If you are interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity and don’t know where to start, here’s your go-to guide to salaries, job markets, skills, and common interview questions in the field.
As cybercriminals grow more sophisticated and news of major breaches reach headlines nearly daily, cybersecurity professionals are in high demand: There are currently 1 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide, Cisco found. By 2022, that number is expected to rise to 1.8 million open jobs, as predicted by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education and ISC(2).
Employees that take on these roles play a key role in the enterprise, as the average cost of a data breach worldwide is now $3.62 million, according to IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute.
A job in cybersecurity can also command a high paycheck: The average salary for an information security analyst in the US is $92,600, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it’s significantly higher in cities such as San Francisco and New York.
The shortage of trained cyber professionals has led many organizations to seek nontraditional candidates to fill these roles. To help those interested in the field better understand how to break into a career in cybersecurity, we’ve pulled together the most important details and resources.
- Why is there an increased demand for cybersecurity professionals? Cybercrime has exploded in the past couple of years, with major ransomware attacks such as WannaCry and Petya putting enterprises’ data at risk. To protect their information and that of their clients, companies across all industries are seeking cyber professionals to secure their networks.
- What are some of the cybersecurity job roles? A career in cybersecurity can take the form of various roles, including penetration tester, chief information security officer (CISO), security engineer, incident responder, security software developer, security auditor, or security consultant.
- What skills are required to work in cybersecurity? The skills required to work in cybersecurity vary depending on the position and company, but generally may include penetration testing, risk analysis, and security assessment. Certifications, including Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) are also in demand, and can net you a higher salary in the field.
- Where are the hottest markets for cybersecurity jobs? Top companies including Apple, Lockheed Martin, General Motors, Capital One, and Cisco are all hiring cybersecurity professionals. Industries such as healthcare, education, and government are most likely to suffer a cyberattack, which will probably lead to an increase in the number of IT security jobs in these sectors.
- What is the average salary of a cybersecurity professional? The average salary for a cybersecurity professional depends on the position. For example, information security analysts earn a median salary of $92,600 per year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, CISOs earn a median salary of $212,462, according to Salary.com. Salaries are significantly higher in certain cities, such as San Francisco and New York.
- What are typical interview questions for a career in cybersecurity? Questions can vary depending on the position and what the specific company is looking for, according to Forrester analyst Jeff Pollard. For entry and early career roles, more technical questions should be expected. As you move up the ranks, the questions may become more about leadership, running a program, conflict resolution, and budgeting.
- Where can I find resources for a career in cybersecurity? ISACA, ISC(2), ISSA, and The SANS Institute are national and international organizations where you can seek out information about the profession as well as certification and training options. A number of universities and online courses also offer cybersecurity-related degrees, certifications, and prep programs.