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Choosing Your Path: Cybersecurity vs. Computer Science Degree - Which One is Right for You?

Cybersecurity vs. Computer Science: Choosing the Right Degree | WGU

Jan 21, 2023 • 4 mins read
Cybersecurity vs. Computer Science: Choosing the Right Degree | WGU
Amit Masih
Amit Masih

Cybersecurity and Computer Science are two highly valued online degree programs perfect for those seeking a path into the information technology (IT) field. Despite some similarities, these degree programs can lead to different career paths.

To choose between these two degrees, it is important to understand their differences, curriculum, career paths, and salaries. This guide will explore the differences between each degree, its curriculum, and career paths.

Bachelor's Degree in Cybersecurity

To become a cybersecurity expert, you must obtain a degree in cybersecurity that will train you to protect sensitive data and information from hackers. During the program, you will acquire a deep understanding of network operations and software systems and how to protect them from potential threats.

Most cybersecurity programs offer courses in scripting and programming, data management, systems and services, and business practices. In addition to training you to safeguard real-world data and businesses, a cybersecurity degree will also equip you to understand the present state of cyber systems.

Cybersecurity experts are needed more than ever due to the recent spike in information leaks, data breaches, and attacks by hackers and other cybercriminals. According to Cyberseek data, over 600,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions exist in the United States.

What are the Careers Paths with a Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Degree?

From 2020 to 2030, information security job growth is projected at 33%, significantly faster than the average for all other occupations. With a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity and information assurance, you can secure the following cybersecurity jobs:

Information Security Analyst
As a security analyst, you are responsible for monitoring network activity, spotting security threats, analyzing reports, and looking for unusual behavior that may indicate an attack.

IT Security Specialist

The role of a security specialist is to protect their employer and fellow employees from cyberattacks while strengthening the system to ensure it is secure from vulnerabilities.

Computer Forensic Specialist

The job of computer forensic specialists is to determine if security issues, data breaches, and other forms of cybercrime have occurred.

IT Auditor

Organizations hire security auditors to conduct audits that analyze all the security measures and information safeguards they have in place to ensure they are effective and secure.

Security Systems Administrator

Security systems administrators install, maintain, and troubleshoot security solutions for organizations.

Penetration Tester

A penetration tester is a security team member who analyzes an organization's network system vulnerabilities and issues so that hackers cannot steal sensitive information.


The role of a cryptographer is to write encrypted code for data protection.

Average Salary in the Cybersecurity Field

The cybersecurity field has a relatively high salary, as qualified professionals are in high demand. Due to the increase in cyber threats that organizations and companies face, professional cybersecurity specialists are in high demand. Companies are willing to pay a high salary for qualified professionals to protect their data and other assets.

Take a quick look at the salary potential of a cybersecurity professional:

  • Information Security Analyst - $102,600
  • IT Security Specialist - $71,919
  • Computer Forensic Specialist - $74,798
  • IT Auditor - $101,818
  • Security Systems Administrator - $81,230
  • Cryptographer - $145,356
  • Penetration Tester - $116,166

Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science

A computer science degree involves the study of computers and programming languages. The degree pathway will provide you with the technical skills and knowledge needed to develop software, design websites, manage databases, and more if you are looking for a career in complex code, new technologies, and computer software.

Choosing a computer science degree will allow you to learn how to analyze algorithms, use data structures, a program in programming languages, analyze artificial intelligence, generate robotics, and develop human-computer communication skills.

A computer science degree focuses more on the building blocks of computers than computer vulnerabilities and how to defend them.

What are the Careers Paths with a Bachelor of Computer Science Degree?

From 2020 to 2030, computer scientists are expected to have a 22% increase in employment, with about 3,200 job openings projected to be created each year over the five years.

With a bachelor's degree in computer science, you will be able to land a variety of in-demand jobs in the field, including:

Data Scientist

To solve complex problems for businesses and organizations, data scientists interpret and manage the data they collect.

Web Developer

A web developer builds a website's UI and technical aspects, including its code, redirect links, content, and many other factors related to website development.

Systems Analyst

As a computer systems analyst, your job is to investigate how a business' computer system can be improved to meet the firm's needs and to determine what should be done to enhance the system's functionalities.

Network Architect

Computer network architects are responsible for laying out a company's information technology and communication infrastructure so its employees can access the Internet and communicate with their colleagues.

Software Developer

In the field of software development, software developers create solutions such as mobile applications, video games, robots, desktop applications, and many more.

Database Administrator

Keeping data secure from unauthorized access is the responsibility of database administrators, who help companies store and organize their data.

Mobile Application Developer

A mobile app developer develops and maintains new applications to improve the efficiency of mobile users' tasks.

Average Salary in the Computer Science Field

A computer scientist's average salary varies depending on various factors, including job title, experience, industry, and location.

Take a quick at the salary potential with a computer science degree:

  • Data Scientist - $126,830
  • Web Developer - $77,220
  • Systems Analyst - $99,270
  • Network Architect - $120,520
  • Software Developer - $110,140
  • Database Administrator - $98,860
  • Mobile Application Developer - $71,794

What's the Best Degree to Choose?

Eventually, the choice of which program to pursue depends on your career objectives. Although computer science and cybersecurity share some fundamental concepts, they have distinct curricula tailored to different career paths. Both programs require computer systems, networks, analysis, programming languages, and mathematics proficiency. However, there is a significant difference between the two programs in that they prepare you for different careers.

Employers value computer science and cybersecurity degrees, and graduates from either program can expect many job opportunities. There are plenty of job opportunities, no matter what program you choose.

Guide to Earning an Information Technology Degree | WGU Online
Guide to Earning an Information Technology Degree | WGU Online
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Amit Masih
Amit Masih
Amit is a freelance content writer. He helps IT agencies, bloggers and digital firms with engaging, conversational and audience-specific content. He has more than 4 years of industry experience.
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