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So much confusion exists around computer science that most students are asking, “What is the difference between a Data Science degree and a Cybersecurity degree?” There has not been enough time since the expansion of computer science into different categories for the various fields to become traditional. The differences between the two areas of study were vast in the beginning, but today, due to marketplace needs, the areas are starting to merge.

Related resource: Top 20 Most Affordable Bachelor’s in Data Science

Which Came First?

The computer age brought a rich goldmine of information through database storage. Businesses started the process of scanning printed material into digital data banks creating a vast warehouse of material. The question arose of what to do with the information. That question led to the creation of Data Science degrees. Data science quickly grew to become the preeminent career for those with computer savvy. Businesses prospered from data mining by identifying potential customers for new products. Business was so good that hackers started invading databases which brought on the need for cybersecurity. The need for protection became so intense that a new field in computer science—cybersecurity—became a necessity.

What is Data Science?

According to Forbes, Data Science is a simple name for a complex combination of fields. There are those data scientists who simply run basic SQL queries through databases to find information for those who make decisions. Others focus on research toward paper writing, data engineering, and data infrastructure to improve existing formats for searches. Another role focuses on the creation of search models, the measurement of product viability, and proactive exploration and experimentation of possible product and search mechanism designs. Then, there are hundreds of other sub-fields of data science that are commonly carried out by experienced personnel who have developed the ability to adapt on the fly.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity involves the protection of information and assets, whether in private business or the public sector. Much attention has diverted to cybersecurity since the 2016 attempts to influence the election. Before that time the federal government naturally gravitated toward data science to control and interpret the immense amount of information stored in its various databases. Cybersecurity involves the use of protections for important databases including firewalls and other defense mechanisms. The cybersecurity expert not only maintains those defenses but also acts to attack the hacker, tracing the invader to its source.

Data Science and Cybersecurity Meet

The uptick on cybersecurity concerns at government levels comes at a time when private businesses are concentrating on improving their data science. Though companies were the first to become aware of and establish cybersecurity in their databases, the immense rewards of data mining has moved the business toward data science as the essential base of their computer departments. Meanwhile, the government, tasked with the protection of its citizens, ran toward the erection of defenses against any cyber attack. The situation created an atmosphere where the practitioner of cybersecurity must delve into databases to find signs of cybersecurity issues. The cybersecurity expert does not merely wait for an attack. Imaginative scenarios play out with twists and turns to prepare for attacks.

What is the Best Ratio of Data Science and Cybersecurity?

With the intensifying role of cybersecurity, the intersection with data science has revealed itself. Though there are significant differences between the two degrees, the demands of the marketplace are moving the two degrees closer every year. The future looks to merge the two as one science.

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