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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Cyber Security

Majors Overview January 6, 2014

Cyber security is more important in the modern day as more businesses create their presence online. Cyber intrusions and attacks need to be prevented. Those interested in a career in cyber security and networking can find entry-level work by obtaining an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree that covers this field, which may include degrees in information assurance or network security management.

A.A. Programs in Cyber Security

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree program covering cyber security can seek entry-level jobs in the fields of cyber security and networking. These areas are covered by degrees offered by schools in information assurance or network security management.

Admission criteria to these programs typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma and to submit transcripts of all postsecondary coursework completed. Students are imparted instruction on the vulnerability of software and hardware systems at both human and technical levels. Graduates of this program will become automatically eligible to take professional certification exams including Security Certified Network Professional (SCNS), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Network+ and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).

Coursework

It takes about two years to complete these programs that are comprised of about 60-68 credits. Colleges and universities offering these programs may require students to complete business courses. The program may include participation in capstone program and coursework cover topic areas such as:

•Network security
•Windows server
•Computer systems technology
•Security administration
•Cyber law
•Microcomputer operating systems
•Networking
•Computer forensics
•Tactical perimeter defense

Career Choices

While most job givers prefer holders of bachelor’s degrees, an associate degree augmented with industry certification and experience may suffice to get entry-level jobs in the field (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). These professionals can seek work in any work setting that uses a local area network (LAN) or wide-area network (WAN) for Internet access and communications.

In their job duties, they may be required to advise employees and staff about security risks and vulnerabilities, perform risk assessments, evaluate security policies and design security measures. Aspiring candidates may choose from a range of job titles including:

•Operating systems security specialist
•Information assurance security specialist
•Applications security specialist
•Information systems security specialist
•Security specialist

Continuing Education Choices

After they complete an associate’s degree program covering cyber security, students may seek to continue their education by earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Schools may offer Master’s degree programs in an online format. Graduates may also obtain professional certifications offered by computer organizations and product vendors to advance in their careers (BLS).

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