Choosing cyber security vs computer science Cyber Security vs Computer Science

Cyber Security vs Computer Science: Which Career Path Is Right for You?

Are you finding it hard to choose between cyber security and computer science? This article will break down courses in computer science and cyber security, the earning potential for each career, and some of their best jobs. They both involve the study of computers and vital tech topics.

Completing a cyber security or computer science degree program leads to countless career opportunities. Degree holders can expect a high earning potential, lots of flexibility, and a diverse skillset. Before discovering the difference between cyber security and computer science, read below to learn the basics of each discipline.

Cyber Security vs Computer Science: Overview

Cyber security and computer science offer some of the best technology jobs. For both professions, you need to learn JavaScript, Java, Python, and similar programming languages. Most undergraduate programs will teach these skills, but coding bootcamps will as well.

Cyber security requires skills in digital forensics and project management. Computer science focuses more on software engineering and advanced math. With a bachelor’s degree, most computer science and cyber security professionals have high earning potential and a wide range of career prospects. The demand is high across the country.

While each is a rewarding career and an exciting field to enter, you might find you prefer working with preventive security measures or computer solutions. Continue reading to find out what cyber security and computer science are and what you can expect from each career. 

What Is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is the practice of implementing and managing security measures to protect an organization’s data from hackers and cyber attacks. A business will hire a cyber security team to design, build, and manage its security infrastructure. Cyber security specialists have training in network security, ethical hacking, computing systems, and data analysis. 

What Is Computer Science? 

Computer science is a study that combines computing knowledge and algorithms to solve problems in technology, software, and hardware. With technical skills like programming, artificial intelligence (AI), and analytics, computer scientists can help businesses develop more efficient technology or design applications. 

Cyber Security vs Computer Science Degree: Curriculum Comparison

Cyber security and computer science degree programs have many similarities, but they are ultimately different. Cyber security programs focus on specialized operating systems, digital forensics, and network security skills. Computer science programs focus on coding, software engineering, and discrete math. 

You can enter cyber security with a computer science degree, but a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Cyber Security is ideal for this profession. Computer science is more flexible, and you can study information technology and other topics. Let’s check out the courses you can expect to take in cyber security and computer science degree programs. 

Common Courses in a Cyber Security Degree Curriculum

  • Project Management. This course teaches how to manage the activities within a project. Cyber security experts use these skills to allocate resources, create timeframes, and define objectives. 
  • Digital Forensics. When an organization’s digital infrastructure is hacked, cyber security professionals use digital forensics to investigate computer crimes and recover stolen materials. 
  • Operating Systems. Operating systems support all computational functions. Cyber security professionals use best practices in operating systems, programming languages, and security systems to protect operating systems.
  • Network Security. Network security is the core component of cyber security. This course will give you the rundown on building a secure network that can prevent theft and unauthorized access. You’ll learn about data loss prevention, email security, and firewalls. 
  • Object-Oriented Programming. This programming paradigm is vital for cyber security professionals to structure software. Experts use object-oriented programming to control access to security infrastructures. 

Common Courses in a Computer Science Degree Curriculum

  • Computer Programming. Computer scientists need to know primary programming languages. You need to have a broad understanding of coding to write and implement instructions for software. Without programming languages, you wouldn’t be able to solve computational challenges. 
  • Discrete Mathematics. Like most complex technology fields, computer science relies on discrete math. You need a deep understanding of discrete math to solve problems, design software, and analyze algorithms. 
  • Software Engineering. Computer scientists must understand technology hardware and software building techniques. Professionals must also know how to test software, detect bugs, and optimize software to meet business requirements. 
  • Database Design and Management. Computer scientists use best practices in database management and design to organize, store, and interpret databases. You will learn how to centralize data and make it accessible to your team.
  • Cyber Security. Cyber security is a topic within computer science. Computer scientists need to know the basics of how to secure networks for computer security. You will learn to create computational solutions with minimum vulnerabilities.

Cyber Security vs Computer Science: Potential Careers and Responsibilities

Cyber security and computer science graduates have many career opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that computer research science job opportunities will grow by 15 percent between 2019 and 2029. This percentage is five times higher than the average growth for all occupations, which indicates a promising future.

