Technological advances have expedited the digital revolution, with nearly every transaction, communication, and task now able to be conducted in the virtual realm. Companies of all sizes are harvesting vast amounts of data, making cybersecurity more crucial than ever.
According to the US Department of Labor, the need for qualified cybersecurity professionals is on the rise, as the cybersecurity industry continues to grow rapidly. Those interested in cybersecurity careers should recognize the importance of obtaining the right qualifications. Most open positions in the cybersecurity job market require applicants to have an information technology (IT) degree or other credential with a focus on cybersecurity.
Why Pursue a Career in Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is one of the most pressing concerns of our time, particularly as more workplaces shift to remote and hybrid work environments. Cyber threats are a real issue among business leaders and professionals alike, with startling statistics showing that cyberattacks are on the rise. According to Security Magazine, recent data published by Check Point Research indicated that there was a 38 percent increase in global cyberattacks in 2022. Hackers are not only more motivated, but they are also becoming more skilled, making cyber defense and network security essential to every business.
As the demand for cybersecurity professionals increases, those interested in this field will find that there are many lucrative opportunities, thanks to the growing job market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job market for information security analysts is expected to grow by more than 32 percent by 2032, with the median salary for an information security analyst climbing to more than $112,000 per year.
10 Careers in Cybersecurity: A Detailed Look
Are you looking to advocate for online safety while minimizing digital threats for an organization? Do you have an interest in cyber risk management and digital forensics? If so, then a career in cybersecurity may be perfect for you. These are some of the most exciting and rewarding cybersecurity careers of our time:
1. Information Security Analyst
An information security analyst is a cybersecurity professional who works to prevent cyberattacks and minimize the risk of a data breach by strengthening the organization's computer network and security systems. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is an entry-level career path for those with an IT degree, and the median annual salary is more than $112,000.
2. Penetration Tester
A penetration tester is an IT professional who dabbles in the art of ethical hacking. Essentially, the role of the penetration tester is to attack a cyber network and see how far they can get with a data breach before security protocols prevent them from going further. A penetration tester is often hired on a contract basis by an organization to perform a vulnerability assessment. The salary for this type of position can be as much as $91,000 per year.
3. Security Software Developer
Security software developers are responsible for creating a secure product that is not susceptible to cyberattacks. They often work in collaboration with a team of security software engineers to ensure that multiple layers are in place to prevent a data breach. They rely on secure coding and encryption techniques to create a well-protected product. The average salary for this position in the United States is about $116,000 per year.
4. Incident Responder
When a cybersecurity attack or data breach occurs, the incident responder steps into action to investigate. According to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, an incident responder is responsible for collecting intrusion data, coordinating technical support to manage the immediate impact of the data breach and coordinating an incident response. They also are required to create mitigation measures that take the incident into consideration moving forward. Incident responders make an average of approximately $100,000 annually.
5. Security Consultant
Security consultants are typically hired on a contract basis to evaluate the current network security and develop security solutions for an individual organization. The responsibilities of the security consultant will vary based on the organization that hires them, but some are invited to perform ethical hacking while others focus on firewall management and malware protection. Security consultants can earn a salary of about $116,000 per year.
6. Forensic Computer Analyst
A forensic computer analyst is essentially a cyber crime fighter. These professionals work in both the public and private sector to investigate cyberattacks and determine the root cause. According to Indeed, common responsibilities of a forensic computer analyst include collecting cyber crime scene data and evidence, accessing encrypted data that may be related to the crime and compiling reports about their findings. The base salary for this position is about $70,000 per year.
7. Security Systems Administrator
A security systems administrator is a manager responsible for maintaining the network system of their employer. An individual in this position is required to monitor the system, manage user accounts and develop security protocols. Security systems administrators make an average of $76,060 per year.
A cryptographer (or cryptography engineer) is a skilled cybersecurity professional responsible for writing secure code and ensuring that all coding for the network is encrypted. The most common tasks that a cryptographer performs include developing encrypted code, implementing algorithms for the organization and identifying weaknesses within the existing code. The salary for this position can be as high as $145,000 per year.
9. Security Architect
A security architect is a high-level cybersecurity professional who develops, implements, and maintains a network security system for an organization. They often specialize in developing custom, tailor-made security solutions for the company, ensuring it has the necessary security protocols in place to prevent ransomware attacks. The base salary for this position is around $137,000 per year, with many organizations offering additional incentives for these senior-level professionals.
10. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
Known as a relative newcomer to the executive scene, the Chief Information Security Officer, or CISO, position is becoming increasingly common at top-tier companies and organizations. The CISO oversees the information technology team and actively works to prevent cyberattacks. Salary.com notes that the average salary for this position can be as high as $270,000 per year.
Future Trends in Cybersecurity
As remote working becomes the norm for professionals around the world, and as machine learning finds its place in modern society, the future of cybersecurity is in the balance. This is an industry that is likely to grow more robust in the years to come, given that the prevalence of emerging digital threats and novel risks are on the rise and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Some of the most threatening risks emerging today include social engineering, configuration mistakes, ransomware, and poor data management. These risks will continue to evolve over time, requiring organizations to attract and retain the top cybersecurity professionals in the industry.
As an up-and-coming cybersecurity pro, you will want to keep your education relevant with fresh insight from a degree or cybersecurity training.
Learn More, Today
If you envision yourself as a cybersecurity professional, the best thing you can do for your career is to invest in a degree program that will provide you with a skills-based foundation as well as advanced knowledge of cybersecurity best practices.
At the University of Minnesota's College of Continuing & Professional Studies, we offer an IT degree , the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Infrastructure, as well as an Information Technology Infrastructure Minor and an Information Technology Infrastructure Certificate. In addition, we offer a cybersecurity training program that allows skilled professionals to enhance their resume and dive into the cybersecurity job market.
Request more information about our CCAPS programs today.