If you've ever received an ominous letter from your bank about your debit or credit card getting compromised in an online transaction, you know firsthand the importance of internet security. As technology grows increasingly sophisticated, so, too, do our means of protecting ourselves online. But as our security measures get stronger, the hacker's way of subverting those measures grows stronger as well. Now more than ever is there a demand for professionals with Internet Security Degrees, and if you're interested in becoming a part of this growing field, an Online Internet Security Degree might be for you. But to figure that out, you might first want to know what you'll learn in an online degree program, which online program you should pick, and what your opportunities will be like after graduation.

What will I learn in an Online Internet Security Degree program?

You will study a number of different things in an Online Internet Security Degree program. In terms of your specific degree choice, you may want to pick a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Information Systems Security. Alternately, you could choose a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Information Systems. Whichever program you pick, however, your coursework will be comprised of design, programming, and information systems courses, with additional coursework in Business should you choose to major in that.

There will be a number of required courses for your major, but a few standard classes are: Database Concepts, Introduction to UNIX, Introduction to Information Systems Security, Management Information Systems, Web Design, Development, Java Programming, Windows Server Networking, Enterprise Security, Application Implementation, Project Planning and Implementation, SQL for Business, and Fundamentals of Business Systems. Overall, the subjects you'll study will be a mix of programming, design and information systems.

Which online program should I pick?

The most critical component to any online degree program is its accreditation. If your program is not accredited, it is a "diploma mill," or a scam that preys upon students seeking an online diploma wherein the student receives his or her degree simply by paying for it and doing little else. Prospective employers will understand that these degrees are scams, and the student will have lost their money with no realistic way to recoup it.

However, avoiding this scam is easy. Simply check online or inquire with your program about its accrediting agency (if they are not forthcoming with this information, that's probably your first sign that something is amiss). Then, go to the United States Department of Education's website and cross- check the agency your degree program named with the Department of Education's list of approved accrediting agencies. If your agency is not on that list, the program is a diploma mill and you should dissociate yourself from it immediately.

What are my job prospects like after graduation?

In a word: great. The field is expected to show a 20% increase in job growth from 2008 to 2018, and salaries are generally higher than they are in most other areas. On average, internet security professionals earn $65,260 annually. High earners make between $79,160 and $97,080 per year. However, most companies prefer to hire internet security professionals with between three and five years of experience already under their belts.

That means the sooner you earn your Online Internet Security Degree program, the sooner you'll get that experience – and the top-earning job that comes with it. The increasingly complicated nature of transaction security online may be a complicated thing to get a grasp on, but, once you do, it will ensure your job security for years to come.