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Is Cyber Security Hard to Learn?

By DeVry University

December 14, 2021

4 min read

Cyber security is the information security discipline crucial to safeguarding the data systems that many public and private-sector organizations depend on. It also represents an opportunity for those who want to build a career in this specialized area of information technology.

You may have wondered: Is cyber security hard to learn? Rest assured that with the right training and hands-on education, you can certainly learn the skills you need to prepare to enter this field.

In this article, you'll have the chance to explore some of the prerequisites for a career in cyber security, get a sense of the skills you may need to work in this field and explore the different ways to pursue a cyber security career as we move through the following sections:

How You Can Learn Cyber Security

You may think cyber security would be difficult to learn because the field is relatively new, or because it relies on modern technologies. If you’re interested in the information technology industry, it’s likely that while you’re asking, “is cyber security hard?” your inherent eagerness to learn new technologies may be compelling you to find out for yourself.

What education is required to enter the field? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it’s helpful to have a bachelor's degree, as that is typically the minimum requirement for a majority of cyber security positions. Some employers, however, may hire you for certain cyber security-related roles with a Cyber Security Undergraduate Certificate and relevant work experience. The education you need to pursue a career in cyber security or cyber security programming will depend on which career path interests you the most. Online cyber security degree programs like the ones offered here at DeVry University make it easier than ever to take the first step toward earning your degree in this dynamic field.

What is the level of demand for cyber security professionals?

The BLS predicts demand for information security analysts (that’s the occupational category cyber security professionals fall under) to grow 35% through 2031, a rate that is much faster than the average for all occupations. This includes about 19,500 job opening in the category each year, on average, over this period.1 This growth is projected on a national level and local growth will vary by location. This projection is not specific to DeVry University graduates and may include earners at all stages of their careers.

The BLS attributes this growth to the following:

  • Organizations will need information security analysts to secure new technologies from cyberattacks as part of an effort to strengthen their focus on cyber security and minimize data security risks. 

  • The need for enhanced security has been heightened due to the rise of e-commerce and a shift by many employers from an on-site work environment to remote work.

  • Cyber attacks involving theft of critical information or ransomware have grown in frequency.

  • The fields of digital health services and telehealth have experienced strong growth and this is expected to increase data security risks for healthcare providers who need to safeguard patients’ healthcare data. 

What Skills are Needed in Cyber Security?

To be a cyber security professional, you'll need to develop a wide range of technical skills. It may also help to have a variety of soft skills that can help you perform basic job duties and interact with coworkers. Some of the field-related skills you may need as a cyber security professional are:

  • Programming: While you may not have to be a coding wizard to perform most cyber security jobs, a basic knowledge of programming is essential. A good eye for programming can help you identify issues with software and can even help you pinpoint cyber threats in incoming files by observing their code.

  • Software comprehension: A large part of cyber security is choosing and deploying the correct software. To do this, you'll need to have a clear comprehension of how different software work and interact with one another.

  • Network security: This is a must-have cyber security skill because of the need to understand how networks and their components operate and how to defend them.

  • Firewalls: Firewalls are among the most important technologies used by cyber security professionals. They analyze data that goes in and out of a network in order to secure it from a potential attack.

  • Communication skills: As much as cyber security is a technology field, clear communication skills are essential to the job. You may need to do a lot of writing or give presentations to company leaders. In higher-level cyber security jobs, you'll need to clearly communicate with an entire team.

  • Analytical skills: Much of cyber security deals with analysis more than action. You'll have to continually look over your own work and networks to ensure that you do not have any areas of weakness in the security that you have developed. You'll also need to research new technologies and analyze the ways that they might improve your existing security.

  • Attention to detail: Attention to detail is useful in any profession but especially in cyber security. By paying attention to the ever-changing world of technology, as well as close attention to your own systems, you'll be able to better identify threats and potential improvements.

How to Succeed in Cyber Security

1. Earn a Cyber Security Certificate or Degree

The first step in your journey to build a career in cyber security is education. At DeVry, we offer several options for aspiring cyber defenders, depending on your level of industry experience and personal preferences.

