The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has noted that the workforce skills gap is the most pronounced in the field of cybersecurity. Furthermore, Cybersecurity Ventures has predicted that by 2021, there will be 3.5 million open cybersecurity jobs around the world, up from just one million such positions in 2014. The group notes that every information technology position is now also a cybersecurity position, with every worker in information technology expected to and required to know how to protect and defend data, apps, infrastructure, devices, and people.
Combine all of the above information with the fact that there is a zero-percent unemployment rate for cybersecurity jobs, and you can see why students, veterans and career changers are being encouraged to pursue cybersecurity education and training. As this unemployment rate has remained steadily at zero percent for the past eight years, it’s safe to say that the cybersecurity field is one in which demand is expected to exceed supply for some time to come.
Best Traits for Cybersecurity Jobs
Cybersecurity jobs are ideal for those who love problem-solving and is eager to face new challenges. If you are an analytical thinker and listener, a flexible hard worker who works well both individually and as part of a team, adaptive and responsive, and are passionate about technology, information security, also known as cybersecurity, could be the perfect field for you. If you are looking for job mobility in a career, cybersecurity is also well-known for this, as many cybersecurity professionals continue to pursue education and training throughout their careers, moving up the ladder to bigger and better jobs.
Education for Cybersecurity Jobs
Many entry-level cybersecurity jobs are attainable with a certificate or associate’s degree (link to page). Such programs are widespread across the country and can be a great way to get your foot in the door and into an information security position. Bachelor’s degree programs in cybersecurity (link to page) can help you to obtain even more jobs within the information security field. The gold standard, however, is the graduate degree in cybersecurity (link to page) which is perfect for advanced-level and managerial positions.
Certifications for Cybersecurity Jobs
In addition to college or university “certificates” in cybersecurity, certifications are quite valuable in the field. Having a certification can make you more attractive to employers over candidates who lack such certification. Certifications can also help you to become upwardly mobile in information security.
Business News Daily listed the top five cybersecurity certifications of 2020 as:
- CompTIA Security+ – this entry-level technical certification is recommended for those with at least two years’ network security experience and possessing CompTIA Network+ certification. Passing an exam is necessary in order to obtain this credential.
- Certified Information Security Auditor (CISA)- considered the “gold standard” for information security professionals, this certification requires at least one year of experience, passing an exam, and maintaining the credential with continuing education every three years.
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) – this intermediate-level credential offered by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) certifies a professional’s competence in five phases of ethical hacking: reconnaissance, enumeration, gaining access, maintaining access and covering tracks. After two years of work experience, you must pass an exam to obtain this credential.
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)- this higher-level credential of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) involves management, development and overseeing of information security systems. You may apply for the credential if you have five years of security experience (three in a management area).
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)- this advanced-level certification offered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)2, is for security professionals with five years of experience. Concentrations in architecture, engineering and management are available. You must pass an exam to obtain this credential.
Online Training for Cybersecurity Jobs
If you aren’t certain that cybersecurity is a field into which you wish to dive, why not stick a toe in the water instead? There are many free online learning resources available to you that you can take advantage of and that could help you to determine if cybersecurity is something which you wish to pursue. These resources are perfect for students exploring the field, those looking to potentially change careers, and those who simply have an interest in information security. They include, but are not limited to:
- Heimdal Cyber Security Course for Beginners – this free, five-week cybersecurity course is a true entry-level course designed for the average computer user
- Sans Cyber Aces Online –another basic entry-level cybersecurity curriculum, Sans offers a variety of free online courses designed for teachers, students, those wishing to learn the fundamentals and those wanting to start cyber careers
- Open Security Training – this group offers beginner, intermediate and advanced courses in cybersecurity
If you don’t mind paying a modest fee, there are also many paid cybersecurity online courses, like:
- Cyber Vista Critical Knowledge Explorer– this reduced-cost baseline assessment determines what you already know about cybersecurity and gives you an idea of where to start with your training
- Cyber Skyline Professional– you can learn new cyber skills and advance skills you already have with this platform of courses, billed at an annual rate
- Hoppers Roppers Academy– this group offers fundamental courses in cybersecurity, most with little to no prerequisites
How to Find Cybersecurity Jobs
If you are trying to enter the cybersecurity field with some education but little to no experience, use job search sites (such as Indeed.com, LinkedIn.com and even Google.com) and use the keywords “cybersecurity entry level” or even “cybersecurity intern” or “information security entry level” to find jobs that might be available within a wide variety of companies, not just technology-focused. You might find jobs with titles such as “Junior Cyber Security Analyst,” “Entry-Level Cyber Security Analyst” and “Entry-Level Information System Security Professional.” Many will require that you have a minimum of a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree.
Types of Cybersecurity Jobs
Cybersecurity jobs are available within both the public and private sectors, at government agencies, non-profit organizations and companies.
