If you’re thinking about a career in cyber security, you’ll be pleased to know that the cyber security job outlook is as strong as ever.
These individuals can expect to enjoy a median annual salary of up to $100,000 or $50 per hour. With that, it’s no wonder why there is an increasing amount of applicants eager to break into the field.
Many graduates of cyber security degree programs will go on to work with the military or a national security agency. They might also be employed by private corporations who rely on trained professionals for data and network safety. Check out the information below to find out what it takes to land a position in the cybersecurity field.
Job Outlook For Cyber Security Professionals
It’s been estimated that cyber crime could cost the world over $6 trillion annually by 2021. Fears surrounding hackers have been underscored by disruptions in political processes, social media accounts, and more. This has helped set in motion a record number of job openings for information security professionals.
There are a number of different industries that are especially in need of this kind of expertise. Apart from the political sphere, banks and financial institutions have been experiencing a more recent uptick in cyber attacks.
According to a 2016 survey, banks experience an average of 85 serious attempted data breaches every year. 36% of those attempts result in hackers successfully obtaining some sensitive information.
The information-intensive healthcare industry has also expressed a need to increase their information security capabilities following the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack, a stunt which devastated national health services around the globe.
By the time the attack was over, a quarter-million machines in more than 150 countries had been affected. The NHS, Spain-based Telefonica, America’s FedEx, German railway company Deutsche Bahn, and LATAM Airlines were all impacted.
Thanks to their wealth of intellectual property, campus research, and personal records, educational facilities are seeing increased incidents of cyber attacks as well. The University of California, San Francisco recently experienced a cyber attack just a few months ago.
On June 1, cybercriminals used NetWalker malware to encrypt data on the servers of the university’s school of medicine. Students and faculty alike were told they would be unable to access their devices until a ransom in cryptocurrency was paid.
In total, the university was forced to hand over $1.14M to recover its encrypted data. With that, it’s safe to say those hoping to land a cybersecurity position will be met with a fair amount of job opportunities.
Indeed, cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. These individuals have the option of specializing in certain areas including information technology or IT, ethical hacking, information defense, information assurance, defense engineers, risk managers, network protection, and more.
Types of Cyber Security Job Titles
The cybersecurity workforce is multifaceted and made up of individuals specializing in unique areas. Check out the list below to explore different titles associated with the field.
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Many individuals interested in a cybersecurity career first look towards becoming a security specialist. This entry-level position requires a bachelor degree.
An information security specialist is expected to protect software and network security systems. They must keep an eye on defense updates and improvements, monitor administrations, ensure all tools are running properly, and develop system specialized security requirements.
The national average salary for a Security Specialist is $111,052 in the United States.
Incident responders respond to information hacks and emergencies. They are typically the first ones on the scene of cyberattacks or when an organization’s network or system has been compromised.
They are also responsible for helping prevent any major attacks from happening again. They must also be able to recognize existing vulnerabilities in a network or system, oversee systems and applications for suspicious activity, run penetration tests, risk analysis, and audits.
These individuals should be able to develop a system to spread awareness during an emergency and be able to relay all necessary information to law enforcement. Well-composed incident reports should also be created and handed off to upper management.
A Cyber Incident Responder will typically earn around $110,972 annually.
These individuals are responsible for installing and monitoring security controls.
Security administrators must take certain security measures, including supervising systems for suspicious activity or traffic, running audits and providing policy recommendations, protecting computer systems against illegal access, and creating plans for recovery should a breach occur.
The average annual pay for a Cyber Security Administrator in the United States is $91,661 a year.
Also on the list of cybersecurity jobs are vulnerability assessors. These individuals spend their days searching and analyzing possible errors in computer networks and information systems. They also provide recommendations to businesses on how to improve their network security systems.
They may also be asked to compose and describe vulnerability assessments, test vulnerabilities by creating and testing custom scripts and applications, and use creative strategies to highlight additional risks.
The median salary for a Security Assessor is $90,000.
Job alerts may also point recent graduates towards cryptography. Individuals working in this area create ciphers, algorithms, and security systems using code. These individuals must make sure their scripts are able to protect data from unauthorized users, create systems to guard against exposures, and make sure critical information is protected from being edited, copied, or deleted.
They are also responsible for testing systems for vulnerabilities, analyze data to solve any existing safety issues and keep up-to-date with current research and strategies for coding.
Cryptographers earn average salaries of just over $73,000.
These individuals fall more into the managerial sphere than some of the more technical jobs listed above. These individuals will be responsible for assembling a reliable team of cyber security experts, manage budgets, assess new software, and remain up-to-date with industry trends.
The national average salary for a Cyber Security Manager is $51,881 in the United States.
These individuals design systems, manage employees, and assess the needs of their business or organization. They must also test their systems for any vulnerabilities and implement employee protocols to maintain system integrity.
