Southern New Hampshire University
March 22, 2023
There are many things in common with information technology, computer science, and cybersecurity; so much in common, they are often interchanged for one another when they should not. This issue has become so common that when I talk with other students, maybe half are in computer science or a form of IT but don’t understand the differences or know where the lines blur. This is where cybersecurity comes into play. Protecting information and data is a top priority in today’s digital age. The cybersecurity field works to safeguard electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks, breaches, and theft, clearing up the confusion and persuading others to join the fight to protect people’s data and privacy. Information is essential to many in the IT community. As a student working towards my Bachelor of Science in cyber-security, I must know the differences and how to protect myself and my loved ones from these threats. The articles I discuss later explore the several reasons cybersecurity is essential, including the challenges of maintaining privacy, securing networks, and ensuring data integrity. “It also examines the connection between cybersecurity and computer science, discussing the necessary skills, knowledge, and career opportunities in this exciting and rapidly growing field.” (“Cyber-Security VS Information Technology VS Computer Science”)
There are many similarities to the three topics I will be discussing, and also many differences. Cybersecurity, computer science, and information technology are often confused. To better understand, one must know how each is defined. Merriam-Webster defines cybersecurity as protecting a computer or computer system against unauthorized access or attack (Merriam-Webster, 2017). Information technology, on the other hand, involves the development, maintenance, and use of computer systems, software, and networks for processing and distributing data. (“What is information technology or IT? Definition and examples”) Computer science is a branch of science that deals with the design of computers and software (Merriam-Webster, 2019). While these definitions are similar, they are still different in many ways. Cybersecurity is something we need more today than ever before; we live in a world today that tracks every movement we make, from cookies and trackers on websites to facial recognition in the most unsuspecting places like Walmart and other stores. It’s very simple; you cannot leave your house without being tracked in some way. Phones, Ring cameras, doorbells, and even vehicles can track you. This is not the only method; our phones, smartwatches, and other devices collect information about us, from weight, heartbeats, walking pace, and even how long we sit still during the day. All this information can be associated with us or anonymously; the problem is when you collect so much data from so many different sources, you can easily piece together who someone is, or at minimum, the type of person and their daily routines. With the mass data collection, it’s not hard to piece the puzzle together and determine who someone is.
Anytime we want to persuade someone to join our thought on something, we must first know a little about the audience. Things such as their profession, education, and experience are key items. After all, you wouldn’t present cybersecurity to a room full of registered nurses the same way you would to a room full of potential students looking to join the IT field, would you? No, of course not. Why? Because the room of nurses wouldn’t have the knowledge or interest in the topic. While they may be there for employment or such; they wouldn’t have the prior knowledge that someone already interested in the field would. Take the students, for example; the ones looking for a career in the IT field would be more likely have some limited knowledge. After all, they are interested in it and more knowledge than students who want to learn welding would. Our base or perfect audience would be the person wanting to join the field of IT and looking for a specialization in such. You could also be looking at someone unsure of the specific study they wish to get into and trying to coach them along into choosing your field, cybersecurity.
When speaking to students or others wanting to get into your field, it’s safe to assume that they already have an interest in the field and need the “nudge” to choose. By this, we can say they have some interest and prior knowledge. Very seldom does someone want to join the IT, cybersecurity, or computer science field who just woke up on a Monday morning and said, “Oh, I think I am going to change careers today! Let’s do cybersecurity or IT….” So, something has always made them think about it already. Did they see a job ad online that piqued their interest or an article in a magazine while waiting in the doctor’s office about the leading careers of 2022 or 2023? This is a question I ask students when I meet them; I have been in IT for 18 years. In various positions and job roles, it was one thing that just came naturally to me throughout high school and early on. When people ask me what drove me into IT, it’s simple; it was natural, and I knew where I needed to be. There were never other options; it was always information technology. So, when I hear the same from other students, I tend to ask about what they know and evaluate their levels of knowledge on the career. My best one yet was a student who came into a study group, and they were a civil engineer for a large corporation. When I asked why the career field changed, they answered that engineering was always something they just did but didn’t enjoy; computers and IT systems were fun to them, and they loved learning how the pieces joined together and how things worked as one extensive system. They realized that career change would hold challenges and was ready to accept all of the problems that came with changing careers.
Anytime you write an essay or give a presentation, there’s always a purpose behind it. Why? What is the purpose if not to inform or persuade? I want to clarify some confusion between cybersecurity, information technology, and computer science. Notice how every time I have listed those within this paper, I list cybersecurity first. Well, it tells me which is the most important to me. People associate computer science with programming, creating the basis for most IT to work together. Information technology is such a broad career; of course, I am a cybersecurity student. There must be some passion for cybersecurity if I am studying it and pursuing a career.
Cybersecurity is a growing profession that is expanding daily as the need multiplies.
Because of the growing threats to our data and information, there is always a need for cybersecurity professionals. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading your state newspaper or some nationwide specialty website; you come across at least one new article about cybersecurity every day. It is a growing topic as hackers and others develop new attack methods, just as IT began splitting into specialties years ago. Cybersecurity has already started splitting into specialties like penetration testing (black hats), defensive security (white hats), and those who want to hack or penetrate to learn how (grey hats). Each sub-field brings its range of tools and other knowledge with them.
