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What are the advantages of majoring in computer science vs. cyber security specifically? Will computer science give me a broader range of knowledge in the computer field?

I am planning to major in computer science or cyber security. #computer-science #information-technology #cyber-security

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Cathleen’s Answer

Computer science is a great major that has a focus on mathematics and programming. It is a broader major than cyber security, which is more focused. If you feel a strong calling to cyber security than go there, but if you are uncertain go comp science and you will have plenty of options.

With a comp science degree your first job will likely be as a programmer. Programmers may work at a software development company but also frequently work across various industries supporting their technical infrastructure.

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Rob’s Answer

A Computer Science degree will give you a good background into how computers *work*, which is a great background to have as a foundation for getting into cybersecurity. So having that will be helpful. Arguably, it's tough to be good at cyber-security if you haven't been exposed, in-depth, to computer technology like you will be in a Computer Science program.

I believe it would be more advantageous to obtain the computer science degree first, and then branch out into security certifications like the CISSP, CEH, and other security-specific certifications. You'd be able to obtain those without a "computer security" major, much more easily than trying to do that in reverse.

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Daniel’s Answer

Are there majors in specifically security? That would be mildly surprising to me. CS degree with a big emphasis on security would sound more usual. Definitely can't go wrong there... security is gonna get a lot bigger once companies start incurring more liability for software issues.

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Matthew’s Answer

I work in the cyber security industry.


I majored in computer science and work with people who have majored in cyber security field. I can say that having a computer science background gives you more options for employment. Moreover, compensation is usually better too.


This doesn't mean it's universally true, but in general computer science will give you better tools to be successful in the cyber security industry. My university offered classes in security as well, so I could get a background in security.

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Joanne’s Answer

Think of cyber security as a HOT new field within computer science.


If you love it, go for it - there will surely be enough jobs.


If you're still unsure, start with a computer science foundation then in years 3/4 you can specialize.


Trust me .. i have a computer science degree and my first job was within a datacenter. Trust me .. there was nothing in the textbook that could help me out, but I had a strong enough foundation to understand what was going on.

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Jaikumar’s Answer

I majored in Computer Science. It gave me a good foundation so I could adapt and quickly learn Java, .Net etc to do software development outside of college. I cannot speak to cyber security but I'd suggest look at the common courses between the two offerings and take those first. Start there and once you are in the college each computer science dept has counselors that can guide you further and should allow you to change your area of concentration.
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