The market for cybersecurity experts continues to increase as our society’s reliance on and deployment of Information Technology infrastructures expands. Along with this growth though is an increased risk of security breaches and a need to prevent and recover from them. This paints a promising picture for cybersecurity careers – and for the institutions that give people the knowledge, training and credentials to prove their preparedness for the challenges the field faces.
A 2015 study by Burning Glass International, Inc., a firm specializing in using technology to match people and jobs, found that demand for cybersecurity professionals has been three times greater than that for other IT positions. The need for this expertise spans numerous industries, from defense and financial services to healthcare and higher education.
Among the most sought-after specialists were information security engineers, which accounted for nearly one in three of all IT security job postings, and security analysts, which accounted for a quarter of them. According to the report, cybersecurity positions typically command a $6,500 salary premium, or 9% more than other IT positions.
This is likely because most cybersecurity jobs require some form of certification, while other IT jobs do not. According to the study, 35% of cybersecurity jobs require industry certification, compared to 23% for IT jobs overall.
Various IT security certifications serving as a differentiating credential on qualifications can also help increase potential earnings. These include designations like (ISC)²’s Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP®) and Computing Technology Industry Association’s (CompTIA) Certified Authorization Professional (CAP®), among several others.
Career paths for those intending to take advantage of the increase in job demand include:
These security professionals have a range of responsibilities within the broad scope of planning and implementing security programs to protect computer networks and systems. In addition to being knowledgeable about IT security trends, they must be on top of security standards and best practices, and know how to apply them to the way an organization manages security. Information security analysts also need to be knowledgeable on how to use security software while helping others learn to use them properly.
Information security analysts (also known as information systems security professionals and network security analysts) must have at least an undergraduate degree, but many employers may require advanced education in information systems.
These IT professionals are responsible for helping enterprises operate more efficiently through the way that information technology is used to support business needs. Under the broader mantle of determining and establishing the IT system’s role in the organization, security is gaining increasing prominence. Computer systems analysts must optimize measures to protect data and computer systems against security breaches. They’re also expected to safeguard against threats by assessing and monitoring computer systems and developing protection measures.
It is helpful for these professionals – also known as systems analysts and cybersecurity analysts – to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field and some employers prefer candidates with MBAs concentrating in information systems or computer science.
Network and computer systems administrators oversee the various components of an organization’s computer systems, from local area networks to intranets to other data communication systems. Responsibilities range from determining the organization’s needs before systems are set up, collecting and evaluating performance data to ensure systems are working optimally and system-wide problem solving. They also are charged with maintaining network security and ensuring systems are operating correctly.
These professionals are also known as system administrators, server administrators and network administrators. A bachelor’s degree in computer or information science is the most common education credential, although a focus on computer engineering or electrical engineering is also acceptable. Employers may require administrators to be certified in the product they use.
These professionals plan, coordinate and direct an organization’s computer activities. Responsibilities can range from assessing the cost and benefits of new IT projects and justifying expenditures to senior managers, to determining personnel needs and determining the overall technology strategy of the enterprise. Overseeing network and data security – establishing policies and procedures and training – is another set of responsibilities inherent to this career.
Individuals in this field can move on to careers such as: Chief Information Officer, Chief Security Officer and Chief Technical Officer. Information System Managers can also be referred to as cybersecurity managers, cybersecurity administrators and system managers. A bachelor’s degree in computer or information science is typically required, although many employers may require a graduate degree as well.
Technology is only getting more pervasive as a force in the global business environment. It’s elevating the issue of security, ensuring that those who understand the complexities of domains and their vulnerabilities and how to best offset risk will be in high demand in years to come.