Pursuing a Career in Cybersecurity


Simply put, cybersecurity is exactly what the term sounds like. It’s the practice of protecting computer systems, electronic data, as well as entire networks and any other type of confidential information. 

More specifically, cybersecurity is the means of protecting data content from hackers and cybercriminals. Typically, cyber-attacks have the end goal of sabotaging business processes, extorting money from internet users, or simply accessing, stealing or destroying valuable information.


Why Cybersecurity Matters 

From governments and large corporations, through to small businesses and individual internet users, cybersecurity is important for everyone. 

Today, we all have so much information floating around on the internet that if we were to be targeted by cybercriminals, they would be able to steal quite a bit of information about us. 

With that being said, it’s easy to see why cybersecurity is so important. Furthermore, the importance of online security has given rise to thousands of jobs in the field of cybersecurity. 

In fact, with the continual evolution of the internet, there is currently a massive amount of cybersecurity jobs and not enough trained professionals to fill the positions. So, let’s take a closer look at the different types of jobs available in the field of cybersecurity.

Job Positions in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a rather broad industry. This means that there are many different roles that can be pursued in the field of cybersecurity.

Of course, salaries in these jobs will vary based on the specific role, your training and education, an your experience level. However, you’re not likely to be going hungry with a job in cybersecurity.

In fact, a survey on cybersecurity jobs has shown that the average salary for people working in cybersecurity is somewhere around $116,000 per year. That’s roughly three times the national average!

Job titles and roles will vary depending on the company, however, here are a few of the most common positions in cybersecurity:

Cybersecurity Generalist

Essentially, a jack of a trades, typically employed by smaller companies to manage their cybersecurity efforts.

Cloud Security Engineer

This is a more specialized role and includes providing cybersecurity measures for cloud-based platforms and systems.

Network Security Engineer

Typically, network security engineers are employed by larger companies. The job involves managing the security measures that govern the company’s network software and hardware, as well as firewalls, routers, VPNs, etc.

Application Security Specialist

This role involves protecting applications from cyber threats using a combination of software and hardware-related skills.

Security Architecture

This job involves designing, building, and managing a company’s network and computer systems security.

IAM or Identity Access Management Engineer

This is more of a sub-field in cybersecurity, which focuses on digital identities and access authorization within a company or organization. The job ensures proper levels of system access for employees and also prevents unauthorized access.

Malware Analyst

People in this position analyze malware to learn about what it does, where it came from, as well as anything else they can learn from it.

Penetration Tester

Penetration testers are essentially paid to hack into computer systems and software platforms in order to test their security measures and identify any potential vulnerabilities.

Cryptographer

A cryptographer is hired to create new ways for encrypting sensitive information and ensuring that it is kept private.

Incident Response Analyst

These are the first-responders whenever a data breach or security issue occurs. They rapidly address the threat by learning what caused it and limiting its damage.

Security Auditor

These specialists create reports about a security system’s effectiveness and find ways that it can be improved. This is a similar position to a penetration tester, however, it is more of a high-level job, where the auditor uses pre-established standards to evaluate the effectiveness of a system.


What Skills are Needed for a Career in Cybersecurity?

Essentially, it’s recommended to have some sort of degree related to cybersecurity. However, degrees and certificates are not necessary in order to find a job in the cybersecurity industry. In fact, many of the industry’s pioneers were people with degrees. 

With that said, it’s still important to have a variety of skills related to cybersecurity. This includes, but is not limited, to:

  • A solid understanding of IT fundamentals (web applications, system administration, etc.)
  • Coding skills (C, C++. Java, PHP, Perl, Ruby, Python)
  • Understanding architecture, administration and operating systems
  • Certifications 

What are the Top Cybersecurity Companies to Work For?

From small local businesses, through to massive multi-million dollar companies, there are literally thousands of businesses and organizations currently in search of cybersecurity experts. However, some of the biggest and best names to work for in the industry include:

  • Cisco
  • Symantec
  • Microsoft
  • McAfee
  • IBM
  • RSA (Dell Technologies)

Keep in mind that these are only the biggest names to work for in cybersecurity. This means there will likely be a significant amount of competition looking to work for these companies. So, don’t limit yourself to only going after positions with these companies. There are plenty of cybersecurity jobs out there.