The field of cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States. As businesses throughout all industries become increasingly reliant on digital assets, they need talented professionals to help them protect those resources. Cybersecurity specialists systematically identify and remedy vulnerabilities, recommend risk mitigation software, and assist with the development of data security policies.
Below, we take a closer look at some of the most essential cybersecurity jobs. We also examine the educational background of these vital professionals and discuss how you can best meet your organizational needs by partnering with cybersecurity specialists.
There are many roles that fall under the umbrella of cybersecurity. As such, there is no singular educational path to becoming a cybersecurity professional.
Specialists within this field may acquire essential skills through a variety of methods, which might include obtaining a degree, completing certification programs, and gaining valuable on-the-job experience.
The exact career path that a cybersecurity professional follows will depend largely on what position they are pursuing. For instance, entry-level cybersecurity personnel such as security analysts and computer network analysts may be able to start their careers by obtaining a highly specialized certification.
Conversely, stepping into leadership roles will often require the candidate to complete a four-year degree program and obtain multiple certifications.
What Degree Is Required to Become a Cybersecurity Professional?
While a degree is not a requirement for all cybersecurity jobs, obtaining an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a field such as cloud systems security, security risk management, or a similar subject can certainly jumpstart a person’s journey towards becoming a cybersecurity specialist.
A general degree in computer science may also be helpful for individuals who want to pursue a career in cybersecurity.
For those who are interested in leadership positions, it may be worthwhile to complete a master’s program in computer science or cybersecurity. This education will certainly help them stand out from other candidates, especially if they have limited on-the-job experience.
Top Cybersecurity Certifications
In addition to a degree, cybersecurity specialists can also complete specialized certification programs to learn new skills and further their careers. There are dozens of certifications available, but we will focus on only a few of the most popular in this article. Some of the top cybersecurity certifications include the following:
CISSP or Certified Information Systems Security Professional is one of the most advanced certifications available. By obtaining this certification, cybersecurity professionals can demonstrate that they possess the skills needed to design, implement, deploy, and monitor an entire cybersecurity program.
To sit for the exam, applicants must have acquired at least five cumulative years of work experience in two or more approved domains.
The CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor) certification demonstrates a cybersecurity professional’s expertise in identifying security vulnerabilities and performing auditing-related tasks.
This certification requires a minimum of five years of experience in IT fields such as IS auditing, control, assurance, or security. A two-year degree is treated as one year of experience, and a four-year degree is equivalent to two years of on-the-job experience.
The Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certificate focuses more on management-related tasks within the information security sector.
During the exam, applicants will answer questions related to incident management, program development, and governance. Like the other two certifications, CISM requires a minimum of five years of relevant experience.
Also referred to as penetration testing or white-hat hacking, “ethical hacking” involves hacking organizations for the purposes of identifying vulnerabilities before cybercriminals have the opportunity to do so.
The CEH or Certified Ethical Hacker certification is one of the most prominent programs for white hat hackers. Obtaining this certification helps cybersecurity specialists better understand how hackers think and behave so that they can more efficiently guard against cyberattacks.
The Security+ certification is generally considered to be an “entry-level” program. In order to pass this certification exam, test takers must be able to perform basic security-related tasks, such as monitoring cloud resources, responding to security threats, and analyzing the breadth, depth, and impact of data breaches.
Do All Cybersecurity Jobs Require Experience?
The cybersecurity profession is an extremely complex field that requires a strong working knowledge of cyber security principles, risk management protocols, and network monitoring best practices.
In light of this fact, cybersecurity degree and certificate programs require participants to complete real-world activities in order to prepare them for careers as cybersecurity specialists.
With that being said, it is a good idea to have some general computing experience before starting a specialized cybersecurity program. The curriculums of many of these programs assume that the participants already have a strong understanding of the foundational principles of computer science.
For inexperienced individuals who are interested in a cybersecurity job, it is a good idea to pursue a degree program or take a few computer science courses at an accredited university. These courses will lay the framework for more advanced cybersecurity skills.
What Are 3 Common Cybersecurity Jobs?
While there are over a dozen different jobs within the cybersecurity sector, some of the most sought after positions include:
A security engineer can best be described as a “jack of all trades” mid-level cybersecurity professional.
These versatile individuals are tasked with creating and implementing dynamic cybersecurity solutions to meet the unique needs of their organization. They also monitor organizational workflows so that they can proactively address any potential security threats.
Cybersecurity engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, cybersecurity, or computer engineering. They are also expected to possess a fair amount of experience within the IT industry.
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts are tasked with examining organizational IT assets and identifying security issues. They are also expected to develop solutions to remedy any vulnerabilities that they discover.
Analysts typically have a very broad skill set, as they may take on a wide range of responsibilities. They often have the opportunity to work with other analysts and other IT professionals.
While this is considered more of an entry-level position, information security analysts are usually expected to possess a bachelor’s degree in network security or a similar field. They may also need some general work experience or specialized certifications.
Application Security Engineer
Application security engineers specialize in maintaining the security of software and computer applications. They spend the majority of their time writing code and testing software. Application security engineers often create and implement new computer software as well.
Depending on the size of the organization, application security engineers may work alone or might be assigned to a team.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, application security engineers must also have a deep understanding of multiple programming languages, such as Python, Java, C, C#, etc. Application security engineers have a strong earning potential, with the majority of these professionals bringing in over $100K annually.
Which Industries Hire In-House Cybersecurity Specialists?
Businesses in virtually any industry that utilizes digital resources need some level of cybersecurity services. This need extends to companies that are operating within sectors such as:
● Consumer sales
In addition to these industries, government agencies frequently employ cybersecurity specialists in order to protect their digital assets.
While larger organizations operating within these sectors have the resources needed to hire and maintain in-house cybersecurity teams, this is not a viable approach for all businesses. Small to medium-sized companies have a need for cybersecurity services, but they rarely have the financial assets necessary to hire in-house professionals.
Instead, they turn to outsourced cybersecurity solutions.
Advantages of Outsourcing
Outsourcing cybersecurity needs offers several significant advantages when compared to hiring in-house professionals.
Perhaps the most notable benefit to this approach is that it gives businesses near-immediate access to skilled cybersecurity professionals. Third-party cybersecurity providers have experienced teams of analysts, engineers, and other professionals already on the payroll.
By contracting with one of these firms, businesses can gain access to this talent pool in order to address their own pressing cybersecurity needs.
In addition, outsourcing offers significantly better scalability than in-house cybersecurity management. As the needs of an organization grow, it can simply request more cybersecurity resources from the service provider.
Conversely, organizations that manage their own cybersecurity protocols would have to screen and hire new employees, purchase more equipment, and engage in other costly activities to scale their capabilities.
Finally, opting for outsourced cybersecurity services is a great cost-saving move for small- to medium-sized companies.
Businesses are charged an agreed-upon fee for all of their managed services, which reduces overall operational costs. This approach also makes it far easier to develop and maintain a budget, as managed cybersecurity services are billed as a fixed fee each month.
If you would like to learn more about the advantages of outsourcing your cybersecurity needs, connect with SugarShot today.
Our experienced team of cybersecurity specialists can implement tailored solutions to address vulnerabilities and insulate your business from the risks of a cyber-attack. We leverage the power of technology and innovation in order to help your business achieve measurable growth.