Today, skills gaps and increased digitization mean it’s a great time to start a cybersecurity career. Our guide to cybersecurity careers provides insight into the education and the skills you’ll need to break into the field. We’ll examine why cyber careers are in demand, a day in the life of a cybersecurity professional and how you can take steps toward the cyber position you deserve.

 

Whether you’re an aspiring cyber professional or a recent graduate, cybersecurity is an excellent career with a high salary to match. Let’s outline the best ways to get there.

What is cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity professionals look to prevent data breaches through a variety of digital security measures. They ensure security software is up-to-date, creating programs to mitigate the risk of an attack and mitigating risks and damages after attempted breaches do occur.

 

According to IBM, the average data breach in the United States costs an estimated $8.64 million, given the cost for breach discovery and resolution, and any lost revenue or damaged company assets.

 

While many believe that cybersecurity attacks are only directed towards major corporations, researchers have actually discovered that three in five companies have been affected “by software supply chain attacks in 2021.”

 

In short, cybersecurity is an indispensable field that can save companies of all sizes time and money.

Why are cybersecurity careers in demand?

Cybersecurity careers are in demand for a variety of reasons. A changing tech landscape affects how businesses interact with the world, and a pronounced shortage in cyber skills drives a higher demand for cyber professionals.

Reference some of the main reasons for the high cyber skills demand below.

Cyber skills shortage

Cybersecurity certainly isn’t a new field. Still, the industry has drastically changed in recent years, meaning new cybersecurity professionals will require an updated skillset to compete for available positions.

According to ISC2, the workforce gap for cybersecurity professionals decreased to 2.72 million in 2021, compared to 3.12 million in 2020. However, the workforce still needs to grow by an estimated 65% to combat the influx in cyber-attacks researchers see around the world.

Increased use of cyber technology

Remember in 2020, when remote work quickly became the new normal? Many companies have maintained this business model, allowing employees to work from the privacy of their own homes.

In theory, a work-from-home environment is ideal for many employees. Companies don’t need to pay for office space and employees spend less time commuting. To support this workforce shift, many organizations increasingly rely on cyber technology to keep employees connected to their workplace.

Today, many organizations still embrace this remote working model, which can lead to increased risk of cyberattacks. In fact, a 2021 study found that 74% of attacks on an organization were caused by remote workers.

The main factor leading to this increase of attacks on remote workers is likely due to their reliance on personal devices (e.g. personal laptops, cell phones) that have not been secured by cybersecurity professionals. In fact, most of these professionals won’t have anything beyond their system’s included security programs.

As businesses discover the importance and ease of using cloud storage, leaders often decide to leverage cloud data storage systems rather than relying on on-site storage methods.

This use of the cloud allows for easier access for employees — and easier access for hackers if a proper security system is not in place. In fact, half of cybersecurity experts polled in 2022 said their cloud systems had been hacked.

While relying on cyber technology has made many aspects of the business world — including communication and collaboration — more streamlined, companies and organizations without a proper cybersecurity team are simply sitting ducks for hackers.

Digitalization of businesses

Business models have drastically changed over the last three decades, moving from a reliance on analogue systems to reliance on digital systems. This digitalization is excellent for workforce efficiency, lowering costs and fostering growth.

A switch to new platforms delivers great benefits, but also drawbacks. For example, 82% of IT professionals who oversaw a business’s digitization efforts believe at least one data breach occurred while moving to the system.

The digitization process is stressful enough for businesses, without worrying about hackers breaching their system. This is where cybersecurity professionals come in, helping companies keep their data secure while updating their company structure.

Need for secure systems

In 2020 alone, cyber victims lost $4.2 billion in the United States.

When business systems are breached, they risk losing customer trust. One attack can be enough for many customers to switch over to a competitor, with many consumers placing blame on the company that was breached.

In order to keep revenue up and foster a long-term relationship with customers, businesses need a secure system overseen by cybersecurity professionals.

Evolving hacking attempts

An assortment of hacking methods mean today’s cyber professionals need to work even harder to secure servers, networks and digital frameworks.

From phishing to malware, hackers are constantly finding new ways to breach company systems. Today, more than half of companies feel underprepared to handle a sophisticated cyber attack.

Cybersecurity professionals mitigate these fears by providing companies with the security they need, before they need it.

What qualifications do I need to fulfill a career in cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity education can open the door to a variety of career opportunities; however, it is important to note that certain careers will have different requirements.

If you don’t have a degree, you’ll often need more equivalent experience.

However, not every cyber job will require a degree. For example, this cybersecurity professional position requires three years of experience, but no degree.

As you peruse job listings, you’ll notice a heavy emphasis on experience. However, as more and more entry-level positions are posted, we can expect an increased focus on credentials alongside experience.

The best cybersecurity careers

The best career is the one you love. Modern cybersecurity career options include: 

  • Chief Information Security Officer – This position entails leading and managing all security and data management. 61% of companies have a CISO, with 80% of larger organizations employing someone in this position. On average, CISO’s bring home around $230,000 per year.
  • Computer Forensic Expert – With a salary of just under $80,000 on average, a cyber forensics analyst is a well-compensated position. You’ll work to fight cybercrime, oftentimes partnering with law enforcement in criminal investigations to find deleted files and decode encrypted software.
  • Cryptographer – Cryptographers develop security systems to protect data and combat hackers. On average, cryptographers make $150,000 per year.

These and other cybersecurity careers represent several of the most exciting cyber career opportunities, many that are only a certification away.

What will my day look like as a cybersecurity professional?

As a cybersecurity professional, each day brings something new. Your typical day might include tasks like:

  • Creating and maintaining user accounts to prevent theft and hackers from accessing personal data;
  • Installing and updating software;
  • Addressing software issues (e.g., fragmented file deletion to ensure systems run faster, freeing up memory);
  • Ensuring systems are up to date, with all new patches installed;
  • Running scans to check for new vulnerabilities;
  • Executing threat simulations to ensure systems are working correctly;
  • Developing more efficient security measures;
  • Deploying mitigation strategies in the event of a data breach;
  • Coordinating with other departments on possible security issues.

The day in the life of a cybersecurity professional is anything but bland. You’ll need to work on a variety of different tasks on any given day to ensure your company is practicing proper safety protocols.

What skills do I need to work in cybersecurity?

Working in cybersecurity requires you to wear a lot of different hats in the workplace. You will frequently collaborate with different departments across an organization’s structure to ensure everything is secure.

Some skills you need to be successful include:

  • Communication – Report your findings to your colleagues. You should be able to explain complex ideas to people who know nothing about cybersecurity, to ensure they know exactly why a system needs to be secured.
  • Collaboration – Work alongside others to identify and achieve security goals. As a team player, you will find yourself working in close contact with colleagues on a regular basis.
  • Adaptation – Prepare for new threats before they arrive. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with new and evolving cyber attacks, and familiarize team members with cyber best practices.
  • Attention to detail – Many large organization’s security systems are under constant attack. Pay attention to small details, or security issues caused by human error.

With these skills and an education, you will find the cybersecurity field opens doors for new career paths. Whether you’re a seasoned professional looking for a career change or a student looking to make the transition to a life-long career, the above skills will ensure your success in the cybersecurity field.

How can I learn cybersecurity skills?

If you’re looking to join a thriving cybersecurity landscape, you’ll need the right education — and the right experience. The best cybersecurity education options combine accelerated courses and real-life experience, to help you achieve your six-figure dreams on your timetable.

To learn more about Pace’s Cybersecurity Bootcamp and how it can help you jumpstart your cyber career, get in touch with our Admissions team today.