Cybersecurity is among the most pressing issues of modern times. In virtually any industry, IT graduates can pursue opportunities in protecting sensitive digital information. From banks to retailers to educational institutions, cybersecurity is of paramount importance. While there are many rewarding opportunities in the private sector, graduates with a Master of Science in Cybersecurity might consider looking to the public sector to find a rewarding job.
You might already be familiar with financial incentive programs that seek to entice teachers to work in socio-economically depressed areas. There is a similar program in place for cybersecurity professionals. The CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program, established by the National Science Foundation, offers generous academic stipends for undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled in cybersecurity degree programs. In return for the stipend, the student agrees to work in federal, state, local or tribal governments when they graduate.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Cybersecurity professionals can benefit from other financial incentives if they decide to secure employment in the public sector. Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, administers the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. You may be able to qualify for student loan forgiveness if, after graduation, you work on a full-time basis for a federal, state, local or tribal government organization. If you wish to apply for this loan forgiveness program, you will have to demonstrate that you’ve already made 120 qualifying payments on your student loans.
Meaningful Career Path
There are countless meaningful opportunities in the private sector. You would be helping to safeguard the sensitive information of hundreds or thousands of consumers, after all. However, a government job may be more personally fulfilling for individuals who are driven by a sense of duty to the country. Your work at a government agency may help protect the nation’s secrets and thwart cyber-attacks by foreign or domestic groups. If this type of work interests you, you might consider exploring STEM opportunities at the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security.
One of the reasons why STEM master’s degrees are so popular these days is because of the considerable demand for qualified computer scientists in the job marketplace. Cybersecurity jobs are no exception. In both the public and private sector, the projected rate of growth in this field is favorable. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the demand for cybersecurity professionals is expected to grow by 28 percent from 2016 through 2026. This rate is much faster than average.
It’s true that cybersecurity jobs in the private sector tend to command higher salaries. However, public sector cybersecurity jobs tend to offer superior benefits packages. In addition, once you get your foot in the door in the public sector, you can generally expect a smoother transition from one job to the next, compared to the private sector. This enables graduates to easily chart a reasonable course to obtain their dream job in cybersecurity.
Propel your career forward by earning your master’s degree online at Grand Canyon University. The Master of Science in Cybersecurity prepares students to pursue high-level cybersecurity positions across a range of industries. Begin your journey today by clicking on the “Request Information” button at the top of your screen.
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.