The Internet is one of the greatest inventions ever created. Whether you want to order pizza online, download a mobile game, or email friends on the other side of the globe — all of these activities happen automatically and instantaneously.
However, there’s a war raging behind the scenes.
The ease, speed, and convenience of online living is precisely what cybercriminals around the world are constantly trying to exploit. As society becomes more connected, it’s becoming easier (and more profitable) for malicious actors to:
- Steal your money
- Clone your identity
- Invade your privacy
On the front lines of this raging war is an army of cybersecurity professionals dedicated to keeping your information safe. In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (celebrated every October), we wanted to highlight five of the top jobs in this rapidly growing industry.
1. Information Security Analysts
As an information security analyst, you’re responsible for planning and implementing data security protocols designed to protect IT networks and computer systems.
The median salary for this career is $98,350 per year. From 2018 to 2028, demand for information security analysts is expected to grow by 32%, which is substantially higher than the national average of 5% for most other occupations.
The most popular entry requirement for this field is a bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field.
2. Database Administrators
As a database administrator, your job is to protect what criminals are ultimately after — i.e., sensitive data such as financial, medical, or personal information. You accomplish this by designing robust IT infrastructure that makes accessing this data easy for those who need it — and impossible for those who don’t.
The median salary for this occupation is $90,070 a year, with demand for database administrators expected to grow by 9% over the next decade. A bachelor’s degree in database management or computer science is often required for this field.
3. Software Developers
We don’t automatically think of computer programmers as “security” specialists. They make apps, games, and tools. Yet, these are the very platforms thieves use to gain entry to our lives. For example, the WannaCry attack exploited computers that still used outdated versions of Windows XP.
Thus, when designing new software tools moving forward, professionals in this field must make data security a priority for their users.
The median salary for this occupation is $105,590, with demand expected to grow by 21% over the next 10 years. Though because software developers often work as freelancers, there are no official educational requirements for this specific field.
4. Security Architects
As a security architect, you’re responsible for identifying and analyzing potential threats within computer and IT systems. In effect, you help design the critical infrastructure that allows companies to conduct business in relative safety.
The median salary for security architects is $118,832, with demand expected to increase by 18% through 2028.
A bachelor’s in computer science or related field is usually enough to get started — although many employers will want to see a master’s degree as well.
5. Computer Forensics Examiners
As a computer forensics examiner, yours is a reactive job that only starts after a data breach or cybercrime has taken place. You’re responsible for finding out what happened and how. Doing so allows you to work with businesses, law enforcement and other cybersecurity experts to prevent similar breaches from occurring.
The median salary for computer forensics examiners is about $95,510, with demand expected to increase by 28% over the next decade. In most cases, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field is enough to get started.
Which Cybersecurity Career Is Right for You?
The above professions are only scratching the surface. In an article of this length, it simply isn’t possible to cover the countless other careers in the field — including penetration testers, software security engineers, or chief information security officers.
Even the most complete list in the world wouldn’t remain static for long.
After all, many of these jobs didn’t even exist 10 or 20 years ago. They emerged in response to new threats made possible by our increasing reliance on Internet technology.
Just imagine what types of careers will become available as:
- Internet penetration increases
- More people use smart devices
- 5G becomes standard nationwide
Needless to say, this list will continue to expand and evolve over time. In nearly all cases, demand for cybersecurity professionals will outpace the national average for most other occupations.
Whether your goal is money, job security, or keeping society safe, you really can’t go wrong with any of these careers.