5 Best Cybersecurity Jobs You Can Get – and Their Salaries

Posted on

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Job postings alone have risen by 74% in the last four years, and this demand only looks set to grow as we push ever closer to a fully connected world.

This makes cybersecurity a great field to become a part of for a number of reasons, and in this guide, we will be discussing some of the most popular job roles within the space, as well as comparing their various pros and cons. Before we get into that though, let’s first take a closer look at why a career in cybersecurity is so worthwhile.

Why pursue a career in Cybersecurity?

Businesses have become more reliant than ever on the internet and technology as a whole, and while this has benefitted them massively, it has also left many of them susceptible to cyber-attacks. This has created a demand for cybersecurity professionals in order to protect against these attacks, and as technology progresses and evolves, new and more diverse job roles are becoming available.

For you, this means a number of things. First of all, it creates an opportunity. As the field grows and evolves, you will get more and more opportunities to grow and evolve in your career, allowing you to avoid becoming stagnated in a job role that offers little to no progression.

You are also guaranteed to have job security, as your skills will not only be in demand but also easily transferrable. This means that even if things don’t work out at one job, you will more than likely be able to find a job elsewhere doing the same or a similar thing.

The money is also pretty good. In most cases, Cybersecurity professionals are highly skilled individuals, and in most cases, they are backed by a number of qualifications and certifications. Companies recognize this, and as a result, these professionals are rewarded with a salary that reflects their expertise.

Cybersecurity Career Options

JobMain DutiesRequirementsOutlookAverage Salary
Security AnalystPlanning and implementing
security measures to protect
systems and networks.

Conducting system tests.

Continuously monitoring networks
for potential threats.

Bachelor’s degree in
Cybersecurity, Computer Science,
or another related field.

Professional certifications that
relate to the field.

Demand expected to increase
by 28% over the next ten years.
$99,000
Security ConsultantAssessing security solutions.

Educating potential customers
on various security solutions.

Researching threat risks.

Managing and overseeing company
encryption tools

Bachelor’s degree in
Cybersecurity, Computer Science,
or another related field.

Professional certifications that
relate to the field.

Demand expected to increase
by 28% over the next ten years.
$96,000
Penetration TesterConducting tests on networks
and applications.

Carrying out physical security
assessments of systems, networks,
and servers.

Analyzing security policies.

Writing security assessment
reports.

Bachelor’s degree in
Cybersecurity, Computer Science,
or another related field.

Professional certifications
that relate to the field.

Demand expected to increase
by 28% over the next ten years.
$81,000
CryptographerAnalyzing and deciphering
encrypted data.

Developing computational models
to solve problems.

Bachelor’s degree in
Cybersecurity, Mathematics,
or another related field.

Security clearance depending
on the industry.

Demand expected to increase
by 26% over the next ten years.
$102,000
Digital Forensics InvestigatorInvestigating data breaches,
security breaches, and criminal
activity.

Retrieving and analyzing data
relating to criminal activity.

Presenting findings to the
court or other members of
the investigation.

Bachelor’s degree in
Computer Forensics or another
related field.

Professional certifications
that relate to the field.

Security clearance depending
on the industry.

Demand expected to increase
by 9% over the next ten years.
$93,000

1. Security Analyst

Security Analyst

Job Duties

  • Planning and implementing security measures to protect systems and networks.
  • Conducting system tests.
  • Continuously monitoring networks for potential threats.

Requirements

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity, Computer Science, or another related field.
  • ECSA (EC-Council Certified Security Analyst) certification may be required.
  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification may be required.

Job Outlook

  • Demand expected to increase by 28% over the next 10 years.

Average Salary

  • $99,000 per annum

Job Role

Security Analysts work to protect companies and organizations against hackers. Also known as Security Engineers, these individuals are tasked with planning and implementing various security measures designed to prevent both security breaches and data loss.

As such, it is imperative that Security Analysts stay up-to-date with not only current technologies, but also hacker methodologies. This allows them to better anticipate breaches, which is imperative if they are to succeed in their role.

