Learn information security with online courses and programs
What is information security?
Information security, sometimes referred to as InfoSec, is a growing priority among organizations as more personal and business data is collected, stored, and analyzed. Private information and data is used for a wide range of digital activities, from online banking to scheduling medical appointments, making online users vulnerable to identity theft and fraud.
To keep information safe, organizations rely on experts in information security who have specialized training in how to prevent and address system breaches. When information is inappropriately accessed, modified, disrupted or destroyed, professionals in this field set out to uncover the vulnerabilities in computer networks and other technology and shore up the security systems in place.
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Why learn information security
Both the use of cloud services and the number of cybersecurity threats are increasing simultaneously. Organizations need experts with information security training to design solutions that prevent data breaches and other security issues.Footnote 1 Nearly every field and every organization has private data that needs to be protected about topics such as their customers or members, employees, finances, partners or vendors, and trade secrets. Failing to protect that information can have dire consequences for any organization.
Information security course curriculum
While it’s possible for people to have careers in information security with a high school diploma and a professional certificate after completing information security training, analysts in the field typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology (IT), engineering, or math.Footnote 2
Individuals who wish to build their skills and advance their careers can enroll in information security programs that cover topics such as network and security foundations, IT foundations, introduction to cybersecurity, Python scripting, penetration testing, and cloud computing security.
Experts in information security can also become a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), which is granted by the (ISC)Footnote 2, originally founded as the International Information System Security Certification Consortium.Footnote 3 Degree programs and independent information security training courses offered by edX can be helpful for professionals who want to prepare to become a CISSP.
Information security jobs
Careers in information security include a range of occupations and roles, each with their own necessary skills and specializations. Information security professionals who have completed their bachelor’s degree or master’s degree may find their educational experience gives them an advantage in the InfoSec job market. Some of their professional responsibilities can include:
Information security engineer: develops and runs the implementation of procedures and policies; builds, supports, and upgrades security technology; and monitors and addresses vulnerabilities that can lead to security breaches, viruses, and other technical issues.Footnote 4
Information security analyst: monitors and investigates network security breaches, uses and maintains firewalls and cryptography programs that protect sensitive information, and helps computer users when they need to install or learn about security products and procedures.Footnote 5
Computer and information systems manager: plans, oversees, and guides an organization’s computer-related activities; ensures the security of the computer network and electronic documents; and coordinates the work of other information technology professionals.Footnote 6
Database administrator: manages, tests, and implements an organization’s databases; identifies, investigates, and fixes database performance problems; and coordinates and implements security measures to protect access to databases and sensitive information.Footnote 7
Network and computer systems administrator: oversees the daily operations of an organization’s computer network; installs hardware and software; adds and trains new users, assigning their security permissions; and maintains network security, upgrading security permissions as needed.Footnote 8
How to become an information security analyst online
A variety of online courses from edX can lead to degrees and certificates, which can help learners prepare for careers in information security.
While some information security analysts can enter the field with a high school diploma and relevant training and certificates, they typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology or a related field in order to meet the needs of modern employers.Footnote 9 Alternatively, some professionals with existing technical experience may supplement their knowledge through an online boot camp. To advance their InfoSec careers, professionals may consider pursuing a master’s degree in data or computer science.
Some employers prefer to hire job candidates with a professional certificate, which can help prove an applicant’s standard foundation of institutional knowledge. Certifications can vary depending on the employee’s role and the organization’s needs.