Where Does the Term "Cybersecurity" Come From?
The term cybersecurity will probably soon seem as quaint and outdated as words like “telegraph,” “Dictaphone,” and “Zip Disks.” At one time the prefix “cyber” suggested something almost menacing and unknowable. The word is nearly three decades old; its roots are even older. Yet thousands of highly trained cybersecurity professionals do not for one instant consider themselves antiquated, outdated, or unneeded. The work they do, with graceful roots back to the 1940s, is vital to this day.
In 1989, according to Gizmodo, a word entered the English lexicon: cybersecurity. It wasn’t widespread, but built toward a trend peaking in the 1990s in which adding “cyber” made anything seem futuristic and more interesting:
These all sat atop a wobbly tower built on a flimsy foundation of the word “cybernetics,” dating back to 1948, itself coined using a Greek word, kubernetes, meaning a steersman, or someone who guides (politically or aquatically) inexperienced passengers, according to Oxford Dictionaries.
Cybersecurity is the safeguarding of electronic information, whether in standalone computers, intracompany networks, the World Wide Web, or storage media. You protect cyberspace from cyber-bullies and cyber thieves using cybersecurity.
Can I Earn a Living?
The dust and excitement of 1990s internet has settled; people use and interact with the electronic superhighway so seamlessly they hardly think of it as an adventure. Part of our comfort with cyberspace is due to the everyday work of cybersecurity professionals, preventing theft of data more valuable than gold:
- Social Security numbers
- Medical records
- Criminal backgrounds
- Financial account information
With so much value locked up in all those 0s and 1s, companies are happy to pay top dollar to hire specialists to patrol cyberspace. How much money? Can you earn a living on par with, say, working at a convenience store?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks salaries for every job in America. For data security professionals (cybersecurity technicians, executives, and the like), the field is booming. Consider a few cybernumbers (okay, we made that one up):
- 2016 median pay for information security analysts — $92,600
- Expected job growth — 28 percent growth from 2016 to 2026
- Total number of information security analysts needed by 2026 — 128,500
The field of cybersecurity, growing in demand at a double-digit pace, has what could only be called cyberjobsecurity (yeah, we made that one up, too). Yet not everybody is cut out to be a cybersecurity specialist.
What Kind of Personality Flourishes?
If you are endlessly curious, enjoy challenges, like to solve puzzles and theoretical problems, then cybersecurity is for you. If you enjoy the company of sharp-minded people, helping others, and feeling appreciated for your skills, cybersecurity is also for you. According to the BLS, the following traits are beneficial to working as a cybersecurity specialist:
- Laser-like focus
- Passion for learning
- Appreciation of technology
You also need presentation skills, some basic business psychology, and a sense of self-worth that can stand a little early-career buffeting. Positions are, according to Candy Alexander, cybersecurity consultant, “extremely difficult at the entry level, because many job openings require 1 to 3 years of experience.”
Where Can I Get Training?
Successful cybersecurity specialists, information security analysts, and cybersecurity consultants rise up from lower positions by increasing their abilities, earning IT certifications such as the “gold standard” CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). A recent survey by Information Systems Security Association International (ISSA) found respondents citing 71 different IT certifications. The possibilities are nearly limitless.
Strong foundational training, combining basic business skills with computer science, can help anyone begin the climb from entry-level position in IT to the narrow niches of cybersecurity. Almost nobody makes the leap from undergraduate to cybersecurity directly, as nearly all cybersecurity positions, says Alexander, require at least one to three years’ experience. You cannot get that working as an undergraduate; you earn it by getting into IT and then into cybersecurity.
Finding a well-rounded undergraduate education in cybersecurity is a challenge. You need a program that is responsive to today’s climate while also anticipating rapid developments. You need good core classes in business communication, and office psychology. You need mathematics, science, and cultural awareness. In addition to all that, you need real computer science classes like these:
- Cloud Solutions
- Operating Systems
Are you interested in the world of cybersecurity? If you want to earn a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Science with a Major in Cyber and Network Security - Cybersecurity Track, ECPI University offers this program at an accelerated course of study. For more information, connect with a friendly admissions advisor today.
It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!
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Gainful Employment Information – Cybersecurity Track - Bachelor's