Aside from implementing security measures, a Security Analyst will likely be expected to run regular security tests to ensure everything is working correctly. They will also be tasked with continuously monitoring for potential breaches to ensure that any hack is dealt with as quickly as possible.

Requirements

In order to work as a Security Analyst, you will most likely need at least a bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity or another related field such as Computer Science. Some companies may still hire you if you don’t have a degree, but this is less likely and usually only happens if a candidate is able to prove their level of expertise in some other way.

Certifications may also be required, and the main two that are often desired are the ECSA and CISSP certifications. The reason these certifications are usually desirable is because the programs cover real-world scenarios. This isn’t always the case with certain degree programs, which is why some employers will ask for these certifications in order to better assess your skills and expertise.

To be successful in this role, you will likely want to build up plenty of experience on the side as well. This can be done by taking part in personal projects and honing your skills in your spare time. This won’t be ideal for everyone, but if you feel like you need a bit more to offer to potential employers, it is a good way to not only showcase your skills but also prove that you have a great work ethic.

Job Outlook

Security Analysts are in high demand, and as such, the job outlook is a bright one. According to data released by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow by 28% over the next decade, which isn’t too surprising considering how much effort is currently being put into combating cybercrime.

Average Salary

The average salary for a Security Analyst is around $99,000. However, this can vary greatly depending on the company and the industry. For example, the top 10% in this field are reported to be earning closer to $131,000 per annum. This sort of salary won’t be available to everyone, of course, but it at least gives you an indication of the sort of salary can expect if you make it to the upper echelons of the field.

2. Security Consultant

Security Consultant

Job Duties

  • Assessing security solutions.
  • Educating potential customers on various security solutions.
  • Researching threat risks.
  • Managing and overseeing company encryption tools

Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity, Computer Science, or another related field.
  • CSC (Certified Security Consultant) certification may be required.
  • CPP (Certified Protection Professional) certification may be required.

Job Outlook

  • Demand expected to increase by 28% over the next 10 years.

Average Salary

  • $96,000

Job Role

Security Consultants work to assess and provide security solutions either for the company they work at or for an external customer. Whether a Consultants clientele are internal or external depends on the company or industry they are a part of. However, the role of a Security Consultant is largely the same regardless.

In some cases, a Security Consultant may be tasked with assisting a sales team. This will likely be a part of the job role if the company exists to provide security solutions to external clients, as many of them will need to know more specific and technical information about the product that’s on offer.

Another important aspect of this role is researching potential threats and calculating the risk they pose to the company in question. In some cases, a Security Consultant may work alongside a Security Analyst when carrying out this task, but this is less likely if they are dealing with an external client.

A Security Consultant may also be expected to manage and oversee a company’s encryption tools. For larger companies, this is less likely, as they will probably have their own dedicated team, but for smaller companies and external clients, this task is often given to consultants instead.

Requirements

To work as a Security Consultant, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity will most likely be required. However, a degree in related fields such as Computer Science or Computing will also be fine.

In addition to this, many companies will likely want to see some certifications from you. The most sought after certifications for this job role include CSC and CPP. Certifications aren’t always necessary, but they are useful to have if you plan on working for a larger corporation or organization.

Any sort of on-the-job experience will also go a long way when it comes to getting a job at a larger company. This can be done by working as a contractor, as it allows you to build a portfolio of work to showcase to long-term employers. Alternatively, you could just work as a contractor full-time by starting small and working your way up to bigger clients as you gain experience.

Job Outlook

Like Security Analysts, Security Consultants can expect to see a demand for their skills increase by 28% over the next 10 years. This doesn’t necessarily guarantee you will get a job in the field once you are qualified, but it is certainly likely. It can also be argued that this increase in demand justifies the investment of both time and money that is required.

