Network security is the science and profession associated with protecting computer networks, data and infrastructure from being compromised by outside intruders. Network security is a very important part of daily operations at many businesses around the globe and is especially critical for enterprises that deal with sensitive financial data. A single intrusive event of only a few minutes in duration can cost a company tens of millions of dollars. It is up to network security professionals to constantly monitor the status of a network, lead initiatives to upgrade software and hardware defenses and counteract any intrusion that takes place. This requires sophisticated knowledge of computer programming and network design.
How Much Do Network Security Professionals Get Paid With a Degree?
Because the stakes are so high in network security, companies are willing to pay a premium to skilled professionals. Although the median pay is a relatively low $75,660 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2010 data, many network security administrators will receive significantly more, as much as double that figure. In order to command such significant compensation, however, a network security professional at any level of an organization must be extremely knowledgeable. He or she must be prepared to adapt to sudden and unexpected security events that may require an instant response. He or she may also be expected to plan and implement large-scale technical changes on a regular basis. The upgrades and expansions for which the network security expert is responsible must be implemented quickly, efficiently and with zero disruption to daily activities.
What Careers Are Available for a Network Security Professional With a Degree?
Most network security professionals work in the private sector. A very small number of exceptionally accomplished network security engineers are independently employed and work alone or with a small team on behalf of companies that seek outside input to resolve sensitive security issues. Outside of Silicon Valley, the largest employer of network technology specialists is the Department of Defense, including the U.S. Army, Air Force and intelligence services and followed by other government agencies.
Why is Distance Learning a Good Choice for Network Security?
Distance learning is a natural fit for network security. Speaking broadly, most network security operations are handled at a computer terminal. A network security technician who wants to reach the top of his or her profession should be able to resolve problems using sophisticated software in an isolated environment in which no other expert opinions are available. Although network security also requires a student to understand many different pieces of hardware, this hardware can be practiced upon using software simulations available to distance learning students. In effect, a distance learning student in network security is acclimating to many of the most critical elements of his or her future work environment.
Tuition, Scholarships and Other Issues Related to Distance Learning in Network Security
Tuition in network security has a tendency to be slightly higher than the tuition in other information technology fields because of the software and training simulations that may be necessary for the student to progress in knowledge. Tuition structures vary a great deal. Total tuition may range from $5,000 annually to nearly $30,000. To offset these costs, skilled students with a favorable academic history may find that they are eligible for an especially large and lucrative collection of competitive scholarships, many sponsored by Fortune 500 companies or the U.S. government. Notably, it is crucially important that a student in this field have a good computer and a reliable Internet connection!