When it comes to career paths in tech and beyond, the cybersecurity industry remains a promising area of development. While many sectors experienced a drop in opportunity as a result of the economic instability and uncertainty that came with navigating an unprecedented global pandemic last year, the cybersecurity industry grew. Security threats associated with remote work, an increase in ransomware attacks, and other factors have all led to the increased demand for cyber professionals. During the pandemic, work listings for cybersecurity professionals increased by 65 percent.
According to a recent survey conducted by the World Economic Forum, cybersecurity is the top concern among CEOs of US-based businesses. One source of concern is that there aren’t enough people with the necessary skills to fill all of the open cybersecurity positions. This is an excellent time to think about one of the many different cybersecurity careers that are open to those who have the necessary experience.
Why Cybersecurity Career Paths Matter
To become a well-rounded cybersecurity professional, you must have a diverse set of skills. Early on in your cybersecurity career, exposure and experience are important building blocks that will become more valuable (and make you more effective) as your career progresses and you become a senior cybersecurity chief. More importantly, exposure and experience help you to determine which cybersecurity domains you want to work in, allowing you to tailor your career path accordingly. It’s important to gain experience in various areas of cybersecurity before committing to one as a career route.
Examples of Cybersecurity Career Paths
In the field of cybersecurity, there are several job options. You may see various categories and titles depending on the organisation or resource you read because it’s a relatively new and rapidly changing industry. However, it’s popular to divide paths into three categories:
3. Senior leadership
Management: Security governance and oversight roles
The security monitoring and governance domain is concerned with the organization’s cybersecurity supervision and management. Though it’s critical to know as much as possible about technology and the technological complexities of cyber risk, this is a less technical field than others. Instead of configuring systems or delving into operational support, a career in this field involves programmatically managing security using business acumen, organisational management, and soft skills. Opportunities to consider include, but are not limited to:
- Training and awareness: Since the majority of cyber attacks are caused by human error, employee and consumer training and awareness is an important aspect of every cybersecurity strategy. A career in this field entails creating engaging and long-lasting curriculums and content to inform people about cyber threats and affect behavioural changes that foster protection.
- Audits and compliance: Cybersecurity is all about checks and balances, so audits and enforcement are important. Many rules and regulations, such as PCI-DSS and HIPAA, define cybersecurity standards for regulated businesses. This career domain’s professionals strive to obtain, check, and maintain conformity with certain laws.
- Third-party risk management: In today’s connected environment, businesses must consider the effect of their suppliers and partners on their security posture. Numerous security flaws arise as a result of attackers breaking into one company’s network and then using that connection to gain access to another linked company’s network. Professionals in this field assist in the verification and management of third-party protection to ensure that business partners do not pose a risk to the organisation.
- Project management: Every security strategy includes process and technology components. To ensure that solutions are implemented successfully and efficiently, excellent project management systems are required to design and execute them.
Technical: Security engineering and operations roles
This section of the journey focuses on the more scientific aspects of cybersecurity. You’ll probably spend a lot of time here looking at processes, info, tools, and networks. Cyber threats must be avoided, detected, and responded to. Opportunities to consider include, but are not limited to:
- Cloud security: With so many companies migrating their data and activities to the cloud, the cloud has become a hot topic in cybersecurity. Working in this field entails securing data and systems in off-prem or cloud environments.
- Identity and access management: Managing access is the first step in ensuring the confidentiality, fairness, and availability of data. People should have access to only what they want, and only when they require it. A career in access control will help you do exactly that.
- Security engineering: A layered approach to enterprise security is needed. All of the designing and construction of the layers of security systems needed to protect the enterprise is covered by security engineering career paths. Building encryption systems, email protection systems, firewalls, and other technologies are examples.
- Security operations: With a plethora of hackers working around the clock to target businesses, businesses must keep a constant eye on security posture, intrusion attempts, and other factors in order to protect against attacks. All of the monitoring and response is covered by a career in security operations.
- Ethical hacking: Attempting to hack your own system is a perfect way to find flaws in your system. Professionals in this field are actively attempting to break into organisations’ structures and making suggestions for ways to enhance protection.
Senior leadership: Focusing on the people
Company culture and leadership, like every other industry, are essential to the company’s success. The following are some examples of opportunities in this space:
- Chief information security officer: In cybersecurity, senior leadership is crucial. It’s critical to have a senior-level champion who leads the team and the organisation toward a world-class cybersecurity posture to achieve buy-in and help. This career path necessitates a wide range of cybersecurity expertise and knowledge, as well as good people management skills.
- Managers and directors of domains: Depending on the size of the organisations, every domain requires some form of leadership or management. As a result, progressing in some domains can provide opportunities to move from doing hands-on work to leading and directing a team of professionals who then do the hands-on work. In any area, pursuing this career path necessitates a sense of balance. To elaborate, it’s critical to strike a balance between knowing the domain’s core values and best practises and knowing how to handle and inspire others.
