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What Degree Do I Need for an IT Security Career?

Stuart Gentry, Alumnus

This is a question that has been out there a lot recently. Why? Cybersecurity is a booming industry, particularly on the East Coast when you look at technical jobs. Companies want people who know the computer inside and out, as well as software engineers. So what do you need for an IT security career?

First, when you do choose the degree, remember, you should have a passion for what you want to do. When I did my computer science degree, I enjoyed all of my technical courses. I spent late nights figuring out mathematics and computer programs. I also tutored people who did not understand subjects and I was well known for my enthusiasm and knowledge. The same holds true for my Master of Science in Information Assurance degree from Regis. I spent late nights working on my homework and thesis, but I enjoyed it. When I did my thesis presentation, my wife said she could hear me talking and could not believe the passion and enthusiasm coming out of my mouth for the subject!

Most people I have run across have a technical degree in computer science, computer engineering, and/or electrical engineering. These fields can be rough when a person realizes they require a lot of mathematics courses, especially in the engineering degrees. However, these people tend to really understand how the computer and networks work all the way down to the register level. Understanding how the stack, the instruction pointer, and the memory all work together can be critical to understanding IT security at the core level. Buffer overflows are one of the big issues in software engineering and a hacker's friend when it comes to breaking in.

In addition to the degree, if there is a computer security club at school or elsewhere, get involved and this will help enhance your education and possibly get you experience as well. I won't deny, employers do want experience (as well as certifications) on top of the education, and they could want you to demonstrate that experience before hiring you.

Additionally, try to focus on information security when taking courses. A friend of mine did a computer science degree with a minor in information security. Even when you do your coding projects for Java, or any other language, focus on what the input should be and how large it is and try to break the program with abnormal inputs.

So, when it comes right down to it, passion for the education is the right recipe for tech savvy people looking to get into an IT career. Regis University can offer that education with a program that has the NSA Seal of Excellence!

Are you interested in learning more about the online MS in information degree at Regis? Request more information or call 877-820-0581 today!