Organizations must be prepared to counter cyber attacks in an era where we increasingly rely on technology, digital systems, and electronic devices for nearly everything.
Cybersecurity is a top priority for organizations worldwide. But is cybersecurity a good career?
The short answer is yes. This guide dives deeper into why cybersecurity is a lucrative career, what you can hope to do as a cybersecurity professional, and how a cyber security bootcamp can get you started on your journey to becoming one.
What is Cybersecurity?
In 2022, over 490 million ransomware attacks were attempted on companies globally. That’s right – in just one year! The amount businesses lost to data breaches in the same year is even more astounding: $4.50 million.
As of the second quarter of 2023, there have been 8 percent more cyber attacks. As digital interactions and operations grow, the nuisance of these attacks is bound to increase, with attempts to sabotage anyone—from common people (phishing scams) to entire networks, for personal or political reasons.
Cybersecurity is the practice of safeguarding electronic systems, gadgets, networks, and data against digital attacks. It involves providing various layers of protection to protect data at each level, from customer interactions to high-level internal strategies and plans.
There are five main types of cybersecurity:
- Network security: Securing the networks from malicious attacks, data breaches, and unauthorized access.
- Application security: Protecting applications and software developed or used in organizations.
- Information (data) security: Preventing any external unauthorized access to crucial and confidential company data.
- Cloud security: Making provisions to protect the cloud software from malicious entities.
- Critical infrastructure security: Protecting the networks and data of infrastructural sectors, such as defense, energy, transportation, construction, water, and communication systems.
What Do Cybersecurity Professionals Do?
Implementing cybersecurity involves four major activities—govern, protect, detect, and respond. Each activity requires people with specific skills and levels of expertise to fulfill the responsibilities.
For example, a chief information officer is in charge of ‘govern,’ as they are the ones to assess the cybersecurity condition and recommend modifications as well as assess the implementation of the recommendations.
Meanwhile, a security auditor scrutinizes the existing cybersecurity measures, assesses their efficacy, and reports the flaws and compliance gaps for further improvement, thus falling into the ‘detect’ activity.
An IT manager will implement the recommendations to ‘protect’ the company’s systems.
A security specialist or analyst will not only ‘detect’ but may also ‘respond’ to potential threats by developing appropriate methodology customized for the specific situations.
Thus, as a cybersecurity professional, you may have an end-to-end experience of the ins and outs of cybersecurity.
With a good cybersecurity bootcamp, you can gain the skills required for these top cybersecurity roles:
- Cybersecurity intern
- Security analyst
- Security specialist
- Incident manager
- IT architect
- Security auditor
- Digital forensic technician
- Penetration tester
- Cybersecurity advisor
- Cybersecurity project manager
- IT manager
- Systems integration engineer
- Security consultant
- Cyber threat intelligence analyst
- Chief information security officer
Why Should You Pursue a Career In Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity requires attention to detail, a constant lookout for potential threats, an ability to expect the unexpected, and the endurance to figure out and solve problems in a race against time. If these aspects interest you, let’s look at some practical reasons why it may be the right career for you.
Is Cybersecurity a Good Career? Increasing Demand in Multiple Industries
Almost all industries have now increased the demand for security professionals. As of 2021, credit intermediation, computer systems design, and management were the top-employing industries, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As of May 2022, there were almost 168,900 information security jobs in the US, expected to grow to 222,200 by 2032.
While 25 percent of the professionals in 2022 were in computer systems design and related industries, almost 16 percent were in finance and insurance. Information firms (statistics and data analysis) employed 10 percent, while management of companies and enterprises had about 9 percent. About 6 percent were employed in scientific research and development services.
Further, design and retail trade sectors are expected to employ more cybersecurity professionals by 2032 as online selling and purchasing grow exponentially daily. Additionally, as the infrastructural, automotive, energy, and water sectors are being automated and digitized, they are projected to require many cybersecurity experts familiar with the core industry issues.
Take this as your sign to cross over in this field if you are from a non-IT background.
Exciting Work Opportunities
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in their report on the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, has listed almost 33 different work profiles that fall into seven categories.
- Securely Provision (SP): Design, conceptualize, procure, and build cybersecurity systems.
- Operate and Maintain (OM): Support administration and maintain the efficiency of the existing systems.
