Caltech Bootcamp / Blog / /

Exploring Cybersecurity Career Paths in 2024

Cybersecurity Career Paths

Cybersecurity is front and center of any business or personal transaction today. As a result, there are many great career opportunities in the field. The issue becomes which career path you should take. How can you choose? How do you even get started in a cybersecurity career?

This article will give you a foundation for your exploration. Today, we’re looking at the different cybersecurity career paths available. We will cover entry-level cybersecurity jobs, different cybersecurity positions broken down by job title, prerequisites and necessary skills, your cybersecurity career roadmap, salary information, and how you can boost your career through online cybersecurity training.

What Does a Cybersecurity Career Look Like?

Cybersecurity offers a dynamic, exciting career path in our increasingly digitally connected world. A career in cybersecurity needs a mix of analytical, technical, and problem-solving skills. Cybersecurity jobs are more diverse than ever, thanks to the exponential rise of technology, increased cloud migration, and the astronomical growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). Careers range from ethical hackers to incident responders, cybersecurity analysts, security architects, and compliance auditors. The sheer variety of cybersecurity roles makes all these career paths incredibly rewarding and challenging.

Remember that cybersecurity is a dynamic, ever-changing field, and the details of any cybersecurity career can change as technological innovations and new cyber threats emerge.

Before you start on a cybersecurity career path, you should have locked down some skills. Let’s see what you need to begin a career in cybersecurity.

How Do You Start a Career in Cybersecurity?

Before you begin that exciting new career in cybersecurity, you need to have your ducks in a row. Here are the steps you should take before pursuing your ideal cybersecurity career. Consider this the first step in any cybersecurity career path.

#1. Have your skill set in place. The cybersecurity field requires a special set of skills, both technical and “soft.” Here’s a sample of the skills you should have some level of proficiency in:

  • Adaptability
  • Administrating various operating systems
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Data management and analysis
  • Firewall installation
  • Logical reasoning and troubleshooting
  • Network configuration and management
  • Problem-solving
  • Programming, especially in languages like JavaScript and Python
  • Risk identification and management

#2. Learn about cybersecurity’s basics and domains. Learn about cybersecurity’s basics and domains. Educate yourself on the fundamentals of cybersecurity. There are countless online resources to help you. This education includes knowing how computer systems work on a basic level, understanding the threats, and dealing with them. Cybersecurity domains include:

  • Application Security
  • Cloud Security
  • Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning
  • Network Security
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Information Security
  • IoT Security
  • Operational Security
  • Social Engineering and Phishing

#3. Gain certification. A certification gives you the additional training you need and shows recruiters that you have the requisite skills needed for the position. Consider cybersecurity certifications such as:

  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP)

#4. Get some hands-on practical experience. This step covers internships, open-source projects, cybersecurity competitions, and anything that gives you a measure of work-related experience and community visibility.

#5. Schmooze. In other words, pursue networking. Build good connections with cybersecurity professionals, make contacts, get mentorship, and attend related conferences in person or virtually.

#6. Apply for a cybersecurity position. You’re now ready to get a job in the field. Typically, the first step of any cybersecurity career path is the entry-level cybersecurity job. Let’s look at a sample of entry-level positions.

Cybersecurity Career Path: Entry-level Cybersecurity Jobs

Every organization has a unique structure, including setting up job descriptions and career paths. Organizations often have different names (and responsibilities) for what amounts to the same job! The following positions, however, are a sample of some of the typical entry-level job titles in cybersecurity:

  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Cybersecurity Engineer
  • Incident Response Analyst
  • Information Security Analyst
  • Network Security Engineer
  • Penetration Tester
  • Security Consultant
  • Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst
  • Vulnerability Analyst

These entry-level roles typically involve analyzing threats and vulnerabilities, monitoring network security, testing and evaluating security systems, managing access controls, and responding to security incidents. As newbies gain experience and skills, they can advance to more senior roles like cybersecurity architect, manager, and chief information security officer (CISO).

