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How is it like being a Cyber security agent? What degree should I get in criminal justice because I want to do cyber security ? should my major be in Cybersecurity depth so I can find a Job in that field easier? Do I need a degree in IT for cybersecurity

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Rebecca’s Answer

Cybersecurity is very exciting and ever changing landscape career field. There are a variety of different options when it comes to being a Cybersecurity agent. Government agencies like FBI, CIA, NSA. In addition, the each military branch has an investigative agency within AF-OSI, Navy-NCIS, Army CID must do some research each will have their own unit assigned.

In terms of a degree if Cybersecurity is your primary interest then a degree focused there is best with possible minor in criminal justice. There is a variety of different degrees in Cybersecurity with different focus such as Threat Intelligence, Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Management, Incident Response, Security Planning, etc.

I have included a pretty neat link from NATIONAL INITIATIVE FOR CYBERSECURITY CAREERS AND STUDIES website it has a pretty cool tool for cyber career pathways. It even goes thru certifications and education needed. Check it out.

Good luck!

Rebecca recommends the following next steps:

https://niccs.cisa.gov/workforce-development/cyber-career-pathways
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Thomas’s Answer

Cameron,

While I can't specifically answer 'what it is like' to be involved in the field of cyber security, I do think that Criminal Justice may not be the most relevant degree if cyber security is your true interest. Compared to your peers who might also be looking for jobs it would likely put you a bit behind in the skills that you would need to land a job.

I would indeed highly recommend a degree in information technology, with specifics in network and cyber if they are available. Cyber security is a large field consisting of many different areas of focus. From network design, to intrusion detection, investigation/analysis, hardening, to policy enforcement. I would recommend looking into resources about cyber security, establishing what part makes you interested, what tools you will need to be appealing to potential employers.

Youtube is a fantastic resource. I would recommend getting very strong in foundational linux skills and operation because it will likely always be relevant to people who are working in the field. Cyber security is likely right now something of an over used term for a lot of different positions and skills needed by companies and organizations who have realized that they need to protect their information and systems. Get a better understanding of what you want to do, why it is interesting, if you like doing the work. I really hope this helps.

Thank you. This helped me understand things better Cameron L.

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Melanie’s Answer

Hi Cameron,

There are many different ways to get into what you want to do, whether you go the computer science or cybersecurity degree route, or if you want to do your Criminal Justice with some specializations in cybersecurity. Ultimately employers (public or private) like to see that you have the drive and knowledge as opposed to really exactly what path you took. Starting on the technical route than adding in the Criminal Justice may lead you closer to a path that will be more heavily technical, as opposed to starting on the Criminal Justice route then adding some technical aspects in later (so you're stronger say on the administrative or strategy side and then add the technical aspect).

Personally, I was more on the software/IT support side when I was recruited into the FBI Special Agent process. So, those initial skills helped open the door due to the skills gap, then I decided to start my Masters in Criminal Justice to get additional points on my package to strengthen that end. It actually wasn't until I took a cyber course in that Masters program that I started to be really interested in Cybersecurity. I ended up almost completing my MS CJ but instead changed course and have completed my MS in Cybersecurity Strategy and Information Management instead. I may go back and finish the last few courses for my MS CJ some day, but for right now I found that passion and am driving down this course.

I would suggest to go with your best opportunities as they arise, you never know where your courses may take you - you may find that you are passionate about a whole other niche that you may not even be aware of right now that could change your plans. Cybersecurity is incredibly wide and dynamic, forcing yourself into a path right now could limit what you could learn down the line. Being open to learning new things and really investing where you find your passions are would be my best suggestion (it'll also be much more fun).
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Arthur’s Answer

Cameron

Excellent career choice! Being a cyber security professional and also having taken criminal justice courses early in my career, I’d advise you to pursue a degree in cyber security OR computer science with a concentration on cyber security. Criminal justice will not give you the requisite knowledge for a career in cyber security. Hope this helps!

Thank you, this helped me understand more Cameron L.

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Atul’s Answer

Your best bet is to pursue a degree in Computer Science or Computer Engineering. Today, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence is key to detecting and correcting any attacks.
My background is in software engineering and cybersecurity so I cannot make judgment or recommendations on criminal justice.
The threat for govt agencies and corp America remains high from the foreign countries especially China and Russia. It is not going to go away.
Go to the state university and minimize your student loan debt. There are many jobs in CA, MA, and CO in this field.
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ANUJ BHUSHAN’s Answer

Dear Cameron,

Cyber Security is really huge field. You should have to be very specific in which field you have interest.
Personally,I would suggest you to go for degree in cyber security if you have chance. Degree always put more weight in your career. Also , after degree it will clear automatically to you in which you have interest like penetration testing, bug bounty, software testing etc.
Also, please consider CompTIA Security+ certification. It will give you more idea about it. Also it is basic essential for each company so you can't avoid this.
I hope it is clear for you know if not feel free to drop message.
Good luck.
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