Choosing a cybersecurity career path can be an exciting adventure. There is no correct or incorrect answer. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to success. It’s critical to get a sense of what’s out there, try new things, learn everything you can, and find out which domains you enjoy the most. Then decide whether you want to develop more in-depth career pathways within those areas or gain broad experience in order to pursue more senior leadership positions. Considering career opportunities does not have to mean limiting yourself to a single sector. Have fun learning and developing along the way, no matter which direction is chosen.
Cybersecurity Career Options
The following is a list of full career profiles:
- A company’s cybersecurity infrastructure, policy/planning, and implementation are developed and overseen by a chief information security officer, who is an executive-level role. This role necessitates both technical and managerial abilities.
- Chief privacy officer (CPO) A chief privacy officer (CPO) is a modern executive-level role that is becoming more prominent in large corporations, organisations, and organisations, including municipalities and government agencies. This new position was established to ensure the security of sensitive data such as personal information and financial data.
- Computer forensics These professionals are detectives who work with company officials or law enforcement to piece together an image of how a computer or computer system was compromised after a data, network, or security breach.
- Computer security incident responder This job’s duties are almost identical to the job description. When a data breach or hack is discovered, incident responders are normally the first call to an agency or corporation. The job entails recording the attack and devising a strategy to counter it.
- Cryptanalysts Today’s codebreakers who use mathematics, computer science, and engineering to examine various methods of data concealment. Although this job title is often interchanged with cryptographer, there is a difference within the industry.
- Cryptographer Specializing in cryptography as a cryptographer is a new take on an ancient discipline. Cryptographers build (and decrypt) encrypted applications and services using algorithms and computer code.
- Cybercrime investigators are unusual in that they are carried out remotely, can take place in virtual worlds, and involve complex collaboration across multiple nodes or hubs. After a hack or cyberattack, cybercrime investigators serve as digital detectives to help bring cybercriminals to justice.
- Data protection officer (DPO) is a relatively new role created to meet the requirements of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). A DPO assists a corporation or organisation in developing and implementing data protection policies, since the legislation affects all businesses doing business in Europe.
- Digital forensics These experts are the digital equivalents of sleuths. They are often charged with determining what happened during a security incident and reversing hacks and assaults. The demand for professionals with digital forensic expertise is increasing as the number of digital attack surfaces grows.
- Ethical hacker A penetration tester, also known as an ethical hacker, is charged with finding weaknesses in a computer system or network. Before cybercriminals or black-hat hackers may exploit the systems, the aim is to find these vulnerabilities and recommend improvements or defences.
- Malware analyst Malware analyst is a significant and rapidly rising position within the cybersecurity hierarchy. This critical feature, which is part security engineer, part digital forensics specialist, and part programmer, provides in-depth intelligence following a cybersecurity case.
- Penetration tester A common role inside cybersecurity is that of a pen tester, also known as an ethical hacker. Companies or organisations pay penetration testers to search for software flaws and bugs before any hackers do.
- Risk management is an important aspect of operating a business. For companies with a digital footprint, recognising and minimising cybersecurity risk is becoming increasingly essential. Risk managers today must have a diverse technical experience, including knowledge of cybersecurity.
- Security administrator A security administrator is typically an IT-centric position that can concentrate on or shift into security-related responsibilities.
- Security analyst A security analyst is in charge of overseeing security processes and ensuring that best practises are applied. The position of a security analyst varies greatly depending on the size and industry of the business that employs them, but the profession is growing in popularity across all industries.
- Security architect Security architects are responsible for designing computer networks and other infrastructure with a focus on security and general integrity. This role often draws on a wide range of skills and experience, and it is regarded as a foundational feature when it comes to building stable and robust networks.
- Security code auditor A security auditor, source code auditor, or security auditor are all terms used to describe this role. This role, which serves as an editor of sensitive security code, necessitates a diverse set of skills, including programming, knowledge of network and systems infrastructure, and experience with penetration testing and underlying security protocols.
- Security consultant Security consultants also have a wealth of expertise and skills to draw on, and they are hired when a company or agency is trying to solve or eradicate a pressing security problem or issue.
- Security engineer This is the highest-paying cybersecurity position on average, with a published (averaged) annual salary of $128,128. Security engineers are in charge of creating and managing security code and frameworks in order to protect data and infrastructure.
- Security software developer A security software developer’s job is to take software that a company or organisation has written for its business or operations and add layers of security on top of it so that it is more resistant to attacks. This position straddles the worlds of conventional commercial software development and evolving information security in certain ways.
- Security specialist A security professional is someone who has a thorough knowledge of strategies and best practises and may be assigned to a variety of security-related positions, depending on the size and complexity of the business or organisation.