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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

Thank you comment icon Hi everyone! Thanks for the responses. I ended up getting my bachelors in Information Technology and am currently pursuing my master’s in Digital Fornesics. I’m getting a lot of cyber opportunities with my IT degree, so no regrets here :) Jordyn

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Deon’s Answer

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.

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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.

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Aba’s Answer

This is a good problem to have. You cannot go wrong with either option. Both can get you into three letter agencies in the DC Metro area. Both will provide you with great pay, and job security anywhere in the world. In my experience I've mostly seen people start on the IT side, work on some entry level roles and then switch over to Cyber by taking certs such as Security+, and more. These people tend to be technically savvy and switch easily. I work in Cyber and lots of people enter the field with different backgrounds, and that I find brings a depth and richness of experience to the field. To set your mind at ease, you might want to reach out to a few professionals on both sides. Ask them about a " a day in the life on the job" and use the feedback to help give you more clarity about your next step. Your school alumni database would be a great place to start.LinkedIn is also a great place to search for professionals who are already in the field. Best of luck!
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E’s Answer

Computer science all the way. CS is the foundation that will help you understand the underlying technology upon which security is based.
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Joanne’s Answer

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>

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Deon’s Answer

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).

Thank you comment icon http://catalog.uwf.edu/undergraduate/cybersecurity/ It isn’t a specialization within CS anymore at my school. Jordyn
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Sheen’s Answer

This is a great question and with more opportunities from colleges, it can become more difficult to decide. If you really enjoy CyberSecurity, then having some of the more specific courses would be helpful. As you've noted, the difference between the two is in the later stages of the degree. The good news is that the overall base concepts and fundamentals are part of the underlying CS BS. If you aren't sold on CyberSecurity, a CS BS will certainly be applicable in the general industry of interest.
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Tony’s Answer

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.

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Daniel’s Answer

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.

Thank you comment icon The NSA actually came to my school and helped develop our cybersecurity program, so I’m not worried about that. http://catalog.uwf.edu/undergraduate/cybersecurity/ Jordyn
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