A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
Attempts by hackers and other bad actors to steal sensitive information or cripple systems are seemingly always making headlines. No one who goes online is totally safe—individuals, organizations and governments are all potential targets. It’s little wonder that cybersecurity has become critically important in today’s digitally connected world.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) acknowledges the increased risk cyberattacks pose to the economy and our daily lives now that information technology and physical infrastructure operations have become so intertwined. In fact, CISA considers cybersecurity to be an important homeland security mission.1
Businesses often have IT departments that help keep them protected from cyber threats, but organizations that aim to educate individuals on how to stay safe online—like the National Cybersecurity Alliance National Cybersecurity Alliance—also exist.
The need for cybersecurity experts is evident—but how do you know whether pursuing a career path in cybersecurity is the right move for you?
What Are Some Potential Cybersecurity Career Paths?
There can be a lot of overlap between cybersecurity career paths and information technology security career paths. So, what is cybersecurity, and how does it differ (if at all) from information technology (IT) security?
Cybersecurity professionals may spend their days protecting data and systems from cyberattacks and cyberthreats—that is, attacks and threats originating in cyberspace. They are primarily concerned with keeping networks and computer systems safe from digital threats.2
While it’s true that information technology (IT) security involves using cybersecurity strategies to prevent unauthorized access to computer networks and electronic data,3 IT security professionals deal with more than just cybersecurity matters. That’s because IT security is concerned with protecting an organization’s assets from all types of threats, not just threats that originate in cyberspace.4 For example, some IT security measures might be designed to prevent unauthorized company employees from accessing proprietary information on an in-house system while others block general access to the server room.
What Do Cybersecurity Analysts Do?
Information security analysts, also known as cybersecurity analysts or security analysts, protect an organization’s computer networks and information through the planning and implementation of various security measures.5
What does a security analyst do day to day?5
- Identify and investigate computer network security breaches
- Prepare reports that document any breaches and the scope of any resulting damage
- Check for vulnerabilities in computer and network systems
- Research current IT security trends and recommend security enhancements
- Install firewalls and other software to safeguard information
But these are just a select few responsibilities—keep in mind that the duties of a cybersecurity analyst are constantly expanding to keep up with ever-increasing cyber threats.
IT & Cybersecurity Potential Career Paths
Many of the duties of cybersecurity analysts may overlap with other types of IT/cybersecurity jobs or career paths. Computer and information systems managers and computer network architects are two examples of occupations that have cybersecurity components to them. Information Technology (IT) directors, which include management information systems (MIS) directors, are a type of computer and information systems manager. Their job duties include hiring and directly supervising IT department employees, determining IT business systems requirements, coordinating information technology activities to ensure the availability of network services and data and oversight of IT department finances.6
IT security managers, another type of computer and information systems manager, are responsible for managing an organization’s network and data security. They have to stay in the know on security threats and the most current IT security measures so that they can help plan security policies and keep employees aware of any cyber threats. IT managers are also responsible for overseeing the investigation of security breaches when they occur.6
Computer network architects—who may also be known as network engineers—also deal with cybersecurity matters. More specifically, they take an organization’s information security needs into consideration when designing data communication networks (LANs, WANs and Intranets). They’re also responsible for maintaining and troubleshooting problems in the networks they design and for researching the latest in networking technologies.7
Information security analyst and network architect positions are not entry-level information technology jobs—these roles typically require not only a bachelor’s degree and possibly an MBA but also prior relevant work experience.6, 7 And computer network architects and information security analysts may also need to be certified in whatever products they use at their organization. 5, 7
What Degrees Are Available in Cybersecurity & IT?
American InterContinental University offers online IT degree programs with concentrations in cybersecurity at the bachelor’s and master’s levels.
Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT) with a concentration in Information Assurance and Security: Examine different types of IT security and various best practices that help promote digital security in this convenient online bachelor’s in IT security degree program. Computer and network hardware, operating systems, network infrastructure and information technology security are among the topics covered in this industry-relevant program that aims to help students prepare to pursue a future career path in IT by focusing on real-world situations.
Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) with a concentration in IT Security: This online cybersecurity master’s degree program can be completed in one year and is designed to help you work to develop managerial skills while honing IT and cybersecurity skills. The program covers a wide range of industry-relevant topics including security techniques to prevent and respond to security incidents, IT risks and how they impact program outcomes, risk management decisions, probability and impact, IT security and ethics and more.
Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) with a concentration in Cybersecurity: Like the MSIT in IT Security, this program is designed to be completed in one year. The MSIT in Cybersecurity degree program covers various skills involved in protecting an organization’s digital assets, with courses that allow you to explore topics such as cybersecurity risk analysis and planning; human components of cyber security, including how to mitigate risk from human factors; and cybersecurity laws and ethics.
If the field of cybersecurity sounds exciting, then a cybersecurity-focused degree program in IT might be the right fit for you. Explore AIU’s undergraduate and graduate Information Technology degree programs, or if you’re ready to make your next move, apply now.
1 CISA, “Cybersecurity,” https://www.cisa.gov/cybersecurity (visited 7/6/2023).
2 CISCO, “What Is Cybersecurity?,” https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/security/what-is-cybersecurity.html (visited 7/6/2023).
3 CISCO, “What Is IT Security?,” https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/security/what-is-it-security.html (visited 7/6/2023).
4 James Stanger, “What Is the Difference Between IT Security and Cybersecurity?,” CompTIA (7/6/2023), https://www.comptia.org/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-it-security-and-cybersecurity.
5 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Information Security Analysts,” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm (visited 7/6/2023).
6 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Computer and Information Systems Managers,” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm (visited 7/6/2023).
7 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Computer Network Architects,” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-network-architects.htm (visited 7/6/2023).
American InterContinental University cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. REQ1944996 7/2023
Classes Start October 25, 2023