Choosing the Right Online Bachelor’s in Cyber Security
When it comes to online BS programs in cyber security, it pays to choose wisely. Distance learning is progressing, but there are still a number of bachelor’s degrees with mediocre teaching and outdated technologies. Before you sign on the dotted line:
- Make sure there is rigorous training in foundation skills. This means technical, hands-on work with real relevance to what’s happening in the private sector. Employers want to see BS candidates who know IT from the ground up.
- Discover who your teachers will be. This is especially important in an online setting, since you may need extra support and encouragement on the technical side. Do your professors have experience in the private sector or government (e.g. FBI, CIA, etc.)? Have they received education awards? How much time have they spent in online teaching?
- Ask to view a course demo. Look for programs that give you constant access to your professors and the chance to work with other students. Cyber security is built on business communication.
- Examine rankings & reviews. You might consider schools that do well in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and/or Best Online Graduate Computer IT Programs, or our own rankings of the best online Cyber Security Bachelor’s degrees. Or you can try searching Quora for reviews or contacting alumni through LinkedIn for their opinions. Alumni can also tell you what kinds of jobs they found after graduation.
- Learn whether your school is designated CAE IA/CD. You don’t have to go to a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity school—many strong programs have opted out of the process—but it’s a useful benchmark of quality.
Things to Look For
Once you have a few finalists, you can start to compare their strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few questions to ask:
- Labs: Does the BS include virtual labs where you can work on real-world projects (e.g. hack attacks)?
- Certifications: What early-career professional certifications (e.g. Security+) does the program prepare you for?
- Portfolio: Is there a capstone project in your senior year? Can you build an online portfolio to show employers?
- Networking: Does the school arrange internships in your local area? Do they help you attend conferences & meetings? Do they give you a chance to visit campus and meet your fellow students?
- Employment: What is the job placement rate for online students? How does the program connect you to employers?
All Online Bachelor in Cyber Security Programs
Below are all the matching online programs we found in our directory, from US schools.