Information Security Careers: Become the Next Cyber Superhero

Information Security Careers

It seems you can’t go a single day without hearing about another cyber security breach in the news. The scary reality is that hackers around the world are constantly attempting to access our data and personal information.

In fact, more than 800,000 records were breached between 2005 and 2016. Cybercrime is one of the main threats businesses face today—and it’s not cheap. It’s estimated these attacks will cost businesses a hefty 2 trillion dollars by 2019.

Cybercrime is on the rise at a national and local level, which means organizations are desperate for qualified information security personnel to help protect their assets. This means opportunity is booming for heroic professionals committed to combating cybercriminals.

So if the thought of being a “cyber superhero” excites you, there is no better time than now to act on it. Take a look at the hard facts, expert insights and a few information security career options to gain a better understanding of the world of InfoSec.

What is the outlook for information security careers?

The increasing prevalence of cybercrime has created a dire need for information security professionals, sometimes referred to as cyber security professionals. The rising demand reflects this—the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 28 percent increase in employment information security analysts through 2026. This impressive growth is more than four times the national average of 7 percent.

FACT: Information security jobs are projected to increase 28 percent through 2026.

Unfortunately, there simply aren’t enough qualified candidates to meet the demand. In a 2016 international study on cybersecurity, 82 percent of respondents from around the world said they’re experiencing a shortage of cyber security skills.

“Hackers are becoming more and more innovative and creative, which means the infosec industry needs to keep up,” says Aryana Jackson, IT Manager at Eboxlab. “As long as hackers exist, those in information security will be in demand.”

This is why organizations need individuals who can identify weaknesses and repair them quickly and discreetly to mitigate potential threats. As corporate technology advances, so do cybercrime tactics. With no end in sight to these dangerous attacks, corporate America is on the hunt for qualified infosec pros now more than ever.

What skills are needed to work in information security?

Now that you understand the increasing demand for professionals in this field, let’s turn to the data to see what skills you’ll need to master in order to become one of those coveted infosec professionals.

We used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 110,000 information security job postings from the past year.1 The data helped us identify the skills in highest demand. Here’s what we found:

Top skills employers seek

Technical skills needed Transferrable skills needed
Information systems Communication
Linux Collaboration
Cryptography Problem solving
UNIX Deductive reasoning
Cisco Interpersonal abilities

What education and training is needed to work in information security?

If you can relate to some of the soft skills listed in the right column, then you may be better equipped than you thought for an information security career. All that’s missing are the technical skills, which can be acquired with formal education.

In fact, earning a degree in cyber security can increase your employment options in the field. Our job posting analysis uncovered that 87 percent of employers are seeking candidates with at least a Bachelor’s degree.2 The data also revealed that earning an Cyber Security Degree would make you eligible for more than six times as many jobs than if you had just a high school diploma.2

What are some examples of information security careers?

You’re now aware of the immediate need for InfoSec professionals and what you would need to be qualified. But what do these positions actually entail? What are some examples of job titles you may hold?

Below you’ll find a brief breakdown of five common positions in the field. Scan the list to get a taste of the daily duties and earning potential for these information security careers.

1. Network security administrator

Average salary range (2017):$107,750–$155,2503

Typical job duties:

  • Administer and maintain firewalls
  • Implement network security updates, patches and preventive measures
  • Manage and update malware prevention systems

2. Systems security administrator

Average salary range (2017): $110,500–$157,5003

Typical job duties:

  • Monitor systems security and respond to security incidents
  • Create, modify and delete user accounts as needed
  • Monitor systems security and respond to security incidents

3. Network security engineer

Average salary range (2017): $115,500–$162,5003

Typical job duties:

  • Analyze performance and identify areas of concern
  • Develop and implement action plans to correct problem areas
  • Plan, test and execute upgrades when needed

4. Data security analyst

Average salary range (2017): $118,250–$169,0003

Typical job duties:

  • Perform security audits and risk assessments
  • Research attempted breaches and security weaknesses
  • Create, implement and update security policies

5. Information systems security manager

Average salary range (2017): $136,000–$191,7503

Typical job duties:

  • Lead, guide and train information security professionals
  • Manage security audits and threat assessments
  • Review, implement and update company-wide security policies

Keep in mind that the salary ranges above reflect the median annual salaries of professionals at all educations and experience levels. They don’t necessarily represent starting salaries. But they do reveal the exciting earning potential you might reach once you work your way up in the field.

Do YOU have what it takes?

Now more than ever, cyber security pros are needed to fight cybercrime and protect our digital assets and information. Now that you’re acquainted with some of the most common information security careers, you can determine if you’ve got what it takes to help fight the war on cybercrime.

All you’re missing is the technical know-how and hands-on experience that will qualify you as a pro. Discover how earning a Cyber Security Degree can help you with more than just landing a job in our article, Is a Cyber Security Degree Worth it? The Facts You Can't Ignore.

1BurningGlass.com (Analysis of 111,658 information security job postings, February 01, 2016–January 31, 2017).
2Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 76,101 information security job postings, February 01, 2016–January 31, 2017).
3Salary ranges and job descriptions based on the Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide for Technology Professionals. Salary ranges represent national averaged earnings for the occupations listed and include workers at all levels of education and experience. Ranges do not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in December 2013. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2017.

Kristina Ericksen

Kristina is a Digital Writer at Collegis Education where she creates informative content on behalf of Rasmussen University. She is passionate about the power of education and enjoys connecting students to bright futures.

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