If you have your eye on a job in cyber security, now is the time to go for it. The International Information System Security Certification Consortium’s Cybersecurity Workforce Study for 2021 reveals that the number of cyber security professionals employed globally needs to increase by 2.72 million.
If you plan to become a cyber security engineer, security software developer, or security administrator, then read on. This guide will look at the types of jobs available in the cyber security industry, what career paths are possible, and the associated salaries.
What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber security is the act of protecting servers, networks, and data in digital forms. It protects against intentional, accidental, and natural threats. Different cyber security jobs include penetration testing, ethical hacking, information security management, and cyber security analysis.
Cyber security is especially important for federal agencies because they hold sensitive data. Cyber security experts are necessary to protect software systems and uphold national security. As well, most large businesses now have a security department. With the right analytical skills and industry certifications, this can be a great field to enter.
What Do Cyber Security Professionals Do?
As a cyber security analyst or information security analyst, your job entails creating your organization’s disaster recovery plans and implementing preventive measures. You must keep up with the latest small and large-scale cyber attacks and the methods that hackers are using.
- Monitors and protects data. You must monitor your company’s networks for security breaches and investigate them when they occur. You’ll install firewalls and data encryption programs to protect sensitive information.
- Makes security recommendations. You must recommend to management potential ways that security can be enhanced.
- Documents breaches. You must prepare reports to document security breaches and the extent of subsequent damage. This will prevent the same issue from happening more than once.
- Conducts tests. You’ll conduct penetration testing to search for vulnerabilities in an organization’s security system. This is an important part of the role of ethical hackers.
- Researches and develops security standards. You’ll develop preventive measures, including creating security standards and practices for your organization to follow.
How Much Do Cyber Security Professionals Make?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in general, a cyber security analyst makes an average salary of $103,590. By location, California pays the highest average annual salary to cyber security professionals at $125,990. Cyber security salaries vary by location and other factors such as experience and specialized skills.
Cyber Security Average Salaries
Working as a cyber security specialist requires skills, and work experience is the best way to get a high-paying job. PayScale shows that the average salary for an entry-level cyber security analyst is just over $64,645. However, PayScale also reports that late-career cyber security analysts earn $112,831.
What Is the Job Growth for Cyber Security?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in cyber security will grow in number by 33 percent between 2020 and 2030. This is much higher than average and will amount to about 47,100 new jobs. This growth will be partially due to businesses adopting cloud services, which open them up to increased cyber security threats.
Banks and financial institutions will also need to constantly improve their information security systems. Demand will also rise in the healthcare industry, where patient privacy is at risk of a security breach. Common cyber security roles include security manager, malicious software hacker, and digital forensics expert.
The Highest-Paying Types of Cyber Security Jobs in 2022
- Chief Information Security Officer | $173,705
- Cloud Security Architect | $160,391
- Penetration Tester | $102,405
- Cyber Security Engineer | $101,548
- Ethical Hacker | $101,165
- Network Security Engineer | $97,163
- Cyber Security Consultant | $94,745
- Cyber Security Analyst | $80,078
- Data Security Analyst | $71,226
- Cyber Crime Investigator | $65,122
Like in many other tech careers, some high-paying cyber security jobs don’t require that you have a degree. More than anything, you’ll need experience tackling cyber threats. You’ll also need the right technical skills, but soft skills are also important. Below, we’ll look at some responsibilities of the highest-paid cyber security jobs.
Chief Information Security Officer
Average Salary: $173,705
As the chief information security officer, you’ll oversee your company’s security and information systems. You’ll help to protect vital information and will evaluate, report, and suggest new ideas related to current security threats. You will give advice to the security team and take the lead on developing security measures and implementing security policies.
Cloud Security Architect
Average Salary: $160,391
As a cloud security architect, you’ll identify weaknesses or vulnerabilities in your organization’s cloud computing system. You’ll plan, research, and design security architecture and oversee the security team that implements it. You’ll also develop security requirements for routers, firewalls, and other network devices used at the company.
Average Salary: $102,405
As a penetration tester, you’ll guard your organization’s security systems, finding security vulnerabilities and developing ways to secure them. You’ll act as an ethical hacker to probe the organization’s network, looking for security flaws that attackers could exploit.
