Best careers with a cybersecurity degree

    Companies around the world depend on cybersecurity professionals to stop security breaches and investigate cybercrimes. Cybersecurity professionals play a vital role in diverse industries, including the energy sector, government, and tech. They implement security procedures, test systems for vulnerabilities, and prevent cyberattacks.

    A cybersecurity degree opens the door for many jobs in information assurance and cybersecurity. Graduates work as information security analysts, penetration testers, and forensic computer analysts. With experience, they move into management-level roles like cybersecurity manager or chief information security officer.

    But what are the best jobs for cybersecurity majors? Many cybersecurity careers offer six-figure median salaries and strong demand. The best careers with a cybersecurity degree provide more than a paycheck, though. This list ranks factors like work-life balance and job satisfaction in addition to salary.

    In-demand cybersecurity skills

    Employers look for certain qualities in cybersecurity job candidates, and professionals bring a variety of people and technical skills to information security roles. In addition to a strong sense of morality and integrity, cybersecurity careers require high-level tech abilities. Before launching a cybersecurity job search, make sure to focus on these in-demand skills.

    People skills

    • Teamwork and collaboration
    • Time management and organizational skills
    • The ability to think creatively about problems
    • Strong presentation and teaching skills
    • Customer service and business skills

    Technical skills

    • Knowledge of security incident response
    • Digital forensics and investigation skills
    • Security information and event management (SIEM) software
    • Data gathering and analytics
    • Monitoring and implementing intrusion detection systems

    Cybersecurity career certifications

    Professional certification helps cybersecurity specialists demonstrate their skills and advance their careers. While tech certifications are voluntary, many employers prefer to hire job candidates with certifications. A certification also helps professionals move into specialized roles. Many organizations offer cybersecurity certifications, which typically require passing scores on an exam.

    CompTIA Certifications

    CompTIA’s certifications test professionals on their technical skills without requiring work experience. Security professionals who earn the CompTIA Security+ credential demonstrate hands-on, practical skills in cybersecurity.

    Certified Information Systems Security Professional

    The CISSP credential recognizes experienced cybersecurity professionals. Candidates must hold five years of professional experience. After passing an exam, candidates earn their CISSP certification.

    EC-Council Certifications

    EC-Council certifications cover many specialties within cybersecurity, including ethical hacking, penetration testing, and threat intelligence analysis. Professionals demonstrate their experience in a focus area through certification.

    Global Information Assurance Certification

    The GIAC credential recognizes specialists in information assurance. Candidates must pass a specialized exam that takes 2-5 hours. The GIAC certification remains valid for four years.

    ISACA Certifications

    ISACA offers multiple specialized certifications for cybersecurity professionals in risk management, senior management, and threat assessment. Most certifications require a mix of professional experience and education, plus passing scores on an exam.

    Best jobs for cybersecurity majors

    After earning a cybersecurity degree, graduates work as analysts, engineers, and consultants. In these roles, they protect private data and investigate cyberattacks. Many of the jobs for cybersecurity majors offer high salaries and strong demand. This list of the best careers with a cybersecurity degree lists the degree requirements, job duties, and abilities necessary for each career.

    To rank the best cybersecurity careers, we assessed roles based on salary, job demand and projected growth, remote work opportunities, work-life balance, and work satisfaction. The criteria that we weighted the most heavily include salary, work-life balance, and work satisfaction.

    1. Cybersecurity engineer

    Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

    Required Certifications: CISSP or other certifications recommended

    Good Fit for: People with strong technical and analytical skills; those with good communication and collaborative abilities; creative problem-solvers

    Cybersecurity engineers protect private data from cyberattacks. They implement security software and procedures, including cyberattack detection systems and firewalls. Cybersecurity engineers also assess the risk of data breaches and conduct tests to find weaknesses. They recommend information security measures to decision makers.

    2. Cryptographer

    Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

    Required Certifications: Certifications recommended but not required

    Good Fit for: Those with strong encryption and algorithm training; detail-oriented thinkers; people with strong analytical skills

    Cryptographers encode information to protect it from unauthorized users. They create codes using tools like algorithms to prevent cybercriminals from accessing sensitive information. Cryptographers also analyze encryption systems and ciphers to identify and correct potential weaknesses. In an always-evolving field, cyptographers must continually learn about new technologies and hacking strategies.

