Cybersecurity managers will be essential to our society as long as the physical world depends on the digital world — the World Wide Web, the cloud, the metaverse, and so on.
Cybersecurity management is a specialty within the larger field of information technology. Simply put, it involves finding ways for businesses and other organizations to protect their money, data, information, proprietary programs, and other digital assets from exposure, theft, and cyberattacks.
Such attacks can come in various forms, including malware, ransomware, and phishing schemes. Sadly, as cybertechnologies keep advancing, so too do cyberattacks; they’re becoming increasingly sophisticated as time passes. As such, cybersecurity management is a vital and ever-evolving field, and it makes for a fascinating career.
If you decide to become a cybersecurity manager, you’ll want every competitive advantage possible within the hiring marketplace. And these days, that usually means earning a master’s degree in the specialty.
Fortunately, the right online master’s in cybersecurity management program would let you earn that degree in a convenient and affordable way.
What Is Cybersecurity Management?
For sure, cybersecurity managers have a multifaceted career. When an organization hires them, they have an array of responsibilities to handle. Their job includes finding and fixing cyber weaknesses, creating security plans, and outlining and enforcing cybersecurity measures.
Cyber Weaknesses, Plans, and Rules
They might first probe the outfit’s entire digital network, searching for weaknesses that cybercriminals could exploit. Next, a manager might determine and implement the most effective remedies for those vulnerabilities. The solutions could involve:
- Antivirus software,
- Powerful firewalls,
- Endpoint detection and response systems, and
- New email gateways, among many other possibilities.
In addition, cybersecurity managers often put together comprehensive security plans for everyone in an organization to follow. After all, it’s not enough to have a strong cybersecurity infrastructure. Day-to-day human actions and interactions are key to cybersecurity as well. Yes, everyone must be careful when it comes to internet, computer, and mobile device safety. Every team member plays a role in keeping a digital network secure.
To that end, cybersecurity managers often draw up new rules for digital safety. They have to explain those rules to the whole team. They make sure everyone understands them and how important they are. Also, these managers might teach workers how to spot signs of data breaches and other problems. That way, they can report those issues right away. In all of this, a cybersecurity manager must be an effective communicator and teacher.
Moreover, cybersecurity managers often enforce the rules they come up with. And, if an employee breaks any of those rules — intentionally or not — this manager would probably take disciplinary action. For instance, if a staff member clicked on a link in a suspicious email, used an easy-to-guess password, or downloaded an app from an untrustworthy source, the cybersecurity manager would likely report the infraction and see if any harm came of it.
Cybersecurity Team Management
On top of all that, cybersecurity managers frequently hire and manage the people who work directly under them. They might also be responsible for balancing their department’s budget, backing up all data, and planning for emergency situations. For example, if a ransomware attack made a company’s digital network inaccessible, would there still be a way to access the vital data? If so, the company might stay in business even as the crisis unfolded.
What Is an Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Management?
To start with, a master’s degree is a postgraduate degree. That is, it is a degree you can obtain after you earn a bachelor’s degree. When you take master’s-level courses, you typically focus on one particular industry, career, or trade. Most people earn online master’s degrees after studying for one to three years, although that timeline can vary.
The specialized knowledge, skills, theories, and practical information that these classes impart give students a strong advantage in the professional world. For many higher-level positions, master’s degrees are either required or strongly preferred when organizations are hiring.
A Master’s in Cybersecurity Management would delve into the industry’s most advanced technologies and methodologies, and it would explain how to create, fine-tune, and implement cybersecurity plans for networks of all sizes.
At one time, people obtained master’s degrees by attending classes in person. It could be difficult to raise a family or work a full-time job during this period of study. Nowadays, though, master’s degree programs can be completed totally online. Many of these programs offer students a great deal of flexibility in terms of scheduling their courses. As a result, you could take your classes at times that fit your daily schedule.
With this arrangement, you wouldn’t have to worry about housing, commuting to class, or buying pricey textbooks — all course materials are digital. That means no more heavy backpacks!
Internet course management systems let students watch live lectures on video, participate in class discussions, write and submit papers, and even take exams. Plus, you might even participate in an online graduation ceremony when you’re finished!
Furthermore, many schools make no distinction between in-person and online master’s degrees. Thus, when you apply for jobs, your potential employers might not realize you studied online for your master’s unless you choose to tell them.
What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Management?
With an online cybersecurity management master’s degree, you’ll find it easier to get hired within certain industries. Chief among them are the energy, construction, healthcare, and financial sectors.
With this degree, you’ll also be eligible for a variety of other positions that are related to the field. For example, instead of becoming a cybersecurity manager, you might become a digital security analyst for a major corporation or government agency.
