If you’re interested in cyber security, you might be tempted to start a career in the field. Cyber security careers offer good pay, the opportunity to grow professionally, and interesting daily tasks.
Can anyone start a career as a cyber security professional? While you’ll need some IT experience, you can definitely secure a strong career working in cyber security.
Interested? Let’s see what you need to know about how to forge a career path in cyber security, and what the benefits are of working in the field.
What Skills Do You Need As A Cyber Security Professional?
Working in cyber security requires a blend of both soft and hard skills.
- Soft skills that are required include active listening, attention to detail, the ability to communicate well verbally and in writing, curiosity to seek new information, creative as well as technical problem solving, and having a team mindset.
- Hard skills, on the other hand, are the more technical skills you need. These include computer science skills, programming and scripting language skills, knowing attack tools and techniques (via Varonis), information management, and knowing how to make high-risk decisions.
Benefits Of A Career In Cyber Security
There are many good reasons why you should pursue a career in cyber security. These include:
You Can Work In A Variety Of Industries
Every industry requires cyber security to protect it from online threats, so you don’t have to be limited to working in the computer systems industry.
However, your work condition will usually include working a 9-to-5 job and sometimes you’ll need to be on call on weekends or at night, such as if there’s a security concern or breach that has occured after hours and you need to sort it out.
You Can Earn A Good Income
A career in the cyber security field can earn you a good salary. On average, professionals in this field earn around $116,000 yearly. But, the career you choose in the industry will obviously result in salary variations.
Some of the best paying cyber security careers include working as an information security manager, which can earn you between $125,000 to $215,000, and working as a cyber security engineer, which can earn you a salary of between $120,000 and $200,000.
Then, application security engineers can earn between $120,000 and $180,000, while cyber security analysts can make $90,000 to $160,000 (via Mondo).
You Can Enjoy Job Security
It’s good to know that the field of cyber security is set to grow a lot.
It’s been found that jobs in this field are some of the fastest-growing ones to have in the U.S., and they’re set to grow by 31 percent through 2029, which is more than seven times faster than the average national job growth!
You Can Enjoy A Variety Of Work Cultures
In some cyber security jobs, you’ll have to go to the office on a daily basis, but others will allow you to work remotely.
The dress code for your job will also vary – in some jobs, you’ll have to suit up while in others you’ll be able to dress more casually. So, there’s a job that fits anyone’s lifestyle!
In addition to the above, you’ll be able to work in a variety of industries and workplaces.
You Will Get To Work With Other People
When entering a career as a cyber security professional, you’ll have to work with legal professionals, law enforcement professionals, network administrators, and clients.
This is why being able to clearly communicate, both verbally and in writing, is such a valuable skill to own.
You Can Be Your Own Boss
Cyber security careers don’t only give you the chance to have job security because this field is set to explode in terms of its growth, but they also give you the chance to potentially start your own business.
There are many different ways in which you could do this, such as by starting your own IT firm, working as a subcontractor for a company, or providing consulting services to clients.
You Will Have A Rewarding Career
When surveyed, almost two-thirds of cyber security professionals said they were satisfied with their jobs. It’s easy to understand why the cyber security field can be so rewarding.
Data breaches and other cyber attacks can be devastating, both to individuals and organizations, which is why being able to help people ward against these attacks will feel highly satisfying.
What Education Do You Need For A Cyber Security Career?
Whether you want an entry-level position or a higher position, you will need to have the foundation of a bachelor’s degree.
This is the case if you, say, want to have a career as a forensic computer analyst, security architect, or a chief information security officer.
For some jobs, you will have to have a master’s degree, which will give you theoretical and technical skills, as well as potentially offer managerial, business, and leadership skills that are often required in higher-level positions.
Some popular degree programs in cyber security include a Master of Science (MS) degree in Cyber Security Engineering, Computer Engineering, Information Technology, or Computer Science.
It’s worth noting that some employers will require candidates they hire to have an advanced degree such as a master’s degree but they will offer tuition assistance in this regard.
If you’re hoping for a career in which you’ll work with classified information, such as in a government agency, you’ll also need security clearances.
These are usually issued by the Department of Defense. To get clearances, you will have to undergo certain procedures and submit paperwork, and this process can take up to one year to complete.
However, this is something which you’ll only have to do once you’ve been hired by your employer.
Best Schools For Studying Cyber Security
#1 Georgia Institute Of Technology
This institution is ranked first for cyber security education in the U.S. It offers an Online Master of Science in Cyber Security and, as a bonus, this degree can also be earned online.
The university’s School of Cyber Security and Privacy became the institution’s newest academic unit in 2020 (via Georgia Tech).
Here you can learn a variety of important elements of cyber security to make you hireable by employers, such as power system protection; privacy, technology, policy and law; applied cryptography; network security, and more.
#2 Messiah University
With a 78-percent pass rate, Messiah University, located in Pennsylvania, offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in cyber security via its Department of Computing, Mathematics, and Physics.
This is one of the best schools to study for a bachelor’s degree because it will give you information and teach you skills related to ethical hacking, secure software, and information assurance, to mention just a few aspects of cyber security.
To increase your chances of having a career in the field, during your studies you’ll be able to take advantage of internships with companies such as Ford Motor Company and Comcast (via CyberDegrees).
#3 Drexel University
This university’s bachelor’s degree in cyber security can be done full-time on campus or part time.
Drexel, which is also located in Philadelphia, has been named a national center of academic excellence in cyber security by the National Security Agency (via Drexel Now) and it provides learners with practical career training to give them a great start for their future cyber security careers.
You can complete a Master of Science (MS) degree in cyber security here, which will prepare you for academic and practical training in the field.
It’s meant for learners who have backgrounds in computer science, computer engineering, and other technical fields.
#4 DePaul University
Located in Chicago, DePaul offers a bachelor’s degree in cyber security at its College of Computing and Digital Media.
As a student here, you’ll gain invaluable practical knowledge.
DePaul boasts a security laboratory that’s been equipped by Cisco, a networking hardware company, to give training to students in virtual private networks, intrusion detection, and prevention systems.
As a bonus, the university offers many online courses and online lectures, so that you can ensure the course fits your lifestyle.
Can Cyber Security Be Self-Taught?
Thanks to so many valuable resources online, you can definitely learn about cyber security by yourself.
However, education is important if you want to pursue a career in the field as a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for most cyber security positions.
What Are Some Online Resources Where You Can Learn About Cyber Security?
Consider watching cyber security videos and tutorials on YouTube, or complete online courses from sites such as Udemy and Linux Academy. These will increase your knowledge and skills.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in cyber security, after reading this article it’s clear to see that it comes with many benefits, such as high job satisfaction and a good income.
We’ve also shown you how to get started with a career in cyber security, such as when it comes to the education you require as well as the best schools where to earn valuable knowledge and skills.