Cyber Security degree vs Computer Science degree. Help!!!

auggie15

New Member
Okay, college question for you.....our family has a college freshman this upcoming fall. Has been accepted and was planning to complete Cyber Security AA degree at College of Southern Maryland. Would like to continue and transfer to a 4 year state school for bachelors degree in Cyber Securities after CSM. Possibly UMUC? (I don't think any other Md state schools have just Cyber Bachelors besides UMUC?) Have been doing preliminary internet reading and research. There seems to be quite a few arguments about attaining a cyber bachelors degree. On one hand the cyber job market is exploding. However, many articles on the net, written by CS specialists, feel that a Cyber Securities bachelors in extremely limiting. They propose that a more general CS degree with some cyber internships and specialized cyber classes is much better suited for a young person just starting out. Help! Can anyone in the CS field shed any light on this please? Pros and Cons. Thoughts on Cyber AA degree at CSM, the quality of program, professors, etc? Any and all insight would be appreciated!!! Thanks!
 

PeoplesElbow

Well-Known Member
Computer Science degree will definitely be more flexible and it doesn't preclude someone from working in cyber security.

Don't want to sound negative but let then get through their freshman year, most science type majors change direction after their first year or two.

Freshman year is probably damn near identical btw so don't sweat it. It probably isn't even very different from say a Chemistry majors freshman year. Math, freshman chemistry, English comp, an elective, and a computer class most likely the first semester.
 
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officeguy

Well-Known Member
Straight CS, hands down. Go to grad school for the cyborg thing after you land your first job.
Cyber is a subset of CS, why pigeonhole yourself from the getgo. I also believe that 10 years from now it will be a dated term.
 

Makavide

Not too talkative
Go for the computer science degree then graduate degree in cyber security. The government has a scholarship program for cyber security CyberCorps (R): Scholarship For Service (SFS)

Basically it is a program to get students into an "ethical hacking" program. Trains them to defend systems networks and such.

It is available at select schools around the country (UMBC is on the list), paying for either the last two years of an undergraduate program or for a Master's degree. Those students selected get tuition and books plus a stipend (amount based on which degree program). The government does ask for a minimum of two years government agency service as payback. I understand that down here in Pax River they are hiring any graduate, from this program, they can get their hands on (which isn't enough).
 

wubbles

Member
CyberSec degree will be easier to complete. It's something important to consider. The graduate will have little trouble finding a job with either degree but it's true there will be more options with CompSci.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Go into the service and work in IT. Get paid while you learn then have a couple of years experience working on what you learned. Bonus is the GI bill to pay for any education later.
 

black dog

Free America
PREMO Member
Go into the service and work in IT. Get paid while you learn then have a couple of years experience working on what you learned. Bonus is the GI bill to pay for any education later.
That's what i would suggest, The Army has some very good bonuses going on right now. I believe the cyber mos's are part of whats available now.
 

warneckutz

Well-Known Member
Computer Science degree will definitely be more flexible and it doesn't preclude someone from working in cyber security.

Don't want to sound negative but let then get through their freshman year, most science type majors change direction after their first year or two.

Freshman year is probably damn near identical btw so don't sweat it. It probably isn't even very different from say a Chemistry majors freshman year. Math, freshman chemistry, English comp, an elective, and a computer class most likely the first semester.
Straight CS, hands down. Go to grad school for the cyborg thing after you land your first job.
Cyber is a subset of CS, why pigeonhole yourself from the getgo. I also believe that 10 years from now it will be a dated term.
Definitely Computer Science. Everything they're saying is on point and I've only seen a handful of jobs that are extremely Cyber Security specific, in this area anyway. Get the Bachelor's in Comp. Science and then make the decision to take more college classes towards Cyber Security or do a few certification courses instead.
 

awpitt

Main Streeter
Go into the service and work in IT. Get paid while you learn then have a couple of years experience working on what you learned. Bonus is the GI bill to pay for any education later.

Nice! This is exactly what my oldest son is doing.
 

HeavyChevy75

Podunk FL
Stick with the Computer science degree and when they are done work on certifications. The Security+ certification is the foot into the door with many of the government contractor jobs even without any experience. Having just a degree in cyber security isn't enough because many of the people in the field of work have certifications which is what is desired on top of a college degree. IAT Levels in DoD are all about certifications and zilch to do with college degrees.
 