Cybersecurity is important as it covers the process of securing the data we all hold, most important rather that is bank data, health (PHI), or personally identifiable information (PII). Securing information is necessary, and so are the people who make their careers protecting it. It includes privacy challenges, securing networks from attacks, ensuring data integrity, and threats on individual, company, and government levels. When you consider the connection between cybersecurity and computer security, the link is there but grey to most. That is because a lot of people do not understand the difference. Just in the last few years, with COVID-19 and the collection of metadata and personal data about individuals, people were celebrating these apps that could warn you if you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. This meant it also needed to track everywhere you had been and compare your data to others to determine where your paths crossed with others. These health issues with COVID brought on new ways to use the data we already harness and new threats in the name of health care. Put, while we overlooked the risk associated with these apps and data collection in the name of health care and knowing our loved ones were protected; many of us feel that COVID is over. What’s happening to the collected data, and how is it being treated? What about the millions of users who still have those apps installed? Yes, many of them are still tracking individuals. At the same time, most have forgotten about them even being installed on their devices. Android and IOS alike have incorporated these features into their operating systems. This rampant overrun of our privacy and data collection is even more of a reason we need cybersecurity professionals more today than ever before. Companies and individuals failing to patch or update their systems, thus failing to put security measures in place, it just creates a larger target for hackers. One term I love to use and was introduced to by a previous professor was “attack surface.” The attack surface is the area that is vulnerable to a hacker, we will never do away with it entirely, but we can minimize it as much as possible. Its impossible not to have one; to do away with it entirely would be the equivalent to living in a box with no windows, no openings, and no access to the outside. This still goes to show that with the amount of data collected daily, the amount of data entrusted to companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Google is tenfold compared to just five years ago. This goes back to the many responsibilities of cybersecurity professionals and how it’s necessary not only for them to protect our data but to educate individuals as well.
As with any good paper, its only as good as the knowledge within, most of this knowledge comes from my own experience and past learning. I already have an associate of applied science from another university, additionally there was several other resources which provided the information above as well. Your find the full references and listings located at the end of the paper, as I have shortened them here to save space. Mooc Blog Team. (2021, November 16). Cybersecurity and Computer Science: What’s the Connection? Nunnikhoven, M. (2017, November). 4 Reasons to Consider a Cybersecurity Career. TechBeacon; What is Cyber Security and Why is it Important? (2022, July 21). Which is Better Computer Science or Cybersecurity? (2020). Why is Cybersecurity Important | Cybersecurity | CompTIA. (2020). Why is Cybersecurity Important? | UpGuard. (2022)..
There are many ways to reinforce an argument; one of the main ways is to provide supporting evidence that supports your view. Many of my references discuss the importance of cybersecurity, what it is, and how it is often confused with computer science and information technology.
Integration of evidence comes naturally if your evidence supports your topic of writing. It’s much easier to speak about the dog jumping over the fence if your paper is about a dog and its habits. Then let’s say a dog jumping over a wall fits into an essay about the financial stock market and how the Dow Jones has decreased several points in the last 48 hours. Choosing evidence on topic with your work will fit in with no issues. Reviewing the resources I selected, you’ll notice that each piece is on topic with cybersecurity compared to information technology and computer science. Each article and site fits in to support statements within the essay.
Throughout my higher education career, I have had feedback and many classes in which I didn’t understand the assignment. I have gotten lots of constructive criticism. While of it, I understood where the professor or tutor was coming from, I didn’t; I will admit to totally not understanding week one’s assignment. However, my professor’s recommendations and comments from week two gave me a good understanding of where I was veering off course and how I should correct I pray that week three’s assignment is more on course with what she expects and the path she wishes for students to follow. When I took English at DeVry, I learned the many parts of an essay and how to research them properly. During week one, I was overthinking the assignment, and I didn’t expect to be writing a paper on the steps of creating a persuasive essay. Instead, I overthought the article and, in turn, wrote an essay as if I was writing the final form.
I hope this paper serves well for its purpose and meets the guidelines set by the professor and school. It’s hard for me to write in a first-person view using I when previous classes drilled us not to. Ultimately, I hope you agree that we need more cybersecurity professionals. New students joining IT, computer science, and cybersecurity have a clearer understanding of why we need more cybersecurity professionals.
Mooc Blog Team. (2021, November 16). Cybersecurity and Computer Science: What’s the Connection? Mooc.org; MOOC.org. https://www.mooc.org/blog/cybersecurity-and-computer-science-whats-the-connection
Nunnikhoven, M. (2017, November). 4 reasons to consider a cybersecurity career. TechBeacon; TechBeacon. https://techbeacon.com/security/4-reasons-consider-cybersecurity-career#:~:text=Cybersecurity%20has%20the%20two%20key,working%20to%20understand%20new%20technologies.
What is Cyber Security and Why is it Important? (2022, July 21). Snhu.edu. https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/stem/what-is-cyber-security
which is better computer science or cybersecurity? (2020). Nstec.com. https://www.nstec.com/network-security/cybersecurity/which-is-better-computer-science-or-cybersecurity/
Why Is Cybersecurity Important | Cybersecurity | CompTIA. (2020). Default. https://www.comptia.org/content/articles/why-is-cybersecurity-important
Why is Cybersecurity Important? | UpGuard. (2022). Upguard.com. https://www.upguard.com/blog/cybersecurity-important
Yates, T. (2023, March 16). Cyber-Security VS Information Technology VS Computer Science. Wicked Yoda’s Piece of the Web. https://www.traveryates.com/cyber-security-vs-information-technology-vs-computer-science-2