Information Systems Security Majors Guide

Table of Contents

What Does it Mean to Study Information Systems Security?

Modern technology has made the business use of computer technology essential. Computers help businesspeople produce of work, share information with co-workers, archive documents and files, and manage operations, along with other typical business functions. As technology has continued to evolve and progress, more emphasis is placed on safeguarding an organization's or a company's information.

With the innovations of hacking attacks and identity theft schemes, the sophistication of criminal activity evolves as quickly as technology. Systems security, a branch of technology that was generated in response to this concern, has become increasingly important for national and international business, and this emphasis is predicted to grow in the future.

Unfortunately, security breaches impact every industry. Illegal activity and information theft cost companies billions of dollars in lost revenue and productivity each year. A premium is placed on making sure that a company's assets, information, and operating procedures are protected.

More and more, the options and methods for studying information systems security are expanding to include distance learning. The development of online information systems security degree programs has enabled more students to obtain a quality education without having to relocate to a physical campus. Students interested in information systems and computer related careers have several technology degree options, ranging from certificate programs to master's programs. Thus, online college degree programs have opened the doors to many future entry-level professionals, as well as seasoned computer and technology professionals hoping to advance their careers with distance education.

Because the need for updated, tight information security systems increases as rapidly as the development of new technologies, many information systems security professionals rely on distance learning to increase and advance their technical skills and training.

Online education makes it possible for students to maintain commitments to full-time jobs while completing the requirements necessary to earn a degree. Studying information systems security also opens up doors to many other related careers including computer programming, information systems managers, computer software engineers, computer support technicians, and computer systems analysts.

Types of Information Systems Security Degrees

As the demand for bright, proficient information systems security professionals increases, more schools develop training and academic programs to meet this demand. Additionally, as technology continues to advance, more information systems security schools offer degree programs online. Students participate in online sessions, web seminars, and interactive tutorials virtually. Students who enroll in distance learning degree programs enjoy a unique opportunity to tailor their own schedule and course load to fit in with existing commitments.

Certificates Information Systems Security

Information systems security certificate programs offer worthwhile options to current information technology and computer professionals who desire a more in-depth knowledge of their specialty. Online certificate programs encourage students to learn and improve skills in a narrow, specific facet of the information systems field. By improving key skills and developing a focused expertise, professionals can enjoy opportunity for advanced employment and job growth.

In addition, when a student completes the requirements for a certificate in information systems, most online degree programs allow that student to transfer these credits towards a more advanced, intense degree program. Certificate programs vary, and potential students should discuss particular degree programs with school admissions counselors.

Browse certificate programs in information systems security.

Bachelor's Degrees in Information Systems Security

The bachelor's of science degree is a strong foundation for forging a career in the computer technology field. Bachelor's of science degree programs in information systems security typically focus heavily on practical training, computer engineering, science, computer and technology security, troubleshooting, and communications. Typically intense and rigorous, B.S. programs also place immense emphasis on a student's ability to understand complex, sophisticated technology and to develop a strong background in information security.

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree in information systems security should expect to commit to approximately four years of academic study. Online degree programs in information systems security make it possible to earn a degree from any student friendly location with Internet access.

Browse bachelor's degree programs in information systems security.

Information Systems Related Internships

Students interested in information systems and technology careers can consider numerous computer and technology job fields. For many students, studying information systems and computer science encourages a fairly defined course of study. So, students can figure out which niche of information systems suits their personal interests by participating in internships throughout the course of their information systems security degree programs.

Because the value of information systems security inherently involves the ability to apply technology and safeguards to an organization's information systems, this career field requires hands-on training aside from rigorous academic coursework. The inherent value of this field is advantageous for students and technology service companies. Students can gain solid work experience as interns, and technology firms and major corporations can find bright, motivated young information systems security professionals early in their careers.