Clem72

Well-Known Member
I only saw one response that highlighted the difference in difficulty between a cyber security degree and a CS degree. It might be beneficial to let him start on the Cyber degree and if he finds it too easy then transfer to the university and likely not lose any time/credit (even Cyber specific courses should count towards some CS elective or another). If on the other hand, he finds the work challenging, then it may be an indicator that the CS degree may not be the best fit. There are also other technology/software development related degrees that won't have quite the math and science workload that a CS degree has. Not everyone needs to work on the theory end of software development, and you don't need to master combinatorics, calculus, physics, or be able to determine the algorithmic complexity of complex equations in order to be a good programmer.
 

Chris0nllyn

Well-Known Member
I only saw one response that highlighted the difference in difficulty between a cyber security degree and a CS degree. It might be beneficial to let him start on the Cyber degree and if he finds it too easy then transfer to the university and likely not lose any time/credit (even Cyber specific courses should count towards some CS elective or another). If on the other hand, he finds the work challenging, then it may be an indicator that the CS degree may not be the best fit. There are also other technology/software development related degrees that won't have quite the math and science workload that a CS degree has. Not everyone needs to work on the theory end of software development, and you don't need to master combinatorics, calculus, physics, or be able to determine the algorithmic complexity of complex equations in order to be a good programmer.
That's very true. Computer Science will be a much harder degree requiring multiple Calc courses. Calc III, Diff Eq., or Linear Algebra is a math elective in the 4th semester.
CSM offers guaranteed transfers to Capella, Excelsior, Morgan State, Notre Dame of MD, St. Mary's College, and UMUC in Computer Science.
http://catalog.csmd.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=12&poid=2763&returnto=1356

Unfortunately, there aren't many courses that overlap between Computer Science and CyberSecurity so I'm not sure how easy a transfer would be. I do know that the NSA and other agencies have come to CSM looking in the CyberSecurity program so that's always an option.
http://catalog.csmd.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=12&poid=2833&returnto=1356

CSM also offers a Computer Info Systems program which is more business focused, along with a couple different IT-related degrees and certificate programs.
http://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/not-sure/areas-of-study/information-technology/
 

itsbob

I bowl overhand
Computer Science degree will definitely be more flexible and it doesn't preclude someone from working in cyber security.

Don't want to sound negative but let then get through their freshman year, most science type majors change direction after their first year or two.

Freshman year is probably damn near identical btw so don't sweat it. It probably isn't even very different from say a Chemistry majors freshman year. Math, freshman chemistry, English comp, an elective, and a computer class most likely the first semester.
Most become Sociology and Liberal Arts majors after the 1st semester..
 

itsbob

I bowl overhand
Computer Science degree will definitely be more flexible and it doesn't preclude someone from working in cyber security.

Don't want to sound negative but let then get through their freshman year, most science type majors change direction after their first year or two.

Freshman year is probably damn near identical btw so don't sweat it. It probably isn't even very different from say a Chemistry majors freshman year. Math, freshman chemistry, English comp, an elective, and a computer class most likely the first semester.
Most become Sociology and Liberal Arts majors after the 1st semester..
 

Smith

Member
Computer Science is the IT version of General Studies. Cyber Security is extremely important to companies, and is becoming more of a factor as cloud computing is being increasingly leveraged.
 

officeguy

Well-Known Member
Computer Science is the IT version of General Studies. Cyber Security is extremely important to companies, and is becoming more of a factor as cloud computing is being increasingly leveraged.
CS is the ASME master mechanic. Cyber Security is oil-change tech at jiffy lube.
 

itsbob

I bowl overhand
But to answer the OP..

CompSci is the way to go.. The harder the major the better the payout (normally).

You can work your tail off, get your CS degree, and then (if you want) go get all your security certifications, which you can do without a degree, In fact I'd bet if you got your degree in Cyber Security, it will not come with the needed certifications, and you'd still need to get all the training required to get your certifications before you become employable.

A CS degree will open MANY more doors and many more opportunities than an IT, IS or Cyber Security degree will.. and you can always do CompSci with an emphasis or minor in Cyber Security.

And yes, I have a CompSci degree.. I had NO inclination to do anything related to Cyber Security or IA.
 

itsbob

I bowl overhand
Computer Science is the IT version of General Studies. Cyber Security is extremely important to companies, and is becoming more of a factor as cloud computing is being increasingly leveraged.
Have to ask.. you got your CS degree from where? IT version of General Studies?? Seriously??
 
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