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What Background Employers Look For In Cybersecurity Professionals

Champlain College Online

Demand for cyber security professionals has skyrocketed in recent years, and with our continued, increasing reliance on big data, cloud computing, mobile transactions, and digital communication, it’s showing no signs of slowing down. 

With such a range of job opportunities in this fast-growing field, people often ask, “Do you need a degree for cyber security positions?” And, if so, what kind? In this blog post we’ll explore the education and experience today’s cyber security employers look for in applicants. 

Do You Need a Degree for Cybersecurity? 

Many entry-level jobs in cyber security require a bachelor’s degree in a computer science-related field or, sometimes, the equivalent career or military training experience. Specialized or supervisory positions might require a master’s degree in cybersecurity, digital forensics, information assurance, IT management, or even a business-related field. 

Whether you need a degree for cybersecurity or not can vary by geographic location, market demand, a candidate’s prior experience, and many other factors. One thing is for sure, entering the field with a cybersecurity degree has plenty of advantages. 

Why it Matters: Advantages of Having a Degree in Cybersecurity

A degree in cybersecurity gives you the foundational knowledge and core technical skills you need to succeed in various aspects of this ever-evolving field. For example, you’ll learn about networks and operating systems and also dive into digital forensics investigation techniques. Beyond that, a bachelor’s degree program develops essential soft skills today’s employers want, such as communication and critical thinking. 

Earning a bachelor’s degree prepares you professionally and academically for your chosen career, but the best cybersecurity programs are more than coursework.

Internships & Projects

Cyber security degree programs typically give students a chance to put the technical and problem-solving skills they learn in the classroom into practice in a real-world setting. Champlain online students intern with businesses, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Senior projects often allow students to collaborate on risk assessment and other security solutions for actual clients. 


By far, one of the most valuable parts of earning a degree at a well-connected institution is the professional network you’ll begin to build. This is true for all majors and programs, and for cyber security, it means learning from expert faculty members who are also active in the technology, law enforcement or national security sectors. 

Cybersecurity programs often have relationships with the local business community and partnerships with security agencies and technology companies. These connections lead to rich opportunities for students: guest speakers, internship sites and job openings to name a few. 

Career Services

In addition to networking with experts in the field, a cyber security degree program gives you access to valuable career services, such as job listings, resume assistance or interview.

What About a Cybersecurity Certificate?

If you already have a bachelor’s degree or IT experience, do you need a degree for cybersecurity-related careers? It certainly won’t hurt, but a certificate could be an ideal alternative in this situation. This shorter-term, skills-focused program offers specialized cybersecurity training, while adding an educational credential to your resume. As a student in a certificate program like Champlain’s, you’ll have access to the same caliber of faculty members and student support services.

Learn more about how a cybersecurity degree or certificate can give you an edge as you enter or advance in this exciting, growing field. 

About the Author

Champlain College Online

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