If you’re fresh out of a cyber security bootcamp or a cyber security post-secondary program and are looking for an entry-level position in the industry, it can be hard to know where to start. You might be wondering, what specific skills do I need for an entry-level job as a cyber security specialist? And how can I find an entry-level cyber security job?
There are many entry-level job opportunities available in cyber security. This article will help you figure out which one is right for you. Read below to learn more about the best entry-level cyber security jobs and how to get them.
What Is Cyber Security and Why Is It Important?
Cyber security is the process of creating a security system to protect an organization’s networks, devices, and data. In a cyber security role, you will develop security systems and antivirus software, handle risk management and risk analysis, and find and stop malicious activity.
Cyber security is important for all kinds of companies because they must protect the data stored on their networks, as well as the data of their customers and clients.
What Is the Job Outlook for Cyber Security Professionals?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that cyber security jobs will increase at a rate of 33 percent between 2020 and 2030, much higher than the average for all careers. Digital privacy and security are becoming more necessary as data breaches at major companies make headlines, causing concern among consumers about their information and what’s being done to protect it.
Top Reasons to Pursue a Career in Cyber Security
- The average salary for a cyber security professional is $103,590, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is over double the BLS national average, which is $41,950.
- There is tons of room for growth in this field as new security technologies are constantly being developed.
- Cyber security impacts almost everyone, so by entering the cyber security field, you will be able to help countless people keep their data safe.
- There are many career opportunities and a niche for everyone’s interests. New roles are appearing all the time and need to be filled.
- You don’t need a degree to enter a career in cyber security. Relevant experience, cyber security bootcamps, and self-taught specialists are all welcome if you have the proper cyber security certifications.
What Does an Entry-Level Cyber Security Professional Do?
An entry-level cyber security employee secures a company’s network systems by creating, deploying, and testing security software. There are many types of cyber security roles, all of which are essential to protecting information. Entry-level positions, which we’ll look at below, often focus on managing networks and identifying threats.
Types of Entry-Level Cyber Security Roles
Junior Penetration Tester
Junior penetration testers improve network security by breaking into the system to find any potential weaknesses that a potential cyber attacker might use. They usually work on a larger team of penetration testers and other security professionals.
In a security engineering role, you will monitor the system and investigate flaws to help with its improvement. You may also analyze data and logs, perform forensic analysis, and help detect security breaches.
Junior Information Security Specialist
As a junior information security specialist, you will protect networks, data, and software and detect malware, viruses, and spyware for your employer. You will be in charge of determining the company’s most significant threats, erecting firewalls, and encrypting data to protect against them.
Common Responsibilities of Entry-Level Cyber Security Jobs
- Deploy security software to protect private data
- Identify network security weaknesses
- Research malicious parties and how to stop them
- Test your employer’s security system to determine its effectiveness
- Encrypt sensitive information
How Much Do Entry-Level Cyber Security Professional Jobs Pay?
According to ZipRecruiter, the median annual salary for an entry-level cyber security position is $72,964. The average annual wage is highest in San Francisco, which is over $90,000 per year. If you’re considering a career in this field, the annual wage should motivate you to get started.
Entry-Level Cyber Security Professional Jobs That Pay the Most: Overview
|Job||Average Salary||Min. Education/ Training||Associated Mid and Senior Roles|
|Vulnerability Assessment Analyst||$94,969||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or related field||Cyber Security Architect, Senior Penetration Tester|
|Security Auditor||$83,022||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or related field||Security Administrator, Senior Manager of Audits|
|Cyber Security Analyst||$82,565||One year of experience||Security Architect, Security Engineer|
|Junior Cyber Security Intelligence Analyst||$76,963||Bachelor’s Degree in Cybersecurity and relevant certifications||Intelligence Analyst, Cyber Security Engineer|
|Junior Penetration Tester||$76,237||Degree or apprenticeship in cyber security and relevant certifications||Cyber Security Architect, Senior Penetration Tester|
|Computer Forensics Analyst||$75,120||Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology or relevant experience||IT Technician, Cyber Security Engineer|
|Junior Security Software Developer||$73,049||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or related field||Information Technology Specialist, Cyber Security Test Engineer|
|Field Service Engineer||$70,118||Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field or equivalent experience||Senior Field Service Engineer|
|Junior Network Administrator||$52,167||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or related field||Network Administrator, Senior Network Engineer|
|Cryptologist||$51,826||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or related field||Cryptanalyst, Senior Penetration Tester|
Best Entry-Level Cyber Security Jobs: A Closer Look
Vulnerability Assessment Analyst
A vulnerability assessment analyst identifies weak points in a security system by examining previous cyber intrusions using analysis tools. According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, some other titles for vulnerability assessment analysts include reverse engineer or ethical hacker.
Vulnerability Assessment Analyst Responsibilities
- Review system logs and previous network intrusions
- Utilize strategies and tools to determine network weaknesses
- Perform a risk assessment to judge how severely a threat could impact an organization’s network
A security auditor is responsible for verifying a company’s security procedures. The goal is to ensure a system’s strength and report any vulnerabilities they encounter while examining a system. This position offers exceptional room to grow your technical skills and can even land you a job within the government.
