Best Online Information Systems Security Programs
Discover the best online bachelor's programs in information systems security. Learn about the application process and potential careers.
Published on February 11, 2022 · Updated on April 26, 2022
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The computer and information technology sector is one of the fastest-growing occupational groups in the country, and information security represents the most in-demand profession within the field. A bachelor's program in information systems security provides cybersecurity, programming, and development training. Students can learn systems, database, and network management skills.
Bachelor's degree programs typically last four years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average total tuition, fees, and room and board was $24,620 per year for full-time students in 2018-2019.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the addition of over 47,100 well-paying information security analyst positions between 2020 and 2030. Here, we look at the top online schools offering information systems degrees, break down the program requirements, and explore the career opportunities.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Program?
Similar to most online bachelor's degree programs, an online bachelor's in information systems security typically requires students to complete 120 credits over four years. In addition to applicable and diverse security skills, students develop programming, computer forensic, design, and maintenance abilities. They also build their problem-solving, analytical, and innovation skills.
Online bachelor's programs in information systems security typically place heavy emphasis on practical training. Students spend a great deal of class time in computer labs and working on hands-on assignments. Many programs also offer practicums and internships to provide students with space to apply their learning.
At the bachelor's level, information systems programs usually award BA or BS degrees. Depending on the degree type a program offers, students may take different electives and receive distinct training. For example, BS degree programs may feature a more technical approach, whereas some BA degree programs provide more theoretical and interdisciplinary training.
In many cases, students choose information systems security as a concentration within another program, such as computer science. However, learners can also specialize within a bachelor's program in information systems security. Some programs offer concentrations in areas like information assurance, computer forensics, and network management.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.
Popular Online Information Systems Security Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Program?
Systems Risk Assessment
This course teaches students how to evaluate an organization's computer systems controls and security measures. They learn to test for vulnerabilities to identify potential attack points and weaknesses that need to be strengthened.
In this course, students learn how to oversee, maintain, and secure databases. They look at some of the major attack strategies used by hackers and the different mechanisms used to defend and backup these systems.
Information System Forensics
Students in this course learn how to investigate information systems attacks. They examine ways of detecting and monitoring suspicious activity. Learners also discover methods for collecting evidence and reporting incidents.
In this course, students learn how to secure and monitor networks of various sizes. The training highlights the most common network attacks and response strategies, along with the most effective defense and recovery methods.
Information Age Ethics
This course examines the evolution of ethical standards for data and online activities in the information age. Students look at topics like privacy, online social issues, and ethics.
What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Program?
The admission requirements for an online bachelor's in information systems security vary by program. Prospective students typically need a high school diploma or GED certificate and strong grades. In addition to the components listed below, some schools may require applicants to complete certain prerequisites.
The college application includes most of the items below. Prospective students send their completed applications directly to the schools of their choice or apply through a college application service, like the Common Application. Check out our undergraduate application guide for information on the process.
College entrance exams provide schools with a standardized metric by which to compare applicants. In past years, most schools required prospective students to submit their SAT or ACT scores along with their college applications. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have offered test waivers to applicants.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation typically come from a prospective student's former teachers or employers. They provide inside information about the applicant, addressing their strengths and weaknesses. Recommenders typically share why they believe the candidate would be a strong student in the program. Most college applications request three letters of recommendation.
Many schools require college application essays from prospective students. At the bachelor's level, these essays typically cover the student's personal and academic journey, while also addressing their interests. Some schools may provide applicants with a specific question to answer in their essay.
Nearly every college and university requires applicants to submit official transcripts in their applications. These records highlight a prospective student's previous education and grades. Transcripts help schools identify a candidate's prerequisites and academic qualifications. They can lead to transfer credits, particularly for community college transfer students.
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Degree?
An online bachelor's degree in information systems security can open many professional doors for graduates. The BLS projects 13% growth for all computer and information technology occupations between 2020 and 2030. The demand for these workers will likely stem from a greater emphasis on big data and information security. The BLS also projects 33% growth for information security analyst occupations over the next decade.
Furthermore, the median annual wage for information security analysts was $103,590 in May 2020, more than $60,000 higher than the median annual wage across all occupations. As a result of the positive career outlook for information security analysts, information systems security is one of the most popular college majors. Graduates often pursue security, analyst, and management jobs.
Find out what a bachelor's in information systems security has to offer professionally. Learn more about information systems careers.
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts help organizations identify their security weaknesses and needs. They perform penetration and vulnerability tests on systems and networks, install the most effective security measures, and train users and administrators to oversee and maintain computer systems. These professionals also research new security methods, software, and trends.
Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $103,590
Computer and Information Systems Manager
These professionals oversee the information systems and computer activities within an organization. They manage the department's upgrades, maintenance, projects, staff, and operations. IT security managers take charge of the security activities for the organization, including establishing security standards and practices and taking the lead on responding to all threats and attacks.
Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $151,150
Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analysts help organizations get the best performances and most effective operations from their computer systems and activities. They evaluate the systems, pinpoint inefficiencies, identify useful upgrades, and help design or implement fixes and changes. They also follow budgetary and organizational guidelines to ensure the revised systems work for everyone.
Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $93,730
Computer programmers write code for software and applications. They work with designers, developers, and testers to ensure that the code follows the design instructions and functions properly. Programmers need to alter their approaches depending on the task, such as using different coding languages and operating systems.
Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $89,190
Computer Network Architect
These professionals design, build, and maintain computer and communication networks for organizations. They evaluate the performance needs of an organization, their operations, and their budget to find the most suitable and effective solution. They also conduct research on the latest developments, design their own network setups and technologies, and train other professionals to maintain the network.
Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $116,780
Information Systems Security Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Most students start a bachelor's program in information systems security with the goal of pursuing a career after graduation, but continuing education is also an option. The most common continuing education pathways for graduates are master's programs in cybersecurity and information security.
Learners may also choose to complement their degree with a certificate. They can also take one of the many cybersecurity bootcamps to specialize or diversify their training. Another option is to branch out into a broader field by pursuing a master's in computer science.
How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Program?
Cost is a primary concern for most students when choosing a college. However, learners should determine the true program cost by considering expenses beyond tuition. This includes thinking about all fees and lost income as a result of leaving work to pursue a degree. Prospective students should also compare on-campus and online costs, in-state and out-of-state programs, and private and public school prices.
Program format can greatly impact a student's academic results and experience. When looking at program formats, prospective learners should consider full-time and part-time schedules and synchronous or asynchronous online delivery. Learners with flexible schedules and a desire to graduate early should check out schools with accelerated bachelor's degrees.
Whether students are interested in online or on-campus programs, they should consider location. While location impacts on-campus learners most because of their travel and living requirements, online students still need a school in the right area. For example, some online schools require students to attend residencies, and others offer in-state tuition discounts to out-of-state learners.
Prospective students should only consider schools with the proper accreditation. According to the college accreditation guide, financial aid, transfer credits, and employment all depend on accreditation. Independent bodies accredit institutions that meet certain academic standards. While not mandatory, programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology may help students identify highly regarded programs.
Most schools offer student support services, but the level and quality of these services can make a big difference for learners. Prospective students should look out for things like online student services, college mentor programs, and student wellness services. They might also search for in-program offerings, such as internships and practicums, as well as projects with partner organizations.
Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Information Systems Security Programs
Yes. A bachelor's in information systems security can lead to many fast-growing and rewarding careers. For students who enjoy information technology and problem-solving, this may be a fulfilling career option. Learners can also gain satisfaction knowing that their work can protect the privacy, information, and financial well-being of others.
Much of the value of an online degree comes from the flexibility it offers. Online students can often study while maintaining a job, making their education less financially restricting. While most graduates pursue security positions, this widely applicable degree offers professional flexibility as well.
Graduates with a bachelor's in information systems security may qualify for many different computer occupations. While graduates often pursue information security analyst careers, they can also access computer systems analyst and information systems management positions.
Their diverse skillsets also prepare them to oversee networks, databases, and varied computer systems. Some possible positions in these fields include computer network architect, database administrator and architect, and network and computer systems administrator. Finally, graduates can continue their training in a master's program or complement their degree with an industry certification.
The demand for information systems security majors is very high. In fact, the BLS lists information security analysts as one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country. The projected 33% growth for these professionals between 2020 and 2030 exceeds the projected growth rate for all occupations by 25%.
Much of the demand comes from the need to protect against the growing threat of cyberattacks. The increased usage of data in most industries makes prevention, safeguarding, and backups necessary. The field requires highly skilled professionals to keep up with ever changing and advancing technologies and attackers.
Many factors influence salaries, but graduates with a bachelor's in information systems security often earn substantial compensation. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations in May 2020 was $91,250, more than twice the median annual wage for all occupations.
Information security analysts made a median annual wage of $103,590 in May 2020, and the top 10% of earners made over $163,300. In many areas with higher costs of living, these wages tend to increase. In states like New York and California these professionals earn an average annual salary of more than $125,000, as per the BLS.
Computer and information systems managers probably make the most money among careers available to graduates with a bachelor's in information systems. According to the BLS, these professionals made a median annual wage of $151,150 in May 2020, nearly $110,000 more than the median annual wage for all occupations.
The median annual wages in this field vary by industry, with professionals in the information industry earning $166,770 in May 2020. Those in computer systems design services earned $157,580, and professionals in finance and insurance earned $155,760 during the same period.
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