The second week of NCSAM is themed around promoting careers in the cybersecurity industry and spreading awareness that, year after year, thousands of positions remain vacant. From CISOs to IT professionals, the world needs motivated individuals capable of leading the charge in the battle against cybercrime.
Whether you’re a student still searching for a career path, or someone looking to make a career change, the cybersecurity industry offers rewarding, versatile work suitable for most forward-thinking, hard-working individuals. Here are five reasons you should consider joining the workforce and making a difference!
According to Indeed.com, the average salary for “entry level cybersecurity” ranges from $54,700 to $105,700. The Bureau of Labor and Statics reports that the average median salary for cybersecurity professionals was $84,580 as of May 2017. Both of those stats are well above the average pay for most occupations and should certainly interest students in need of a career path.
Of course, money isn’t everything, and you shouldn’t expect to earn top dollar your first day on the job. You should also know that the competitive pay of cybersecurity careers wouldn’t exist if the jobs in question didn’t present challenging work. Those that choose this career path assume a lot of responsibility, especially if you end up in a corporate environment. If something breaks, if data breaches occur, if networks get knocked offline, it takes a strong person to handle the storm and quickly resolve threatening issues. But it’s those types of challenges that should motivate you to join the cybersecurity field, more so than financial potential!
The Bureau of Labor and Statics projects massive growth in the cybersecurity field. To quote them directly:
Employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. These occupations are projected to add about 557,100 new jobs. Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security.
We live in a connected world where data sharing has essentially become currency. Therefore, the need for robust security is higher than ever, which in turn leads to robust job security for those who join the workforce.
One of the top perks of this industry comes in the form of upward mobility. As you learn and grow in whatever role you acquire, other job opportunities and promotions eventually present themselves. Gaining experience opens doors for you to specialize and allows you to land a job that you want vs. a job that pays the bills. Even if many of the entry-level positions are far from glamorous, with the right attitude and work ethic, they can lead to a much higher quality of life.
Multiple Career Paths
To parlay off both points from above, the cybersecurity industry offers a diverse set of careers. Here are a few examples:
- Penetration Tester – Pen testers are hired to break into an organization and identify where weaknesses exist, both in the cyber and physical domain.
- Data Security Analyst – Security analysts plan and implement security measures, and routinely perform risk assessments to safeguard organizations.
- Chief Information Security Officer – Better known as CISO, this is the top-ranking position in cybersecurity. Tasks include overseeing entire security operations, developing and deploying strategies, and initiating security policies.
- Computer Forensics Investigator – The Sherlock Holmes of information security! The crime scene for computer forensics is digital, and it’s the job of the investigator to analyze and gather information without leaving a footprint.
- Security Engineer – Problem solvers of the technical variety, security engineers are responsible for configuring an organization’s background infrastructure, from firewalls to intrusion detection systems.
That’s an incredibly short list of common cybersecurity careers. To view a more extensive summary of jobs and what they entail, check out CyberSecurityEducation.org. The point is, finding a career path that fits within your interests can be a lot easier in this field than in others.
The best part about working in cybersecurity is you actually make a difference in people’s lives. You may not be curing cancer or performing heart surgery, but from bank accounts to medical records to student data and more, we all have a lot of sensitive information that needs protection. And that’s just on the consumer level. If you consider things like critical infrastructure (electrical grids, water systems, etc.) and election systems, the need for dedicated security professionals suddenly takes on a much more serious focus.
Cybercrime isn’t going anywhere. And until we have a stable, motivated workforce, the bad guys will remain a few steps ahead. So, if you’re up to the challenge, join us in the battle against cybercrime!
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