Security Auditor Responsibilities
- Locate flaws within the network systems
- Ensure the security of any IT systems under your domain
- Utilize company processes and practices to ensure the correct completion of security audits
Cyber Security Analyst
A cyber security analyst protects all of a company’s digital infrastructure, including hardware, software, and networks. They monitor the network for all possible malicious activity. This is one of the most popular cyber security careers, and you can become a cyber security analyst with just a bachelor’s degree.
Cyber Security Analyst Responsibilities
- Detects cyber security threats and follows incident response processes
- Analyze threat incidents
- Using data loss prevention tools, EndPoint malware protection, and vulnerability management tools
Junior Cyber Security Intelligence Analyst
Cyber security intelligence analysts assess potential threats and determine their threat level. This role involves gathering, processing, and analyzing information about possible dangers rather than actively combatting those threats as a cyber security analyst would.
Junior Cyber Security Intelligence Analyst Responsibilities
- Research malicious parties and learn about their methods and targets
- Collect and organize threat information in a database
- Investigate a threat by reverse-engineering the malware
Junior Penetration Tester
Penetration testers ethically hack into systems to pinpoint weaknesses. When they detect a flaw within a network, they figure out how to fix it. As you progress in this career path, you will expand your technical skills by learning more about APIs and system vulnerabilities and defenses.
Junior Penetration Tester Responsibilities
- Check for vulnerabilities within systems
- Utilize a variety of strategies to hack into an organization’s network
- Create security protocols to protect the system
Computer Forensics Analyst
A computer forensics analyst uses unique methods to examine and recover data from computer systems. The information can then be used as evidence in criminal or civil cases involving virtual crime. It is a unique job with the potential for significant growth.
Computer Forensics Analyst Responsibilities
- Recover lost or encrypted files and data
- Follow data trails and analyze the information found
- Prepare recovered data to be used as evidence in court
Junior Security Software Developer
Security software development is a critical part of solving security problems. As a software developer, you will design and test programs that help prevent cyber attacks. This role might be a good choice due to the forecast for growth in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects roles for software developers to increase by 22 percent between 2020 and 2030.
Junior Security Software Developer Responsibilities
- Write code and perform routine debugging tasks
- Work with a team of higher-level software developers on new projects
- Test the software programs you’ve helped create
Field Service Engineer
A field service engineer is responsible for maintaining and repairing customers’ equipment. They will foster relationships with customers and co-workers and handle administrative duties as needed. The typical job satisfaction rating for field service engineers is about 3.5 out of 5 stars, according to reviews on GlassDoor.
Field Service Engineer Responsibilities
- Troubleshoot, repair, and maintain equipment at customers’ homes or offices
- Order replacement parts for equipment if needed
- Perform preventative care on equipment
Junior Network Administrator
As a junior network administrator, you will manage the installation and configuration of hardware and account permissions within a company’s network. This includes making sure the right people within the company have access to the information they need and that sensitive data remains secure.
Junior Network Administrator Responsibilities
- Design and deploy network protection procedures to make sure the network is running smoothly
- Solve any networking issues that may appear
- Monitor networks and systems to see if any performance improvements can be made
A cryptologist encrypts important information to keep it secure. They analyze and interpret data and are capable of decoding messages. For this role, you must be skilled in mathematics, linguistics, and computer science. This is also a good choice if you aspire to work for the military or government.
- Research new encryption methods
- Develop security software
- Encrypt and secure sensitive information
What Types of Companies Hire Entry-Level Cyber Security Professionals?
Some companies that hire entry-level cyber security professionals include government and military organizations, communications companies like Verizon, tech giants like IBM, and companies that specialize in security such as Per Mar Security Services.
Career Progression: Mid- and Senior-Level Cyber Security Roles
Mid-Level Cyber Security Jobs
- Average salary: $44,933
- Related entry-level roles: Forensic Computer Analyst, Junior Security Software Developer
- Responsibilities: Diagnose and repair hardware and software, install and configure hardware, help with IT support
Field Service Engineer
- Average salary: $65,467
- Related entry-level roles: Junior Field Service Engineer
- Responsibilities: Test devices, configure hardware and software, conduct routine checks
- Average salary: $80,026
- Related entry-level roles: Source Code Auditor, Penetration Tester
- Responsibilities: Install network security solutions, update software with new security defenses, perform penetration testing, monitor for suspicious behavior
Cyber Security Intelligence Analyst
- Average salary: $94,490
- Related entry-level roles: Cyber Security Analyst
- Responsibilities: Identify security weaknesses and find indicators of compromise, mitigate data threats, compile reports to help prepare for threats
Cyber Security Architect
- Average salary: $146,768
- Related entry-level roles: Cyber Security Analyst, Penetration Tester
- Responsibilities: Design security systems, recommend solutions to weaknesses
Senior Cyber Security Jobs
- Average salary: $102,282
- Related entry-level roles: Cryptologist, Cryptanalyst
- Responsibilities: Direct the design and development of security IP product algorithms, design expert level software and hardware for big data algorithms, manage the development and release of software and hardware products
Senior Network Engineer
- Average salary: $108,267
- Related entry-level roles: Junior Network Administrator, Field Service Engineer
- Responsibilities: Design and implement network infrastructure, manage junior members of the cyber security team, fix advanced issues within the network
Senior Cyber Security Manager
- Average salary: $113,999
- Related entry-level roles: Junior Network Administrator, Cyber Security Analyst
- Responsibilities: Monitor the flow of information, oversee all operations within the network and facilitate those network operations
Senior Cyber Security Engineer
- Average salary: $132,558
- Related entry-level roles: Cyber Security Analyst, Field Service Engineer
- Responsibilities: Recommend security controls and procedures, develop and deploy information security training programs, handle security incidents
Senior Penetration Tester
- Average salary: $139,965
- Related entry-level roles: Junior Penetration Tester
- Responsibilities: Hack into customer systems as directed, obtain data for exfiltration, develop new testing methods
How to Get a Job in Cyber Security
Before applying for any entry-level cyber security jobs, you should closely read the job description to see if you have the right technical experience to meet all of the requirements. If you do, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of getting hired.
