Few career paths hold nearly as much promise as cybersecurity. The increased prevalence of hackers calls for a greater population of skilled professionals capable of stopping breaches in their tracks. Due to this current demand, the field is undergoing significant growth, with exciting and often high-paying jobs becoming widely available to those with the necessary skills and knowledge.
The sooner the current cybersecurity skill gap is filled, the better. From businesses to public agencies and even individuals using personal devices at home, virtually everyone can benefit from the support of cybersecurity experts.
Not only is the cybersecurity field currently thriving, but it’s also far more diverse than most people suspect. Exciting opportunities are available in almost every industry imaginable. Cybersecurity experts serve many types of organizations, ranging from large corporations to small nonprofits. Many work full-time, while some own small businesses or serve as freelancers or consultants. The options are endless.
There’s a lot to love about the growing cybersecurity field, but its quick pace of change can feel overwhelming for aspiring professionals. To help you get a better sense of the direction you want to take in the industry, we’re breaking down some of the best types of cybersecurity jobs.
Security architects take a big-picture approach to network security. They are responsible for designing and developing complex structures meant to combat everything from malware to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The systems they construct must be durable, thoroughly researched, and compliant with current security standards. Thorough testing is also required to ensure that these security systems are consistently capable of combatting a variety of threats – including many that may prove difficult to anticipate.
Most security architects work with small teams to coordinate the planning and construction of vast networks. Those employed at the senior level may be responsible for managing these teams or consulting with other departments. Significant pay bumps tend to accompany such positions, which may also necessitate longer hours on the job.
PayScale highlights average annual earnings of $118,681 for security architects, although wages can vary considerably based on the industry in which such professionals are employed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports higher salaries for those involved in management or telecommunications, as opposed to educational services.
Those with a knack for identifying and solving problems are well-suited to cybersecurity consultant positions, which can take many forms. In general, however, today’s security consultants provide the outside perspective necessary to catch issues that others might miss due to their proximity to security initiatives.
Successful consultants maintain a broad understanding of the field in general, as well as an in-depth knowledge of emerging solutions. Flexibility is critical, as security consultants may work with a variety of clients in numerous settings and situations. The better consultants can adapt to these evolving contexts, the more success they will find in this challenging but exciting career path.
Wages and hours vary based on the capacity in which security consultants work. Some are employed by consulting firms, which are responsible for finding and booking assignments with various organizations. Under this common approach, consultants typically work regular hours in an office environment. Those who are self-employed enjoy greater flexibility but must take the initiative to secure jobs on their own. According to PayScale, those employed at the senior level earn an annual $106,190.
Sometimes referred to as “ethical hackers,” penetration testers play a critical role in determining whether current security solutions are actually capable of combating threats – or whether improvements are needed. These valued employees actively seek out weaknesses in IT systems. They adopt the perspective of criminal hackers to pinpoint the vulnerabilities that other cybersecurity experts might fail to spot.
To succeed in penetration testing, professionals must be willing and able to update their skills continually. This field moves at a lightning pace, and without dedicated efforts to master emerging trends and technologies, few can hope to keep up. The best penetration testers thrive on this challenge and are eager to expand their skills.
Career trajectories can vary dramatically for penetration testers, but most begin with bachelor’s degrees and entry-level positions in network engineering or security administration. From there, they may seek additional certification in ethical hacking or even graduate-level education. This hard work ultimately pays off with career fulfillment and an average annual salary of $83,823, as identified by data from PayScale.
Chief Information Security Officer
One of the most lucrative career paths currently available in cybersecurity, this important position involves spearheading information security initiatives. In this role, leadership skills are just as essential as technical knowledge, as chief information security officers (CISOs) typically preside over large teams of professionals.
With great responsibility comes great rewards; analysis from PayScale reveals that the average CISO commands impressive annual wages of $160,325, along with notable bonuses. Additionally, many CISOs enjoy significant creative freedom. They are encouraged to test out their most ambitious ideas, and, in doing so, can make a substantial impact on the field of cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity & Business IT Solutions
Whether you’re interested in pursuing cybersecurity or could use the assistance of someone who already boasts a successful career, you’ll find plenty to appreciate about NerdsToGo. The NerdsToGo team are cybersecurity experts, and are eager to use their advanced knowledge and skills to help you improve your security protocol at home and work. NerdsToGo also offers a variety of valuable services, including managed IT solutions for businesses and computer repair.