Cyber Security doesn’t describe a single job or profession; it’s an extremely wide field with plenty of options to choose from.
Allow me to use an illustration to explain why cyber security jobs matter. Imagine an ancient walled city with many gates and windy roads leading to other kingdoms. With the addition of more gates, the city would be more accessible to travelers from all directions but further exposed to infiltration from thieves and spies. Likewise, building more roads would enable trade and visits from merchants, but make it easier for a distant army to arrive and lay siege to the walls.
Cyber Security Jobs On the Rise
The device in your pocket is not unlike the walled city in our illustration. By connecting your smartphone or laptop to the Internet, you enable communication with billions of users from around the globe, trade and e-commerce, and the transfer of sensitive information. However, you also become more vulnerable to malicious attacks from bad guys, like hackers, who want to do you harm.
As we’ve discussed before, the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G technology will open up more doors through which criminals can enter—literally and figuratively—and more opportunities for hackers to steal our information. Simply put, the more connected we become to the rest of the world, the more vulnerable we become to attacks from the cyber criminals we want to avoid. Large corporations, in particular, are even greater targets for cyber attacks, due to the incredible amount of sensitive data they deal with on a daily basis. On the positive side, it will also create a lot of opportunities for those pursuing cyber security jobs.
What Does a Cyber Security Professional Do?
Cyber Security doesn’t describe a single job or profession; it’s an extremely wide field with plenty of options to choose from. Many Cyber Security jobs even overlap with other computer-related disciplines like Software Development and Data Science. Within the realm of Cyber Security alone, you can find a number of diverse jobs in technology that pique your interest and utilize your unique skill set. Examples include: advising businesses on how to improve their cyber security, developing programs that can resist cyber attacks, analyzing the risk of a cyber attack, and so much more.
Now, let’s take a look at four of the most popular jobs in Cyber Security and what they involve:
Cyber Security Engineer
Salary: $107,000 to $127,000 per year
A cyber security engineer isn’t much different from an engineer in the real world. Primarily, they solve problems and design systems with security in mind. For a cyber security engineer, the job involves constructing, maintaining, and protecting systems from cyber attacks. They are also the first person on the list to call during a cyber security emergency, such as intrusion.
Cyber Security Analyst
Salary: $55,560 to $153,090 per year
Cyber security analysts work to identify potential weaknesses in networks and create actionable plans to improve cyber security. For example, a cyber security analyst will use tools to monitor network activity, review any suspicious data points, and recommend a set of changes to improve network security. Then, he or she will often work with a team to implement security patches to protect the network.
Vulnerability Analyst And Penetration Tester
Salary: ~$101,000 per year
Vulnerability analysts or penetration testers are cyber security experts who rigorously test the security of a network by attempting to break in. While the cyber security engineer builds the system, vulnerability analysts think like a criminal in order to identify weaknesses and points of entry. Also referred to as “white hat” hackers, vulnerability analysts play the role of the bad guy in order to simulate a real hacking attempt.
Network Engineer And Architect
Median Salary: $100,000 a year
Network engineers are tasked with building the networks that businesses use, such as LANs, WANs, and intranets. Also known as network architects, these cyber security experts are both highly detail-oriented and fully conscious of the big picture. So, if you are capable of seeing both the forest and the trees, network engineer could be a great job for you.
Why Become a Cyber Security Professional?
High Competitive Salary
Last year, in the United States, there were nearly 300,000 open Cyber Security jobs. This means that you likely won’t have any trouble finding a gig, should you pursue this career path. Just like Software Development and Data Science, a career in Cyber Security is highly lucrative and rewarding.
Challenging and Creative Work
In the field of Cyber Security, no two cases are alike. Whether you work as a consultant, engineer, analyst, or administrator, each business has its own unique points of strength and weakness. Working for an online retailer may be completely different from a video game publisher or a social media site. Every employer you have will bring his or her own specific challenges that will require you to think outside the box and constantly expand your skill set. If you’re up for the challenge, Cyber Security is a great choice for you.
World Need For Cyber Pros
It’s not just Uncle Sam who needs you; the whole world is in desperate need of Cyber Security professionals. As more people in developing nations start going online, the number of Internet users will jump rapidly in the next decade. With so many people going online in such a short amount of time, websites and online businesses will see a significant spike in users and customers, as well. And like we explained in our walled city example, more users will result in more information shared and more commerce, but also an increase in the chance of a cyber attack.
How Do I Become a Cyber Security Professional?
All four of these popular Cyber Security jobs usually require a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field like Computer Science and Programming, Cyber Security or Software Engineering. In fact, 89% of all Cyber Security jobs require some form of higher education training, whether it may be a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Additionally, employers look for hard skills in programming, information systems, and project management.
One of the best ways to begin your career in Cyber Security (or Data Science and Software Development) is by enrolling in a “Powered by Woz U” program which gives you a whole host of benefits like lifetime access to updated coursework. Students who attend partnering “Powered by Woz U” universities not only receive a complete college education and the support of live teachers and staff but also cutting-edge tech curriculum.