Cyber thefts have cost the global economy hundreds of billion each year. In the past, many big multinational companies like Target, Twitter, J.P. Morgan, Apple’s iCloud have been victims of it. Governments & private sector are raising alarms on the ever increasing cyber thefts. Hence, there has been an increase in the demand for cyber security professionals across every sector.

Due to this massive shortage in this field, those who work can expect to earn top dollar. For instance, on an average, chief security officers will make over $250,000 annually. According to the IT job board DICE, there were roughly 1 million cyber security job openings in 2016.

Top Jobs in Cyber Security
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
Responsible for establishing and maintaining information security for the entire company, CISO’s need broad shoulders to support their varied high-stakes responsibilities. As the most senior security role, CISOs often face the blame for security breaches.
As per Forbes, average CISO salary ranges from $150,000 to $340,000 depending upon state to state.

Head of Cyber Security

This role evaluates the organization for potential vulnerabilities, detecting active attacks and informing management, customers and law enforcement if breaches do occur. This role varies depending on the type of organization. This role is also responsible for interacting with external vendors to ensure security compliance is in place.
On an average Head of Cyber Security salary ranges from $140,000 to $290,000 depending upon location and industry.

Security Architect

A Security architect is responsible for analyzing threats and recommending solutions to protect confidential data. This role also participates in the designing the architecture of security hardware and software and also educates the staff on security policies, design security models, etc..
An average salary of a Security Architect ranges from $125,845 to $210,873 depending on the company and its location.

Information Security Analyst

Information Security Analyst will be responsible for protecting company’s sensitive information. This role will create the plans and implement strategies to prevent attacks. The role may include developing policies to protect the organization against such attacks, ensure compliance of policies, monitor data access, and train other employees.
An average salary for an Information Security Analyst ranges from $89,003 – $192,219.

Penetration Tester

These people are in charge of identifying vulnerabilities in an organization’s network. They do this through constantly probing and testing the network using various tools and software.
On an average, annual salary range of a Penetration tester is $65,192 – $150,163

How to Get Hired
If you want to land in any of the jobs listed above, you will need significant experience, education, and Certifications.

Experience
Experience is always invaluable and can’t be comparable to any education or certification. Without prior technology experience, even an entry-level cybersecurity job is difficult. That’s why it is always important to take advantage of internship opportunities while obtaining degrees.

Hiring for a higher level role in the cyber security field requires at least 8-10 years of experience. Additionally, in this constantly changing environment of cyber security, it is imperative for cyber professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest in security technologies and cyber crime.

Education

While experience is invaluable, for a job in one of the top Cyber Security companies, education is definitely a key.  A bachelor’s degree is generally required for most cyber security positions.  A master’s degree provides an advantage when being considering for higher level roles. Master degree programs give additional technical and theoretical skills and can offer leadership, managerial and business skills required in high-level positions. Popular degree programs in a cyber security career often are:

  1. MS in Cyber Security Operations and Leadership
  2. MS in Computer Science
  3. MS in Computer Engineering
  4. MS in Information Assurance
  5. MS in Information Technology
  6. MBA

Choosing which program is right for you depending upon ultimate career goals and aspirations

Certifications

Already working in the field of cyber security?  Then, you know how valuable certifications can be. While they certainly won’t land you a job, they do carry a lot of weight and boost your resume. Some of the very popular certifications for those looking to make a career in cyber security are:

  1. CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional. This is the most requested Certification in the Security field,  However, it requires five years of cyber security experience and an endorsement by another CISSP professional.  However, if you want to work at the Department of Defense, a CISSP certification is a must. This certification also opens the door to many other higher level positions and the possibility of increased pay.
  2. CISM – Certified Information Security Manager. It focuses on governance, risk management, and compliance.
  3. CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor. It focuses on controlling, auditing, assessing information systems and monitoring.
  4. GIAC – Global Information Assurance Certification. GIAC provides hands-on technical capabilities such as intrusion detection and forensics among others.
  5. CEH – Certified Ethical Hacker. For entry-level jobs, a CEH certification can be a great key to land you at your top choice company.

Being successful in a cyber security career is more challenging than many outsiders think it is.  The profession requires deep technical skills learned over many years of experience, a desired to continually learn new methods, techniques, and technologies plus, the ability to think like the hackers so you an out smart their next move.

Author: Tim Howard is the founder of Fortify Experts (nationally top-ranked Cybersecurity search firm by Cybersecurity Ventures) which helps companies find exceptional cybersecurity talent through executive search, permanent placement, and project consultants. Howard has been leading technology staffing teams for over 15 years and is the founder of three other technology and staffing firms. He has degrees from Texas A&M University in Industrial Distribution and Marketing.  

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