Cyber Security Engineer
Average Salary: $101,548
Considered one of the best-paid coding careers, cyber security engineers plan, design, build, and integrate cyber attack tools and systems to protect an organization’s data. They set up systems that collect data on any security incident so they can later assess the effectiveness of their cyber threat prevention measures.
Average Salary: $101,165
As an ethical hacker, you’ll help protect your organization from any malicious attack by attacking its security defenses yourself in order to detect any vulnerabilities. You must then fix those flaws. You may also be put in charge of educating your organization on security and will help update corporate security policies and procedures.
Network Security Engineer
Average Salary: $97,163
Network security engineers work with firewalls, routers, switches, network monitoring tools, and virtual private networks. You will also help design new security infrastructure solutions and perform network-based security risk assessments.
Cyber Security Consultant
Average Salary: $94,745
Cyber security consultants assess home, business, computer, and self-defense security. You’ll audit existing systems for flaws and devise security measures. You’ll also consult with clients to secure and protect their physical, financial, and information assets.
Cyber Security Analyst
Average Salary: $80,078
Cyber security analysts design and implement IT security systems to protect a company’s computer networks. They also help develop company-wide IT security best practices, monitor computer networks for security issues, and report any breaches.
Data Security Analyst
Average Salary: $71,226
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A data security analyst studies how data is stored and protected and who can access it. They help design protocols for how sensitive data should be stored, and make sure that only designated individuals have access to it. They also monitor for online attacks, and malware vulnerabilities.
Cyber Crime Investigator
Average Salary: $65,122
A cyber crime investigator works for a government or law enforcement agency or a business. They collect, analyze, and preserve evidence of complex cyber crimes and research other similar crimes, including which state or federal laws were violated. They also look into cyber attacks and determine where the system in question was at fault.
Cyber Security Career Path
With the rise of cyber security threats has come an increase in the number of different specializations within cyber security. The field now offers many distinct career paths, each with its own specific requirements.
- Decide on what type of job you want. There is a big difference between a penetration tester and a network security engineer. Before you start your journey, try to narrow down what types of jobs you want.
- Get started in cyber security. Although many cyber security professionals have formal computer science training, there’s no reason why someone with a liberal arts degree can’t work in the field. Regardless of your degree, you’ll need to obtain relevant certifications and join in on-the-job training.
- Get an entry-level job. Computer support and network administration are common entry-level security jobs. However, if you have a degree in cyber security or computer science or some work experience, you may be able to move straight into a security analyst position.
- Start moving up in the field. At this point, as a cyber security professional, you will have mastered general security principles and will have begun to branch out into a more specific cyber security field. For example, those who began their career in networking may at this point move on to work in network security or cloud security architecture.
- Achieve a senior position. At this stage, most cyber security professionals are in charge of a threat intelligence team, penetration testing, and an incident response team. Others may have chosen to pursue a risk analysis path, focusing on explaining business risks.
Should You Become a Cyber Security Professional?
Yes, now is the best time to become a cyber security professional and apply for a cyber security apprenticeship. As security threats and protection measures become more sophisticated, there is a growing demand for professionals in the cyber security field. If you’re interested and willing to build the necessary skills to enter cyber security, then now is the best time to get a job in cyber security.
If you’re interested in taking your career as a cyber security professional, you can also consider getting a certification. For instance, you can earn your SSCP certification to demonstrate your experience and willingness to stay on top of the latest trends and developments in this field.
Types of Cyber Security Careers FAQ
To become a cyber security professional, you’ll need a degree and professional experience in cyber security, information technology, computer science, or a related field. You will also need to obtain professional certifications. It’s also important to have skills in problem-solving, management, written and verbal communication, and analytical thinking.
There are numerous cyber security jobs, and they can be separated into four groups: security architecture, security engineering, security analysis, and information security. These include everyone from forensics analysts to artificial intelligence experts to network administrators.
While most entry-level cyber security jobs will not require coding, programming skills will become necessary when you move into mid-level and upper-level security jobs. Jobs like source code auditor and security software expert will involve coding.
If you don’t want to attend university to get a four-year degree, there are bootcamps that will allow you to complete an intensive cyber security program in less than a year. There are also free cyber security bootcamps that will help you get acquainted with the fundamentals. However, even after attending one of these programs, you will have to continue to practice to develop a full understanding of cyber security concepts. Although cyber security is not hard to learn, it is challenging.
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