According to BLS data for information security analysts, cyber security jobs are expected to grow 31 percent from 2019 to 2029. This equates to about 40,900 new jobs in cyber and information security. Again, this is significantly above the average growth rate. 

Cyber Security Careers

1. Chief Information Security Officer 

Chief information security officers are senior cyber security managers. You will develop strategies for all network security functions within a business’s requirements. You must maintain these functions, communicate with stakeholders, and oversee different teams to ensure they meet objectives. 

2. Cyber Security Architect 

Cyber security architects design, build, and maintain security software within a business’s technology framework. You will try to hack the systems you create to test their security and keep these systems updated. You will do research to improve security and share solutions with stakeholders. 

3. Network Security Analyst 

Network security analysts design and develop the entire security infrastructure for a business. You will use data and analytics skills to analyze databases and predict potential cyber security threats. You will provide hands-on training for teammates and establish security protocols. 

Computer Science Careers

1. Lead Software Developer 

Software developers build software and applications that meet an organization’s goals. You will write and debug software solutions and apply visual development to applications. You will also document software to replace current technologies or enhance them. As a lead software developer, you will help lead a team of developers on different projects.

2. Database Administrator 

Database administrators develop and maintain reliable systems to collect and store sensitive data. You will update systems to the newest technology and perform troubleshooting on datasets. You will also back up and restore data to help make sure an organization’s information is safe and stored correctly.

3. Systems Analyst 

Systems analysts use their advanced understanding of computers to streamline a company’s technology infrastructure. You will analyze existing systems, research improved technology solutions, and implement and maintain systems. You will help businesses achieve optimal productivity with cloud computing and algorithm analysis.

Computer Science vs Cyber Security Salary Comparison

You can expect to earn around $103,590 per year for cyber security and about $126,830 for computer science, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It’s safe to say that potential career paths for both fields have competitive salaries. Salaries vary according to your specialization and work experience.

Cyber Security vs Computer Science: Which Is Right for Me? 

Man in a black hoodie looks at a cell phone between two desktop computers. Cyber Security vs Computer Science

Cyber security and computer science have many similarities and differences. While each field of study offers high job growth and generous salaries, only one will suit you best. Whichever you choose, ensure your education includes hands-on training to help prepare you for the field. 

Both fields require technical skills and sometimes long hours of work. Each can be as rewarding as it is lucrative. To help you choose the right career, below are the major differences between cyber security and computer science. 

  1. Computer science offers a broader focus. Computer science covers a broad range of topics like database management, software development, and cloud security. Cyber security specializes in one approach to security infrastructures and practices. If you want more career options, you should choose computer science. 
  2. Cyber security doesn’t require advanced math skills. To work in computer science, you need to be very good with numbers. Cyber security jobs require only basic math skills, so those who aren’t math-savvy don’t have to worry. If you are weak in math but want to study computer science, seek additional training. 
  3. Computer science includes software engineering. If you want to become a software developer or engineer, computer science is the choice for you. You can learn how to code and develop diverse software. Cyber security is limited to security software.
  4. Cyber security professionals need ethical awareness. Cyber security professionals can prevent cyber threats, but they can also cause them. In cyber security, you need to understand the importance of using your skills for good. Ethical hacking and other practices are vital in this field.

Cyber Security vs Computer Science FAQ


Can you get a cyber security job with a computer science degree?

Yes, you can get a cyber security job with a computer science degree. Computer science programs cover the basics of network security. Cyber security certifications and courses can help you specialize.


What pays more, cyber security or computer science?

In general, cyber security offers higher salaries than computer science. This is because the jobs are more specialist. Your salary depends on your experience, education level, location, and a few more factors.


Is there a lot of math in cyber security?

Yes, you need at least high school-level math skills to study cyber security. Advanced math isn’t necessary. However, math can give you an upper hand when applying for jobs.


Is it worth getting a degree in cyber security?

Yes, a degree in cyber security is recommended If you want to work in cyber security. A degree will help you secure your ideal career. However, if you are unsure, you should get a computer science degree because it has more options.

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