Cybersecurity job demand to increase by 33% before 2030
American Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) claims that jobs for cybersecurity analysts will grow by 33% from 2020 to 2030; this represents four times faster growth compared to all occupations across the US. This might be tied to the fact that cyber attacks have proliferated, with potential penalties both from authorities and users, and potential breaches have increased, jeopardizing many businesses.
TV has glamourized cybersecurity as a battle between hackers, criminals, and security experts, escalating due to constant technological advancements. While attacks and exploits sometimes come from foreign states, devious criminals, and malicious hackers, the reality can sometimes be much different. Often threats come from poorly set up networks or improper application of security measures that leave data exposed. Furthermore, employees often unwittingly expose themselves to malicious sites or programs while working from home, thus potentially compromising the entire company.
Taking all of this into account and understanding that cybersecurity is a hot area for work, we look at top cybersecurity positions in 2023 that users can research or aspire to get into.
Cyber/IT Security Specialist
This position often requires a specific educational background in the field, either a University degree or specialized certification. The main responsibility of this position is to design, test, implement and monitor all security measures in a client’s system. Often these specialists have high hourly rates. The average monthly salary for a security specialist in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Croatia is roughly 2000 euros. A comparable position in the US would net a cybersecurity specialist an annual salary of roughly $100,000.
This is a more advanced cybersecurity role, which involves many management components, requiring delegating duties to junior cybersecurity professionals and being responsible for the entire network’s security. Further, this position would require a strategic approach to an organization’s security objectives and oversight of the daily activities of the cybersecurity department. More often than not, this position requires 8-10 years of previous work experience in the cybersecurity field, with salaries on average ranging from $100,000 to even $200,000, depending on the size of the company and the network.
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
This advanced position requires at least eight years, but often twelve, of active work experience in the cybersecurity field, as deep knowledge of information security management systems is a must. CISOs are often the face of an organization’s cybersecurity efforts, which work closely with the manager and the public, so there is a need for soft skills in this position. CISO is responsible for the cybersecurity architecture in a firm, spearheads cybersecurity initiatives, and oversees the execution of data protection, breach detection, and post-mortems. On average, salaries for this position range from $200,000 to $300,000, making it one of the highest-paying jobs in the field.
Skills required to succeed in cybersecurity
To succeed in this position and in general, professionals need a wide range of technical and soft skills to put them in these positions in the first place and second to enable them to excel at their job. Below are just some of the key skills required, the list is not exhaustive:
- Networking and system administration – maintenance of a network’s security and computer systems is a must from entry to the highest positions.
- Knowledge of operating systems – this is a no-brainer, but the knowledge should extend from the major operating systems onto the server versions of Linux and Windows.
- Programming languages – SQL, C, and Python are critical programming languages, as most of the threats will come from these programming languages .
- Cloud security – as more services are now shifting to the cloud, cloud security protocols and technologies will be a must.
- Information and Event Management (IEM) – IEM refers to collecting data in real-time to identify potential threats helping the entire cybersecurity team function like a well-oiled machine.
- Problem-solving – data aggregation, analysis, and execution of proper solutions will be an essential skill for cybersecurity specialists as the job entails preventing and then putting out “fires” when they occur
- Learning aptitude – the cybersecurity space is constantly evolving just like technology, therefore, being a voracious reader will be important
- Analytical skills – anticipating threats and analyzing the network will be of high importance for good cybersecurity professionals
While the US is statistics-driven, most of the data in the cybersecurity field can be drawn from the US market, which is often the main trendsetter of a given industry. Namely, there are roughly 1 million cybersecurity workers in the US, while there were over 700,000 job positions that needed to be filled, getting even a push from the government.
Cybersecurity employment trends. Source: Microsoft
The field itself evolves quickly, requiring a various mix of skills from disparate domains, as almost all new technology that is coming out has a digital component, and each device with a digital component needs cybersecurity. Furthermore, while there is a need for a labor force, there are strict requirements in the form of certification, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), alongside a university degree and 3-5 years of work experience, thus effectively reducing the pool of potential candidates.
How to get your foot in the door?
University degree programs that focus, among other things, on cybersecurity are a good starting base that can help new graduates enter the industry. Others that are in technical roles could opt for on-the-job training, which some IT companies offer, to transition into the cybersecurity field, also taking on a job responsibility that involves this component could be of immense help when looking for a new job. Boot camps, conferences, and short-term education opportunities are also great ways to augment the knowledge of someone in a technical position.
For those looking to get their foot in the door without having a university degree or any work experience in cybersecurity, a solid start would be getting a Security Plus Certificate, which is a global certificate that indicates that the base skills are covered, and that offers an IT security career. Building on this certification, getting CISSP could be a second step, or if the learning curve is too steep, opting for a CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+) could be an option.
All in all, getting in requires a lot of learning, sacrifice, and soft skills to pass the interview and start working in this highly sought-after field.