Four Reasons You Should Consider a Career in Cybersecurity
From email phishing scams to identity theft and ransomware, there’s no question that cybercrime is on the rise. In 2019, a business was targeted by a ransomware attack every 14 seconds, and attacks are only expected to become more common as organizations continue to digitize (Freedman, 2020).
This increase in the prevalence of cyberattacks on organizations, government infrastructures, and individuals has emphasized the importance of cybersecurity. Due to the rise in cybercrime and growing reliance on the digital world, the demand for a cybersecurity workforce has been rising faster than supply can keep up, with an estimated 4 million cybersecurity jobs left unfilled in 2021 (Banach, 2020).
Choosing a career path isn’t easy—it’s a decision that impacts your entire future. Cybersecurity is a dynamic and fast-growing field that offers excellent job security, varied and rewarding work, and competitive pay. In this article, find out why you should pursue a career in cybersecurity.
1. Demand for Cybersecurity Professionals Is Extremely High
Cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving field with steady demand for advanced professionals. The cybersecurity field has an incredible 0% unemployment rate (Cybersecurity Ventures, 2019), and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022) predicts that employment of information security analysts will increase by 33% between 2020 and 2030.
While these figures indicate a troubling talent shortage, they’re also great news for job seekers. In the words of Alec Ross, senior advisor for innovation at the U.S. State Department: “If any college student asked me what career would most assure 30 years of steady, well-paying employment, I would respond, ‘cybersecurity’” (Fitzpatrick, 2012, para. 2).
2. There’s a Cybersecurity Job for Everyone
Today’s information technology and cybersecurity jobs involve much more than tinkering with cables and wires in a basement. Much like how doctors can specialize in neurology or cardiology, individuals entering a career in cybersecurity can choose from a wide variety of disciplines, including ethical hacking, digital forensics, penetration testing, information security, and social engineering.
Each of these areas has its own skill set and associated expertise, and job positions range from entry level to the C suite. Here are just a few of the job roles that you can pursue with a cybersecurity degree or certification:
- Chief information security officer (CISO)
- Forensic computer analyst
- Information security analyst
- Penetration tester
- Security architect
It’s also important to remember that cybersecurity experts nowadays are required in just about any field you can imagine: banking, hospitality, government, education, and many more. As organizations increasingly shift their operations online, employers in a wide variety of sectors are searching for qualified cybersecurity personnel. If you’re interested in cybersecurity as well as another domain, working within that field as a security professional is a great way to pursue both passions.
3. The Compensation Is Highly Competitive
Cybersecurity’s previously mentioned 0% unemployment rate means that cybersecurity professionals are in high demand, leading to a major rise in average incomes. Due to the lack of qualified cybersecurity professionals, these salaries will likely stay high in years to come.
While top bug bounty hunters and CISOs in major cities can rake in as much as $500,000 and $421,000 per year, respectively (Fazzini, 2018; Morgan, 2016), even salaries for entry-level and mid-level positions are impressive: In the United States, average annual incomes are $90,995 for cybersecurity analysts (Indeed, 2022c), $114,697 for penetration testers (Indeed, 2022a), and $114,843 for network security engineers (Indeed, 2022b).*
4. Cybersecurity Work Is Challenging and Rewarding
As a cybersecurity professional, you’ll get to leverage critical thinking skills to solve tough problems that have a real-world impact. You can also pursue positions that offer you the opportunity to work with innovative, cutting-edge technologies, like blockchain and artificial intelligence.
Thanks to the rewarding and engaging nature of cybersecurity work, the field has outstanding job satisfaction rates. According to the 2020 Cybersecurity Professionals Salary, Skills and Stress Survey, an incredible 96% of respondents reported that they were happy with their role and job responsibilities, and 87% were pleased with their earnings (Exabeam, 2020).
What Makes a Great Cybersecurity Professional?
If you already have some coding knowledge, an understanding of web applications and system administration, or a knack for detecting network intrusions, further education in cybersecurity is a great way to hone your skills and get started in this profession.
Here are a few other signs that you’d make an excellent cybersecurity professional:
- You have an eye for detail. This will help you read and analyze data with ease.
- You love a challenge. New cyberthreats appear every day, creating a challenging and exciting atmosphere.
- You’re great at staying organized. Security professionals need to be extremely methodological.
- You’re curious. Successful cybersecurity experts are driven by personal interest in the field, including a desire to explore and learn new things.
Ready to Start Your Career in Cybersecurity?
With such a significant talent shortage in the cybersecurity field, now is the perfect time to jumpstart your career by choosing a profession that offers extensive opportunities.
If you’re wondering where to start, consider enrolling in the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity or Master of Science in Cybersecurity program at EC-Council University (ECCU). At ECCU, you’ll learn the skills you need to start your career in ethical hacking, penetration testing, incident response, or another area of cybersecurity. Start your application today!
* Note that salaries and employment opportunities may differ from country to country and state to state. These are averages, not guarantees, and individual research is deeply encouraged.
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Banach, Z. (2020, June 12). Bridging the cybersecurity skills gap. Netsparker. https://www.netsparker.com/blog/web-security/cybersecurity-skills-gap/
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022). Information security analysts. In Occupational outlook handbook. U.S. Department of Labor. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
Cybersecurity Ventures. (2019). The 2019/2020 official annual cybersecurity jobs report. Herjavec Group. https://www.herjavecgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/HG-CV-2019-Cybersecurity-Jobs-Report.pdf
Exabeam. (2020). 2020 cybersecurity professionals salary, skills and stress report. https://www.exabeam.com/library/2020-cybersecurity-professionals-salary-skills-and-stress-report/
Fazzini, K. (2018, December 13). Some freelance hackers can get paid $500,000 a year to test defenses of companies like Tesla. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/12/freelance-hackers-get-paid-to-test-the-defenses-of-firms-like-tesla.html
Fitzpatrick, A. (2012, May 29). Cybersecurity experts needed to meet growing demand. The Wall Street Journal. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/cybersecurity-experts-needed-to-meet-growing-demand/2012/05/29/gJQAtev1yU_story.html
Freedman, L. F. (2020, February 13). Ransomware attacks predicted to occur every 11 seconds in 2021 with a cost of $20 billion. Data Privacy and Security Insider. https://www.dataprivacyandsecurityinsider.com/2020/02/ransomware-attacks-predicted-to-occur-every-11-seconds-in-2021-with-a-cost-of-20-billion/
Indeed. (2022a, February 13). Penetration tester salary in United States. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.indeed.com/career/penetration-tester/salaries
Indeed. (2022b, February 14). Network security engineer salary in United States. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.indeed.com/career/network-security-engineer/salaries
Indeed. (2022c, February 15). Cybersecurity analyst salary in United States. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from https://www.indeed.com/career/cybersecurity-analyst/salaries
Morgan, S. (2016, March 15). Top U.S. cybersecurity salaries rise to $420,000. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevemorgan/2016/03/15/top-u-s-cybersecurity-salaries-trend-to-420000/