So, is a masters in cyber security worth it? In short, yes. While a bachelor's degree will provide you with the technical knowledge you need to implement prevention measures and secure network applications for any company, a masters degree enhances these skills. It will also help build your leadership and managerial expertise to prepare you for more senior roles.

In this article, we’ll cover pertinent questions pertaining to this particular cybersecurity program so you can make an informed decision. Let’s find out whether a cybersecurity master's degree is worth your time and money.

Thinking About a Cybersecurity Graduate Degree? Here is What You Should Know

First, here are the reasons why you should get cybersecurity graduate degree:

  • High salaries: cybersecurity is one of the most lucrative industries, thanks to ever-increasing demand.

  • Plentiful job openings: Cybersecurity offers a broad range of exciting career progression opportunities for professionals with varying backgrounds.

  • High likelihood of job satisfaction: The cybersecurity technology space is continually evolving, resulting in new challenges that require advanced solutions. Most companies are willing to invest in people who are ready to further their education to enable them to manage complex cyber operations.

  • There’s something for everyone: You don’t need to be a technology expert to work in the cybersecurity space. You can move into a new field if your current role no longer stimulates you.

Secondly, since cybersecurity is a broad field, you need to focus on a specific specialty. Examples of disciplines to choose from when applying for your master's program include:

  • Network Security: This specialty involves elements such as general security engineering, managing private networks, firewalls, and detecting and preventing intrusion. This means you oversee computer networks to avert security threats and other unauthorized entries.

  • IT Auditing: If you have an accounting background, you should understand what auditing (inspecting systems to ensure compliance with requirements) entails. Here, you will learn how to examine IT infrastructures and operations in organizations. IT auditors also help control finance operations within IT systems.

  • Computer Security: Here, specialists manage general security in online systems. These infosec experts make decisions like what necessary upgrades and antivirus programs are needed for adequate security.

  • Risk Management, Compliance, and Governance: This discipline immerses learners into the world of regulatory compliance and enterprise-scale IT. Here, graduates learn how to execute disaster recovery strategies, safeguard business operations after intrusion attempts, and ensure compliance with security protocols.

Thirdly, to find the right university program, look for a school with features like:

  • Technology focus: Cybersecurity is a technological field. So, when selecting your graduate school, choose one which is well-equipped with science and tech equipment.

  • Expert curriculum: Cybersecurity is a dynamic field, so you will want to undertake curriculums crafted by seasoned cybersecurity professionals.

  • Experiential learning: Field experience in addition to theoretical knowledge gives you an edge over competitors when looking for top positions after grad school.

  • Flexible schedules: Since a master's degree is designed for adults, most programs offer distance learning, online learning, as well as shorter semesters. This allows you to work and study simultaneously.

  • Transferrable credits: When joining a master's program, you will already have an associate degree or other college credits. Consider selecting an institution that will honor the work you’ve already done.

Can You Get a Great Job With a Master’s in Cybersecurity?

Researchers have revealed that openings for cybersecurity jobs are increasing faster than in other sectors. Burning Glass Technologies released a report stating that out of all opportunities within the cybersecurity realm, 84% of them require undergraduate degrees, while 23% require a graduate degree.

To back this report, studies from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the job market for cybersecurity is rising at a 28% rate. This growth is faster when compared to other professions. Having a master’s degree gives you an edge over your competitors when applying for top roles.

Below is a table showing the top jobs in cybersecurity that require a master’s degree.

Cyber Security Top Jobs

Percentage of These Jobs Requiring a Master’s Degree

Cybersecurity Architect


Cybersecurity Manager/Administrator


Cybercrime Analyst


Cybersecurity Engineer


Incident Analyst/Responder


Penetration and Vulnerability


IT Auditor


Cybersecurity Consultant


Cybersecurity Analyst


What Kind of Jobs Can You Get With a Master’s in Cybersecurity?

Every year, thousands of Information Technology-related positions are left unfilled. Therefore, the world needs numerous InfoSec experts, and the best employers won’t settle for less than a highly qualified cybersecurity professional. Some of the jobs available after completing your master's degree include:

Security architect

This path will see you create security designs to match goals and practical strategies for the security engineers and Information Technology experts in a company. Note that your duties will differ from one company to another.

