Develop your career in cyber security.
The global cyber security market was valued at $185 billion in 2021, with a projected growth rate of 12% between 2022 and 2030.* As the threat from cybercrime continues to rise, businesses and organizations of all types need cyber security professionals with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenge head-on and help protect critical infrastructure. That’s why the University of North Dakota is dedicated to helping you successfully transition into or advance in this growing field. We’ve designed a suite of four online cyber security graduate certificates, each focused on developing your skills in specific areas.
Our certificates include:
- Computer Forensics
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Ethical Hacking
- Secure Networks
The nine credits you receive from completing your graduate certificate can also be applied toward our online Master of Science in Cyber Security program. So, if you decide to earn your full master’s at a future date, you’ll already have 25% of the 36 credits needed to graduate.
Prepare for key industry certifications.
Regardless of which certificate you choose, our program can position you to take the next step in your career and gain a professional edge. Coursework provides you with the knowledge and skills to sit for the following industry certification exams:
- Computer Forensics certificate: EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) certification
- Cyber Security Analyst certificate: EC-Council Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) certification
- Ethical Hacking certificate: EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification
- Secure Networks certificate: Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification
Cyber Security Career Opportunities
Although the benefits of a career in cyber security go beyond a paycheck, it’s helpful to know the financial stability you may anticipate. Cyber security professionals report a median annual wage of $102,600, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s nearly three times the national median income for full-time wage and salary workers.
Here is a sample of jobs in the cyber security field, along with median salaries.
Median salary: $150,009 (ZipRecruiter.com)
Cryptographers play a key role protecting data by developing ciphers, algorithms and security systems to encrypt sensitive information. They also find weaknesses in security systems and come up with ways to combat them. Cryptographers help make it safer for people to conduct tasks such as online shopping or sending private emails.
Because their work is so crucial to keeping the economy running smoothly, cryptographers are highly sought after in a wide range of organizations, including government agencies and Fortune 500 companies and businesses in the healthcare, insurance and finance sectors.
A cryptographer’s responsibilities might include:
- Designing mathematical models to analyze data and solve security problems
- Testing models for reliability and accuracy
- Detecting vulnerabilities in computing systems
- Decoding messages for military, political and law enforcement agencies
Median salary: $118,290 (Glassdoor.com)
E-commerce. Social media. News and entertainment. No matter the online destination, it always leaves a digital footprint. Data scientists turn that treasure trove of information into actionable data that can be used for business strategy.
Their primary job is to analyze large sets of unstructured data to look for trends, create statistical models, find patterns and uncover key insights based on that information. This information is later used to create algorithms and data modeling to forecast human behavior.
The roles and responsibilities of a data scientist can include:
- Improving the quality of data through machine learning techniques
- Creating algorithms and data models to forecast outcomes
- Discovering trends and patterns through data analysis
- Delivering data-based recommendations to management and other stakeholders
Median salary: $103,583 (Salary.com)
Ethical hackers enhance the security of computer systems and servers by testing for vulnerabilities and finding fixes for the issues they uncover. In doing so, they can expose weaknesses in an organization’s technology infrastructure before malicious hackers find them.
These professionals often work directly for an organization that handles sensitive data, or for a firm that offers ethical hacking as a service.
An ethical hacker’s roles and responsibilities may include:
- Attempting to hack a system, website or network to assess vulnerability
- Researching, documenting and discussing security findings with management and IT teams
- Maintaining the secrecy of findings and adhering to the conditions of non-disclosure agreements
- Staying current on the latest hacking techniques
Information Security Analyst
Median salary: $102,600 (BLS)
Information security analysts help plan and lead the efforts to protect an organization’s systems and computer networks. They play a role in designing and implementing disaster recovery plans, helping minimize damage and keep operations running smoothly.
