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Combining Psychology with Technology: What Jobs Can I Get With a Degree in Cyberpsychology?

Two billion people around the world were online 10 years ago, according to Statista. That figure is expected to exceed 5 billion this year. In three years, nearly 70% of the world’s 8 billion people will be digitally connected in some way.

Life in the always-on universe of the web, computers and mobile devices has changed everything about the way people communicate, behave and interact with one another. Web 2.0 took user-generated content to a new level through expanded use of media using both audio and visual, and while we can’t quite physically touch or smell in cyberspace just yet, we are just at the beginning of what Web 3.0, quantum computing and blockchain are capable of.

Consumers have on-demand access to virtually infinite shopping choices. Instant messaging and video conferencing connect colleagues who have never met. The web enables remote learning at all levels, and the 3 billion people globally on social networks spend an average of two hours a day checking in.

Digital life also has a dark side, according to research published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

“The infinite possibilities that are offered by the Internet can often lead users to abuse it, or to use it for malicious purposes against other users, organizations and public services,” it reports.

What Is Cyberpsychology?

The internet’s positive and negative impact on human interaction and perception has opened a new field of psychological study: cyberpsychology. This field has formally been around for over 20 years at this point, but recently became all the more pertinent given recent government shutdowns and other mandates worldwide during the COVID-19 era.

Psychology Today defines cyberpsychology as “the discipline of understanding the psychological processes related to, and underlying, all aspects and features of technologically interconnected human behavior.”

Existing at the intersection of human interactions with computers, computer science, engineering and psychology, cyberpsychology is used in sectors as diverse as education, communications, law, healthcare and medicine, workplace dynamics and digital security.

What Are Career Prospects in Cyberpsychology?

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, understanding how it affects human behavior, relationships and interactions will create significant demand for professionals with expertise in the psychological processes related to cyberactivism, cyberbullying, cybercrime, digital health, gaming and much more.

A Master of Science in CyberPsychology, such as the one offered online by Norfolk State University, equips graduates for careers such as:

  • Clinical Research Manager: An example of the clinical application of cyberpsychology, published by the S. National Library of Medicine, suggests that online gaming has a therapeutic benefit for socially marginalized populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, the chronically ill and LGBTQ+ people. Zippia predicts job growth in clinical research management at 6%, with a median salary of $90,000.
  • IT Security Manager: The Technews says “the biggest threat to cybersecurity is not in technology — but in the human mind.” Professionals often use a psychological countermeasure to convince cybercriminals they’ve hacked a system by directing them into a silo of counterfeit data called a honeypot. The Association for Psychological Science calls the tactic “deceiving the deceiver” using the counterfeit data. Demand for cybersecurity jobs is expected to grow by 33%, with a median yearly salary of $102,600.
  • Digital Forensics Consultant: Job prospects in this field will grow through this decade as hackers become more sophisticated about stealing huge volumes of complex and valuable data. Forensics consultants collect, organize and analyze evidence from breaches — including psychological and sociological profiles of cybercriminals — for use in a variety of professional or even legal settings. The average salary for a digital forensics consultant varies greatly based on the work setting, but according to Glassdoor is $71,745 per year.

“Cyberpsychology could bring more knowledge to understanding how people behave with computers, such as for improving information and communication security,” notes an article from the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery.

What Education Do Careers in Cyberpsychology Require?

As an emerging academic and professional field, cyberpsychology careers require that candidates understand current research trends and prospective areas for future investigation.

Norfolk State’s M.S. in CyberPsychology online program offers electives ranging from forensics and digital security to methods for quantitative and qualitative research. As a result, graduates of the program will be ready for careers in cybersecurity, cyberpsychology, digital health and more.

Learn more about the Norfolk State University Master of Science in CyberPsychology online program.

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