Cyber security or data analytics are two different things, but related, types of technology. Both fields can provide plenty of excitement and opportunity, but they also come with unique challenges, so choosing the right one requires some planning and consideration. In this article, we’ll break down the main similarities and differences between cyber security and data analytics so you can make the right choice for your career goals.
Cyber security or data analytics: which is best for you?
- What is cyber security?
- What is data analytics?
- How to decide between Cyber security or data analytics
- Tips to get started in one field before starting the other
- Any additional things to keep in mind while making your decision
What is cyber security?
Cyber security may sound like a specialized, technical term, but it’s actually just a way of describing systems that help protect computers from viruses and hackers. Cyber security can be used to keep information safe online—like when logging into an account on your bank’s website. In its most basic form, cyber security helps protect individual devices. But in larger-scale applications (like banking), cyber security extends to entire networks of devices, where thousands of people may access sensitive information at any given time. When securing entire networks of computers and devices, there are four main types of cyber defenses that can help companies prevent hackers from accessing their private information.
What is data analytics?
At its most basic, data analytics (sometimes called business intelligence) provides valuable insights into business performance. For example, a typical small business might be looking to improve its revenue by tweaking prices, improving customer service, and/or adding new products. That kind of information comes from your POS system; software like QuickBooks Online will give you a clear picture of how much revenue and profit comes in every day as well as what individual items sell best and where any big spikes in sales are coming from. If that was all there was to it, we’d all be able to take a quick look at our transactions and figure out how much better off we could be. But that’s not where it ends.
How to decide between Cyber security or data analytics
Both of these skillsets are in high demand, but they can also complement each other. If your goal is to get a job in data analysis, then cyber security experience will be a nice addition to your resume and could help your case when it comes time to land an interview. Similarly, if you want to work with cybersecurity firms, there’s value in taking some classes on statistical modeling and how big data platforms work. As always, I suggest doing as much research as possible and seeing what areas pique your interest most before making any sort of decision. The more educated you are before committing any significant time and money towards education and certifications, the better off you’ll be down the road!
With so many overlapping traits, choosing between these two fields can be a tough decision. My advice would be to make sure you research them both and pick one based on where your interests lie. If big data catches your eye but working in cybersecurity seems like it’s more your speed, then by all means follow that path! Take classes and get certifications in areas that interest you most first and foremost, but also do some research into each field to see what role they both play in cybercrime prevention today. Cybersecurity makes up a very important component of an overall security strategy and helps prevent attacks against systems that store sensitive information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other personal details.
Tips to get started in one field before starting the other
Because cyber security and data analytics often overlap in terms of job duties, there are several ways to figure out what’s right for you. If your school doesn’t offer a major in either field, consider enrolling in one of many available certificate programs that can run from as little as a few months to two years. The completion of these programs will enable you to determine whether you prefer working with people or numbers and give you valuable career experience without majoring in something unrelated to cybersecurity or data analytics.
For example, if you like developing apps but want an environment more conducive to analytical work, consider attending a coding Bootcamp on weekends while also taking classes at your community college Monday through Friday. If your school does offer a degree in one of these areas, take advantage of it. Courses vary widely by institution, but most cover software development and networking basics as well as intermediate and advanced topics like system administration, digital forensics, and security design.
Take note of classes that pique your interest while avoiding those that don’t and ask friends who are studying in these programs to tell you about their experiences. Even if your program doesn’t require professional experience to graduate, consider doing an internship at a company that utilizes either field so you can get comfortable with day-to-day work in both.
Any additional things to keep in mind while making your decision
Both cyber security and data analytics are important components of a healthy business strategy. They are also both extremely broad concepts, so many people are unsure how to choose between them—or whether they need to. The truth is that neither field will be able to support your company alone; instead, they work together in what some have called a duo relationship. It may not matter much right now, but if you’re looking to make a career out of either field, consider getting experience in both rather than just one. You’ll find plenty of opportunities as both fields grow at breakneck speed.
To help make your decision easier, it’s important to understand each field. Cyber security focuses on protecting sensitive information and computer systems from malicious attacks. Data analytics, meanwhile, involves analyzing large amounts of data from different sources in order to discover useful insights and trends. Regardless of which field you choose, you’ll need some programming knowledge if you’re going to do it well; check out our guide to learn how to learn to code. Both fields also require a strong work ethic and plenty of perseverance.