In any event, once you’re hired, you have the potential for a higher salary and greater job security.
Career and Salary Information
The average annual salary for a cybersecurity manager is approximately $130,000. And in September 2022, there were more than 27,000 job openings for these positions.
Top 10 Cybersecurity Jobs
|Chief Information Security Officer
|Security Architect, IT
|Information Technology (IT) Director
|Information Security Manager
|Senior Security Consultant
|Information Security Officer
|Security Consultant, (Computing / Networking / Information Technology)
|Project Manager, Information Technology (IT)
|Information Technology (IT) Manager
These jobs pay so well because they’re so important, and these roles can be quite demanding to boot.
In addition to possessing a great deal of technical knowledge, cybersecurity managers must be effective team players. Their security measures can’t hinder an organization’s productivity, so they must be in constant contact with colleagues. They must listen carefully to people’s wants, needs, questions, concerns, and other feedback to find the right solutions. Beyond that, whenever these managers update a cybersecurity protocol, they have to explain that change to everyone.
Since cybersecurity managers often have deputies and other employees who report directly to them, they must be skilled managers. That is, they need to provide their subordinates with clear directions, firm guidance, caring support, and detailed training whenever it is necessary.
Cybersecurity managers must be adept at handling job-related stress and anxiety as well. After all, the safety, success, and reputation of an entire organization will depend, in large part, on the work that they do. And, when crises like ransomware attacks strike, they may have to work around the clock amid great tension to come up with the right solutions.
What Will I Learn in an Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Management?
When it comes to cybersecurity management online master’s degrees, the specific curricula and courses will vary from program to program. However, generally speaking, students can expect to study a variety of methods for:
- Encrypting data,
- Authenticating network users,
- Developing signature schemes (which are ways people can prove that they’ve seen certain digital communications),
- And many other tools of the trade.
Students might study digital forensics, methods of hacking, and how to reverse engineer software and hardware programs to find weaknesses. They study safety concerns with wireless networks, cloud computing, and the internet at large. And also learn how to design secure digital systems, apps, and architectures from scratch.
Artificial intelligence has become an important topic in this field as well. Indeed, cybersecurity officials, now and in the future, will have to know how to monitor all kinds of learning-enabled machines to keep them operating smoothly and safely. Otherwise, hackers could infiltrate those systems and get them to malfunction in dangerous ways.
In short, after completing your master’s degree online program, you should have a wealth of theoretical and practical knowledge. And, for the rest of your career, you’ll be able to draw on everything you learned in those classes.
Admissions Requirements for an Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Management
As with the coursework, the master’s program admission requirements will vary from school to school. But, most likely, you’ll have to submit the following items to be considered for entry:
|Official College Transcripts
|Note that, in addition to your bachelor’s degree, you’ll probably need a minimum cumulative GPA (perhaps a 3.0) from your years of undergraduate study.
|These fees are often around $100, although they can be lower or higher.
|In your essay, sometimes called a statement of purpose, you’ll briefly discuss why you’re interested in cybersecurity management. Many schools ask how your educational and professional experiences have prepared you for this course of study. You might also be asked to discuss one of your personal qualities or tell a story that illustrates it.
|Letters of Recommendation
|Graduate schools often ask applicants to provide two or three recommendation letters. A master’s program might require that one of the letters come from an undergraduate professor whose course you took. Other recommendations could come from your former employers, colleagues, or other associates. It is important that these people are in a position to evaluate your professional and personal attributes.
Also, be aware that your master’s degree program might require past work experience that is somehow related to cybersecurity. Or it might require you to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) standardized test and then submit your scores.
Finally, a representative from each school you’re applying to will probably interview you online. It would be wise to spend some time preparing for that conversation. In this interview, you could expect to be asked about:
- Your educational and professional backgrounds,
- Your role models,
- The challenges you’ve overcome,
- Why you’re interested in cybersecurity management,
- Your strengths and weaknesses as you perceive them, and
- Why you’re interested in that particular school.
What does it mean when a college is accredited? It means that an educational agency (one that the U.S. Department of Education officially recognizes) has thoroughly investigated its academic practices and found its standards to be high. Accreditation is renewed every so often, usually once every five to 10 years.
An entire college could be accredited, and individual departments or programs within that school could hold their own separate accreditation. Thus, when you’re applying to online master’s degree programs for cybersecurity management, you ought to focus exclusively on schools or programs that are accredited. Otherwise, your degree won’t have much of a positive impact when you are searching for jobs.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
If you’re interested in an online Master’s in Cybersecurity Management program, seeking financial aid and scholarships is a great idea. If you’re still in college, your career counselor could help you find such opportunities and also help you apply for them. If you’re out of college, you could ask each school you’re interested in about the financial assistance programs that might be available to you. You could also search for scholarships and grants online.