Average Salary

The median salary for a Security Consultant is $96,000, making it a reasonably well-paid job by today’s standards. If you find yourself in the right company, you could also be looking at a higher salary of around $148,000, especially later on in your career, once you have established yourself as a senior member of the organization.

3. Penetration Tester

Penetration Tester

Job Duties

  • Conducting tests on networks and applications.
  • Carrying out physical security assessments of systems, networks, and servers.
  • Analyzing security policies.
  • Writing security assessment reports.

Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity, Computer Science, or another related field.
  • CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) certification may be required.
  • GXPN (GIAC Exploit Researcher & Advanced Penetration Tester) certification may be required.

Job Outlook

  • Demand expected to increase by 28% over the next 10 years.

Average Salary

  • $81,000

Job Role

Penetration Testers, otherwise known as Ethical Hackers, are often hired by companies to test the security of their own systems by attempting to break into them. These individuals are not the typical black hat criminals you see in films, and all over the news. Instead, these professionals use their skills for good, helping companies to identify vulnerabilities in their systems and then providing fixes.

Penetration Testers are also expected to write reports about their findings, which can then be reviewed by engineers and other security experts at a company in order to improve their systems moving forward. Sometimes presentations are also desired by companies, although these are less common, due to the sensitive information being discussed.

Some Penetration Testers work in-house for a company, but most tend to work for a consultancy or for themselves as a contractor. In some cases, remote work is also available. However, most companies will require you to come into their offices to carry out tests and assessments.

As a system can be hacked in a number of different ways, some Penetration Testers choose to specialize in a certain area of the field, rather than being a jack of all trades. On the one hand this limits the amount of work that is available to them, but on the other hand, being a specialist also allows them to charge higher rates for the service they provide.

Some companies will also ask Penetration Testers to carry out social engineering tests. These tests work by targeting employees at the company and using a variety of techniques to attempt to get sensitive information from them. Although less technical, these tests often produce damning results, with many hackers able to gain access to an entire system just by asking an employee for a few pieces of information.

Requirements

In order to work as a Penetration Tester, most companies will require you to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity, or another related field. There are, however, many examples of less-qualified Penetration Testers getting positions at companies simply by hacking them without permission and then providing them with evidence showing how they can help.

We definitely do not recommend going down this path in order to bag yourself a job. However, it is good to know that a degree isn’t always necessary in order to break into this field.

Certifications are also going to hold you in good stead when applying for jobs in this field, although these are usually desired, rather than required. The most common certification Penetration testers are expected to have is the CEH certification. However, the GXPN certification is also worth looking into as well.

Job Outlook

The outlook for Pentesters is a positive one. In the next ten years, demand in this field of work is expected to grow by 28%, making penetration testing a great career path in terms of job security. The job role itself could change slightly during this time, due to advancements in technology, but fundamentally it will remain the same.

Average Salary

Penetration Testers can expect to earn somewhere in the region of $81,000 per annum, which isn’t as high as what some of the other jobs in this guide are boasting, but it is still a decent amount nonetheless. More experienced Penetration Testers are also reportedly earning close to $134,000, so the money is out there for the right candidates.

4. Cryptographer

Cryptographer

Job Duties

  • Analyzing and deciphering encrypted data.
  • Developing computational models to solve problems.

Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in Cybersecurity, Mathematics, or another related field.
  • Security clearance depending on the industry.

Job Outlook

  • Demand expected to increase by 26% over the next 10 years.

Average Salary

  • $102,000

Job Role

Traditionally, the role of a Cryptographer is to decipher messages hidden in special codes known as ciphers. Usually, this involves working alongside law enforcement or the government in order to assist with criminal investigations and matters of national security.

However, due to advancements in technology, many Cryptographers also now work in business, engineering, and scientific fields as well. In more commercial industries, Cryptographer’s are tasked with protecting customer information by developing algorithms and various encryption tools.

In scientific fields, Cryptographers often work to create new methods of encryption, solely for the purpose of progression. These methods, therefore, aren’t being developed for use in a specific sector, but rather they are being developed to improve the practice of cryptography overall.