Salaries for a Cyber Security Manager can reach up to $138,690 in certain parts of the United States.
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
Largely considered a more advanced position within the field, a Chief Information Security Officer must oversee all defense policies and procedures for their company. Some organizations may require applicants to possess a masters in cybersecurity.
They must remain current on all industry trends, including how cyber criminals are behaving. They must also remain aware of how all company decisions are made and provide input from a security perspective.
The 2020 average Chief Information Security Officer salary in the US is $221,601.
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts must analyze all policies and protocols for their company. They must also conduct thorough audits to determine any existing weaknesses in the company’s cyber defense system. They must also anticipate future developments in digital security crime and work accordingly to prevent potential attacks.
The average salary for information security analysts falls between $90,000 and $160,000.
These network security professionals work with risk management must produce detailed reports on system performance. They must also make sure all records are protected by firewalls, encryption, and other cyber defense measures.
The average salary for this position falls at around $66,000.
These individuals must examine all security breaches, provide perspective on how it took place, and take measures to locate the criminals involved. They must also train first responders on how to handle evidence including computers, hard drives, or portable drives.
The average annual pay for a Computer Forensics Analyst in the United States is $100,063 a year.
Source Code Auditor
Individuals holding this title must review all source code in a company’s systems or applications to find any security vulnerabilities or defects that might affect its ability to protect against security threats. This means they must be aware of any technologies or trends popular among cyber criminals. The position demands an in-depth understanding of computer science.
The median salary of a security code auditor is $65,286 though can range from $50,000 to $90,000 or more.
A cybersecurity degree can also lead you to a career as a penetration tester. Also known as ethical hackers, these individuals spend their days hacking into existing computer systems to test their relative security. These individuals must be able to write code and will be expected to write reports detailing the results of their tests.
The average penetration tester salary falls around $84,690.
Skills Needed for a Career in Cyber Security
Each field demands a specific skill set and cyber security is no different. There are a number of qualities individuals must possess for a successful career as an expert in the field. Check out the list below for more information.
It should come as no surprise that a career in cyber security demands a vast understanding of the technical world. Daily tasks will revolve around technical implementations, computer forensics, network monitoring, and more.
Problem Solving Skills
Cyber security experts must be able to find creative solutions to complex problems as it pertains to the world of cyber security. Professionals must also find ways to integrate new technologies into an existing security system.
Cyber security professionals work closely with one another to resolve security issues and prevent future attacks. They must be able to communicate their findings and analysis to all team members in a clear and effective way. It’s also important for them to be comfortable communicating technical information to individuals of varying skill levels.
An Understanding of the Hacking Universe
When working to prevent attacks, it’s important to understand how they take place to begin with. Cyber security professionals must have a solid understanding of the methods and tools used by hackers to successfully thwart their attempts.
The Future of Cybersecurity
It’s no surprise that the cybersecurity space is constantly evolving. While no one can say for sure where the next major cyber threat will take place or what technology will be needed to combat it, there are a number of ideas as to where the industry is headed.
According to most industry insiders, the rise of artificial intelligence will lead to an increase in attempted cyber attacks. Cyber professionals must learn to develop techniques to detect and counteract AI corruption attacks.
Cyber warfare is another growing concern among industry leaders. Looking into the future, more cybersecurity companies can expect to work hard making their infrastructure more resilient to digital attacks.
The number of cyber criminals continues to grow. According to a study conducted by University of Maryland researcher Michel Cukier, computer hacks happen, on average, every 39 seconds. These individuals possess an impressive amount of industry knowledge. So long as they continue to develop their skills, so must those operating on the other side.
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Cyber Security FAQ
Is cyber security a good career?
If you enjoy a challenge, then a job in cyber security is for you. Things move fast in this field, so you’ll have to have a pulse on what’s happening in the day-to-day. Problem solvers and individuals who are able to pick up on new subjects quickly will excel here. Those who demonstrate a willingness to learn can advance quickly.
Is cyber security in demand?
Demand for cybersecurity professionals is on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the industry will experience job growth of 31% between 2019 and 2029. That is a much faster rate than most other industries will experience.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows the number of new cybersecurity programs has increased by 33% while cybersecurity job postings have grown by 94% in the past six years.
What are the highest paying cyber security jobs?
Like most other industries, the more advanced cyber security positions come with higher salaries. Some of the highest paying job titles include a chief information security officer, freelance bug bounty hunter, deputy CISO, lead software security engineer, and cybersecurity sales engineer. Individuals holding these titles can make anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000 annually.
How many hours a week do cyber security professionals work?
Full-time cyber security positions demand a standard 40-hour workweek. That said, it is not uncommon for those working in the field to put in a few extra hours. According to some sources, upwards of 88% of people working in the field admit they put in more than 8 hours a day.