The Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity degree program at Florida Tech equips students with the advanced skills needed to stop a growing list of security risks facing corporate, government and military institutions. This includes identity and intellectual property theft, threats to infrastructure security and unlawful access to personal information.
Course components cover a range of topics from high-level company policy security issues to technical aspects, such as verifying the contents of memory. Students may pursue the Information assurance and cybersecurity degree on campus or through interactive online learning.
Many of Florida Tech's programs are interdisciplinary and the information assurance and cybersecurity degree is no different, giving students an opportunity to work with faculty and students from a variety of disciplines.
Many graduate students are already industry professionals, so the learning environment is mature, cooperative and designed for collaborative study. The program is closely associated with the Harris Institute for Assured Information – an interdisciplinary center that brings together computer science, psychology, business and biology to provide the most up-to-date information and research in computer security.
Designated by the Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Florida Tech's information assurance and cybersecurity degree curriculum focuses on fundamental skills for addressing the various threats cybersecurity professionals not only face today, but also will confront in the future. This includes:
Threats, vulnerabilities and different security architectures
Attack models, forensics and operations processes
Operating system security mechanisms and the secure and unsecure features of those systems
Communications model and communications encryption
Data mining and machine learning methods to cybersecurity scenarios
Biometric technology and the privacy and legal issues surrounding it
Implementing security strategies in new technology and protecting assets against attack
Designated by the Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Florida Tech's information assurance program curriculum focuses on fundamental skills for addressing the various threats cybersecurity professionals not only face today, but also will confront in the future.
Students in this master's level information assurance program learn from a community of cybersecurity thought-leaders and benefit from modern facilities fitted with the latest technology. Florida Tech's location on the Space Coast's high-tech corridor also positions students to interact with some of the most respected names in technology, such as NASA, Harris Corp. and DRS.
There are several options for someone with a graduate degree in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity depending on their interests and background. For example, someone entering this information assurance program with a B.S. degree in a field such as computer science or computer engineering could use a specialized information assurance program to become a software engineer or architect with a focus on security.
With a culture consisting of students who may already be working professionals, professors who infuse real-world experience to the curriculum and an international student base with diverse science, engineering and technology backgrounds, graduates develop a unique blend of technology, engineering and business expertise that sets them up for success. This information assurance program touches on all the important topics in the field of cybersecurity including attack models, security architectures, protection strategies, legal issues and security mechanisms.
Because of the small student-to-teacher ratio, there is a close and more professional connection between students and teachers at Florida Tech. The faculty brings years of experience to the classroom, both in academia and industry. Many of the professors maintain active research programs in the field and provide students seeking an information assurance and cybersecurity degree a real-world understanding of the career and the issues experts face dealing with the actions of illegal cyber criminals.
Florida Tech's research university status ensures that students have the tools and facilities they need to conduct research in their preferred area of study. Florida Tech's advanced research centers and laboratories are home to essential engineering equipment and software for such projects as behavioral virus detection, spyware resistance, virtual keyboards and more.
Through the Harris Institute for Assured Information, students are provided with many beneficial research opportunities that reinforce and test the skills learned through an information assurance program like this.
The mission of the Institute includes education, research and training, striving to enrich the lives of the students at Florida Tech, achieve excellence in teaching in order to prepare students to have successful careers and create "hands on" research that has the potential for real-world impact. Through their active research projects (that often involves graduate students), professors publish journal articles and conference papers on topics such as Elsevier Computers and Security, ACSAC, Virus Bulletin Conference, Security and Privacy, and the New Security Paradigms Workshop.
Graduates of an information assurance program like the M.S. in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity at Florida Tech are immediately ready to step into leading work teams in high-tech firms or advance in their current position. Threat Intelligence Analyst, Computer Network Defense Engineer, or Cybercrime Technology Director – these are the type of careers graduates can look forward to with a Master's in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity.
Florida Tech makes sure that graduates are better prepared for their career by incorporating hands-on experience into each degree program. Mentorship from professors (who are themselves experienced scientists, engineers and technology leaders), insight from business leaders in the area, participation in research projects, and even an information assurance and cybersecurity internship, makes graduates more valuable prospects to hire who are also more prepared to lead.
Students tackle problems and challenges that are not merely theoretical in nature, but that are practical issues regularly encountered in the industry. Through the Harris Institute for Assured Information, (and led by an expert team of faculty members), students find beneficial research opportunities that reinforce and test the skills they learn in the program.
The Harris Institute for Assured Information adds a new dimension to academic research, creating high-risk, high-reward research projects that are academically rigorous, innovative and directly applicable in the marketplace. Founded in 2009, the institute brings together computer science, psychology, business and biology disciplines in cutting-edge computer security research aimed at finding and solving problems.
Each member of the Institute is not only an expert in their own field, but is also aware of the interdependencies among the disciplines. The Institute provides the perfect environment to help cut across different subjects, allowing students to seek pragmatic solutions in research and work outside of the laboratory through an information assurance and cybersecurity internship.
Research at the Institute happens in one of two ways:
A small team of professors leads both undergraduates and graduates in research or information assurance and cybersecurity internship projects. In addition to Florida Tech's resources, the university actively collaborates with the Institute for Human Machine Cognition in Pensacola & Ocala Florida.
Previous research projects include:
Advanced expertise in information assurance and cybersecurity is in demand. Information assurance and cybersecurity covers a broad spectrum in private companies, government entities and military institutions around the world. Individuals that choose this career will find their knowledge and job duties frequently changing in order to keep up with constant changes in security and cyber attack tactics in order to protect an organization's computer networks and systems.
Students who graduate with a master's degree in information assurance and cybersecurity from Florida Tech are likely to use their expertise in information assurance jobs to:
Research and plan security strategies and carry out implementation
Establish emergency protocols
Monitor their organization's networks for security breaches, investigate the system when one occurs and respond to prevent further attacks
Manage software installs, firewalls and data encryption programs
Conduct penetration testing and analyze the results to further improve safeguards in place
Research the computer environment to be aware of threats and how to combat cyber attacks
Manage a disaster recovery plan
Cybersecurity and information assurance jobs are projected to grow 37 percent from 2012 – 2022 – much faster than most occupations. This demand is driven by the frequency and sophistication of cyber attackers who continue to develop and adapt ways to steal personal information, infiltrate corporate networks, divert financial transactions and corrupt the equipment of anyone using a computer network. In addition, an increase in cloud computing and mobile platforms demands companies consult with or employ computer security experts. Experts in cybersecurity will also find information assurance jobs in areas where privacy is critical such as healthcare, government, and the military.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides detailed information about hundreds of occupations, including, desired education, overall working environment and employment prospects. Check the handbook about information assurance and cybersecurity jobs.
Computer Security Specialist
Computer Forensic Investigator
Computer Network Defense Engineer
Threat Intelligence Analyst
Security Operations Manager
Cybercrime Technology Director
Chief Information Security Officer
Similar jobs might include:
Computer and information research scientist
Computer Network Architects
Salaries for information assurance jobs or positions in cybersecurity vary widely depending on location, job title and industry. Information assurance and cybersecurity experts are most often found in finance and insurance, information technology, computer systems design and management of private companies.
Entry-level salary projections reported by PayScale.com do not list cybersecurity specifically, but the list does show information technology and information systems with entry-level salaries starting at $49,700 and $50,900 respectively. These careers have an opportunity to grow to $81,300 and $86,700 respectively.
PayScale.com is an online salary information company that provides accurate real-time information on job market compensation.