6 Types of Cybersecurity Jobs
Our world is driven by data, and that data is under attack more than ever. In 2020, over 36 billion records were exposed through data breaches. Malware has increased 358% through 2020, and ransomware has risen even more. Over 90% of healthcare organizations have experienced at least one data breach in the past three years — putting people’s privacy and safety at risk.
This problem isn’t going to go away — in fact, there are more reasons to be concerned about your data than ever. Remote workers are prime targets for cybercriminals, as they often have less security on their devices than those at work. Cloud breaches are also likely to increase, and IoT devices will become more vulnerable than ever.
Protecting access to networks, devices, and data is where cybersecurity comes in. Because so much of our communication, transportation, shopping, medicine, and business rely heavily (if not entirely) on the Internet, keeping those devices secure is more critical than ever. Unfortunately, there is currently a skills gap when it comes to cybersecurity, with more demand for qualified individuals than there is supply.
So what kinds of jobs can you get in cybersecurity? We’ve compiled a list, along with some information on the qualifications you need to get started in cybersecurity.
1. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
The job of a CISO is to identify, develop, and implement security procedures and guidelines for a company. The CISO is at the top of the cybersecurity “food chain,” identifying and analyzing risks, figuring out the cost of the solutions to problems, and overseeing the implementation of those solutions. The typical salary for a CISO is $195,000 a year.
2. Security Architect
A security architect has a similar, but more hands-on, job description to a CISO. A security architect’s job is to design the structures that will protect a network from malware and hacker intrusions. The design is then tested for vulnerabilities so any possible gaps in security can be addressed before they become a problem.
3. Malware Analyst
A malware analyst makes themselves familiar with all the most current bots, worms, trojans, and other kinds of viruses / malware that could pose a threat to network security. Their job is to offer solutions and strategies to companies and organizations on how to practice safe programming and avoid/mitigate malware infections, including best practices for network security.
4. Computer Forensic Analyst
Computer forensics analysts bring their forensic expertise together with their computer expertise to gather and analyze data related to cybercrime, including things like espionage, hacking, fraud, terrorism, and the distribution of illegal content. Many digital forensic analysts work for private companies, although many others work with law enforcement to help bring the perpetrators of cyberattacks to justice.
5. Penetration Tester
Penetration testing is the process of finding and breaching weaknesses in a digital network. Penetration testers are also sometimes known as “ethical hackers,” as their job often literally entails hacking into a system to determine (and address) major vulnerabilities. Companies with particularly sensitive data often hire penetration testers in significant numbers in order to find out a security infrastructure’s weaknesses before someone with actual criminal intent does.
6. Incident Responder
Unfortunately, sometimes data breaches and other cybersecurity incidents happen despite all precautions, and that’s where an incident responder comes in. An incident responder’s job is to come to the rescue in case of a major breach or other cyberattacks. They are essentially like “firefighters” for the cybersecurity world, whose job includes developing procedures for how to handle emergencies, collaborate with other team members, and run risk analysis and security audits. They also develop systems of communication that will notify everyone from relevant employees to law enforcement when it becomes necessary.
So what kind of qualifications do you need to become a cybersecurity expert? As you might expect, that depends on the level of job you want to qualify for.
To get an entry-level job in cybersecurity, the minimum you will need is an associate’s degree, either in arts (AA) or an associate in science (AS). An associate’s degree will cover cybersecurity topics like infrastructure security, programming, networking, and more. An associate’s degree can typically be completed in two years.
A bachelor’s degree will teach students sufficient qualifications to find a job as an information systems analyst, security engineer, or security architect, leading to higher salaries.
Those looking to go much further in their careers can pursue a master’s degree in cybersecurity, a program that typically takes 18 months to two years. A master’s will require getting a bachelor’s degree first and may require some work experience in the field and letters of recommendation. Having a master’s in cybersecurity will open the door to top-level positions in the field.
There are also a number of certifications available for those looking to further boost their resumes and acquire more qualifications. These include the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and more generalized certifications such as the CompTIA A+.