Penetration tester / ethical hacking

Ethical hacking is an exciting job that entails testing computer systems to establish if loopholes and security vulnerabilities exist. Hackers use various means to attack information systems. In penetration testing, you will need to create strategies used by companies to avert cyber-attacks.


Cryptography involves encrypting data using complex algorithms, developing codes, engineering algorithms, and creating security systems. If you choose this path, you need to have great problem-solving and analytical skill sets to handle complex arithmetical problems.

As a cryptanalyst, you need refined skills in areas like data structures, computer architecture, information assurance, programming languages, matrix algebra, linear algebra, and data structures.

Cybersecurity specialist

Organizations need secure computer systems, and it is cybersecurity specialists who build and maintain these systems. Using AI knowledge, specialists analyze existing threat-preventing methods and offer training to IT teams on the proper use of security software and system maintenance.

Security engineer

A security engineers’ role is to find cybersecurity solutions for a company or business specific to its needs. Solutions range from building firewalls to encrypting sensitive data.

Security auditor/ forensic expert

Perhaps you already have some preliminary knowledge of digital forensics. Security auditors’ major responsibilities are analyzing networks and assessing computer systems. Your work is to restore compromised systems and help with legal cases.

Incident analyst/ responder

A Security analyst investigates security incidents, then establish major causes and offer effective solutions to avert possible incidents in the future.

Who Should Pursue a Master’s in Cybersecurity?

A master’s in cybersecurity is ideal for people with an undergraduate degree in an IT-related field.

Students at the undergraduate level learn different areas of cybersecurity like cyber risk assessment, security infrastructure design, digital forensics, and information security.

While several InfoSec professionals kickstart their career with a technical undergraduate degree, it is essential to pursue a master’s degrees if you are:

  • Looking to find roles in higher management positions such as chief information security officer or cybersecurity director

  • Looking to transit your career to the cybersecurity field and you don’t hold an undergraduate degree in cybersecurity, Information Technology, computer science, or data science

  • Looking to advance an existing career and improve your chances in landing better positions

  • Interested in doing advanced research within the cybersecurity field

Is Cybersecurity a Good Career Path?

Without a doubt, the cybersecurity field is on an upward trend, and a career in cybersecurity is likely a good fit for you.

The ever-growing need for proficient cybersecurity professionals is evident with the constant reports of increasing security breaches and data loss. There’s never been a better time to consider this career path. You will get to work for organizations to strategize their security plan, and secure their data from fraudsters.

Based on your level of education and experience, here are popular career paths:

Entry-level jobs

These jobs are less demanding and need little to no experience. Fresh graduates can take these jobs and gain hands-on experience. Examples of specific positions under this category are web developers, system engineers and administrators, IT techs, and security specialists.


If you have gained up to mid-level experience, you should look for positions like incident responder, security technician and analyst, IT auditor, penetration tester, and cybersecurity consultant.


There is a dire need for highly-skilled cybersecurity personnel, and this means that, from a job-seekers perspective, a cyber security master's degree is worth it. Cybersecurity positions that need many years of experience include chief information security officers and cybersecurity engineers, architects, and managers.

Please note that understanding diverse personalities in the cybersecurity industry will go a long way in matching up your interests with your desired career path. You need to know where you fit best to determine if a cybersecurity career is a good fit for you

Do You Need a Technical Background to Pursue a Master’s in Cybersecurity?

There is something for everyone in the cybersecurity field. If you think that cybersecurity has a single career path, then you are mistaken. There are hundreds of different career paths to follow for any person with an interest in cybersecurity.

You don’t need a cybersecurity bachelor's degree with many years’ experience in the IT field to qualify for a cybersecurity master's degree. Some undergraduates move to grad schools without getting job experience. Other candidates from different faculties choose a different path after completing their degree program.

To build robust cybersecurity systems, organizations need tech experts such as data scientists, software developer, and system maintenance professionals. In addition, they require professionals from a range of sciences and social sciences like sociology, technology, law, and organizational and psychological sciences.