Particularly helpful is the U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship search page. Plus, your home state’s higher education agency or department of education might also be able to assist you.
You may also wish to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA form is the document you’ll need to apply for financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. That aid can come in the form of grants and loans with low interest rates.
Each year, more than 13 million American students receive some type of financial aid from this program. Older adult students often qualify, too. Just be aware that you will need to fill out the FAFSA form before each school year.
Work-study might even be an option for you. If you live near your school, you could do traditional work-study jobs on campus, such as cleaning the dining hall, restocking library shelves, or working with the IT Department.
Alternately, if you live far away, your school might have remote work-study jobs for you: proofreading faculty members’ research papers, for instance, or tutoring undergraduate students via video conferencing.
There’s also a federal work-study program, and you could become eligible for it by filling out the FAFSA. Through this program, the government might arrange a job for you that serves the public: You could serve in a nonprofit organization, for example, or perhaps work in a government agency.
How Much Does an Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Management Cost?
As far as the cost of tuition, online master’s degrees in cybersecurity management can range widely. For example, one of the most affordable options is the online master’s degree that Missouri State University offers. Such a degree costs less than $15,000, though that number can vary somewhat. (Missouri State is one of our choices for top cybersecurity management online master’s degrees.)
On the other end of the spectrum, some private colleges charge more than $50,000 for the same type of degree.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Management?
Students often complete online master’s degree programs in two or three years. However, the time it takes you will depend on a couple of important factors. First, how many class credits does your program require? That number will probably be somewhere between 30 and 72.
Most of all, the duration will depend on your professional and personal schedules. How many courses would you have time to complete each semester? Would you like to pursue this degree on a full-time or part-time basis?
Just keep in mind that your college will probably give you a maximum amount of time in which you can finish this program once you’ve started it. That duration is likely to be somewhere between five and seven years.
Are There Affordable Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Management Programs?
There are certainly online master’s programs in cybersecurity management that are comparatively affordable. The average cost of an online master’s degree program, in total, is a little over $24,000 per year. However, there are much less expensive options: those that cost $30,000 or less for the entire program.
Remember, too, that online master’s degree programs are almost always significantly more affordable than their in-person counterparts. Also, an online master’s degree from a public college or university will involve a much lower tuition than one from a private school.
Plus, if you can attain a financial aid package or the right scholarship, it could greatly alleviate your monetary burden. Therefore, it’s important to contact each college and see if they offer financial aid and tuition planning. That way, you won’t have to go deep into debt to pay for your master’s.
Is Getting an Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Management Worth It?
If you’re already working in the cybersecurity industry, or if you’d like to get started in this field, an online Master’s in Cybersecurity Management degree is worth the investment of time, energy, and money.
This degree will send your career to new heights. It will make you eligible for jobs and promotions that would be virtually unobtainable otherwise. And, with the higher salaries that those positions pay, you could make back the money you spent on your online master’s degree many times over.
On top of all that, your online master’s degree would let you network with your school’s professors, career counselors, and other faculty members. You could also get to know your fellow students. Some students even stay in touch after the master’s program is finished. Later, those peers could alert you to job openings, career events, and affordable continuing education programs.
Indeed, you may make lasting connections with your peers and professors within your master’s program. With these people, you could discuss professional challenges, share ideas for solutions, and draw support and inspiration from whenever you need it.
Moreover, cybersecurity management is a field with great growth potential. Over time, the annual number of job openings should continue to grow. As our digital worlds become ever more complex, employers will increasingly realize the need for skilled, competent, and highly educated cybersecurity managers. And a master’s degree could soon be fundamental to a secure and fulfilling career in this endlessly intriguing sector. It’s a profession that’s forever at the forefront of human ingenuity.
The Best Schools Offering Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Management Degrees
The good news is that there are many top-quality online programs for a master’s degree in cybersecurity management. Below, you’ll find a list of 10 schools that truly stand out for their challenging and in-depth coursework, as well as their engaging and dedicated professors.
Also, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) has accredited each college or business school below, and it’s a very prestigious designation.
Note that these schools aren’t ranked here. Instead, they’re presented in alphabetical order.
Eastern Illinois University (EIU) offers the Master of Science in Cybersecurity online through its distinguished Lumpkin College of Business and Technology. This program is designed for working professionals who wish to take classes without taking time off of work. Along with online classes, master’s students at this business school complete two short residencies in real-world working environments. As a result, they can acquire hands-on knowledge in addition to practical knowledge, making this degree highly marketable indeed.
