Information security and assurance is the process of protecting data and ensuring information does not get lost during computer and server malfunctions, theft, natural disasters and other major scenarios. Information security and assurance professionals are responsible for managing an organization's security and preventing unauthorized users from accessing this valuable information. Although the associate degree is shorter and less thorough than the bachelor's, it is still excellent preparation for work and other academic disciplines.
Why an Associate Degree?
Earning an associate degree is one of the quickest and most effective ways to break into the information security field. It is the ideal degree level for students who want a thorough education, but don’t want to spend more money or time in college than necessary. Although many employers accept a minimum of an associate degree, some jobs require more education and training. Either way, the associate degree is an adequate training program and an excellent precursor to the bachelor’s degree.
Inside an Information Security & Assurance Associate Degree Program
Depending on your individual program, the associate in information security usually takes about two years to finish. Students will take classes in a variety of topics, including computer architecture, programming, telecommunications, security system design, risk assessment and policy analysis, troubleshooting and more. Online students can access their courses, lectures, assignments, grades and other resources through a learning management system provided by the school.
Maintaining good communication and staying on top of your school work are the keys to succeeding in online courses. The learning management system and email are two ways of communicating with your instructors and classmates when you have questions or information to share. Even though you don’t report to campus, online students are entitled to the same academic, financial and career services as traditional students.
What’s Next for Information Security & Assurance Associate Degree Holders?
Graduates of the information security associate degree will be qualified to do several technical jobs within this field. A popular path for many graduates is to become information security analysts who work in computer systems design, telecommunications, finance and insurance and other related industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analysts are expected to see an 18% employment increase by 2024 because of the growing risk and frequency of cyberattacks. In addition to having optimistic job prospects, information security analysts also have favorable salaries. In 2014, information security analysts made an average annual salary of $88,890. Additional education and experience can increase your earning potential.
Although it is possible to get an information security job with only an associate degree, some employers prefer to hire applicants with a higher degree. The next education option for an associate degree holder is to earn a bachelor’s in information security and assurance. Earning this undergraduate degree can significantly increase your employment opportunities and earning potential in information security.