For example, networking with others in the industry is a great way to get your foot in the door. You should also brush up on the necessary hard and soft skills before you begin an interview or testing process.
Required Skills for an Entry-Level Cyber Security Job
- Relevant experience: You should get some cyber security experience before applying for jobs, whether it’s through school, co-ops, bootcamps, or internships.
- Industry knowledge: You should have a strong background in security vulnerabilities and the methodology used to detect them.
- Computer systems experience: Some software and hardware development experience will be a bonus when you’re applying for jobs.
- Knowledge of network security: Understanding fundamental networking protocols is a key part of the job.
- Familiarity with network protection systems: You should also have experience with firewalls, content filters, and virtual local area networks.
Top Certifications for Entry-Level Cyber Security Professionals
- Certified Third-Party Risk Professional: The CTPRP certification issued by risk assurance group Shared Assessments is for cyber security professionals and covers risk management concepts such as vendor risk assessment and vendor risk rating.
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional: Having a CISSP certification from the International Information System Security Certification Consortium proves that you know how to create, install, and manage a high-quality security system.
- Certified Information Security Manager: Finishing the CISM certification program from IT governance association ISACA shows that you’re skilled at information security governance, program development, and risk management.
- Certified in Risk and Information Systems Controls: A CRISC certification, also from ISACA, is specific to IT risk management, covering common current threats and potential future threats.
- Certified Information Privacy Professional: The International Association of Privacy Professionals’ CIPP certification teaches risk mitigation best practices, helping them plan their defenses.
Can You Get an Entry-Level Cyber Security Job with a Coding Bootcamp?
Yes, you can get an entry-level cyber security job after attending a coding bootcamp. While taking the college route to get your undergraduate degree is something potential employers will be on the lookout for, it’s not entirely necessary if you’re pursuing a cyber security career.
A bootcamp that focuses on cyber security can provide you with all the technical experience and certifications you need to land an entry-level cyber security job.
Top Cyber Security Bootcamps
Best Resources for Cyber Security
CNET Security is a news site that features articles and reviews related to cyber security and security products. It has lots of information regarding the latest cyber security issues, as well as science and tech news.
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Security Now is a popular podcast hosted by tech pundit Leo Laporte and software engineer and security researcher Steve Gibson that discusses IT and cyber security issues. New episodes come out every Tuesday.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional All-In-One Exam Guide
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) All-In-One Exam Guide is a book for people who are preparing for their CISSP exam. It covers everything you need to know about systems security.
Is a Career in Cyber Security for You?
Yes, if you’re interested in cyber security and are willing to get the proper education and certifications, then a job in cyber security is for you. Getting an entry-level job in the cyber security industry can be challenging because you need to put in a lot of work beforehand to ensure that you have the proper skills and up-to-date industry certifications.
However, a job in ethical hacking, penetration testing, or other security measures can be fruitful and rewarding. As long as you know cyber security concepts, you can access unfilled positions on entry-level job boards. Attending a bootcamp, advanced degree program, or certificate programs can give you a competitive edge in the field.
Entry-Level Cyber Security Jobs FAQ
No, prior experience is not required for an entry-level position. All you need is informal training via a bootcamp or higher education institution.
If you have coding skills, it will be a tremendous asset to your cyber security career, but it’s not required for entry-level positions. However, you’ll have to learn if you plan to reach a mid-level or senior-level position. Cyber security is not hard to learn, but it can be a challenging subject.
Most technical careers require math skills. For entry-level cyber security jobs, high school-level math is acceptable. For mid-level and senior-level positions, more advanced math knowledge will likely be required.
Yes, it can be challenging to obtain a college degree in cyber security. It is typically more difficult than obtaining a degree in business but easier than getting an engineering degree if you’re not a math whiz. Getting a bachelor’s degree is also a major financial and time commitment, spanning four years and costing tens of thousands of dollars.
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