Our Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security could be a good choice if you work in the technology field and want to expand your knowledge in the cyber security specialty, or if you’re looking to break into the industry for the first time, but feel you can’t take the time required to complete a bachelor’s degree program.

In this program, you’ll learn to protect and defend information systems by understanding cyberthreats, developing countermeasures and designing security processes. You’ll also gain the knowledge and skills to build defense systems to protect applications, systems and networks from hackers.

Our 14-course program can be completed in 1 year and 4 months, or even faster with approved transfer credits,2 and prepare you to pursue entry-level roles such as network systems administrator, cyber security specialist, information security analyst and others.

If you’re ready for a more in-depth cyber security program, pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Cyber Security. At DeVry, our online bachelor’s degree specialization in Cyber Security will help you develop interdisciplinary skills in programming, operating systems, connectivity and security that are essential for today’s IoT economy and prepare you to pursue industry-recognized certifications.

Coursework covers wired, optical and wireless communications, ethical hacking, network security testing, information systems security planning and more. In addition to technical skills, public speaking, principles of economics and other non-technical topics make for a well-rounded education and can help refine your workplace skills.

Graduates of this bachelor’s degree specialization may consider career opportunities like computer systems analyst, security analyst, penetration tester (ethical hacker), vulnerability assessor and more.

2. Learn Ethical Hacking

Ethical hacking, which is also known more formally as penetration testing, is an important skill in cyber security because it has proven itself as an effective way to test an organization’s data safeguards. Ethical hackers are often called “White Hat” hackers because they are the good guys, mimicking the methods used by malicious hackers to uncover cyber security vulnerabilities. Ethical hacking can be used to test password strength and the validity of protocols, penetration test following application updates or security patches and ensure the privacy of data communication channels.

The curriculum in our online Bachelor’s Degree Specialization in Cyber Security includes ethical hacking and can help you discover the methods behind cyberattacks and how to build defenses that protect networks, applications and devices from hackers. 

3. Pursue Professional Certifications

Industry-recognized certifications in cyber security are intended to validate your skills and may be required by employers looking to hire IT professionals in various cyber security roles. Depending on the program you choose, our cyber security certificate and degree programs may help you prepare to pursue a cyber security certification path that may include entry and intermediate-level credentials like:

  • CompTIA Security+: This certification verifies the skills and knowledge to install and configure systems used to secure networks, applications and mobile devices. Cyber security professionals with this credential have demonstrated the ability to assess the security posture of a network and recommend and implement appropriate security solutions. They can also identify and respond to security events.

  • CompTIA A+: This basic certification verifies skills in troubleshooting, hardware and operating systems.

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (ECH): This certification from EC Council is based on 5 phases of penetration testing.  Candidates build skills and gain experience with more than 500 unique attack techniques and hands-on labs.

  • CompTIA PenTest+: This intermediate-level certification measures skills in vulnerability assessment and network penetration testing.

  • CompTIA CySA+: This intermediate-level certification is for cyber security analysts, and measures proficiency in analytics, intrusion detection and response to threats.

  • CompTIA Network+: Network+ certifies your knowledge and proficiency with emerging technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things.

4. Keep Building Your Skills

Once you’ve established yourself as a cyber security beginner, continued success may depend on your ability to adopt a mindset of lifelong learning as you continue to polish your cyber security skills. Here are a few reasons why:

  • The technologies related to cyber security and safeguarding networks, applications, devices and more are always evolving. Your skills in programming, firewalls, penetration testing and other technical areas must evolve to keep pace with these changes.

  • Most certifications require continuing professional education (CPE) to maintain your credential. You will have to comply with testing and renewal requirements to keep these credentials on your resume. 

  • Don’t forget about your soft skills. Continue to develop skills like written and verbal communication, analytical thinking and attention to detail right along with your technical skills as you move up in your career.  

Interested in a Cyber Security Career?

If you’re interested in learning more about cyber security, we offer an Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology and Networking with a Cyber Security Specialization or a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems with a Cyber Security Programming Specialization, each of which can be completed 100% online and are designed to help you prepare to pursue career opportunities in this emerging field.

Classes start every 8 weeks.


2 Not including breaks. Assumes year-round, full-time enrollment.


8-Week Class Sessions

Classes Start Every 8 Weeks

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