Last Updated: March 30, 2020
Cybersecurity professionals defend their organizations from cyberattacks by protecting hardware, networks, servers, and data from potential breaches. These professionals may analyze structural risks, engage in ethical hacking to test for weaknesses, or research cyberattacks on a higher level to identify patterns and develop solutions.
Cybersecurity jobs are expanding rapidly across the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects demand for information security analysts to grow by 32% between 2018 and 2028, more than five times the projected growth for all occupations nationwide. With companies increasingly relying on cloud computing, cyberattacks are happening more often. Organizations across industries are responding by bolstering their cyber defenses and opening more cybersecurity jobs.
While salary varies by position, location, and industry, the BLS reports that security analysts earned an annual mean wage of $98,350 in May 2018. Many cybersecurity jobs require at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, information security, or a related field. Some employers may prefer a master's degree.
What A Career Page Covers
In these cybersecurity career pages, readers can find a wealth of information about potential career paths, including detailed cybersecurity job descriptions, salary data, and job requirements.
In an evolving field with a variety of job options, aspiring cybersecurity professionals should conduct careful research to select a potential career path. Researching cybersecurity jobs can help individuals make the right choices in terms of degree, certifications, and entry-level experience.
Salaries for cybersecurity jobs vary. A chief information security officer, or CISO, earns an average salary of $160,000, while security incident responders earn $71,000 and security auditors earn $84,000. Cybersecurity salaries depend on education, experience, location, and industry.
For high-level positions such as CISO, cybersecurity professionals need 7-10 years of experience. Oftentimes, employers require managers and directors to hold a master's degree.
Because cybersecurity degrees teach students proficiency in critical hard skills such as computer programming and network configuration, even entry-level jobs require a bachelor's degree. Some employers seek candidates with a master's degree. Typically, cybersecurity professionals begin in junior positions and advance with years of experience.
Through a cybersecurity degree, students hone skills in network and security applications, information systems security, IT security planning and risk management, and ethical hacking. Many employers also seek further professional certifications. Some cybersecurity programs offer pathways to obtaining these credentials.
Focus on Cybersecurity
A fast-growing field with projected demand in the coming years, cybersecurity encompasses a variety of exciting jobs. Cybersecurity careers may focus on analysis, computer forensics, development, project management, or other leadership roles. This page highlights careers such as information security specialist, security auditor, penetration tester, and cybersecurity engineer.
Broad vs. Specific Details
Crossover happens frequently in cybersecurity job responsibilities and required skills. As a result, these career pages feature broad-sweeping descriptions for cybersecurity jobs.
In the pages ahead, readers can review specific skills needed to excel in each position, including opportunities to develop those skills. Aspiring cybersecurity professionals should keep in mind that job requirements vary between positions. No degree or skill set guarantees a specific job title, and each employer develops a different job description depending on the organization's specific needs.
This guide offers advice on getting a cybersecurity job after obtaining general IT experience.
Find Out Which Cybersecurity Career is Right for You
For those with a background in computer science, information security, or a related field, cybersecurity jobs represent a growing and potentially lucrative career path. Security directors earn an average yearly salary of $82,000, while cybersecurity professionals skilled in cryptography earn $102,000. Read through the following career pages for more information, including detailed salary data.
A Growing Need for Cybersecurity Professionals
Cyberattacks cause expensive headaches for companies across industries, including hospitality, healthcare, and insurance. Hackers exploit security weaknesses to collect private information such as social security and credit card numbers, medical data, passwords, and company secrets. Hackers then sell this information to the highest bidder or ransom it back to the company from which they stole it.
In November 2018, hackers cracked into a central Marriott reservation database and stole data that included names, addresses, credit card numbers, and passport numbers. With 383 million guests affected, the breach ranks among the top five largest data breaches ever. According to CNET, Marriott's offer to pay for the stolen passports could potentially cost the company $577 million, plus negative press and loss of consumer confidence.
In July 2019, a data breach compromised 100 million Capital One applications spanning from 2005 to 2019, with stolen information that included 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers, plus addresses, zip codes, birth dates, and other sensitive information.
According to a 2016 Forbes report, industries particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks include healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, government, and transportation. Forbes also highlighted increasing threats to the energy industry.
- Free Online Cybersecurity Courses: Both aspiring and veteran cybersecurity professionals can benefit from continuing education through open online courses.
- A Quick Guide to Security Clearances: For those interested in pursuing government work in cybersecurity, this guide offers information on preparing for the necessary security clearances.
- A Guide to Cybersecurity Certifications: Many employers seek to fill cybersecurity jobs with those who hold professional credentials. This guide offers details on different cybersecurity certifications.
- Government Cybersecurity Careers: For those interested in pursuing government work, including cybersecurity jobs with the National Security Agency or the Central Intelligence Agency, this guide offers practical details on the many facets of public service.
- The Big List of Cybersecurity Resources: Alphabetically arranged by category, this guide encompasses an enormous list of resources on cybersecurity careers, including blogs, news, books, and websites.