Author: Jeslyn Guo
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting computer systems against unauthorized access and can involve protecting computers, networks, and data from hackers. The cybersecurity industry is only expanding as we evolve in an era of digital data. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that there will be a 32% growth rate for information security analysts between 2018 and 2028. Not only is cybersecurity a well-paying and highly rewarding career, but there are a diverse array of career opportunities for those looking to work in cybersecurity.
While cybersecurity is a large industry, there are various roles in the field that allow you to explore your individual interests. For example, some jobs may be more directed at engineering security solutions, while others may be directed at managing security operations or programming systems. Below are some of the most common jobs in cybersecurity and a brief description of their work.
A cybersecurity analyst detects threats, creates protections and monitors the network activity of an organization. Additionally, they will report any unusual behavior that they find in order to further improve security systems.
A security engineer focuses on applying their skills to create high-tech solutions to solve any security issues. They work to enhance security capabilities and defend against hacking, malware and ransomware, and various other types of cybercrime.
Security Software Developer
For those interested in programming or software design, this role allows individuals to write computer programs that safeguard computer systems and data. Additionally, they make adjustments to upgrade existing applications by introducing new security measures.
Computer Forensics Analyst
A computer forensic analyst works with law enforcement and private firms to investigate cybersecurity cases. They work to recover hidden, encrypted, or deleted information in the case and commonly work in the criminal justice system.
A penetration tester finds vulnerabilities in networks and information systems by using ethical hacking. Essentially, they try to gain unauthorized access to a system by duplicating the actions of malicious hackers. Testing these vulnerabilities allows an organization to make adjustments to their security systems and better protect against real hackers.
Information Security Consultant
An information security consultant evaluates an organizations’ risk and communicates it to them. They conduct on-site visits, and IT risk assessments. A penetration tester is a specialized information security consultant.
As you can see, these are just some of the many career paths in cybersecurity. There is such a diverse array of opportunities in the cybersecurity field that can intertwine with many other fields as well. But what is the path to becoming a professional in cybersecurity?
Like any other industry, education is the first step in pursuing a career in cybersecurity. Getting a degree in cybersecurity or any related fields such as information security or computer science will give you the credentials to step into the cybersecurity field. If you are pursuing more of an engineering route, a degree in engineering can be helpful as well. Additionally, obtaining specialized experience in the field you would like to work in is a key step to becoming a professional. Around the world, there are numerous open positions in cybersecurity as demand rises, and these opportunities are only greater if you do have education and experience in the field.
After a degree, there are some additional certifications that may help you land a job in cybersecurity. For example, the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification teaches individuals how to think like a hacker and use their skills to improve security systems. This is best for someone looking to become a penetration tester, as discussed above. There are various other certifications such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) which provide individuals with the tools needed to succeed. These are only the most common certifications, but there are many other options available.
Of course, the path to cybersecurity is not always linear. Education, work experience, and certification are just one of many paths you can take. It is never too late to start learning about cybersecurity, especially if you are passionate about it. There has never been a better time to start a career in cybersecurity since nearly every organization will need a team to work in security due to how much of our data is being digitized. If you want to hear about some amazing professionals who work in the field and get to know their paths to success, check out our previous CybHER Conversations or register to listen live!