Cybersecurity has become a key area of job growth in the last few years. Now more than ever, individuals with computer security skills are needed to fill jobs currently sitting vacant. All the while, new job positions come into existence every month with few qualified applicants.
As a result, tens of thousands of job positions are empty because there is a dearth of qualified applicants with the education, training, skill, or experience to do the work.
Every organization across every industry requires security experts to support and improve its IT security infrastructure.
Becoming a qualified applicant for a vast number of cybersecurity jobs will start you on a long, profitable, and exciting career in cybersecurity.
Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Are you already working in an IT position?
- Do you have an interest in computer security?
- Are you still working on completing your education?
- Do you have an interest in computers, IT, the Internet, and security?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you are a prime candidate for switching your career path to become a cybersecurity expert.
U.S. News & World Report cites that an information security analyst job is ranked No. 4 in the list of best technology jobs, No. 10 in the list of best STEM jobs, and No. 15 in the top 100 best overall jobs.
In addition, it offers nearly $100,000 in median salary (as of 2021), has an above-average job satisfaction rate, and that tens of thousands of job openings are currently waiting for a qualified applicant.
According to the most recent Burning Glass "The State of Cybersecurity Hiring" report, the rate of new cybersecurity job positions is three times the rate of general IT positions.
Still not convinced?
Then please continue reading. In this article, we highlight 10 reasons that you should consider when thinking about a career in cybersecurity.
1. You Already Know a Lot of This…
Cybersecurity is about understanding how a system works, where its weaknesses are, how someone may attempt to take advantage of those weaknesses, then working to implement protections against any compromise.
If you currently work with computer technology in any way, you already understand this.
You already know that keeping your systems current and up-to-date with your vendor's latest software version will provide you with the most secure and stable platform to build a security defense. You know you need to lock your devices. You know to remain skeptical of suspicious texts or emails, and so on.
You have a lot of this knowledge already.
These concepts, which you have adopted to protect your electronic devices and you may have been taught at school or while on the job, are the foundational concepts of cybersecurity.
- Keep things current
- Block unauthorized access
- Watch out for attacks
Cybersecurity experts are people who have spent focused time and effort learning these basics and discovering how to adapt and apply them to any and every situation they encounter.
Whether securing a home network for a grandparent or locking down a network for a global enterprise, the foundational concepts of security are always the same. Recalibrating your education or career path will not be as hard as you might first assume.
2. With Cybersecurity, You Have Many Options to Consider
Cybersecurity is a term often tossed around as if it means something specific. But, it is not as straightforward as you might think. Cybersecurity is any aspect of any position in an organization that somehow relates to computer technology and asset protection and how they intersect.
Cybersecurity is a mindset of understanding the value of assets, perceiving the vulnerabilities, comprehending the potential exploits and attacks, and implementing the proper response to minimize or eliminate compromise.
A job as a cybersecurity expert is not limited to big computer companies either. Every organization has to deal with computers in one way or another, whether it's using smartphones to run the entire operation or using a massive network of systems to support mind-bogglingly vast amounts of data.
Across all fields, all industries, all types of organizations, cybersecurity professionals are needed. Whether you want to be a jack-of-all-trades or a specialist, there are several options available to you.
3. Security Professionals Can Assume Many Kinds of Responsibilities
A career in cybersecurity is not only about pulling cables, configuring routers, and dealing with failures. Many choices for specialization are available for someone in cybersecurity. One of the most overlooked or forgotten areas of cybersecurity is design.
Cybersecurity design includes new concepts of security mechanisms, creating new filtering schemes, crafting new security rules, architecting the logic of access control, configuring the back-end logic, setting up APIs, writing source code, designing the user interface, and ensuring the security infrastructure supports business operations.
Security should not focus exclusively on the details of what to allow and what to deny. It should also consider how security affects business tasks, workflows, and usability. Security needs to be understood, accepted, and complied with for it to be successful. The success of security starts with good design, architecture, and planning.
4. Professionals Are Needed at Every Level
A cybersecurity expert is more than just someone working in the company basement dealing with computers and the myriad of cables that run throughout the building.
Cybersecurity experts are found at every level within an organization's hierarchy, ranging from interns to CEOs. The more an organization depends on computers and networking, the more it needs qualified security experts managing and overseeing every aspect of its infrastructure.
A cybersecurity expert can be a general cybersecurity worker, a security group supervisor, a cybersecurity manager, a device-specific administrator, and even a C-level executive. Additionally, getting into a cybersecurity career at a lower level of an organization does not limit your ability to move up the career ladder.
As you can demonstrate skill, knowledge, and expertise, you will likely rise in the ranks.
5. There Is Always Work to Be Done
Within any cybersecurity position, you can focus on many unique facets. Some roles are essential in crafting and updating security policies.
Others are tasked with training and educating users on the security rules and how to consistently accomplish their job responsibilities and comply with the organizational security policy.
Every organization needs security personnel to evaluate new products and updates to existing products before implementing them into the production IT systems.
Once approved, a cybersecurity expert needs to be involved in the production installation of software to ensure the proper configuration and integration with the existing infrastructure.
Organizations of all kinds needs cybersecurity experts to manage the following:
- Backup and restoration
- Incident response
- Business continuity planning
- Avoiding single points of failure
- Implementing redundancy
- Disaster recovery planning
- System maintenance
- Repairs and system upgrades
- Internal investigations
- Criminal investigations and forensics
6. The Field Always Changes and Grows
Cybersecurity is a broad and ever-changing field related to business functions, technology, and personnel. The concept of being a cybersecurity expert today will not be the same in five, 10, or even 15 years.
