The field of Criminal Justice comprises three branches; Law Enforcement, The Court System, and Corrections. Each department offers different career prospects to degree holders in the field of Criminal Justice. Before obtaining a criminal justice degree, you need to choose the particular path you are interested in.
- Law Enforcement: This comprises the police, sheriffs, federal agents, and detectives responsible for the protection of lives and properties and the investigation of crimes.
- The Court system: This consists of judges, defense, and prosecuting attorneys.
- Corrections: This branch is responsible for detaining and supervising offenders.
These three different branches are possible job options for someone interested in a career in criminal justice. However, if you are interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity, you should specialize in Law Enforcement in the field of Criminal Justice.
So, can you do cybersecurity with a criminal justice degree? The answer is yes. In the criminal justice degree, you will learn cybersecurity fundamentals, computer, and digital forensics. And though the criminal justice course will not go in-depth, a student interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity can go on to do short courses such as CEH (Certified Ethical Hacking) to find work as a cybersecurity specialist.
These are some of the numerous jobs available to criminal justice graduates in law enforcement.
The Police Force
The job of a police officer includes street patrols, writing field reports, arresting criminals, testifying in court, and so on. A police officer must have at least a high school diploma or a college degree and must graduate from the Police Force’s training academy. This job, however, has one of the highest rates of fatalities and on-the-job injuries.
Private Investigators and Detectives
Private investigators and detectives conduct facts-finding and analyzing personal and financial information as well as legal matters. They also offer background checks, investigate cybercrimes, and trace missing persons. They require a license to practice in most states.
Forensic Science Technician
Forensic investigators examine pieces of evidence left at crime scenes such as fingerprints, used cigarette sticks, bones, blood, or other fluids to aid investigations and solve crimes.
A career with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
While there is a misconception that CIA work comprises mostly of high-risk undercover missions, this intelligence agency needs professionals with various skills, including cybersecurity professionals. The CIA uses human and artificial intelligence to gather, process, and analyze information related to national security and the appropriate dissemination of data.
Criminal justice jobs associated with the CIA include:
- Analytic Positions
- Business, IT & Security
- Directorate of Operations (Clandestine Service) Positions
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Positions
For most positions in the CIA, it helps to have earned a graduate-level criminal justice degree, such as a master’s degree in statistics, mathematics, or computer programming.
A career in Homeland Security
Careers in homeland security exist at all levels of government, including transportation, public health, public affairs, and communications. The department of Homeland security strives to defend the US from natural and human-made threats, and also take counter-terrorism measures to protect the country and its citizens.
If you’re a professional in information technology and cybersecurity, your skills can be utilized towards an effort to create a resilient American infrastructure. Your skills can also be contributed towards enforcing immigration and border security, detecting criminal operations, or terrorists planning to smuggle weapons into the country.
At the federal level, you may find a role in emergency management to provide resources to the nation in the event of a catastrophic disaster. You can also work at the state level in local emergency management to plan disaster recovery or focus on reducing hazards. In the private sector, you could prepare a company, hospital, or large corporation for unexpected security threats.
Cybersecurity vs Criminal Justice: Is A Degree in Cyber Security Better Than Criminal Justice Degree?
There is no better degree between cybersecurity and criminal justice. Both degrees offer promising careers. They also have some similar career paths that can be explored with both degrees.
For individuals with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, transitioning to the field of cybersecurity may be as simple as earning an industry certification in cybersecurity.
The Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) has created a Cyber Security Career Life-cycle, which cycles through the stages of security careers, for those considering the profession.
What Cyber Security Jobs Can You Do With A Criminal Justice Degree?
Every day, hundreds of new cybersecurity jobs in criminal justice are added to job search engines. This is because cybersecurity is quickly becoming one of the most critical concerns for businesses and government agencies.
Listed below are some of the most common criminal justice based on cybersecurity jobs.
Information Assurance Auditor
Auditing information systems requires a high level of thoroughness and paying attention to details. Information security audits are carried out to ensure flaws within the internal operations of an organization are detected, documented, tested, and resolved.
As an information assurance auditor, it is part of your responsibilities to assist in the planning and performance of information audits. These Information Technology professionals audit new and existing information systems, networks, and applications to authenticate security controls are protected, the efficiency of operations, and compliance with company/industry standards. They are also tasked with the responsibility of scrutinizing security policies.
Information assurance auditors should possess a degree or technical knowledge of network security engineering, as this job requires constant monitoring and maintenance of various networks and systems. Information assurance auditors must perform network vulnerability tests to evaluate operational quality and performance and prevent possible security breaches. To work with the government or any other security organizations, you will be required to obtain a security clearance.
A security engineer is tasked with the responsibility of maintaining network security infrastructures and protecting these infrastructures from security threats and attacks. Security engineers constantly monitor, evaluate, and debug security systems for failures, and upgrade security measures if necessary. They resolve technical issues related to the system architecture through server platforms and related elements like OS and BIOS management.
Security engineers must be capable of establishing and maintaining security standards and best practices in an organization. This involves communicating with other departments in the organization and educating members of staff on how to keep information secure. They must also be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of cybersecurity trends; security methods; OSI model; programming languages like Java, C++, Python, etc.; and TCP/IP stack.
Vicious malware programs are continually flooding the internet to steal information, crashing systems, and generally causing chaos. Conventional malware threats are exploitive, parasitic, and rootkit malware.
Malware analysts have the responsibility of examining malicious software such as worms, bots, and Trojans to know the nature of the threat. They also monitor and analyze malware programs to discover exploitable flaws. This is usually accomplished through the process of reverse engineering.
It involves assessing threats, author signatures, conducting research, and carrying out competitive testing. Solutions are then proposed and shared with cross-functional teams. They carry out intelligence harvesting through internal and external data mining techniques. They also design security protocols founded on heuristic programs, intuitive judgment, and emulation.
Malware analysts should be analytical thinkers; be able to communicate effectively, and stay updated about new threats and how to tackle them.
Malware analysts can work with security product and service companies that require anti-virus or network intrusion prevention, in developing solutions to blocking malicious code.
Cyber Security Consultant
Holders of criminal justice degree cannot only work in cybersecurity-related jobs like IT or networking but also the sales and marketing departments. A cybersecurity consultant can make valuable contributions to the sales and marketing departments of companies that sell security products. They can also help to identify any issues with the hardware or software of these products.
As a consultant, they offer assistance in choosing the right security products and services that will secure their client’s data and networks. They also act as security advisors to organizations through regular contact and business relationship cultivation. They offer guidance to managers and IT staff and help in designing new or improved systems. They may also help their clients respond to current threats, data loss, data breach, and help mitigate damages. To be fit for the role of a cybersecurity consultant, you need to be a skilled programmer and have knowledge of the latest security problems and solutions.
As cybercrimes continue to increase, the demand for expert cybersecurity professionals will continue to rise. It may seem as though a criminal justice degree does not qualify you for a job in cybersecurity. However, your criminal justice degree does not restrict you from pursuing a career as a police officer.
With your degree, you have the benefit of working in several fields. Your criminal justice degree can be applied in the pursuit of a career in crime scene investigation, cybersecurity, forensics, crime analysis, intelligence analysis, and other IT fields. Take advantage of the various certifications that can ease your transition i