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What is the best associates degree to get before getting a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity?

Both my younger brother and sister want to earn their associate's degree in cybersecurity, However, I'm concerned that they will be unable to find jobs after graduating with only their associate's degree. I've researched cybersecurity jobs, and discovered that most, if not all require at least a bachelor's degree. They want to work before getting their bachelor's degree so that they can have experience and see if they like the tech industry.
Are there other associate's degrees that would have more job opportunities? Also, which computer/IT associate's degree be most compatible with a bachelor's in cybersecurity (i.e. the most credits would transfer/give them a basic foundation of computer knowledge)? Thanks in advance!!!

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Harish’s Answer

Your brother/sister should do a 4 year degree, with internships between their soph/junior/senior years.

It's very difficult to break into the tech/cybersecurity industry if you lack a 4 year degree. There are rare exceptions, but recruiters predominantly hire those who have completed a 4 year degree. Tell your brother and sister to do a 4 year degree; if they want experience, they should do independent projects or get part-time internships from companies.

Most tech/cybersecurity workers do a Bachelor's degree and complete 1+ internships during their college; companies love this combination of having a standard 4 year degree while also getting experience from internships. Doing only an associate's would be a severe mistake; with only a 2 year degree, it'll be nearly impossible to compete against the countless people who have a 4 year degree.

Computer Science is the best major to take. Median starting salary for CS at strong colleges is around ~$85k for class of 2022 graduates, with FAANG-level software engineers making $120k-$170k on average. Have them get the COMPTIA+ and any other relevant certs for cybersecurity; they'll probably crack 6 figures within a year of graduating college, if they have a 4 year degree from a strong college and also relevant certs.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Genevieve
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Dhriti’s Answer

Hi! I believe IT/ AI (artificial intelligence) would be your best bet as it would complement Cybersecurity very well.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Genevieve
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Kalp’s Answer

Great Answers by above just to add, below are some programs that you can take:
Associate of Arts in Cybersecurity
Associate in Science Degree in Cybersecurity Networking
Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Security/Cyber Defense

Lot of the answers have pressed on the Bachelors degree so I would reiterate that as well it's very difficult to break into the tech industry if you don't have a 4 year degree, with some exceptional cases where you get some kind of great experience because of self learning and some great projects.

Thank you comment icon Thank you! I will pass this on to them! Genevieve
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Mickael’s Answer

Hi Genevieve,

It is true that most companies, when hiring new computer science related employees, they are looking for bachelor degree. That said, I am sure they can find a job with the promise that they will continue school to get their bachelor degree.
But that's an agreement to get with the hiring company.

I can't talk for the degree itself. All I can tell is that you will need programming, mathematics and some understanding of protocols and security.
Thank you comment icon Thank you Mickael! Genevieve
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Jackson’s Answer

Genevieve: I agree with Bright who responded earlier. Start with an Associate Degree in Information Technology (IT). Obtain Google IT Certificates at the same time.
https://grow.google/certificates/it-support/#?modal_active=none

According to U.S.News, "the IT support median annual salary in 2019 was about $55K per year."
https://www.usnews.com/education/learn-google-it-guide

With working experience in IT and a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, your siblings are more likely to obtain an entry-level Cybersecurity Specialist role. Check out the Cybersecurity Career Pathway map from Cyberseek.org.
https://www.cyberseek.org/pathway.html

Jackson recommends the following next steps:

Check out Google IT Certificates. https://grow.google/certificates/it-support/#?modal_active=none
Check out US News article. https://www.usnews.com/education/learn-google-it-guide
Check out Cyberseek.org website. https://www.cyberseek.org/pathway.html
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the awesome answer Jackson!! Genevieve
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Bright’s Answer

Hi Genevieve, I suggest you take a course in Computer Science(IT). That will give you a solid foundation to build on your cyber security pursuit. Because cyber security is an IT-related course.
Thank you.
Thank you comment icon Thanks for taking the time to help me Bright! Genevieve
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Dhawal’s Answer

Hi Genevieve,

To build career in the Cyber Security, I would suggest to take a degree in Computer Science(IT), focus on the courses related to the Cyber Security, and complete relevant certification. Also, be up-to-date industry news and apply to relevant jobs.

Thank you.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Genevieve
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