Spotlight on MSc Computer Science and MSc Cyber Security


20th Jan 2021




Computing is an exciting and fast-moving sector. By studying a degree in this area, you will enhance your technical knowledge along with improving your analysis and creative thinking skills. This will enable you to come up with innovative solutions to overcome various technology hurdles.

At University of Essex Online, we offer two very distinct conversion courses, designed to teach you the skills to become a highly sought-after professional capable of succeeding in this specialist field.

On our MSc Computer Science, you will learn how to create information systems using object-oriented approaches and develop the skills essential for software engineering. It is great if you’re interested in pursuing roles within areas such as software development and network analysis.

The other degree we offer is MSc Cyber Security, focusing on a very specialised area of computing, that of mitigating cyber security attacks. This field has grown in significance over the past few years with DDOS, phishing, and malware attacks occurring more frequently, driving the demand for specialists in this area.

If you find yourself wondering – Is a computing degree right for me? Or which course should I study? Read on to find the answers as we will be exploring both degrees in further detail, covering areas such as the modules you will study, the course length, and how it can help your career.


What is the course content like?

The MSc Computer Science introduces you to a range of programming languages such as Python and SQL, two of the most prominent packages within data analysis and software design. The course emphasises the importance of secure software development and includes a review of traditional and contemporary Software Development LifeCycle (SDLC) models. You will also develop more general skills such as interdisciplinary problem solving, research and teamwork, which are of equal significance if you’re looking to work in this area.

On our MSc Cyber Security, you will learn the core aspects of introducing cyber defences to defend against attack. A quick internet search of the latest cyber attacks highlights how prominent this threat is, with organisations of all sizes falling victim to this activity. This degree also covers the fundamentals of cyber security, information governance and the human factor within network security. Each module has a particular focus, but the main aim is to give you the skills to mitigate attacks and protect the data and privacy of individuals and companies.


What is the first module I will study?

Both programmes start with an introductory module that launches into the fundamental theories and practices with this field. You will also explore the trends and current developments, gaining an understanding of the latest software perspectives relevant to computing architecture and data representation. As part of the module, you will develop awareness of the important ethical and professional responsibilities you will need to keep in mind when working in this sector.

The computer science programme then branches off to investigate object-oriented programming skills. You will learn how to contextualise and develop data systems using object-oriented approaches with various programming languages. This includes equipping you with the practical skills required for designing, implementing, testing and debugging object-oriented programs.

On our cyber security course, you will be introduced to the underpinning concepts of computer networks and the skills that relate to information security management. This includes an overview of network security fundamentals and security and risk management principles. This is based on mapping information security management roles to a number of security models. The module describes the security management and protection issues involving business resources, risks, monitoring as well as business continuity strategies. It will also discuss common diagnostic and monitoring tools utilised as part of a network and information security practice such as Nessus, snort, Syslog and ELK.


What if I want something shorter?

Both courses have the option to study a shorter PG Cert or PG Dip alongside the full degree programme. This will help you to develop specialist knowledge within this area and offers the opportunity to progress to the full Masters.

The MSc programmes have an indicative duration of 2 years while the PG Cert is 8 months and the PG Dip 16 months. Alongside the skills you will learn, these are both respected qualifications, which can help you to enhance your CV and set you on the path to explore a new career.


Where could these degree programmes take me?

The need for computing professionals is continually growing with demand for skilled graduates far outstripping the availability. In the UK alone it is estimated that there are currently 600,000 vacancies in digital technology according to information provided by techUK. By graduating with a degree in either area you will have gained many technical and non-technical skills that are highly valued by employers, from leadership to programming.

By completing a degree in computer science you will likely find yourself in high demand across many different industries. This includes financial organisations, data warehouses, governmental agencies, universities, and hospitals. There is also a wide array of different roles you will be set up to succeed in such as Software Developer, Software Engineer, Web Developer, and Network Analyst among others.

There is a similarly wide array of careers and industries you can go into when graduating from our cyber security degree. These predominantly centre around data and network security as all organisations need to protect against the damage caused by cyber breaches. You could look at roles such as Policy Maker, Software Developer, Risk Analyst and Secure Systems Designer among others.


What are the benefits of online learning?

All our programmes are delivered 100% online and part-time. As a result, you have the flexibility to study where and when is best for you. You have the opportunity to work and learn at the same time, gaining a new qualification without the need for a career break.

All course content, study materials, and assessment submissions are available and completed through our sophisticated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). This removes the need to visit a physical library or purchase additional textbooks as these are all available through our extensive eLibrary.

Your interactive lecturecasts will be available through the VLE which also hosts live Q&A sessions and immersive discussion forums. All you need to complete your studies is a laptop or PC with a good internet connection. All programming languages are included within the course fee, and you will have access to an online development environment to practice your new technical skills.

On successful completion of your studies, you will be invited to attend a graduation ceremony at the University of Essex’s Colchester campus. This is a great way to celebrate your success with friends, family, classmates, and tutors.


Okay, I’m interested – how do I apply?

Just click right here or you can download a prospectus to find out more details.