Cryptographers are also employed by the military to help develop secure methods of communication. These roles, in particular, are becoming increasingly important, as many countries are now making use of our connected world to spy on each other in order to obtain various secrets and other information.

Requirements

Cryptography is arguably the hardest field in this guide to get into, purely because of the skill level that is required to get even an entry-level job. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Mathematics will almost certainly be required, but if possible, a master’s in either subject would probably be more beneficial.

As for certifications, these are less important for this job role. However, obtaining the CES (Certified Encryption Specialist) certification certainly won’t do you any harm when it comes to proving your worth to a potential employer.

If you plan on working for law enforcement or the government, you will also likely need to undergo some background checks. This should be pretty straightforward, provided you have a clean history, but at the same time, you may struggle if you have had run-ins with the law in the past.

Job Outlook

Despite being a rather niche job role, the demand for Cryptographers is expected to grow by 26% over the next decade, making Cryptography a reliable career to pursue. The role will no doubt continue to evolve during this time, but in most cases, the core duties should remain the same.

Average Salary

As this is a highly-skilled job role, Cryptographers earn rather well, boasting a median salary of around $102,000. In more commercial fields, the figures are even greater, with some Cryptographers making closer to $150,000 per annum. This makes it the highest paying job in this guide. However, your exact salary in any of these job roles will largely depend on the company and industry you eventually become a part of.

5. Digital Forensics Investigator

Digital Forensics Investigator

Job Duties

  • Investigating data breaches, security breaches, and criminal activity.
  • Retrieving and analyzing data relating to criminal activity.
  • Presenting findings to the court or other members of the investigation.

Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Forensics or another related field.
  • CFIP (Certified Forensics Investigation Practitioner) certification may be required.
  • GCFA (GIAC Certified Forensics Analyst) certification may be required.
  • Security clearance depending on the industry.

Job Outlook

  • Demand expected to increase by 9% over the next 10 years.

Average Salary

  • $93,000

Job Role

The role of a Digital Forensics Investigator is to conduct investigations on computers and other hardware in order to obtain information relating to a criminal offense or matter of national security. This information is then used by other members of law enforcement or the government in order to help them in their investigation.

In many cases, Digital Forensics Investigators will usually be expected to present their findings to the court. This usually involves writing up reports of the findings in an appropriate format. In some cases, an Investigator may also be asked to provide a verbal testimony, although this is less common.

Digital Forensics Investigators are also often tasked with tracing hacks, meaning it is important for them to have not only strong forensics skills, but also cybersecurity skills as well. Sometimes, the Investigator will also be asked to hack in-house personnel. This may seem unethical, but it happens more often than you think, especially within larger corporations.

Requirements

In order to work as a Digital Forensics Investigator, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in Computer Forensics, Cybersecurity, or another related field. Computer Science may also be an option, but due to the lack of forensic skills taught on most Computer Science programs, you will almost certainly need some certifications to back you up.

One of the most common certifications held by Digital Forensics Investigators is the CFIP certification, which is highly respected in the industry, thanks to the number of on-the-job skills it covers. Another sought after certification is the GCFA qualification, which also provides plenty of relevant experience.

You will also need security clearance to work as a Digital Forensics Investigator, especially if you plan to work for law enforcement or the government. This means you will need to ensure you have a clean record, as most security clearances are only obtained after thorough background checks.

Job Outlook

The demand for Digital Forensics Investigators is expected to increase by 9% over the next 10 years, which is decent, considering how niche this career path actually is. Compared to the other options in this guide, however, an increase of 9% might seem rather low, and it is up to you to decide whether the investment needed to break into this field is worthwhile.

Average Salary

On average, Digital Forensics Investigators make somewhere in the region of $93,000 per annum, which should be a comfortable salary for most people to live on. One thing to note with this job, however, is that the top 10% in this field only earn around $99,000, meaning you might not see that much progression in terms of salary increases.