Typical responsibilities associated with this job might include:
- Monitoring networks for security breaches and investigating when one occurs
- Maintaining software, such as firewalls and data encryption programs, to protect sensitive information
- Checking for vulnerabilities in computer and network systems
- Staying current on the latest information technology (IT) security trends
Information Systems Manager
Median salary: $159,010 (BLS)
A team of cyber security analysts and other IT professionals maintain the integrity of system networks and important infrastructure. But running a team of talented individuals is often the responsibility of an information systems manager.
In this leadership position, their primary role is to design and establish a series of safeguards and protocols that monitor information systems, protect them from outside intrusion and ensure their maintenance through frequent upgrades.
These individuals most often work for larger organizations, where a data breach could lead to catastrophic losses.
The role of an information systems manager typically includes:
- Ensuring the security of an organization’s network and electronic documents
- Assessing the costs and benefits of new projects to determine which one should be implemented and in what order
- Making recommendations on ways an organization can upgrade its computer systems
- Hiring, mentoring and supervising staff of IT professionals
Median salary: $118,002 (ZipRecruiter.com)
A penetration tester proves that the best defense is a good offense. In this role, their primary function is to engage in simulated cyber-attacks to test for security weaknesses and vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.
This position requires you to “think like a hacker,” with forensic and investigative skills that are critical toward deconstructing code and developing techniques that can bypass firewalls and other infrastructure.
Writing reports and communicating their findings in everyday language — often to C-suite members who are not familiar with technical language — is another aspect of the position.
A penetration tester’s job can include:
- Testing defensive mechanisms in an organization.
- Conducting assessments on a wide range of systems using automated tools and manual techniques.
- Developing methodologies to enhance testing processes.
- Communicating findings to management and recommending fixes to issues that are discovered.
Median salary: $116,482 (Glassdoor.com)
Security engineers, also called cyber security engineers, develop strategies to help prevent cybercrime. They do this by designing systems, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems, to defend against everything from cyber-attacks to leaks to natural disasters. They can work in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, insurance, finance and education.
The duties of a security engineer might include:
- Creating security standards and best practices
- Finding ways to improve security protocols
- Recommending security enhancements to management
- Testing and implementing security solutions
- Leading incident response teams
Security Software Developer
Median salary: $119,118 (ZipRecruiter.com)
Cyber-attacks are intense, and the automated threat response may have only milliseconds to respond. Ensuring systems are capable of fending off attacks is why security software developers are increasingly in demand. They are primarily responsible for designing security protections against viruses, malware and other threats. This involves incorporating threat-detecting protocols directly into the code of software applications.
This growing sector of the IT industry relies heavily on individuals who can strategically analyze threats in advance. They must also possess the knowledge to design the appropriate countermeasures that can be deployed during an attack.
Duties and responsibilities required for this position include:
- Analyzing software to identify and resolve potential security issues
- Understanding the threats posed to connected devices
- Anticipating threats to connected devices prior to release of software
- Performing testing and assessment to ensure results are as anticipated
- Integrating security protocols into existing software and applications
Our program fits any career path.
Whether you’re ready for a career shift or a step up, you can take your skills to any industry when you specialize in cyber security.
“If any college student asked me what career would most assure 30 years of steady, well-paying employment, I would respond, ‘cyber security.’”
— Alec Ross, Author of The Industries of the Future
The United States has a shortage of qualified cyber security experts. But for professionals like you who are already in the industry, this is your opportunity to specialize your expertise and prepare to advance in your career.
Whether you’ve been in the cyber security industry for one year or a decade, you know the landscape is always evolving. The pressure is high for firms to hire quality talent who are prepared to lead the fight against cybercrime. That talent is you.
Transitioning from one career to another is a big decision, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a tough one. Consider our online cyber security graduate certificates and join a field with opportunities in every industry — from retail and finance to manufacturing and healthcare.
You don’t need to be an expert in technology, math or science. You don’t even need a background in cyber security. All you really need is the desire to impact your community and the certificate to help you do it.