Maryville University’s John E. Simon School of Business is a well-respected institution in St. Louis, and you can earn an Online Master’s in Cybersecurity from this school wherever you live. Plus, you could get that degree in just 12 months! Half of this program’s classes focus on IT and cybersecurity topics. The other half revolves around a topic of your choice: either business and leadership issues or technical matters. The latter group teaches more specialized technical skills like forensics and mobile device protection. Either way, your Maryville University classes will be cutting-edge.
With a Master of Science in Cybersecurity from Missouri State University’s College of Business, you’ll be well prepared for all kinds of cybersecurity management roles. This business school allows students to go at their own pace. You’ll need to complete 30 hours of classroom instruction to receive a master’s. You can take your classes during the fall, winter, and summer semesters. Missouri State’s cybersecurity courses combine convenience with academic rigor. You’ll learn the tools and techniques you’ll need no matter where you end up working.
One of the valuable postgraduate degrees the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business at Kentucky’s Murray State University bestows is the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management. To complete this business school program, you’d take eight required courses and two elective courses for a total of 30 instructional hours. And you could earn this degree in just four semesters! Here, you’ll gain an understanding of cybersecurity management that’s both broad and deep. In fact, this program routinely turns out industry leaders.
If you’re a cybersecurity professional, a Master of Science Degree in Cybersecurity from the School of Business and Leadership at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio could take your career to the next level. These courses focus on practical and applicable skills and methodologies you could start using at work even before you graduate. Our Lady of the Lake’s cybersecurity master’s program is so helpful that the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have endorsed it, which is a rare distinction.
If you’re studying for a Master’s in Cybersecurity from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, you can expect plenty of interactivity. You’ll find that the school emphasizes hands-on, proactive assignments as you earn all of the 33 required credits through online classes. This academically rigorous program involves taking a core group of classes and then choosing from two concentrations: Physical Systems and Information Systems. Whichever focus you select, your University of Arizona cybersecurity master’s degree will be an impressive part of your future resume.
When you’re obtaining a Master of Science in Cybersecurity from the University of Dallas’ Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business, you’ll be taught by cybersecurity experts. These educators focus on current, real-world security issues for maximum educational impact. This fully online program consists of 10 classes and 30 hours. You could complete it in as little as one year. Then, with a degree from this esteemed business school, you can conquer any and all challenges that your new workplace poses.
The College of Business and Management at the University of Illinois at Springfield offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management to online and in-person students. A hybrid approach is also available. However you take these courses, you’ll explore practical cybersecurity skills and consider the subject matter through an analytical framework. Additionally, this program imparts strong leadership qualities. All in all, a University of Illinois cybersecurity master’s degree can be a springboard to a variety of exciting career paths.
At the University of Utah, the David Eccles School of Business’ Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management program is fairly new, having debuted in 2022. It’s also exceedingly flexible. You can take classes in the evening or online, and you could become a part-time or a full-time student. With the latter option, you could finish in 12 months. Moreover, this school gives students access to special career coaching services, including recruiting sessions and a job openings database. It’s no wonder that this program has developed such a reputation for excellence.
The MS in Business Cybersecurity Management program at West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics puts students’ needs first. Thus, you can begin in the fall or spring and finish this 30-hour online program in three, four, or five semesters. Plus, these courses involve more than listening to lectures. Students collaborate to complete hands-on projects, and they can conduct research with faculty members. With a WVU cybersecurity management master’s degree, you’ll have everything you need to succeed in this demanding but rewarding industry.
Getting Your Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Management
As with many endeavors in life, research and planning are crucial to successful career outcomes. The more you know, the more likely you’ll find a degree program — and, later on, a job — that is precisely the right match for you and your talents.
With that in mind, if you’re now more intrigued than ever about cybersecurity management, yet you’ve never worked in this field before, do as much reading as you can.
Try calling some companies and government agencies in your area. And ask if you could come in and chat with their cybersecurity managers for a while. Maybe you could even shadow them on the job for a day. They’re bound to be sources of helpful tips and information.
In a similar vein, carefully research all of the schools that interest you. Why not reach out to some of them and see if they’ll let you observe an online class one day? Perhaps you and the professor or some students could stick around for a few minutes after class to discuss the master’s degree online program in more detail. Or maybe you could even audit one of those courses. (“Auditing” means regularly attending a class without receiving a grade or any credits in return.)
If you enroll in the right master’s degree program and find the right professional role afterward, you’ll enjoy a consistently challenging, engaging, and thought-provoking career. You’ll use your creativity and problem-solving skills on the job every single day. And, best of all, you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing you’re protecting people from harm — one firewall, password, algorithm, encryption program, and antivirus program at a time.