Simply acquiring the knowledge and ability to hack into supposedly secure computer systems is usually seen as a negative personality trait. However, a whole new generation of hackers is moving from college to the business world – and employers are paying top dollar.
Not all unauthorized computer access is nefarious in intent. Even in the online world there’s a big different between nuisance trespassing, misdemeanor vandalism, and felony theft. Some trespassing is probably even a good thing – at least one computer security professor seems to think so. By encouraging students to write their own malware and viruses, he isn’t grading them on the damage they do, but rather the damage they’re able to prevent by discovering these network security loopholes before a real problem happens.
And according to the PayScale.com List of Best College Degrees by Salary, this is exactly the type of knowledge that employers are spending big for in their otherwise shrinking payroll budgets. Computer science and computer engineering end up in the top five for a college graduate’s starting salary.
Computer and information systems security might be new, but it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As soon as one problem is patched, a new one is discovered. Anyone who can indentify these issues and protect systems from misuse will be in high demand, as will programmers who know how to prevent the common loopholes and vulnerabilities.