Earning a Master's in Network Security Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Network Security Online?

A career in network security allows you to protect an organization's computers and data from unauthorized access, modification, and misuse. Studies for a network security master's degree online combine communications and technology with forensic analysis to combat challenges like breaches and hacks.

Learners who pursue this master's degree generally demonstrate a strong interest in technology, law, and criminal justice. They typically possess outstanding problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and leadership capabilities. As a result, graduates find themselves in demand for roles within for-profit, nonprofit, and government entities.

Earning your network security master's degree online allows you to work while attending school. This means you can practically apply lessons to your career while enjoying the flexibility and convenience that online studies permit. In addition, online studies save you the expense of on-campus living while providing access to the same services and resources as those enrolled in classroom courses.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Network Security Graduates

Master's in Network Security Salary

The following tables provide insight into a career in network security and can help you make an informed decision about potential industries that hire graduates with a network security master's degree online. They also offer data about how experience influences earnings. The first table examines the average annual salary of network security experts by industry; the second explores salary by years of experience.

Top-Paying Industries for Computer Network Architects

Industry Annual Mean Wage
Semiconductor and Other Electronic Component Manufacturing $143,520
Nonresidential Building Construction $143,170
Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services $130,850
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities $128,500
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing $126,420

Master's in Network Security Careers

There are many career options once you complete your network security master's degree online. The project management, collaboration, and teamwork skills from your studies allow you to work in private and public sectors that require technological expertise, including in financial services, government, and higher education, among others. Furthermore, your ability to identify and mitigate risks that compromise computer networks makes you an attractive candidate in the 21st-century workforce.

Computer Network Architect

Annual Median Salary: $104,650

This professional develops communications networks like Intranets, LANs, and WANs that connect offices or users through cloud infrastructure. The role not only requires strong presentation skills to inform management of network plans, but also research capabilities to investigate the latest technologies. A master's degree strengthens your ability to articulate data-driven, evidence-based ideas.

Information Security Analyst

Annual Median Salary: $95,510

This career requires planning and executing strategies to safeguard an organization's systems and networks. These analysts must determine when security compromises occur, report incidents that arise, and install software like data encryption programs that protect information. A master's degree deepens your understanding of both information systems and business operations.

Computer Systems Analyst

Annual Median Salary: $88,270

This expert examines an organization's computer procedures and systems to develop solutions for operational efficiency. By combining business and information technology, analysts can enhance the functionality of existing computer systems. In addition, the role requires understanding emerging technologies to determine their feasibility in an organization. A master's degree can strengthen these research skills.

Computer or Information Systems Manager

Annual Median Salary: $139,220

This role requires planning and directing an organization's computer-related activities. In addition to analyzing the organization's computer needs and recommending how best to address them, this professional ensures the security of electronic documents, performs cost analysis, and negotiates services with vendors. A master's degree can build the communication skills this job mandates.

Director of Networking/IT Security

Annual Median Salary: $138,435

This career requires overseeing an information technology department to maintain the security of an organization's online assets. Not only do experts develop and implement policies that dictate online communication, but they also ensure employees abide by these regulations to protect sensitive data. A master's can help equip learners with the leadership skills this role requires.

Source: PayScale

Pay by Experience Level for Master's Degree in Network Security

Entry-Level (1-4 Years) $60,000
Mid-Career (5-9 Years) $105,859
Experienced (10-19 Years) $117,449

What Can I Expect from an Online Master's in Network Security Program?

The classes you must complete to earn a network security master's degree online depend on the school, but most programs offer a similar curriculum. As the following section makes clear, expect to study topics that prepare you for career success in the field, regardless of the school you attend.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Network Security

Foundation of Information Assurance

This class equips learners with the knowledge to assess organizational security risks and devise solutions. Topics include cryptography, database security, communications security, and access control. Students also consider issues of individual privacy. These lessons help prepare graduates for careers as computer network architects.

