Finding a good online program is important if you want to pursue a career in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity students learn to prevent, detect and mitigate cyberattacks through technical, law, ethics, and critical-thinking courses. Lifelong learning is important in this field because keeping up with new trends and updating skills is part of the job. There are plenty of opportunities in cybersecurity as cyber-attacks and data breaches increase, resulting in a global shortage of information security professionals. An online cybersecurity degree can prepare you for a career in this fast-growing field.
Overview of Popular Career Paths in Cybersecurity
Incident Response Analyst
The first responder to cyber attacks investigates, analyzes, and responds to cyber incidents. They also proactively identify and contain threats.
It focuses on protecting the digital properties of an organization by analyzing existing cybersecurity protocols and policies, addressing weaknesses, and implementing upgrades to cybersecurity controls and measures.
Responsible for all cybersecurity systems within an organization. They understand the company's infrastructure, install and troubleshoot security solutions, and draft relevant training documents and security policies. They also serve as the point of contact for the entire cybersecurity team.
Cybersecurity specialists protect an organization's software and network security systems through vulnerability testing, internal and external security audits, security assessments, and risk analysis.
The cybersecurity auditor job role is one of the sought-after positions among others. Cybersecurity auditors audit an organization's cybersecurity systems to assess vulnerabilities and recommend ways to fix them.
Performs regular assessments of the cybersecurity landscape and recommends improvements. They analyze access controls, policies, operational effectiveness, and the latest threats. They also analyze enterprise systems for resilience.
A security engineer is also a high-level job role. Security engineers design and implement security-focused tools and services and develop policies and procedures within the organization.
Penetration testers, also known as ethical hackers, design, simulate and execute attacks on enterprise networks and systems to identify and address vulnerabilities.
The Chief Information Security Officer is responsible for protecting the organization's data. Their role is crucial across privacy, security, customer experience, and compliance implications.
Chief Information Officer is responsible for the information and data practice within an organization. While not part of the cybersecurity career path, this role is highly respected and well-paying.
Industries that Hire Cybersecurity Professionals
Cybercriminals are highly targeted by financial institutions, with companies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, Equifax, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, and JPMorgan being attacked. Business Insider reports that financial firms are 300 times more likely to be targeted than other companies, but the industry needs to be more prepared to prevent these attacks.
The government needs to catch up in cybersecurity, according to a report by Security Scorecard. The report analyzed 552 local, state, and federal organizations and found that government security is inadequate in several significant areas. This includes replacing outdated software, current patching software, individual endpoint defense, and IP address reputation.
Healthcare organizations must adequately protect sensitive patient data, resulting in costly and high-profile data breaches. According to healthitSecurity, millions of patients have had access to private records compromised. HIPAA Journal reports that 89% of healthcare organizations have experienced data breaches. The healthcare industry is also frequently targeted by ransomware attacks.
According to a recent survey, 40% of manufacturing firms experienced a cyber attack in the last year, and 38% suffered damages exceeding $1 million, highlighting the significant vulnerability of the industry.
The retail industry is seen as a potentially vulnerable target by hackers, who can be opportunistic shoppers. Many well-known retailers, such as Home Depot, Macy's, Kay Jewelers, Target, and Best Buy, have been victims of data breaches. The retail sector is particularly attractive to cybercriminals and is one of their primary targets, especially as eCommerce giants pressure more retailers to conduct transactions online.
Career Advancement and Salary Potential
If you work in cybersecurity, you may want to become a manager or secure a higher position. With years of cybersecurity experience, these managers supervise a company's computer and network security systems. They oversee security teams, ensure everyone works together, and follow security rules. The top security job is the chief information security officer (CISO). CISOs manage the company's security across all areas, including budget and rules. Being a manager is right for you if you like working with people, are organized, and can communicate well.
In terms of salary potential, even entry-level professionals earn good salaries in the cybersecurity field. With more experience and advanced roles, the pay often increases as well. To provide an idea of what's achievable, here are the average salaries for various cybersecurity jobs in the US, as of October 2022, according to Glassdoor.
- Intrusion detection specialist: $59,450
- Junior cybersecurity analyst: $81,170
- Digital forensic examiner: $91,212
- IT security administrator: $89,708
- Incident response analyst: $70,149
- Cybersecurity consultant: $90,200
- Information security analyst: $89,654
- Ethical hacker: $105,611
- Penetration tester: $97,474
- Security engineer: $129,311
- Cybersecurity manager: $105,050
- Security architect: $172,543
- Chief information security officer: $254,510
Tips for Finding and Applying for Cybersecurity Jobs
Choose your area of focus.
Cybersecurity is a vast field, and entry-level professionals must decide which area they want to specialize in. Employers appreciate applicants with a clear focus, which will help you identify your goals and narrow your job search.
Learn the language
Learning industry terms and acronyms is essential to become a successful cybersecurity professional. It will help you communicate better with cybersecurity experts and showcase your understanding of the industry.
Network with cybersecurity professionals through school, certification programs, meetups, and online groups. This will help you to learn about the industry, build professional relationships, and find job opportunities.
Document your training and skills.
Make sure your resume highlights your training, certifications, and skills that you have acquired for cybersecurity. You could also create a personal website that showcases your abilities and creativity and engages potential employers.
Prepare for the job interview.
Before your job interview, research the company and the job requirements, so you can discuss how you can meet their expectations.
While job hunting, continue acquiring additional certifications and skills that are relevant to the job you want. Plan for how you will advance your education, and demonstrate to potential employers that you have the ambition and desire to pursue higher education.
The Closing Thoughts
Cybersecurity is a fast-growing field with many job opportunities, making it a great career choice. However, to get one of these jobs, you must have the right qualifications, certifications, experience, and skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates of an online cybersecurity bachelor's degree program are well-positioned to find high-paying jobs, with information security analysts earning a median annual salary of $102,600.