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November 25, 2015
A Career in Cyber Security
November 25, 2015
Cybersecurity – Choosing a CareerAs computer systems store more and more confidential personal, financial, medical, and top secret data, protecting that data is becoming more and more important to governments and businesses, worldwide. Enterprises must respond to the increasing number of complex threats and attacks by hiring cybersecurity professionals with deep technical experience in a variety of new and rapidly-evolving technologies. Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing career areas, and the outlook for the future is bright. Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand – and they are highly paid, commanding salaries and bonuses that are well above the national average for other U.S. workers. One national survey found that 49 percent of respondents in cybersecurity management roles made $100,000 or more, and those in engineering and administrative roles earned in the $80,000 to $99,999 range. In the Baltimore-Washington area, cybersecurity professionals fare even better, with average salaries of more than $110,000. Those in management-level positions, can see it push even higher, averaging more than $135,000 per year. Cybersecurity jobs are plentiful, and there is a perceived shortage of workers to fill these jobs as evidenced in news reports, articles, and IT conference keynote addresses. Cybersecurity has become one of the most sought after careers in the employment market, and more and more positions open up each month with an estimate of tens of thousands of current openings in industries such as medical services, financial services, defense, retail, and manufacturing. The shortage of cybersecurity workers is likely to persist until the education and training systems can supply sufficient numbers of knowledgeable, trained, experienced cybersecurity experts with skills in areas such as advanced malware protection, threat detection, intelligence and analytics, continuous monitoring, security architecture, and data-oriented platforms. Fortunately, for cybersecurity professionals, as the field has begun to mature, clear career paths from entry to executive level roles have developed. Employees have a variety of career options and specializations available to them in areas such as operations, systems engineering, development, systems architecture, and testing. As cyber threats continue to grow both in volume and sophistication, the field of cybersecurity will continue to offer many opportunities from junior level roles, all the way up through C-level positions. Not interested in the corporate world? No worries. The industry has seen significant growth in the number of cybersecurity start-ups, and supporting investment capital. What It Takes to Get a Job in the Cybersecurity IndustryTraditionally, it requires a combination of education, experience, and certifications to land a cybersecurity job. Employers are looking for significant educational background and experience in their cybersecurity hires, with 84% of recent job postings looking for applicants with at least a Bachelor’s Degree, and two-thirds specifying at least four years of experience. 50% of all cybersecurity positions, in a recent survey, requested at least one professional certification:
- Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Information Security Manager (Security+)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- 44 percent had a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, or Electrical Engineering
- 34 percent hold a Masters Degree in those fields
- 5 percent had PhDs
- The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Cisco Certified Network Professional Security (CCNIP)
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- IT fundamentals such as networking, systems administration, and database management
- Day-to-day operations such as physical security, networks, server equipment, applications, and enterprise storage.
- The ability to communicate with IT and non-IT colleagues
- The ability to work in a team
- An understanding of business procedures and processes
- The ability to solve complex puzzles and problems and to analyze data
- Inquisitiveness – especially about technology and how it works
- Project management experience
- An understanding of how security efforts benefit the overall business
- New York
- ManTech International
- Lockheed Martin
- General Dynamics
- Talk to fellow hackers
- Be active on cybersecurity message boards
- Seek advice from respected bloggers
- Ask your (current or former) professors for referrals
- Management experience
- Experience working in a team
- Communications skills – especially if you can cite technical writing or presentation skills.
- Ethics – it is important for cybersecurity professionals to thoroughly understand exactly where the legal line is on their actions.
- Join an organization that will keep you abreast of what is going on in the industry.
- Always keep learning and gaining experience in the field.
- Attend cybersecurity conferences and seminars (check with your local institutions of higher learning – especially those designated by the National Security Agency as centers of academic excellence in information assurance).
- Work as a volunteer or as an intern until you land that perfect job.
- Increase your technical knowledge by teaching yourself to code in new languages and by building your own computers and networked systems.
- Participate in cybersecurity contests and training games.
- Look for, and document, vulnerabilities on open source projects and sites.