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Information on Master of Science (MS) Degree Program in Information Security

Majors Overview July 12, 2015

This article talks about Master of Science (M.S.) degree programs in Information Security and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Science (M.S.) Programs in Information Security

There is a heavy reliance, by organizations, businesses, and government agencies, on the Internet and computer networks, thereby making them vulnerable to attack through hacker intrusion, spyware, and malicious code. Students enrolled in a Master of Science (M.S.) in Information Security program engage in the investigation of methods of defending computers from such intrusions. They also learn about implementing protective measures for information systems in the event of unexpected power failures and natural disasters.

They are also given expertise in damage control methods when a security breach occurs – these include shutting the system down and repairing it. Students gain expertise in security policies and procedures, in addition to technical aspects related to securing digital information.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field such as computer engineering, computer programming, or computer science. Students with a bachelor’s degree from unrelated majors are allowed to enroll provided they have completed sufficient computer coursework. Submission of Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores is also a typical requirement for admission.

Coursework

The focus of program coursework is on hands-on experience in monitoring, auditing, and assessing networks. Schools offer both non-thesis and thesis options. A research project may have to be completed by students. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Operating systems
•Network technology
•Enterprise application testing
•Project management
•System development
•Technical Communications
•Network security
•Cryptology
•Security management practices
•Project risk management

Career Choices

Program graduates gain expertise in computer security, cryptography, computer forensics, cyber law and ethics, and software assurance. They can seek possible job titles such as:

•Data systems analyst
•Cryptography specialist
•Administrator of computer security
•Information security director
•Information technology senior security officer

Wage Outlook

In March 2014, information technology security directors brought in an average annual wage of $110,776. During the same period, administrators of computer network security earned $59,373, and information technology security engineers specializing in cryptography earned $110,000 per annum, on average. In May 2012, systems analysts brought in an average annual wage of $79,680, while information security analysts earned $86,170 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may want to keep abreast of constant changes in the dynamic field and can avail certification programs such as the Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC). They can also attend seminars, workshops and professional conferences to keep themselves updated about the latest methodologies in information security.

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