Landing a summer internship can be competitive, but gaining practical experience in the field before graduating should be a priority for an information systems security student. Many companies, technology firms, and various other organizations offer internships to students who excel academically, who demonstrate leadership potential, who are willing to work hard, and who can communicate effectively.

Students should note that it is not uncommon for a student to intern at the same company for multiple summers, and it is also not uncommon for companies to offer full-time employment to outstanding interns upon graduation. Often, information systems security schools will have resources for students looking for an internship opportunity to consult.

What Can You Do With a College Degree in Systems Security?

There are a variety of careers ideal for one with a systems security degree, including:

Management Information Systems Directors

A professional with this job title usually oversees the information systems used by an entire organization. Typical job responsibilities include selecting and overseeing the installation and upgrading of software, overseeing a technical help desk, and work to ensure the security of an organization's information. Information systems directors may directly manage a staff of information systems technicians, and depending on the size of the organization, he may report to the chief information officer.

Securing the information systems of an organization is an important function of an information systems director's position. Even the most ideal, optimized information system is not as useful to an organization if it isn't secure. Therefore, information systems directors and managers are often highly trained in information systems security and rely on this background heavily in performing their job's tasks.

Computer Programmer

The work of a computer programmer involves writing, applying, and testing various instructions computers must follow to perform appropriately. Professionals in this field have a strong background in computer science and information systems. Computer programmers develop solutions and enable computers to function optimally through use and understanding of various programming languages.

Computer programming is definitely a field that requires continuously updating and building new skills and capabilities. Often, a computer programmer may assist in the implementation of new security systems updates and developments, so a background in information systems security is helpful.

Computer Systems Analyst

Professionals working as computer systems analysts are charged with the task of solving computer problems and applying computer technology to fit the needs of an organization. Additionally, systems analysts guide an organization to get the most out of investing in computer equipment, technology and personnel.

It is common for a systems analyst to specialize in a system, including business, accounting, or financial systems, or scientific and engineering systems, for example. Because the integrity of a computer system is extremely important, training in information systems security is helpful for computer systems analysts.

Computer Support Specialist

A computer support specialist offers support, assistance and advice to customers and clients experience computer related issues. These professionals are skilled at interpreting problems and providing technical solutions and support for hardware, software, and systems. A computer support specialist may provide assistance over the phone, work on-site as a consultant, or work full-time for an organization providing troubleshooting, or work as a contractor at a help-desk, support services firm.

Computer support specialists are valuable assistants to all industries. Many non-technical professionals are not computer experts and are often confronted with computer issues that they cannot correct and address on their own. It is also common for computer support specialists to assist clients with the selection, upgrade, and installation of a computer security system.

Preparing for Information Systems Security Career Opportunities

To achieve success in information systems security, quality training is a necessity. Professionals in this field draw on many different subjects of knowledge, and these are skills best developed in an information systems security degree program. An excellent information systems security degree program should provide students with an opportunity to fuse academics with technical and hands-on training.

Before enrolling in a program, a potential student should investigate the scope of his information systems security and computer interests. While working in the information technology is intellectually challenging and exciting, students should engage in a degree program with a clear notion of what the work entails.

Information systems professionals often work long hours, and much of their time may be spent in front of a computer. Taking this into consideration, successful students in information systems security degree programs are inspired by the challenge of developing and streamlining the security process and enjoy long hours working on a computer.

Next, earning a college degree in information systems security involves intense and thorough study of advanced computer science, computer security systems, business, business law, technology, and business ethics. Potential students should find these subjects interesting and thrive in related high school courses. Proper preparation for earning an information systems security degree includes high school courses in math, science, computers, communications and social sciences.

Third, future information systems security students should compare and contrast possible degree programs to find the best fit. Selecting the right school is essential to academic success and career preparation. This is also a good way for a student to discover what qualities he or she desires in a program. Additionally, this type of research will help a student figure out what questions to ask admissions counselors that will assist in his or her final choice of program to pursue. This preparation takes much work, but the more information a student can gather about a potential information systems security degree program, the better informed his or her decision will be.