A Deeper Dive into Cybersecurity Career Paths

Whether you choose a certified ethical hacker or cybersecurity analyst career path, many different paths are available. In fact, the choices can be overwhelming. Let’s break down our choices into five distinct cybersecurity career paths, including some job titles, prerequisite skills, and experience.

Cybersecurity Analysis

Cybersecurity analysis systematically examines data, systems, and patterns to comprehend and deal with cyber threats. These cybersecurity analysts spend considerable time collecting and studying data related to their organization’s networks and systems, searching for anomalies or patterns pointing to a cyber threat. These analysts also assess and evaluate the organization’s security protocols, recommend any improvements, and respond to security incidents. Consider the analysts as the detectives of the cybersecurity world, using a combination of technical skills and critical thinking to discover and mitigate potential threats before they can cause damage.

Job Roles

  • Cybersecurity Analyst. These analysts monitor and analyze the organization’s systems and networks, detecting and responding to cybersecurity threats and developing strategies to improve security protocols.
  • Intrusion Analyst. Intrusion analysts concentrate on identifying attempted and successful cyber break-ins. They understand the tactics and techniques used by cybercriminals and develop appropriate countermeasures.
  • Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst. SOC analysts monitor and analyze activity on servers, endpoints, networks, databases, and other systems to spot unusual behavior or cybersecurity incidents.
  • Threat Intelligence Analyst. These analysts identify and understand emerging cyber threats and help their organizations ahead of potential attacks.

Prerequisites

  • Knowledge of computer science or a related field, usually via a bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Gaining certification such as CompTIA Security+

Cybersecurity Auditing

Auditing involves examining and evaluating information systems, procedures, and operations to ensure compliance with regulations, laws, and best practices. Auditors examine the organization’s cybersecurity procedures, framework, policies, and controls to find and remedy any violations or weaknesses that could cause security breaches. They aim to ensure the organization’s compliance and advise on improving the overall security posture.

Job Roles

  • Cybersecurity Auditor. These auditors evaluate the organization’s cybersecurity policies, strategies, and systems and check for compliance with regulations while identifying areas for improvement.
  • IT Compliance Auditor. These auditors ensure that the organization’s technology and systems follow relevant regulations, laws, and internal policies, typically focusing on data privacy issues.
  • Security Control Assessor. These assessors study and measure the effectiveness of the organization’s IT system security controls.

Prerequisites

  • Strong analytical skills
  • Knowledge of legal and compliance issues
  • Computer science or cybersecurity degree (optional but highly recommended)
  • Several years’ experience in technical aspects of cybersecurity

Engineering in Cybersecurity

Engineering in the cybersecurity field engineering is the technical foundation on which all subsequent security measures and protocols are built. Cybersecurity engineers are crucial for creating, implementing, and maintaining the systems designed to defend the organization’s digital infrastructure. These engineers use their skills, knowledge of system and software vulnerabilities, and network security to devise strong defenses against cyber threats. These engineers also routinely perform security infrastructure assessments, identifying areas of weakness and devising strategies to protect against potential attacks.

Job Roles

  • Application Security Engineer. These engineers focus on securing software applications against potential threats. These efforts include designing secure architectures and identifying and remedying application vulnerabilities.
  • Cloud Security Engineer. With cloud migration on the rise, these professionals are essential in securing and protecting cloud-based systems against cybersecurity breaches.
  • Network Security Engineer. These engineers are responsible for creating and maintaining the organization’s secure networks, configuring security devices, installing and reinforcing firewalls, and identifying potential network vulnerabilities.
  • Security Engineer. Security engineers are responsible for designing and implementing secure network solutions to defend against advanced cyber threats. They continuously monitor systems for possible security breaches or anomalies.

Prerequisites

  • Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field (e.g., computer science, cybersecurity, or information technology).
  • A related certification like Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).

