Computer Security Courses

With more and more aspects of our daily lives being handled by computer systems, their protection and the safeguarding of related data is extremely critical. Consequently, the field of computer security has emerged as a major industry to be reckoned with. Private companies and governmental agencies across the board have large volumes of valuable and sensitive information. Keeping it as secure as possible is paramount. Having accounts and entire servers hacked by rogue elements both inside and outside the organization is always a looming risk and it needs to be kept to a minimum.

Enrolling in Computer Security Courses

There are various modes through which you can take computer security courses. You can either physically enroll in programs that include IT security courses and are offered with campus-based educational institutes, or take the online route. There are a number of perquisite courses and areas that you should target prior to applying for most computer security courses. These may include:

  • Operating Systems
  • An understanding of programming and scripting languages, such as C/C++ and Java
  • Debugging and writing assembly code
  • Computer networks
  • Basic knowledge of computer architecture
  • Insight into algorithmic concepts
  • Modular arithmetic, such as discrete mathematics
  • Machine structures

Areas Covered in Computer Security

The following areas are typically targeted in courses relating to the IT security.

  • Cryptography
  • Constructing secure code
  • Protection of web-based application against exploits
  • Foundation of software security
  • Mobile security
  • Emergent threats and potential defense strategies (viruses, Trojans, spyware etc )

Being Where the Action Is

Since most issues related to cyber security arise in networked systems, it might be a good idea to pursue them over the internet. These days, there is a huge trend of opting for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Many notable institutes in the US offer these courses and students can sign up for them at their own discretion regarding time availability.

Most online computer security courses will typically require you to take out a couple of hours each week, say around five to seven, to watch lectures and complete assignments. Moreover, you will also receive an acknowledgement from the instructor in the form of a statement that certifies your successful completion of the course. Such courses accommodate students with varying levels of computer knowhow. They allow for flexibility in the learning pace and also guide students about other online resources.

Who benefits from these courses?

The computer and cyber security courses that are offered as part of various certificates and degree programs are geared for working professionals, as well as those aspiring to enter this industry. These may include:

  • AppDevelopers
  • Information Technology Professionals
  • Software Engineers
  • Systems Analysts
  • Software Developers
  • System Architects
  • Network Security Engineers

Computer Security – Job Security

Since the turn of the millennium, the US government has poured massive funds into the Cyber and Information Security industry. Around $70 billion have been allocated to the American intelligence community to make use of as it sees fit. Entities such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have emerged and organizations such as the National Security Agency (NSA) have come to the forefront. The IT Security industry is poised to grow ten-fold from 2013 to 2023. This works in favor of the career prospects of computer security experts, as their demand is likely to increase considerably. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected increase in the number of jobs just for information security analysts within the 2012 to 2022 ten-year period is 27,400.

Possible Career Options

Successfully completing computer security courses as part of your primary degree or in addition to it will enable you to qualify for a number of related professional positions. The sectors and organizations that most commonly hire computer security experts can be found both in the private corporate sector, as well as government agencies. Possible career roles can include the following:

Information Security Analysts – They directly monitor the functioning of a computer network and try to minimize its vulnerability to security breaches. They use an assortment of security tools such as firewalls and encryption software and ensure users follow certain protocols.

Median Annual Salary range in May 2012 – $81,130 to $92,080
Expected Employment Growth (2012 -2022) – 37%

Network and Computer Systems Administrators - They oversee the overall day-to-day operations of computer networks in various organizations. Ensuring the security of computer systems is an integral part of their daily duties.

Median Annual Salary range in May 2012 – $61,830 to $77,370
Expected Employment Growth (2012 -2022) – 12%

Computer Network Architects - Their main role is to design and implement local area as well as wide area networks (LANs and WANs) as well as related networks for data communication. They also carry out monitoring and evaluation related activities and adopt measures for enhancing network security.

Median Annual Salary in May 2012 – $91,000
Expected Employment Growth (2012 -2022) – 15%

It may still be a distant possible future where a computer system becomes so advanced that it becomes “self-aware” and starts threatening our own security, à la Skynet in the Terminator movies. Until then, it is imperative that the security of the computers that deal with our personal and sensitive information be ensured. So until “cyborg” security becomes a profession, the demand for cyber security specialists will very much be there

*All figures have been taken from the BLS and O*Net

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:As I went through the computer security courses, there was mention of the course on Web Site Design. What are the contents of this course?

A:It is common to see the mention of courses on Web Site Design while going through the Computer Security Courses list. This is a 5 credits worth course and highlights on providing the students with ample understanding of the effective usage of principles of web designing. Students also get to know about the basic concepts of HTML coding and maintenance of web pages.

Q:While going through E Commerce courses online, I came across Securing the Server course. Can you brief me about it?

A:Securing the Server course is one of the most important E Commerce courses online. In this course, the students will get to study topics such as security strategies that work, augmenting the firewall, hacker detection and rejection, the 3 A's: access, authentication, accountability, firewalls are not enough and proactive monitoring for attacks.

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