Much of the technology we know today as computers and networks did not exist just a decade ago. Our planet is soon to host over eight billion people. That means there will be more people who will need more products, services, and jobs.
These are people who will not only be using computers, mobile phones, and the Internet, but who will also rely on technology to manage and support an ever-growing portion of their personal and professional lives.
Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, and many other significant online sites and services did not exist just a few decades years ago.
Instagram, Pinterest, Twitch, and WhatsApp did not exist 15 years ago. WeChat, Discord, and Telegram did not exist 10 years ago.
TikTok and DoorDash did not exist five years ago.
The Internet was only barely a concept being stitched together from a few governmental, educational, and private networks just 30 years ago.
According to PwC's 2021 Global Digital Trust Insights report and their 2021 Cyber-Ready CEO Survey, most organizations are increasing their investment in cybersecurity, including increasing personnel and expanding their security infrastructure. This means that there are more organizations concerned about security than ever before, and thus new job opportunities are constantly opening and needing qualified applicants.
In the decades to come, there will be advances in technology and changes to its use beyond what we can conceive or imagine today. Your job as a cybersecurity professional will constantly change.
7. You Will Be Challenged on a Regular Basis to Solve New Problems
Due to the unpredictable nature of the future, a career in cybersecurity is not and cannot be static and stale. You will be challenged often. There will be new and unexpected failures as well as amazing and surprising discoveries. One certainty is that attackers will continue to develop new exploits. Your job may be to evaluate these new threats as they are uncovered to improve your organization's defenses.
Business functions will change and evolve over time. You may be tasked with altering the existing IT infrastructure to support a new process, function, or capability that was never before considered.
The company may have an unexpected popularity surge that drives up your production rate by 1,000% or more, requiring you to ramp up capacity as fast as you can get hardware plugged in and software installed.
Your company may branch out into alternate markets, spread into other countries, or adopt new business strategies, and you will be required to make the IT adjustments, support the change, and keep things stable, available, and secure.
As a cybersecurity professional, you will solve new puzzles, fight off new adversaries, and support new activities regularly.
8. New Attacks and Threats Need to Be Discovered and Handled
Bad people will always exist and they are always trying to find new ways to infiltrate your systems. The job of a cybersecurity expert is never complete.
Security is constantly changing and adjusting based on newly found vulnerabilities, threats, and exploits. New attacks, new attackers, new motives to attack are generated and discovered daily.
Security Expert Bruce Schneier stated, "I repeat the saying I've heard came from inside the NSA: 'Attacks always get better; they never get worse.'"
It is essential to understand that security is never a finished product; it is not a goal that can be reached or a finish line that can be crossed. Instead, security is a process, a method of operating an organization.
Security is often more reactive than proactive. While every effort is made to understand and stop attacks before they become successful, all too often, the world is subjected to new and unknown attacks against which we have no known defense.
The security that worked to stop yesterday's attacks may not be sufficient to prevent tomorrow's attacks. Cybersecurity experts are needed to maintain the diligent, active focus required to see new threats looming and adjust the security infrastructure to compensate for them.
This is an exciting and ever-changing occupation where there will always be something new lurking, just waiting to be detected, analyzed, exposed, and halted. Your discoveries will help millions avoid being harmed by attackers.
9. Want to Change Your Specialty? You Can with Modest Effort
Jumping into a cybersecurity job does not lock you into a particular position for decades.
It is just as easy to shift your security focus or specialization as it is to select your first area of cybersecurity employment. Once you understand the job responsibilities and comprehend the organization's direction and goals, seek out interesting elements in other job positions.
You might not have all the knowledge, skill, and expertise for every cybersecurity job right now. But you can always learn more while on the job, take on more responsibilities in related jobs as your time allows, and study and take classes after work on your own time to expand your career opportunities.
Nurture and develop the skills needed to excel in those positions, then offer yourself as someone willing and able to perform the more complex tasks, take on more responsibility, and help lead the organization.
As you find your interest piqued by new concepts, events, elements, and job tasks lean into the challenge to jump to the next opportunity.
10. You May Be Able to Create a Completely New Job Title, Position, or Focus
Many of the job positions that exist today did not exist just five or 10 years ago. The job you have right now or the one you are working through your education to obtain may not have existed until recently. New jobs are being created at an ever-increasing rate.
Because versatility is such a prominent feature in this profession, you can draft your own job description.
You can craft your own job title, customize your position within the organization, and fine-tune the focus of your day-to-day activities based on ideas, concepts, and opportunities that don't even exist today.
As we move into the future, some jobs will disappear or become automated, and new types of jobs, careers, and work responsibilities will come into existence.
Cybersecurity jobs today are only a shadow of what they will be in the near future.
A static written job position won't account for the changing conditions of IT, much less security. As you gain experience and learn more about cybersecurity, you will likely discover areas that are yet to be addressed or fulfilled by today's IT positions.
Now that you know more about establishing a career in cybersecurity, you should recognize that this is just a starting point for obtaining relevant security knowledge and job skills.
There are many other vital security concerns that you need to be aware of. Because only with knowledge can you make a change for the better. Everyone has security responsibilities, both for themselves and for their employer. That responsibility starts with knowing more and seeking out the means to gain more knowledge.
One source of additional knowledge is the educational materials made available from Global Knowledge. Global Knowledge offers a wealth of online resources such as this paper and other online materials. Global Knowledge is also a world leader in training, both live and on-demand courses.