- Oversee and Govern (OV): Lead, manage, and advocate for effective cybersecurity measures in your company.
- Protect and Defend (PR): Identify, analyze, and mitigate external threats.
- Analyze (AN): Review, audit, and evaluate the available information to assess their relevance for further development.
- Collect and Operate (CO): Support expert denial and deception operations and collection of cybersecurity information.
- Investigate (IN): Investigate cybercrimes and threats for insights into the cause and effect.
A typical security software development team will have the following work roles–
|Network Operations Specialist
|Technical Support Specialist
|Cyber Legal Advisor
If you wish to work in a cybersecurity team, here’s a snapshot of the various positions–
|Cybersecurity Framework Function
|Security Control Assessor
|Cyber Defense Analyst
|Cyber Defense Incident Responder
Here are some of the top cybersecurity employers you can aim for:
- Cisco Systems
- Palo Alto Networks
- Ping Identity
- Duo Security
Is Cybersecurity a Good Career? Salaries and Perks
An entry-level professional can earn an average salary of $70,292. As you grow in your career, you may well enter and retain the six-figure bracket as a cybersecurity analyst.
According to the most recent data from BLS, the median annual salary in information companies was US$131,910, while that for finance and insurance was US$122,810. In computer systems design and related services, management enterprises and scientific and technical consulting services range from US$108,440 to US$ 119,270.
These figures may triple (US$3,01,770) as you reach the executive level, such as the chief information security officer (CISO).
Strong Growth Potential
The sheer variety of the work profiles in this field enables several career progression pathways.
The typical roles at three levels include:
- Entry level: Cybercrime analyst, cybersecurity specialist, incident and intrusion analyst, IT auditor.
- Mid-level: Cybersecurity analyst, penetration and vulnerability tester, cybersecurity consultant.
- Advanced: Cybersecurity engineer, cybersecurity manager, cybersecurity architect, Chief information security officer.
Typically, you may start as a cybersecurity specialist, progress to an analyst position, and then assume additional responsibilities as a manager or architect. As you grow further, your role will change from assessing and inspecting specific aspects of a cybersecurity system to overseeing the entire organization’s security.
Is Cybersecurity a Good Career? It Has a Bright Future
Are you still in two minds about the future of this field? Here are some astounding statistics for the year 2023 that attest to its sparkling future:
- A growth of 13.2 percent is projected in global cybersecurity spending in 2023, reaching almost US$223.8 billion.
- Cybersecurity services such as integration, outsourcing, deployment, consulting, and maintenance will grow to US$144.3 billion, a rise of 14.1 percent.
- The volume of shipments of cybersecurity products will grow 11.7 percent and reach US$79.5 billion.
- The global expenditure on cybersecurity R&D has crossed US$70 billion.
Enter the World of Cybersecurity
Are you excited to start a career in cybersecurity? You can take the traditional educational path by pursuing graduate degrees. Otherwise, you can go for certifications, such as those provided by ISACA and (ISC)2, which will complement your current education to make the career transition.
However, if you want to gain a head start, there are cybersecurity bootcamps that narrow down the exact skills required for the various roles. A well-structured bootcamp will equip you with the knowledge and practical training to land your dream job in the field and prepare you for any future certification or degree you wish to pursue.
- Are cybersecurity skills in high demand?
The demand for cybersecurity skills is surging daily, with new and existing professionals aiming to reskill and upskill for cybersecurity roles.
- Where can I find cybersecurity jobs?
Almost all industries employ cybersecurity professionals. LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor are top websites for finding cybersecurity jobs. If you are looking for remote opportunities, Upwork, Flexjobs, and Remotive are great places to kickstart your search.
- How demanding is a cybersecurity career?
A career in cybersecurity has relative flexibility with the option to work remotely. However, a cybersecurity professional must work hard to achieve the qualifications and experience in entry-level jobs. The knowledge areas consist of several intricate components such as cryptography, programming, etc., and you can get a jump-start for some of them via several online courses.
- Is cybersecurity a high-paying job?
Yes, cybersecurity salaries can reach six figures at the managerial levels and may almost triple if you work up your way to becoming a consultant or advisor.
- Should I learn C or C++ for cybersecurity?
Yes, C and C++ are helpful as a start to the programming skills required in cybersecurity, as many malware programs are written in C++. Further, these languages will help you to access open-source codes.