The good news is that there are enough opportunities for both non-technical and technical people. What’s more, those with a non-technical background can have an added advantage when it comes to viewpoints and capabilities.

For instance, a lawyer looking to attend grad school to study cybersecurity can help organizations they will work in with competitive skill sets within the law field. For instance, they could be responsible for covering policy and law.

What Advice Would You Give a Prospective Student Thinking About a Master’s in Cybersecurity?

A master's degree in cybersecurity can be challenging, even for the most obsessed tech fanatics. Here are three tips you need to keep in mind if you want to be successful:

To become a sought-after tech security guru after your master's degree, you need well-rounded experience in cybersecurity technology. For instance, you should learn different coding languages (C++, Bash, Python, and many more) or hone multitasking skills, especially when managing many operating systems at once.

While still undertaking your master's degree, interact with several industry experts. Participate in projects within your community and other possible open-source projects. Network online as well as offline.

Do you want to remain competitive and have an edge over your fellow students after completing your graduate degree? Take relevant short courses. Good examples of courses include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT).

Are Cybersecurity Salaries Competitive?

Now that you know the opportunities available for graduates with a master’s degree in cybersecurity, let’s talk numbers.

The law of supply and demand suggests that prices hike when the demand is high with low supply. With companies looking to secure data, be sure there is a high demand for cybersecurity experts.

Master of Science (MS), Cybersecurity Salary Average across the U.S.

In 2019, if you held a master’s degree in cybersecurity and work in the U.S, you would take home an average annual wage of $102,223.

Annual Salary

Monthly Pay

Weekly Pay

Hourly Wage

Top Earners





75th Percentile










25th Percentile





Figure 1:1 Annual wages of masters’ holders in cybersecurity across the United States. Source:

Master of Science (MS), Cybersecurity Salary Average - Top Cities in the U.S.


Annual Salary

Monthly Pay

Weekly Pay

Hourly Wage

Lakes, AK





San Francisco, CA





Santa Clara, CA





Washington, DC





Los Angeles, CA





Fremont, CA





Jersey City, NJ





Green River, WY





San Buenaventura, CA





San Jose, CA





Figure 1:2 Average hourly, weekly, monthly, and annual salary ranges by City. source:

Master of Science (MS), Cybersecurity Average by Employer

The salaries differ from one employer to another, and are affected by employer’s location and level of experience.

Booz, Allen and Hamilton

$63k - $128k

Northrop Grumman Corporation

$83k - $144k

Raytheon Co.

$81k - $107k

Mantech International Corp.

$71k - $93k

Lockheed Martin Corp

$83k - $120k

Figure 1:3 Pay ranges for cybersecurity masters' holders by companies. Source:

Level of Experience

Pay Range

Entry Level


Early Career


Mid Career




Late Career


Figure 1:4 Pay range in percentage per level of experience. source:

Master of Science (MS), Cybersecurity Average by Job

The salary ranges depend on the path you follow.



Information Security Manager


Cyber Security Engineer


Security Engineer


Software Engineer


Cyber Security Analyst


Information Security Analyst


Security Analyst


Figure 1:5 MS. Cybersecurity average wages by specialization. source:

As you can see, cybersecurity pays well , and there is more potential for higher salaries since cybersecurity technology is advancing every day.

Is There a Growing Demand for People With a Master’s in Cybersecurity?

In short, yes.

Some research findings predict that cybercrime will continue to rise globally and cost businesses more than $6 trillion per year by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015. These stakes are shockingly high and the world needs more cybersecurity experts to salvage the situation.

Further, there are many opportunities in government bodies, for instance in the aerospace and special forces departments. Financial institutions also need computer system experts now and in the future to handle data privacy issues.

Cybersecurity is indispensable in today’s digital world. Humans are fast becoming dependent on digital platforms for data storage, communication, monetary transactions, and professional services.

Thus, there is a stark need for experts to combat cybercrime. This includes damage and destruction of data, theft of personal and financial data, theft of intellectual property, post-attack disruption to the normal cause of business, and fraud.

With a master's in cybersecurity under your belt, you will not only transform your professional trajectory but also boost your earning potential and make a significant impact in society.

So, is a masters in cyber security worth it?

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