Fourth, it is a good idea for prospective students to speak with a current information systems security manager. Take the opportunity to ask questions about day-to-day job tasks, opportunities for career advancement, additional education and training requirements, and anything else a student would want to know about his or her future career. Participating in this sort of career probing and investigative research will certainly provide a complete picture of a potential information systems security student's future job opportunities.

Information Systems Security Career Trends

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, job opportunities for qualified information systems managers are expected to grow much faster than the average through 2016. Additionally, technological advancements will provide ample opportunity for many computer related career fields.

As more business transactions occur over the Internet, the security of computer networks and information systems will continue to increase in importance and demand. It is also projected that many firms and organizations will hire more cyber-security professionals to take on essential leadership positions in information technology departments. Therefore, companies will require even more qualified professionals trained to handle computer security issues.

Systems Security Licensing and Certification

Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Information security professionals can earn the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification. Available through the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC), this certification was created to properly recognize professionals who have distinguished themselves as experienced, knowledgeable, and capable information security professionals. Additionally, the CISSP certification also provides designation to professionals who subscribe to a demanding, continuously evolving requirement for developing and maintaining their knowledge and skill in the information security profession.

Requirements for this certification include multiple years of relevant, professional security experience, complying with a professional code of ethics, and passing a comprehensive examination on the general knowledge of information security. Also, a CISSP certification must be renewed every three years to ensure the currency and updated knowledge of certified professionals in the field. To recertify, a professional can participate in research or study projects, attend training and professional education programs, present or publish information security papers, and become involved with related professional organizations.

Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)

Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) certification was created to recognize an international standard for practitioners of information security and understanding of a common knowledge that focuses on practices, roles and responsibilities within the professional field. Not only does the SSCP certification enhance a professional's information security career, but it also provides credibility and designation of skill. Candidates hoping to earn the Systems Security Certified Practitioner certification must pass an examination. Topics covered on the exam include access controls; administration; audit and monitoring; risk, response and recovery; cryptography; data communications; and malicious code.

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) Certification

The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) designation is hosted by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. Relatively new, this certification was created specifically for experienced information security professionals. The CISM certification is oriented towards business and information risk management, as well as the design of safeguards and technical security issues on an abstract, conceptual level.

To earn and retain the Certified Information Security Manager designation, a candidate must successfully complete the CISM Examination; subscribe to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association's Code of Professional Ethics; submit verified evidence of at least five years of information security work experience, with at least three years of experience working in information security management in a minimum of three of the designated CISM job practice areas.

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) Certification

Awarded by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, the CISA designates information systems professionals with an interest in information systems auditing, control, and security. To qualify for the CISA certification, candidates must successfully pass the CISA exam; adhere to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association's Code of Professional Ethics; submit evidence of at least five years of professional information systems auditing, control or security experience; and adhere to a continuing education program.

Symantec Certifications

Symantec offers four levels of certification for security professionals who can demonstrate a broad knowledge of both Symantec Products and other information systems security technologies. Symantec offers training programs to help candidates prepare for certification examinations.

Symantec Certifications offered include:

  • Symantec Product Specialist (SPS) Certification
    Earning this distinction demonstrates knowledge and experience with a specific Symantec product
  • Symantec Technology Architect (STA) Certification
    Obtaining this certification demonstrates knowledge and experience with one on the four vendor neutral security disciplines.
  • Symantec Certified Security Engineer (SCSE) Certification
    A security professional that earns this certification has demonstrated knowledge and experience with one of the four vendor neutral security disciplines and the related Symantec products.
  • Symantec Certified Security Practitioner (SCSP)
    Earning this distinction demonstrates knowledge and experience with all four of the vendor neutral security disciplines and all related Symantec products.

Informational Systems Security Professional Associations and Certification Bodies

Pursue your Information Systems Security Major today…