Computer science vs Cybersecurity BS?
My school offers a BS in Computer Science and a BS in Cybersecurity. No specializations, they are their own separate BS degrees. They offer similar classes in the beginning, but then change and become more focused near the end. I am wanting to know, if anyone knows, what each field is like? For reference, I have always loved NASA since I was a child and have wanted to work for them, but I have also dreamed of working for a 3 letter agency. I have lived near DC and NSA, so I know the area where Cyber would be great, but I am also from Florida and wouldn’t mind living on the east coast, working at Kennedy Space Center (lol). I am having a rough time with this and have spoken to counselors, but I am wanting to hear from real people in these professions, if possible. #cybersecurity #compsci #computerscience #technology #cyber #cybersec #infosec #cyber-security
Since the Cybersecurity track is not a specialization within the BS in Computer Science program anymore at your school, I would recommend going the “BS in Cybersecurity” route if your interest is in cyber security. Cyber security is currently a field in high demand and is very exciting.
Dr. Drew’s Answer
Cybersecurity changes on a regular basis. While some skills are used over and over, the tools you use will constantly change. I have a degree in Cybersecurity and would recommend computer science for your BS and certifications as you go. If you want one of the higher paying jobs you will need some certifications to go along with the degree, like the CISSP or ethical hacking.
Many schools are rushing to get cybersecurity degrees out there because it is the hot field right now. However, like most cases, there will be a time when the market gets saturated with these "me too" degrees and you will be put out on the street with someone who has the fundamentals and is continually learning. If you really want to get into cybersecurity (or really just about any IT position) and make it long-term, you will need to commit to life-long leaning, and having a spectrum of the fundamentals will help you learn and adapt as you go.
If you feel like you want to continue on after your BS, you can always specialize later at the Masters or Doctoral level, but the certifications are still just as important.
Regardless of where you work, cybersecurity is HOT.
All industries require it.
If you like the idea of working for the government, consider homeland security:
<span style="color: rgb(0, 102, 33);">https://www.dhs.gov/topic/cybersecurity</span>
<span style="color: rgb(0, 102, 33);">Good Luck!</span>
I recommend getting a BS in Computer Science rather than a BS in Cybersecurity. This is because the BS in Computer Science will give you a broader foundation in the field, and while doing the BS in Computer Science you can specialize in the Cybersecurity track (within the BS in Computer Science).
Specialized degrees in hot fields are tempting but you'll be better served over a longer time with a more comprehensive degree like computer science. That being said, if cyber security interests you, take some classes specific to cyber security or start working on certifications.
10 years from now, a BS CS will be worth more than a BS in Cybersecurity. Why? The principals of Computer Science are a bit more grounded than those of Cybersecurity.
Whatever you do, keep learning, even after you get that degree. That's ultimately what guides your career.
It is true that computer security as a field requires a lot of specialization compared to the rest of the software world. That said, some general worries:
- You can get a reasonable amount of comp security in a comp science degree program
- The amount of depth you're gonna get in an undergrad program to begin with is limited
- With any new degree program, there's always the danger that it hurts employment prospects (recruiters may not recognize your B.S., cybersecurity, or not view it as highly). Could go the other way, but the issue is it's hard to know up front.
So the question is, is the school's new degree program for cybersecurity just hype, or is it actually a tougher program? Can you just take most of the classes from that program while still doing comp sci proper instead?
The NSA certainly will hire computer science grads. Hell they have a hard time with recruiting simply because the GS gets muscled out by tech industry payscale, so if you actually want to go into that area, I wouldn't worry overmuch about the specific degree. Most of what you're gonna learn in comp security field anyways is going to be on the job or just tinkering, not in Uni... Uni for this is more to teach you how to learn about this stuff, and get you good foundational skills.