What Are Cybersecurity Jobs? (With Examples of Common Roles)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated January 31, 2023

Published May 2, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As data becomes a more valuable asset, it's important companies can protect its data from theft, damage, or manipulation. This led to the rapid growth of cybersecurity, with applications across various industries, including health, banking, and technology. Understanding the types of cybersecurity jobs can help you decide on a career path. In this article, we explore cybersecurity-related jobs, outline how to start your cybersecurity career, and highlight examples of cybersecurity roles you can consider.

What are cybersecurity jobs?

Cybersecurity jobs are roles responsible for ensuring the safety of data and information systems. Businesses rely on data to monitor trends, gain insights, and make better financial decisions. Additionally, business data often contains valuable information about a company's activities, trade secrets, and financial processes. As a result, data is a valuable asset, and companies prioritize the security of their data and information systems. Cybersecurity professionals work together to preempt, prevent, and control the activities of hackers. They do this by encrypting data, designing anti-hacker software, troubleshooting information systems, and backing up data.

Generally, cybersecurity roles are under the engineering, operations, or leadership category. Operations refer to the daily activities involved in securing an information system. These professionals require an excellent understanding of information technology, advanced security measures, and cybercrime. Leadership refers to high-level executive or managerial staff who supervise and coordinate the activities of other professionals. Lastly, engineering professionals focus on designing, building, testing, and optimizing cybersecurity solutions for individuals and companies. Professionals in this category require technical expertise, knowledge of engineering, and an understanding of information technology.

Related: A Guide to Computer Science Jobs

How to start a career in cybersecurity

Here's an overview of how you can start a career in cybersecurity:

1. Obtain a degree

The first step to starting a career in cybersecurity is to obtain the relevant education. Completing a degree helps you gain the foundational knowledge and relevant skills for success in the field. Most employers require candidates to have a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, computer science, or other related fields. Candidates who don't have the resources or time for a bachelor's degree can opt for a two-year associate degree program. Associate degrees qualify you for several technician roles and prepare you for certifications.

2. Pursue additional certifications

Certifications are official documents that attest to the competence of a professional in a specific field. Professional bodies, training institutes, and government agencies are usually responsible for issuing certifications. They're a great way to develop relevant skills and demonstrate competence to potential employers and clients. You can consider various prestigious certifications, like the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) or the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM). Once you complete your certifications, ensure you include them on your resume.

Related: 10 Top Security Certifications for IT Professionals

3. Develop relevant skills

Cybersecurity specialists require several technical skills, including programming, data analysis, and system assessment. Spending time to develop these skills can improve your chances of securing a lucrative role. You can develop your skills through online courses, certifications, and other training programs. Alternatively, you can consider interning at a company or with an established cybersecurity expert. If your degree doesn't include internships, you can apply for one directly by contacting your preferred company or mentor.

Related: How to Become a Cyber Security Analyst (Including FAQs)

4. Consider advanced education

Obtaining an advanced degree can help you develop your skills and grant you access to better professional opportunities. For example, some employers require candidates to have a master's degree to qualify for certain roles or positions. Similarly, candidates looking to secure executive or academic roles can consider obtaining a Ph.D. in cybersecurity. You can use a master's degree to specialize in applied cryptography, penetration testing, and digital forensics.

5. Network

Networking is the process of making and sustaining professional and social relationships. Building a reliable network of like-minded professionals can improve your career by giving you access to more opportunities. Similarly, networking can help you meet industry mentors who can guide and support you throughout your career. You can network by attending industry events, collaborating with other professionals, and being active at your workplace.

6. Apply for a job

After obtaining the necessary qualifications, you can apply for your preferred job. You can review various job sites to identify available roles in your location. You can also inform friends, family, and colleagues that you're looking for work so they can recommend you to their contacts. To increase your chances of success, ensure you properly prepare your resume and cover letter. This involves highlighting your qualifications and experience briefly and concisely for easy identification by the hiring manager. Similarly, rehearse for your interviews and other parts of the recruitment assessment process.

