Benefits of Getting a Master’s in Cybersecurity

Is a Masters of Science in Cybersecurity really worth it?

Are you considering a career in cybersecurity and wondering if a Master's degree is worth it? The answer to this question depends on our individual goals, skillset, and education. While some people can break into the cybersecurity field without a Master's degree, it can be much more challenging. Cyberspace is a rapid and ever-evolving field, and with the rise of artificial intelligence, the metaverse, and the Internet of Things (IoT), data protection and security is a top priority for organizations across all sectors.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of information security analysts is expected to increase 32% by 2032, much faster than the national average. Furthermore, 16,800 job openings are projected each year for the next decade. Given the high demand for cybersecurity jobs, a Master's degree can give you the edge you need over other job candidates.

Is a Master’s Degree in Cybersecurity hard?

Unlike master’s degrees at other institutions, the Master's in Cybersecurity program at Canisius can be tailored to your particular level of education and experience, regardless of whether you're new to the field or have some background knowledge.

If you're not familiar with the field of cybersecurity, don't let that discourage you from exploring it. At Canisius, our cybersecurity graduate program is ideal for those most interested in engineering, programming, and developing business and organization networks. Although it is the most technical of our data programs, it is not necessarily the most difficult. To determine whether or not you can excel in this field, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you solve problems and troubleshoot effectively?
  • Are you technologically adept and able to quickly learn new technologies, systems, and networks?
  • Are you able to analyze and synthesize large amounts of data?
  • Do you have a desire to learn and stay up-to-date with emerging technologies and online trends and services?
  • Do you have experience or interest in programming, coding, network configuration, knowledge of operating systems, and/or scripting languages?

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, then cybersecurity may be an excellent fit for you.

5 reasons to get a Master’s in Cybersecurity

Hands-on Experience

A master's degree in cybersecurity offers practical experience and training in real-world contexts through internships, research theses, and/or hands-on learning. Canisius provides opportunities in all three areas, with professors who have industry experience to guide you. You'll gain a strong understanding of the latest cybersecurity tools and build them in a state-of-the-art Cybersecurity Lab on campus. This experience is invaluable for building your resume and portfolio.

Networking & Professional Development

While we cannot speak to every college, at Canisius, the opportunities for networking and professional development are abundant. Our partnerships with industry leaders like CompTIA, EC-Council, and the U.S. Cyber Command offers students access to top-tier and exclusive resources, including training, webinars, guest lectures, and certifications. These partnerships make Canisus one of the best cybersecurity colleges in New York. Upon completing our program, you won’t just have a master’s degree; you'll have a network of valuable connections ready to support your career journey.

Diverse Career Paths 

A degree in cybersecurity opens doors to various rewarding careers, including roles like Computer and Information Systems Managers, Cybersecurity Consultants, Network Security Engineers, and Chief Information Officers. Many Canisius alums have secured positions as Software Engineers, Assistant Instructors or Teachers, Software Developers, and Cybersecurity Consultants and Analysts at esteemed organizations like M&T Bank, GitHub, and even Canisius University.

Increasing Your Earning Potential 

Job opportunities in the computer and information technology sector are typically associated with competitive salaries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that industry professionals earn an average annual salary of $100,530 (as of May 2022). According to this same report, salaries within this field can range from $60,000 to $137,000, all requiring a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree can help you get to the higher end of this bracket. Pursuing a master’s degree can increase your earning potential, positioning you for senior leadership roles or highly technical positions. According to a recent Indeed report, here are some examples of the highest-paying jobs in cybersecurity, along with their average annual salaries:

  • Chief Information Officer ($108,126 per year)
  • Director of Information Security ($129,083 a year)
  • Senior Security Consultant ($108,427 per year)
  • Cloud Engineer ($122,159 per year)
  • Software Architect ($135,511 per year)

Job Security 

As technology advances and cyber crimes rise, the demand for skilled professionals in the cybersecurity domain is steadfast. A master’s degree can ensure you stay ahead of the competition by providing you with the knowledge, skills, and experience to excel. 

How to get into cybersecurity

To get into cybersecurity, you will need to start by obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Ideally, the best majors for cybersecurity work are cybersecurity, computer science, data analytics, or data science. However, at Canisius, we welcome applicants from a variety of disciplines, including business, data science, mathematics, engineering, economics, and criminal justice. 

If you do not have a major in computer science, the MS in Cybersecurity program at Canisius offers foundational courses to get up to speed in the program, such as Introduction to Programming and Data Structures and Algorithms. If you have a background in computer science or cybersecurity in specific, whether that’s from school or work experience, then you may be able to waive these courses entirely. 

If you're just starting out and looking to obtain your undergraduate degree, you might want to consider Canisius's Bachelor of Computer Science 4+1 program. With this program, you can earn your Master of Science in Cybersecurity in just one year after completing your four-year undergraduate degree in Computer Science.

About the Master’s in Cybersecurity Program at Canisius University

The Master’s in Cybersecurity program at Canisius University is a unique, technology-based program that can be completed in one to two and a half years, depending on your pace. The program comprises 30 to 39 credit-hours and is open to students from any background, provided they have a completed bachelor's degree..

The MS in Cybersecurity program at Canisius prepares students for successful careers as programers, engineers, and software developers in a variety of professional settings such as businesses, educational institutions, and government agencies. The program is designed in accordance with the curricular recommendations outlined by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Cybersecurity Curricula and the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense.

Unsure if a Master’s in Cyber Security is right for you?

The Master’s in Cybersecurity program is one of three data-focused graduate programs we offer at Canisius. It is the most technical of our data programs, and is for students interested in engineering, programming, and developing business and organization networks. If you're still undecided, explore our other programs: Data Analytics MS or Advanced Certificate, and Business Analytics MS. These programs offer alternative paths for those interested in data analytics but not fully committed to cybersecurity.

To learn more about the data-focused graduate programs at Canisius, including the Cybersecurity MS, click here.