As the world becomes more technologically sophisticated, so do cyber criminals. According to the 2017 Mid-Year Data Breach QuickView Report by RiskBased Security, as of July 2017, there were more than 2,200 data breaches recorded that exposed more than 6 billion records.
Data breach incidents have steadily increased since 2013, so it’s no surprise cybersecurity jobs are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook reports 14,800 new information security analyst jobs are expected to be added from 2014 to 2024, growing at a rate of 18 percent, which is much faster than average across professional industries in the United States.
On this page you’ll find 11 types of careers in cyber security, typical job paths, and salary ranges in addition to information about the future of demand for cyber security professionals.
Any organization that relies on a computer network has a need for cybersecurity professionals. From energy providers and wealth management businesses to healthcare systems, protecting personal and corporate data through cyber security jobs is paramount to some of the world’s biggest industries.
Cyber crime analyst
A cybersecurity analyst monitors a computer network to protect it from hacking and breach threats, including malware and viruses. Cybersecurity analysts may also create network architecture that provides threat protection.
Penetration and vulnerability tester
A cybersecurity architect creates a security design that aligns with business goals, and creates best practices for security engineers and other cybersecurity professionals in an organization.
There are many other roles in the field of cyber security, and some organizations create their own job titles or form hybrid roles depending on their needs.
According to Cyberseek, an interactive resource sponsored by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education and the National Institute of the Standards and Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce, advanced-level roles in cyber security are typically cybersecurity manager/administrator, cybersecurity engineer and cybersecurity architects. These roles have a direct impact on business strategy and often include managing teams or other specialists.
Mid-level roles may include cybersecurity analyst, cybersecurity consultant, and penetration and vulnerability tester. These types of roles may give cybersecurity professionals the ability and freedom to create their own schedules and work with the organizations they choose to, in “solopreneur” capabilities. Entry-level cybersecurity jobs include cybersecurity specialists and technicians, cyber crime investigators, incident analysts and IT auditors.
These positions may be held in-house with a single organization, or these professionals may also work for a variety of businesses. Cybersecurity professionals may move among roles, and some positions may be considered more prominent and pay higher salaries depending on the organization. Having an advanced degree, like a Master’s in Cyber Security, may enable candidates to achieve higher positions in their career path more quickly or advance within their own organization.
The BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook reports the median pay for information security analysts in 2016 was $92,600 per year. Typically, those with higher degrees have the ability to achieve higher salaries. According to the BLS, median weekly earnings in 2016 for those with a bachelor’s degree was $1,156, compared to $1,380 for those with a master’s degree.
Some organizations request graduate degrees when they are hiring. For example, Cyberseek reports 32 percent of online listings for cybersecurity consultants require a graduate degree in the job description.
Average Salary for Cybersecurity Jobs*
- Incident analyst: $69,000
- Cyber security specialist: $81,000
- IT auditor: $83,000
- Cyber crime analyst: $84,000
- Cyber security analyst: $85,000
- Cyber security consultant: $101,000
- Penetration and vulnerability tester: $101,000
- Cyber security engineer: $105,000
- Cyber security manager: $111,000
- Cyber security architect: $120,000
*Average annual salaries for typical cyber security roles come from Cyberseek. Besides the type of organization, average salaries also tend to vary based on geography, years of worker experience and size of the organization.
Although the BLS projects growth in cybersecurity jobs, the number of people who graduate with bachelor and master’s degrees in computer and information sciences is rapidly increasing. From 2009-10 to 2014-15, the United States saw a 75 percent growth in the number of master’s degrees and a nearly 50 percent growth in the number of bachelor degrees in computer and information technology.
Ultimately, the career path and salary you earn relies tremendously on your work ethic and ambition. When you embark on a cybersecurity graduate program, you also benefit from making valuable new connections who may serve as referrals for better positions within the IT field.
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