The Truth About Earning a Cyber Security Degree: Is It Really That Challenging?


I’ll do my best to write an intro that will hook the reader with psychological and emotional triggers, while keeping it first person and brief.


Few careers can match the demand for cybersecurity experts. Almost every organization needs someone who can keep their data and software safe from hackers and other threats. But, as I’ve learned from personal experience, earning a degree in cybersecurity is not for the faint of heart. It’s a challenging journey that tests your skills, resilience, and sometimes even your sanity.

There were moments when I questioned my decision to pursue a degree in cybersecurity. Was I too old to start a new career? Would my lack of prior experience be a hindrance? Would I be able to keep up with the fast-paced, ever-changing technology landscape? These doubts played on my mind, but I persevered.

Over the years, I’ve come to realise that the reward is worth the effort. Cybersecurity is not just a job; it’s a calling. It’s a field where you get to use your skills and knowledge to help protect people and organizations from the harmful effects of cybercrime. And, as the world becomes more connected and technology-dependent, the need for cybersecurity professionals will only grow.

In this article, I will share my experience of earning a cybersecurity degree. I’ll talk about the challenges, the rewards, and everything in between. So, if you’re considering a career in cybersecurity, read on to find out if it’s really that challenging.

How hard is IT to get a cyber security degree?

Getting a cyber security degree can be challenging, but it ultimately depends on the individual’s background and dedication to the field. Here are some factors that can make it easier or more difficult to obtain a cyber security degree:

  • Previous experience: If you’ve already worked in IT or have a strong background in computer science, you may find the degree easier to obtain. Many cyber security programs build upon these foundational skills, so having a head start can be helpful.
  • Dedication: Like any degree program, cyber security requires time and effort to complete. If you have other responsibilities such as work or family, it can be more challenging to balance these commitments with your studies.
  • Program structure: Some cyber security programs are more intensive than others. Those that focus heavily on hands-on experience and lab work may be more difficult than those that rely more on theory and classroom discussions.
  • Math and science requirements: Cyber security degrees often have math and science prerequisites, which can be a hurdle for students who struggle in these areas.
  • Industry demand: Finally, the demand for cyber security professionals is high and growing, which can make it easier to find motivation to complete the degree. Knowing that your skills will be in high demand upon graduation can be a powerful motivator.
  • Ultimately, the difficulty of getting a cyber security degree depends on a range of factors. However, with dedication and a willingness to learn, anyone can obtain the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in this exciting and growing field.

    ???? Pro Tips:

    1. Start with the basics: Cybersecurity experts recommend that aspiring individuals start by gaining a solid understanding of foundational IT concepts. Pursue a degree in Computer Science or Information Technology (IT) to gain the necessary knowledge in programming languages, networking, databases, and more.

    2. Choose a School with Accredited Programs: Cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving field, and it’s important to choose a school with an accredited program that meets updated industry standards. Make sure the program is aligned with the National Initiative for Cyber Security Education (NICE) framework.

    3. Certifications are critical: A degree is great, but certifications in the cyber world are paramount. Dissect the various certifications in the cybersecurity field and work towards achieving them or the ones that align with your career goals. Some include Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and Cybersecurity Analyst+.

    4. Professional networking is key: Build your network (possibly through industry conferences, seminars, and fellow employees) in the industry to learn about job opportunities, expertise, and how you can take advantage of them to further your education.

    5. Be prepared: Cybersecurity is a vast and ever-evolving field. Therefore, it’s critical to stay up on emergent technologies and trends. Join security communities, read blogs and attend conferences relevant to the industry to keep abreast of any areas you are interested in. Start polishing your resume, cover letters, and job hunting skills as you progress towards achieving your degree/certifications.

    Cyber Security Degrees: An Overview

    The field of cyber security has become increasingly important in today’s digitally connected world where cyber attacks are on the rise. This has led to a growing demand for experts who can identify and address potential cyber threats to safeguard the digital health and safety of organizations. A degree in cyber security can help individuals gain the necessary knowledge and skills to become proficient in this field. However, the question remains, how hard is it get a cyber security degree?

    Factors Affecting the Difficulty of Cyber Security Degrees

    Factors such as the institution, the program, the level of experience of the student in the field, and the expectations of the faculty can impact the difficulty of a cyber security degree program. Additionally, the curriculum of a cyber security degree program can be challenging because it often includes topics such as cryptography, networks, programming, and forensics, which require a solid understanding of math and computer science principles.

    Some of the factors that affect the difficulty of cyber security degrees are:

    • The reputation of institution that offers the program
    • The level of experience of the student in the field of cyber security
    • The complexity of the curriculum which can vary from college to college

    Comparison of Cyber Security Degrees with Other Academic Fields

    While degrees in cyber security generally aren’t as difficult as those in research

  • or lab-intensive fields such as engineering and science, they can be more difficult than non-research degrees such as those in the sciences or in business. A cyber security degree program is likely to require a deep understanding of math and computer science principles and their application in security measures.

    For example, degrees in history, communications, or marketing usually do not require as much technical knowledge as the cyber security field. In contrast, programs in engineering, biology, and physics usually possess much of the same technical aspects of the cyber security field.

    Importance of Technical Skills in Cyber Security Degrees

    Technical skills are essential to cyber security. An in-depth understanding of the technical aspects of computing systems and networks is necessary to prevent and respond to cybersecurity issues, ranging from data breaches to network intrusions. Cyber security professional also must be proficient in programming languages, including Java, C++, Python, and others, as well as in tools such as Nessus, Metasploit, and other tools.

    To succeed in a cyber security degree program, students must be able to apply their technical knowledge to practical, real-world scenarios. They also should understand the importance of policy and governance in managing and mitigating cyber security threats.

    Tips for Succeeding in Cyber Security Degree Programs

    Here are some tips to help students succeed in cyber security degree programs:

    • Develop a deep understanding of math and computer science principles.
    • Stay up-to-date with the latest industry news and trends.
    • Practice hands-on learning through internships, online courses, and self-directed research.
    • Participate in coding competitions or cyber security events and challenges.
    • Develop good communication skills to present ideas and solutions effectively to stakeholders.

    Future Scope of Cyber Security Degrees

    The demand for cybersecurity professionals is on the rise due to the increasing number of cyber-attacks. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 32 percent from 2018 to 2028. This demand is expected to continue in the coming years as businesses continue to digitize their operations. There is also significant growth potential in cybersecurity roles in the government, financial sector, healthcare industry, and the military, among others.

    Typical Challenges Faced While Pursuing Cyber Security Degrees

    Pursuing a degree in cyber security can be challenging due to the rigorous curriculum, technical complexity, and the ever-evolving nature of the field. One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with the rapid pace of change within the technology landscape. Cyber threats are constantly evolving, and cyber security degree programs must adapt to these changes rapidly.

    Other difficulties that students may face include the high cost of education, limited availability of cyber security courses compared to other IT-related fields, and the intense workload and time-consuming nature of the curriculum.

    Industry Demand for Cyber Security Professionals

    Cyber threats are a growing concern for businesses and organizations of all sizes. The recent pandemic has further intensified these concerns, with the sudden shift to remote work exacerbating security vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity has become a critical priority for organizations. The demand for highly skilled professionals who can identify and mitigate cybersecurity threats is likely to continue increasing in the coming years.

    Evidence suggests that businesses are investing billions in cybersecurity, making it one of the most significant sectors in the information technology industry. This represents a significant opportunity for individuals with cyber security degrees who can provide value to organizations in managing and mitigating cyber security risks.