    3. Cybersecurity consultant

    Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

    Required Certifications: CompTIA certification or other certifications recommended

    Good Fit for: People with strong technical and business skills; those with a problem-solving outlook; detail-oriented thinkers

    Cybersecurity consultants advise clients on how to protect private data and prevent cyberattacks. They develop custom information security plans, conduct risk or treat analyses, and research cybersecurity improvements. Cybersecurity consultants also report their findings to decision makers and implement upgrades.

    4. Forensic computer analyst

    Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

    Required Certifications: Certification recommended by not required

    Good Fit for: People with analytical and investigative abilities; those with strong technical skills; detail-oriented thinkers

    Forensic computer analysts collect digital evidence after a cyberattack or security breach. Using data retrieval techniques, they analyze the data to identify the perpetrators. Many forensic computer analysts work in law enforcement, where they investigate cybercrimes. The career path requires investigative skills and some legal training.

    5. Computer network architect

    Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s or master’s

    Required Certifications: Certification recommended by not required

    Good Fit for: Tech-minded people with business skills; those with strong organizational and leadership abilities; detail-oriented people

    Computer network architects create custom data communication networks for organizations. Some specialize in cloud infrastructure. Computer network architects work closely with organizations to understand their data communication needs. They then develop network plans that meet information security best practices. Computer network architects then oversee and upgrade networks.

    6. Chief information security officer

    Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s or master’s

    Required Certifications: Certified CISO or other certification recommended

    Good Fit for: Experienced cybersecurity professionals; those with management experience; people with strong organizational and communication skills

    Chief information security officers, also known as CISOs, manage an organization’s cybersecurity needs. They supervise cybersecurity professionals, develop security systems, and minimize the risk of a security breach. CISOs also work with executives to respond to cyberattacks and oversee digital forensic investigations.

    7. Information security analyst

    Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

    Required Certifications: CISSP or other certification recommended

    Good Fit for: Creative thinkers with strong problem-solving skills; detail-oriented people; those with exceptional analytical abilities

    Information security analysts protect organizations from security breaches and cyberattacks. They evaluate networks to identify weaknesses, investigate cyberattacks, and implement procedures to improve security. After an attack, information security analysts identify improvements and recommend security standards. They also train users on following security protocols.

    8. Penetration tester

    Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

    Required Certifications: Certification recommended by not required

    Good Fit for: Trained ethical hackers; people with strong analytical and technical skills; strong problem-solvers

    Penetration testers identify weaknesses in cybersecurity defenses so organizations can improve their security. They simulate cyberattacks to test computer systems and networks. Penetration testers draw on hacking strategies to find vulnerabilities. They report these vulnerabilities so organizations can implement stronger defenses and prevent security breaches.

    9. Incident analyst

    Minimum Degree Required: Bachelor’s

    Required Certifications: Certification recommended by not required

    Good Fit for: Detail-oriented people; those with strong analytical and problem-solving skills; good collaborators

    Incident analysts investigate cyberattacks and other cybersecurity incidents. They must identify and document weaknesses in the network. Incident analysts then develop strategies to prevent future incidents. When not investigating specific incidents, they also monitor networks and implement new security practices.

    What are the highest paying cybersecurity jobs?

    The highest paying jobs in cybersecurity include chief information officer, cybersecurity manager, and information security manager. Many cybersecurity careers offer high salaries.

    What are the best entry-level cybersecurity jobs?

    Recent cybersecurity graduates often launch their careers by working as incident analysts, penetration testers, or information security analysts. Some roles require prior tech experience.

    How do I start a cybersecurity job with no experience?

    Many of the best careers with a cybersecurity degree expect some prior experience. Professionals can gain experience through internships, freelancing, working in a related tech field, or pursuing professional certifications.

    Does cybersecurity require coding?

    Most cybersecurity professionals have a background in coding. While some roles do not require programming skills, employers often expect some familiarity with coding.

    Which certification is best for cybersecurity?

    The best certification depends on the professional’s career goals and specializations. Many certifications help cybersecurity professionals advance their careers.

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