The government, at the federal, state and local levels, employs cybersecurity professionals on a regular basis. Some of these jobs might require a security clearance, which is obtained through a thorough criminal background check and drug testing. Examples of federal agencies that employ cybersecurity professionals include the National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency. Types of cybersecurity government jobs that are currently listed as open include:
- IT Cybersecurity Specialist, Information Security – for the Defense Information Systems Agency, a consulting group contracting with the Department of Defense, in a variety of locations including Montgomery, AL; Fort Huachuca, AZ; Suffolk, VA and Annapolis, MD – see job description
- IT Cybersecurity Specialist – U.S. Coast Guard- variety of locations including Norfolk, VA; Portsmouth, VA; and Kearneysville, WV – see job description
- IT Specialist in Security – IT Security and Networking Division of the Office of Information Systems Management for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD- see job description
- Lead IT Cybersecurity Specialist – Security Risk Management Team, FDIC, Washington, D.C.- see job description
Another option that is becoming more attractive to many job-seekers in the age of COVID-19 is to obtain a remote cybersecurity position. If you are interested in working remotely, the information security field may be perfect for you. A recent listing of remote cybersecurity positions turned up the following available jobs:
- Remote Cybersecurity Data Analyst – Forefront Solutions & Consultancies, Ltd. – Work from home, full-time- see job description
- Remote Cybersecurity Analyst – Seegrid- full-time, work from home or Pittsburgh, PA – see job description
- Cyber Security Consultant (Remote) – DiviHN Integration, Inc.- part-time, work from home- see job description
- Cyber Security Analyst – Lockheed Martin – remote, work-from home full-time- see job description
If your dream is to help others, you might want to pursue information security positions within non-profit organizations. Sometimes an internship (link here) with such an organization can help get your foot in the door as well. There are a wide variety of non-profit cybersecurity jobs available, such as:
- Senior Cybersecurity Engineer – The Aspen Institute, Washington, D.C. – see job description
- Information Security Internship – Network for Good, Washington, D.C. –see job description
- IT Security Engineer – Fourans, LLC – Trenton, NJ – see job description
- IT Security Associate – Techimpact, Philadelphia, PA – see job description
Of course, corporations of all shapes and sizes offer cybersecurity positions, too. You don’t have to limit yourself to applying to strictly technology-related companies, either. Many companies offer such positions. Examples of currently available cybersecurity jobs include:
- Principal Cyber Information Assurance Analyst – Northrop Grumman Corporation, variety of locations – see job description
- Cybersecurity and Risk Management Framework Analyst – Booz Allen Hamilton, variety of locations – see job description
- Cybersecurity Analyst – Peloton Interactive, variety of locations – see job description
- Threat Intelligence Information Protection – CIGNA, variety of locations – see job description
Salaries for Cybersecurity Jobs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, the annual mean wage for an information security analyst in the United States, as of May 2019, is $104,210. This is just a guideline, of course, and does not include the myriad of job titles that one may find within the cybersecurity field. The BLS notes that the best-paying industries for cybersecurity jobs, along with the average cybersecurity salary within those industries are:
- Nonresidential Building Construction: $130,400
- Semiconductor/Electronic Component Manufacturing: $127,360
- Legal Services: $125,230
- Automotive Repair/Maintenance: $123,720
- Securities, Commodities, Contracts, Financial: $121,230
Best-Paying States for Cybersecurity Jobs
Per the BLS, as of May 2019, the top-paying states in which cybersecurity professionals work in the United States are:
- New York: $121,750
- New Jersey: $121,570
- District of Columbia: $119,160
- Virginia: $114,760
- California: $114,620
Best-Paying Cities for Cybersecurity Jobs
The BLS notes the following cities and metropolitan areas are the top-paying for cybersecurity workers as of May 2019:
- San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA: $133,040
- New York/Newark/Jersey City, NY/NJ: $127,850
- San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward, CA: $122,570
- Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, CT: $121,330
- Chambersburg/Waynesboro, PA: $119,320
The Future of Cybersecurity Jobs
The BLS and Payscale.com lists the following jobs as the top five in-demand cybersecurity jobs for 2020:
- Cybersecurity engineer
- Cybersecurity analyst
- Network engineer/architect
- Cybersecurity consultant
- Cybersecurity manager/administrator
Looking ahead, the BLS notes that the outlook for information security jobs is quite bright. The growth rate is projected to be 31 percent for these positions, which is much faster than the average growth rate for other positions, between 2019 and 2029. It is expected that 40,900 new cybersecurity jobs will be added in the U.S. by 2029. As demand continues to grow, the supply of cybersecurity workers becomes even more critical. This is the perfect time to join that supply of workers and start your career in cybersecurity!