With the advancement of technology, the number and complexity of threats increase, making these criminals some of the most sophisticated and difficult to catch. There is no wonder cybersecurity professionals are so in demand because cybercrime is expected to grow 15% per year by 2025 and reach $10.5 trillion by then.
Almost 1.1 million cybersecurity workers are projected to be employed in the U.S. by 2022, which is only enough to fill 65% of the available jobs, according to CyberSeek. A career in cybersecurity offers a variety of opportunities to explore, both personally and professionally, which offers prospective workers the opportunity to achieve unlimited professional growth.
What is Cybersecurity?
Experts specializing in cybersecurity are like detectives tasked with catching cybercriminals and preventing them from compromising systems. Many cybersecurity professionals spend their careers developing and using software that keeps computer systems safe and secure.
Professionals in cybersecurity are in a fast-paced environment where change is constant, and they do important work that makes a difference. The comprehensive guide below will provide you with all the information you need to earn a degree in cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity Career Options
Cybersecurity is a good option if you're looking for a field with high job security or would like to use your problem-solving skills to protect critical data. A cybersecurity career is a field with many potential careers.
Here are a few of the jobs that can be found within the field:
Detecting cyber threats is the primary responsibility of a cybersecurity analyst, along with managing and configuring the tools used to monitor networks' activities. After identifying network vulnerabilities in their organization using vulnerability scans, analysts apply security patches and software to increase the protection of their organization's network. Having a team of these professionals on hand is crucial to preventing cyber threats and strengthening security measures in an organization.
The job of penetration testers is to find unauthorized access to computer systems, applications, or data. An organization's penetration tester is responsible for locating vulnerabilities and issues before cybercriminals discover them. Utilizing software or security systems can remove potential security breaches and protect the company's data. Penetration testers also provide cybersecurity consulting services to help organizations better understand and enhance their systems.
Cyber security engineers create and update security systems to protect organizations from cyber threats. For an organization to have the best defense, it must stay up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity technology. Creating solutions to problems, monitoring security options, implementing policies for security, and responding to cyber threats are all responsibilities of a cybersecurity engineer.
Cybersecurity architects are responsible for setting up and maintaining a company's network security architecture. Cybersecurity architects plan, design, test, implement and maintain computer and network security infrastructure for organizations. A vulnerability test and a risk assessment are used to build security systems tailored to meet the needs of businesses, government agencies, and organizations.
Cybersecurity auditors plan and manage audits to ensure an organization's efficiency and security. In addition to reviewing an organization's IT infrastructure, they provide policies and procedures that are in place and are operating effectively.
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
Senior executives, or CISOs, are solely responsible for overseeing the security team within their organization. Besides ensuring that other security executives know security requirements, CISOs collaborate with vendors, firms, and government agencies to manage budgets and maintain the security team's productivity.
Essential Skills to Become a Qualified Cybersecurity Professional
With a blend of education and experience, cybersecurity experts have the opportunity to pursue diverse career paths in this dynamic field. Industries, including healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and retail, recruit cybersecurity professionals to protect their data from cyber breaches, which results in high demand for specialists. As a result, there is a significant demand for specialists in this field.
Organizations use control frameworks to classify and organize their internal controls to maximize business value and minimize risk.
Monitoring systems like Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) are designed to detect suspicious activity and send alerts to the appropriate authorities. Security operations center (SOC) analysts and incident responders can take action when a threat is detected and investigate the issue.
Network Security Control:
An organization or system is designed to meet defined security requirements and protect its information confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
Operating systems provide common services to computer programs and manage computer hardware and software resources.
It is called incident response when an organization responds to a data breach or cyberattack. It also includes how the organization deals with the breach's consequences or attack. CIRTs, also known as cyber incident response teams, usually handle incident response for an organization.
As the name implies, the cloud is the Internet, specifically the things you can access remotely. Cloud storage refers to storing your data and applications on Internet servers rather than your local system.
Organizations can use DevOps to deliver high-speed applications and services through cultural values, practices, and tools compared to traditional software development and infrastructure management processes.
A company should adhere to cybersecurity standards and regulations set by authorities, agencies, and laws. Organizations must establish risk-based controls to comply with regulations that protect information confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA).
A cybersecurity risk management process identifies, analyzes, evaluates, and addresses an organization's cybersecurity threats. To ensure the integrity of internal systems, the entire organization needs to be involved in cybersecurity risk management.
Earning Potential in Cybersecurity Field
Because cybersecurity is a specialized area requiring significant work, it offers some of the highest salaries in the IT industry. Furthermore, cyber security salaries are steadily increasing across the world. Your salary may vary depending on the organization's size, your education level, and the amount of experience you have in cybersecurity and IT.
Here are some examples of common job roles and their average annual salaries:
- Cybersecurity analyst - $102,000
- Cybersecurity engineer - $95,500
- Penetration tester - $87,737
- Cybersecurity architect - $123,000
- Cybersecurity auditor- $88,000
- CISO - $165,000
Job Opportunities for Cybersecurity Professionals
A clear understanding of the cybersecurity work environment and the job outlook is very important for professionals in the field. Between 2021 and 2031, cybersecurity jobs are projected to grow five times faster than the national average. There is a continuous need for cybersecurity in every company because all companies and industries use websites and software systems to store data. As a result, they need cybersecurity experts to protect their systems. Nearly every cybersecurity professional in the US has two job opportunities because more cybersecurity jobs are available than qualified candidates. There will be more job opportunities in the future because the field is constantly evolving and growing. In most cybersecurity job postings, candidates must have at least a bachelor's degree. A master's degree might help them stand out and land more advanced positions with better salaries and leadership roles.
How Do I Choose the Right Cybersecurity Degree?
To pursue a career in cybersecurity, you can seek a degree in computer science or software development. However, a degree in cybersecurity is the most effective way to stand out among others.
Bachelor's Degree in Cybersecurity
With a degree in cybersecurity, you will gain valuable skills for your career. In WGU's bachelor of science online degree program, students learn about network architecture, data management, web and cloud security, information assurance, information systems, scripting, and programming. Any degree in information technology can also be used for a career in cybersecurity, such as computer science, networking, and software development.
Master's Degree in Cybersecurity
Getting a degree in cyber security could be an excellent way to enter the field of information security. With a master's degree, you will gain a deeper understanding of cybersecurity management and structure, digital forensics, and information assurance. Cybersecurity and information assurance courses at WGU include digital forensics, cryptography, computer networks and network security, and cybersecurity management.
How Difficult is Cybersecurity Degree Program?
With a cybersecurity degree, students are well-equipped to protect the IT infrastructure of top organizations and governments. The cybersecurity degree does not require advanced math or science general education courses, making it easier. It is also optional to be a tech expert to obtain a cybersecurity degree.
Students at WGU can earn a degree in cyber security at their own pace, even though the courses are challenging. With WGU's competency-based educational model, you can take your time if a subject is difficult. It will be easy for you to complete the course if you are familiar with the material or have some experience in the cybersecurity field.
Does a Cybersecurity Degree Make Sense?
A cybersecurity degree can increase your earning potential and help you find a well-paying job. Obtaining a cybersecurity degree prepares you for a rewarding and exciting career and gives you stability in a high-demand market. Getting a cybersecurity degree is very important since most cybersecurity jobs require at least a bachelor's degree. Not only this, but a cybersecurity degree can also provide you with a competitive edge over other applicants and open doors to a wide range of career opportunities.