Examples of careers in cybersecurity

Here are some great career options in cybersecurity that you can consider:

1. Application security engineer

National average salary: $96,587 per year

Primary duties: Application security engineers play a major role in designing, creating, and improving application software. They're responsible for each application's security, ensuring that its development lifecycle abides by industry standards. In addition, they test applications using various security parameters to ensure they're safe for users and the company. Some of their duties include capturing and formatting security data, encrypting and decrypting data, and developing automated systems. Candidates interested in this role require a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or other related fields. You also require an excellent understanding of various programming languages.

Related: 10 Technology Careers (With Salaries and Primary Duties)

2. Security engineer

National average salary: $26.27 per hour

Primary duties: Security engineers specialize in creating, testing, and maintaining IT security solutions for their clients. They create systems to preempt, prevent, and manage threats to information systems like hacking, natural disasters, or other malicious attacks. Similarly, they monitor the performance of security systems, identify potential issues, and recommend solutions to their clients. Individuals who want to become security engineers require a bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, or a related field. They require programming languages, teamwork skills, attention to detail, and critical thinking.

3. Network security engineer

National average salary: $190,438 per year

Primary duties: Network security engineers create, test, deploy, and maintain security hardware and software for the network systems of their clients. They're responsible for ensuring the safety of all data on an organization's network. Network security engineers constantly monitor network systems to detect and prevent malware, hacking, bugs, and other threats. Similarly, they can detect vulnerabilities in an organization's network and recommend solutions to improve its safety. Candidates interested in this role require a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification and an excellent understanding of programming languages. Problem-solving, critical thinking, and effective communication are essential skills for this role.

4. Information security analyst

National average salary: $74,599 per year

Primary duties: Information security analysts evaluate various security problems and develop solutions. They conduct research and analysis to develop processes, tools, and measures to protect a computer system or network from a security breach. The duties of information security analysts expand as new threats to computer and network systems arise. Some of their daily responsibilities include installing and testing software, researching the latest industry trends, recommending IT solutions to clients, and monitoring computer systems for security breaches. Candidates interested in this role require a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or other related roles.

5. IT security specialist

National average salary: $94,102 per year

Primary duties: IT security specialists are cybersecurity experts who use their knowledge of IT systems, cyber attacks, and security software to secure computer systems. Their duties include installing and testing security software, educating employees about security measures, encrypting data, conducting risk assessments, and troubleshooting procedures on the computer and network systems. Candidates interested in this role require a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a related field. Similarly, you require knowledge of programming languages, and critical thinking, and attention to detail skills.

6. Chief information officer

National average salary: $21.61 per hour

Primary duties: The chief information officer is an executive staff responsible for aligning a company's information technology system with its corporate goals. The CIO supervises all IT departments and employees in an organization. They also determine the organization's IT strategy over a specific period. Some of a CIO's responsibilities include recruiting IT staff, coordinating all IT activities, developing goals for IT departments, monitoring progress on relevant tasks, and participating in executive decisions. To become a CIO, you require years of experience in a relevant IT role and excellent leadership, analytical, and problem-solving skills.

7. Cybersecurity consultant

National average salary: $122,390 per year

Primary duties: Cybersecurity consultants offer expert advice to various clients on the best strategies for securing their computer and network systems. They conduct assessments on a client's networks to identify vulnerabilities and recommend reliable security solutions. A cybersecurity consultant's daily duties include holding consultation sessions, monitoring network and computer systems, testing and recommending software, and preparing detailed reports. A cybersecurity consultant may work independently or under a consulting company. They usually require a bachelor's degree and relevant cybersecurity experience.

Related: How to Become a Security Consultant in 8 Steps (Plus Skills)

8. Penetration tester

National average salary: $104,668 per year

Primary duties: Penetration experts evaluate the credibility of computer security systems by attempting to infiltrate them. These professionals help identify vulnerabilities in an organization's network system and recommend solutions to improve security. Penetration testers also help their clients understand the usual tactics of hackers, including how they exploit human weaknesses to gain access to computer systems. These professionals require an understanding of programming languages, cyberattacks, and security systems.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

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