In May 2009, President Barack Obama said, “America’s economic prosperity in the twenty-first century will depend on cyber security.”
In the three years since those words were spoken, the problem of cyber security had only gotten worse. In other words, not only is the field of cyber security growing, but the work is vital to the confidentiality of clients, to the data security of companies, and to profitability in general. These factors mean one thing: Educated professionals in cyber security are a hot commodity in today’s global job market.
Careers for Cyber Security
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects the employment outlook in cyber security to remain strong for decades. Cyber security is a rapidly growing sector, especially in government agencies at home and overseas, as well as in private corporations. Information assurance analysts, as they are sometimes called, are needed to introduce and implement a vast variety of information security-related needs. Moreover, because the reality of a global marketplace is becoming more of a reality every day, cyber security professionals have the opportunity to apply their skills all over the world.
Common in-demand skills for security professionals include vulnerability assessment, source code review and analysis, penetration and intrusion testing, web application testing, secure system design, and network discovery, in addition to experience in policies and procedures. Cyber security requires training in specific skill sets, most of which demand degrees from accredited colleges or universities. However, if a person is talented enough, he or she can excel and advance in the profession without a degree. Note, however, that this is the exception rather than the rule.
What Do You Do Working in Cyber Security?
Many cyber security professionals enter the field by progressing up through a series of positions and then gaining certification. Others begin with the certificate, and then work for a company in an entry-level position, which they use as a launching pad.
In either route, excellent communication skills, critical thinking, and the ability to organize information are absolutely crucial. In addition, all cyber security professionals are expected to pass a background check, especially for government jobs.
Once a cyber security professional attains a certain level of expertise, he or she may be presented with the opportunity to move into management, training or some other supervisory position. In some instances, career advancement requires additional education. Because many cyber security careers are with government agencies, the cultural and operating environment is different than that of the private sector. Some might find this a drawback.
Job satisfaction among cyber professionals is very high because they make a difference: They’re part of a psychological deterrent, plus their work has a certain thrill factor to it. The average salary of cyber security professionals is around $90,000 per year, with excellent opportunities for advancement.