Should You Earn a Cybersecurity or Computer Science Degree?

two students studying computer science or cybersecurity

Companies must be seen as trustworthy in order to conduct business. They lose this trust quickly when they fall prey to hackers. Data breaches impact not only an organization’s reputation but also its bottom line. A company that can shorten its recovery time can save money and lessen the damage from a data breach. The way they do that is by hiring skilled cybersecurity professionals. If you are considering a job in technology, cybersecurity is a growing field that needs educated professionals.

Two common ways to enter the cybersecurity field are earning a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or computer science. The degrees are similar enough to overlap and allow graduates of either to become cybersecurity professionals. But there are enough differences between them that it is important to know more about each type of degree.

Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity

A Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity can lead directly to work as a cybersecurity specialist. The cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program includes training and a curriculum that prepares students to address and prevent real cybersecurity attacks. This includes various programming languages and software to monitor and defend sensitive data. While you will learn how to be agile in learning new technologies, you will learn different methodologies to defending systems – which is vital to staying one step ahead of hackers.

Some of the more practical aspects of a cybersecurity degree program are conducting digital forensic investigations and reverse engineering malware to understand how to best combat it. You will also learn about wireless security and network architecture and the possible flaws in these systems. Knowing what flaws can occur on a network can make it easier to fix them effectively.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

You can earn a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with different emphases, including big data analytics. All computer science degree programs contain the same core of courses – and it is the computer science core, not the emphasis, that prepares students for careers in encryption and other types of cybersecurity work.

A computer science degree may be most closely related to what you want to learn to pursue a cybersecurity career. When you learn about big data analytics in a computer science degree program, it can aid in analyzing large amounts of data. These practices can help in the cybersecurity field as you attempt to analyze what types of data have been compromised by hackers.

The bachelor’s degree in computer science consists of a strong foundation in mathematics, science and logic. You will become an expert problem solver and learn to approach technology using the scientific method. Once you finish your computer science degree, you will be prepared to solve complex, evolving problems. These skills will help in cybersecurity when faced with issues that need new solutions.

Which Degree Program Can Lead to a Career in Cybersecurity?

A bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity can lead you directly into a job as a cybersecurity professional. When you study information security, you learn how to develop and implement security measures. Companies are looking to hire graduates with these skills who can protect their data and computer networks. Cybersecurity positions are readily available in fields such as government, finance and healthcare.

However, every industry that stores data online, in networks or the cloud, has to be vigilant about cybersecurity. A graduate who holds a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity can use their formal education and practical training as soon as they are hired. A bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity can also lead to a career in security consultation, information security, security auditing or network architecture.

A computer science graduate can go into cybersecurity, although there may not be a direct path from the degree to a job. Because the computer science bachelor’s degree does not focus solely on information security, a person who holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science may need additional training and certification for a career in cybersecurity.

Computer science graduates have many opportunities available, such as software development, research and development, software engineering and more.

Final Verdict

If your goal is cybersecurity, then you may want to pursue a degree in that field. A master’s degree in cybersecurity could be quite useful if you want to work up into management. However, this higher degree could introduce career paths like senior security engineer/architect, director of security and senior security application developer. 

If you are still uncertain of what job in technology you want to pursue, a bachelor's in computer science provides a wide variety of emphases. Various computer science programs like big data analytics, business entrepreneurship and game and simulation development can lead to different types of job opportunities.

Grand Canyon University prepares technology graduates for whatever career they choose to pursue. Earn a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity or Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and get on the path toward a rewarding career in technology.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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