With the increasing number of hackers and cyber attacks every year, cybersecurity appears to be a growing field. Cybersecurity specialists are demand in almost any industry or company that utilizes the Internet, which is everywhere. Here is some information about the employment outlook for cybersecurity as well as what this career entails.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the process of protecting computer programs, systems, and networks from cyber and digital attacks aimed at accessing, adjusting or damaging sensitive information. Cybersecurity specialists are often called information security analysts, and those in charge of security might be called chief information security officers (CISO). Those in cybersecurity jobs may also use the following job titles.
• Security analyst
• Security architect
• Security engineer
• Cryptographer/cryptanalyst or cryptologist
• Security software developer
• Security administrator
• Security consultant
• Security specialist
In addition to being very much in demand, cybersecurity specialists have excellent job opportunities. In their rankings of best jobs, U.S. News & World Report gave information security analysts the following rankings.
• #2 among best technology jobs
• #6 among best STEM jobs
• #32 among the 100 best jobs.
Employment Outlook for Cybersecurity Specialists
When it comes to demand and supply, the demand for cybersecurity specialists far outweighs the supply. Job openings for cybersecurity specialists have grown three times as fast as for IT positions overall. Businesses also have a more difficult time filling positions in cybersecurity than they do with IT positions, which bodes well for cybersecurity specialists in terms of wages they and demand and expect.
Posting for cybersecurity jobs continues to grow every year. Forbes also indicates that while there were about million cybersecurity positions open in 2015, that number is projected to increase to six million globally by the year 2019. This number will still leave the market short about 1.5 million employees.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that information security analysts would see a growth in employment of 28 percent during the decade of 2016-2026. The increasing need to hire more security analysts by large businesses will keep these workers in demand. In the area of computer systems designs and related services, the employment for these cybersecurity specialists should grow 56 percent during that same decade.
Read: Top 30 Best Online Master’s in Computer Science Degree Programs
Wage Potential for Cybersecurity Specialists
Cybersecurity specialists can expect to earn wages that are more than nine percent higher than IT workers, according to a 2015 report by Burning Glass Technologies. Demand for cybersecurity specialists has grown even more in the past couple years. According to a May 2016 wage report by the BLS, information security analysts earned a median annual wage of $92,600 with wages ranging from $53,760 at the low end and $147,290 at the high end.
The highest wages were earned in the finance and insurance industries. The states where information security analysts earned the highest wage were:
• District of Columbia
• New York
• New Jersey
• New Mexico
According to a March 2018 report by Salary.com, chief information security officers earned a median annual wage of $215,273 with salaries ranging from $163,369 on the low side and $278,803 on the high side. Forbes reports that some CISOs in large companies are earning wages as high as $380,000 annually.
How to Become a Cybersecurity Specialist
To work in cybersecurity, you should typically have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. This field offers various areas of specialization in the field so the candidate can focus on specific areas of interest. A master’s degree in information systems is also a popular choice. In addition to the degree, candidates should obtain as many certifications as possible.