Cyber space under lock and key
THE Internet is part and parcel of our daily lives. But being constantly connected increases the risk of online theft and fraud. Cyber crime is a growing problem that affects citizens, companies and industries worldwide. Hackers, computer viruses, loss of data, etc. have affected our lives more than we could have ever imagined. The increased use of digital applications means increased opportunities of cyber crime. In a world where interconnectivity is high and technological devices are becoming ever-present, the effort to maintain network security is enormous. It also means that the demand for experts specializing in managing and supervising cyber threats and securing the system is increasing by the day.
Cyber security curriculum prepares students to protect computers and secure data from unauthorized access and change, and illegal damage. The subject focuses on the technologies, techniques and working procedures that safeguard the availability and confidentiality of information and information systems. The lessons help develop professional, systematic and effective operational skills in the technical area of cyber security. These courses introduce students to basic security problems that arise in the design, testing, and execution of network systems. A more in-depth study allows students to look into broader areas where they may wish to apply the basic skills.
Cyber security is also called Information Technology Security, Network Security or Computer Security. In the UK, colleges / universities will provide an undergraduate (B.Sc) degree or a post graduate (MSc) degree. The former may be available as an honors degree in some institutions.
The undergraduate degrees are generally of three year duration and some institutions may have an optional placement year after the second year. This will have to be checked with the university before applying. Master’s degrees usually last a year.
Eligibility and course fee
To enroll for an undergraduate degree in UK, applicants will need to show marks/ grades of class 11 and 12. For a master’s degree application, students will need to have an undergraduate degree, preferably in Computer Science or a related discipline. Relevant work experience may be considered by some universities while applying for master’s courses.
Applicants will also need to prove that they are proficient in English. IELTS is accepted widely in UK and some colleges/ universities will also accept TOEFL. Additional documents may include a personal statement and letters of reference.
The fees for undergraduate degrees range between £11000 and 12500 per year and for post graduate degrees, it is £14000 and 23000.
Scholarships are available for international students, but the eligibility requirements will vary in different universities and should be verified before applying. Applicants will be expected to have and maintain an excellent academic record throughout the period of study.
Trained professionals in this field can work as network security systems manager, network security administrator/ engineer, web security auditor, application security tester, ethical hacker, etc. One can also start their own venture and provide security solutions to various industries, companies and even government organizations. Cyber security experts are needed in banks, law enforcement, emergency response systems, defense services, airlines and the hotel sector.
Internet threats like data hackings, identity thefts, privacy breaches and technical disruptions could overturn our lives, if not checked in time. These threats increase daily in number and complexity. Therefore the demand for cyber security specialists also grows day by day and gives students the opportunity to apply the concepts and tools learnt through coursework in the real world.