits of a Master’s in Cyber Security
The work of cyber security professionals is increasingly critical to the safety and security of every business, organization, and private citizen. Advanced cyber security training can open up incredible career possibilities that offer the opportunity to make a real difference in the world.
The Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity program at St. Bonaventure University offers a curriculum that focuses on practical IT security skills, including classes such as Cloud Security, Enterprise Security, and Data Mining for Cyber Security. Our program can provide you with the invaluable tools you need to qualify for cutting-edge jobs and earn a competitive master’s in cyber security salary. Let SBU help you embark on a rewarding career in cyber security.