A Career in Cybersecurity: Here’s What You Should Know
The need for skilled cybersecurity professionals has become critical in the last few years (Nelson, 2021). Companies across the globe have been on the lookout for ethical hackers and security professionals since the dawn of digitalization, but a recent rise in cyberattacks and security breaches has fueled this massive demand.
Increased awareness of the current threat landscape has inspired more job seekers to explore a career in cybersecurity. If you’re interested in entering the field, here are some tips on why it could be the right career choice and what you need to know to get started.
What Do Companies Look for in a Cybersecurity Employee?
Cybersecurity problems are increasing and constantly changing, and some employers are struggling more than ever to overcome the challenges of recruiting a capable cybersecurity workforce. The industry’s dynamic nature means many employers must maintain continuous training programs to sharpen their employees’ talent and prevent their skills from becoming obsolete.
Companies want experienced professionals with the right skillsets to meet their specific needs. Historically, many have required a bachelor’s degree, at a minimum, even for entry-level cybersecurity jobs. Eighty-eight percent of cybersecurity postings specified a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to a 2019 report (Burning Glass, 2019). A similar number of postings sought candidates with at least three years of experience.
Since then, the global COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the demand for cybersecurity professionals, and many employers are rethinking their 4-year college degree requirements (Klein, 2022). Skills acquired on the job or in targeted coursework may be enough to get a candidate serious consideration.
What Are the Best Cybersecurity Jobs and Salaries?
The field of cybersecurity is vast, with countless options. Before embarking on a career in cybersecurity, candidates should look closely at the requirements and functions of different roles in light of their strengths and ambitions.
Some of the major cybersecurity job titles include auditor, security operations center (SOC) analyst, security software developer, incident responder, Internet of Things (IoT) security professional, cloud security expert, cybersecurity trainer, and cyber forensic expert.
The following are some of the best-paying cybersecurity jobs (Payscale, n.d.):
- Cybersecurity analyst ($77,032)
- Cybersecurity engineer ($97,882)
- Information security analyst ($73,479)
- Information security officer ($94,432)
- Chief information security officer ($166,974)
Other top-paying jobs in today’s cybersecurity market include application security engineer, cloud engineer, penetration tester, risk manager, senior security consultant, and software architect (Indeed Editorial Team, 2022).
Preparation for a Career in Cybersecurity
While a relevant degree is useful for entering the cybersecurity industry, it is perhaps more important for career seekers to understand the security domain and focus on the specific skills employers want.
An entry-level candidate may be successful with limited knowledge about basic cybersecurity concepts. However, middle-tier and upper-level jobs typically require advanced knowledge, substantial cybersecurity work experience, and relevant industry certifications.
Study With EC-Council University
EC-Council University (ECCU) offers an exceptional launching pad for those who want to kickstart their cybersecurity careers. Founded by some of the most respected leaders in the cybersecurity field, ECCU offers cutting-edge cybersecurity programs leading to valuable degrees.
Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity (BSCS) degree program aims to help students obtain the knowledge they need to build a career in cybersecurity. The BSCS areas of focus include cybersecurity management, security threat assessment, and incident response. The BSCS program can be completed in 2 years.
Master of Science in Cybersecurity
The Master of Science in Cybersecurity (MSCS) degree program prepares candidates to assume cybersecurity and information assurance leadership roles. Participants learn about IT security threat assessment, computer security management, organizational management and behavior, incident response, and leadership challenges. The MSCS program can be completed in two years.
- Security Analyst: security analysis, vulnerability assessment, penetration tests, security tests, wireless network security
- Cloud Security Architect: secure programming, advanced network defense, cloud security design and implementation, cloud platform security
- Digital Forensics: investigating network intrusions, computer forensics, cyber law, advanced mobile forensics, advanced mobile security
- Incident Management and Business Continuity: organizational change management, disaster recovery, incident handling and response
- Executive Leadership in Information Assurance: global business leadership, IT security project management, executive governance, executive management
Calling All Non-Coders
For those who are interested in cybersecurity but do not have a technical background, it may be reassuring to know that knowledge of coding and programming is not required for all cybersecurity jobs (Hayes, 2018). While it can be helpful for candidates to develop these skills, they are not a prerequisite for entering the cybersecurity field.
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Burning Glass. (June 2019). Recruiting watchers for the virtual walls: The state of cybersecurity hiring. https://www.burning-glass.com/wp-content/uploads/recruiting_watchers_cybersecurity_hiring.pdf
Hayes, L. (2018, February 8). Wait, I don’t need to be a programmer to work in cybersecurity? New America. https://www.newamerica.org/cybersecurity-initiative/humans-of-cybersecurity/blog/wait-i-dont-need-be-programmer-work-cybersecurity/
Klein, K. (2022, January 23). Opinion: Skills, not schools. It took a pandemic and BLM to get employers looking at new ways to hire. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-01-23/editorial-it-took-a-pandemic-and-blm-to-get-employers-looking-at
Indeed Editorial Team. (2022, January 9). 13 of the highest paying cybersecurity jobs. Indeed. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/highest-paid-cyber-security-jobs
Payscale. (n.d.) Pay is powerful. https://www.payscale.com