Operating Systems Security

Students examine fundamental and advanced topics in operating system security, such as memory protections, interprocess communications mechanisms, and access control mechanisms. Learners also review persistent, malicious threats like malware and rootkits so they can effectively combat them. The course helps prepare them for a career as a computer systems analyst.

Web Security

Learners examine how to make web applications secure, including understanding server-side security and protecting client-server connections using encryption protocols. Moreover, the class examines how to keep data private and the vulnerabilities that come with web browsing. These topics equip students with the know-how for a career as an information security analyst.

Cryptology

This course introduces students to contemporary cryptology by reviewing the evolution of classic techniques. It focuses on public key cryptosystems, digital signatures, and cryptographic hash functions. In addition, it references computational number theory, the basis for much of today's cryptology. As a result, learners are better prepared to become an information systems manager.

Introduction to Ethical Hacking

Students learn how to defend systems by understanding what makes them vulnerable. The class emphasizes concepts in exposure through hands-on activities and a systems engineering approach to hacking. Moreover, to complete coursework, learners must use a non-network computer. This class helps prepare students to become a director of networking.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Network Security Prepares for

  • CompTIA Security+: This certification verifies your skills and ability to perform the types of critical operations necessary for security functions. The exam tests hands-on skills required to identify various attacks, threats, and vulnerabilities. This certification is ideal for those who desire a career as a director of networking.
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Security: This certification validates your knowledge of securing network infrastructure, avoiding unwanted intrusions, and managing security access. The certificate proves your ability to install, troubleshoot, and monitor a network so that it retains confidentiality and integrity. This certification can boost an information security analyst's career after they pass Cisco's 210-260 IINS exam.

Professional Organizations & Resources

A professional organization can open doors for you as both a student pursuing a network security master's degree online and an experienced professional in the field. Associations can connect you to like-minded colleagues with shared interests, provide continuing education through conferences and symposia, and highlight emerging trends and practices through research. In addition, professional organizations frequently post job openings online to make members aware of an array of career opportunities.

  • The International Association of Privacy Professionals: Founded in 2000, this global community strives to improve the privacy profession by providing those in IT continuing education and training. In addition, it offers certifications for IT professionals.

  • Information Security Research Association: This organization hosts information security awareness seminars and an international hacking and information security conference. It offers chapters for students and professionals in addition to designating the first Thursday in August as Information Security Day.

  • Information Systems Security Association International: Members of this association manage their organization's computer infrastructure and technology risks. They enjoy networking opportunities, educational workshops, and publications that highlight critical information about the field.

  • International Association for Cryptologic Research: This network deepens experts' understanding of cryptology through conferences and research dissemination. It also exposes them to career opportunities thanks to its jobs board and provides recognition through an awards program.

  • Federal Information Systems Security Educators' Association: For more than 30 years, this association has equipped professionals to aid federal agencies in fulfilling their systems security training requirements. Members connect through an annual conference and online community.

  • The Stokes Educational Scholarship Program: High school seniors who plan to major in computer science may qualify for this scholarship that provides up to $30,000 each year for tuition. The program also offers summer internships and employment opportunities following college graduation.

  • National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies: This online repository highlights trainings, conferences, competitions, and speaker presentations. It links government professionals, educators, students, and industry experts with cybersecurity training providers across the U.S. so they can advance their career.

  • Department of Homeland Security - Cybersecurity: This federal website demonstrates the government's commitment to combat cybercrimes. It features up-to-date research, posts job listings, and offers information about ongoing education and training.

  • Raytheon CCDC Women's Cyber Security Scholarship: High school seniors with at least a 3.0 GPA may qualify for this scholarship that provides $10,000 for tuition, books, and fees. Recipients must pursue a cybersecurity-related degree.

  • The Information System Security Certification Consortium, Inc.: Known as (ISC)2, this association offers professional development and certification for information security professionals across the world. Members can participate in free online events and access innovative research.