Cybersecurity Response

Response involves strategies and actions when a cyber threat grows into a security breach. These professionals are the digital equivalent of first responders, getting into action when breaches occur, minimizing damage, eradicating threats, and restoring normal operations. Their tasks include investigating the nature and extent of security breaches, isolating the affected systems, removing the threats, and adopting measures to prevent future similar incidents. They are also instrumental in conducting post-mortems to learn from the breach and improve the organization’s overall security posture.

Job Roles

  • Cybersecurity Incident Manager. Incident managers coordinate responses during and after a cyber-attack, ensuring effective collaboration between the various teams and stakeholders.
  • Forensic Analyst. These professionals investigate cyber-attacks to ascertain how the breach occurred, what data was compromised, and who was responsible. They also gather evidence that’s often used if there are legal proceedings.
  • Incident Responder. Incident responders are considered the first line of defense against cyber-attacks. They identify, respond to, and mitigate cybersecurity incidents to minimize damage and shorten recovery time.

Prerequisites

  • A solid foundational understanding of cybersecurity principles
  • A degree in a related field and security certifications are highly recommended
  • Solid problem-solving skills
  • The ability to stay calm under pressure
  • Practical experience dealing with security incidents

Cybersecurity Testing and Ethical Hacking

Cybersecurity testers apply critical approaches to methodically break down and analyze the organization’s cyber defenses to test them for vulnerabilities. These actions typically include simulating cyberattacks, probing for weaknesses in software, analyzing network structures for possible weaknesses, and searching systems for security loopholes or coding errors. Testing aims to prevent potential security breaches by identifying weaknesses before cybercriminals do.

Job Roles

  • Penetration Tester. Also called “ethical hackers,” penetration testers simulate authorized cyberattacks against their organization’s systems to seek out vulnerabilities and evaluate the effectiveness of security measures.
  • Security Auditor. Security auditors perform comprehensive security systems reviews, ensuring they comply with established industry standards and regulations and identify potential weaknesses.
  • Vulnerability Assessor. These testers specialize in finding and analyzing vulnerabilities in applications and systems, preemptively fortifying cyber defenses.

Prerequisites

  • Certain certifications are a must, including Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Penetration Tester (CPT), or Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)
  • Hands-on experience working with an organization’s cybersecurity defense systems

How Much Can You Make in a Cybersecurity Career?

Many factors decide what a salary looks like in whatever cybersecurity career path you choose. Variables include:

  • Geography
  • Employee experience and skill levels
  • Organization size
  • Industry type
  • State of the economy
  • Position responsibilities and demands
  • Demand for the position

And, of course, these factors are in a constant state of flux.

But let’s take a snapshot of what a typical cybersecurity position pays based on experience level. We’ll use Glassdoor.com for the latest updates.

  • 0-1 Years (Entry-level): $66,178
  • 1-3 Years: $73,701
  • 4-6 Years: $89,462
  • 7-9 Years: $96,448
  • 10-14 Years: $108,031
  • 15+ Years: $124,100+

Do You Want Cybersecurity Training?

We’ve mentioned certifications at various points in this article, and if you’re interested in acquiring valuable cybersecurity training and certification, consider this 24-week cybersecurity bootcamp. You will gain skills in offensive and defensive cybersecurity, learning about digital forensics, network security, and more.

This comprehensive cybersecurity course provides the ideal foundation for building additional certifications. Sign up today and lock down those cybersecurity fundamentals before you pursue your new career in this exciting field.

Caltech Cybersecurity Bootcamp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

AI in Cybersecurity

AI in Cybersecurity: A Comprehensive Guide

While the use of artificial intelligence is exploding worldwide, one of the best applications of this powerful technology is applying AI in cybersecurity. This blog will show how AI cybersecurity works, its benefits, the skills needed, and more.

Caltech Cybersecurity Bootcamp

Duration

6 months

Learning Format

Online Bootcamp

Program Benefits