What are the Pros and Cons of Working in Cyber Security?- Good salaries, a wide range of career options, interesting work, and the ability to advance are the most frequently mentioned benefits of cyber security jobs. Continuous learning needs, on-call or extra hours, and pressure to protect against ever-present and developing assaults are the most commonly mentioned disadvantages.
Let’s take a closer look at what cyber security experts claim are the benefits and drawbacks of their work.
Pros of Cyber Security Careers
There are no two jobs in cyber security that are alike. Because there are so many variables that influence what a job is and what it entails, we can only make broad generalisations about the positive and negative aspects of cyber security careers. Check out these career routes to discover some concrete instances of cyber security employment, where we’ve analysed what many popular cyber security positions include.
Given that cyber security jobs can be found in both the public and private sectors, and in nearly every industry, and that they can involve both offensive and defensive tactics, and that they are constantly changing, the best we can do is ask the professionals themselves about their job’s strengths and weaknesses. Here are the pros that we found:
Pros #1: Competitive salaries. Once their careers are established, cyber security specialists are usually well compensated. In most organisations, their pay is competitive with that of the average employee, and salaries appear to be rising. Here are some thoughts:
“My new job pays $130,000 to start, and after a few years, I should be making around $180,000 like my coworkers.”
“Every single one of our cyber professionals earns six figures or more.”
“If you have expertise and certifications, especially in firewalls, you can easily earn more than $150,000.”
“With a security clearance, I could earn roughly $20,000 more.”
“I’m making over $80,000 and I’ve only been in the field for a little over a year.”
“I’d love to collaborate with you, but I’m afraid you can’t afford me.”
Pros #2: There are Cyber Jobs Available Almost Everywhere. Banks, investment businesses, federal government agencies, telecommunication companies, health care providers, IT services organisations, universities, local governments, public school systems, and government contractors employ cyber security professionals. Qualified cyber security professionals are required in nearly every industry sector, whether in-house or on contract.
Pros #3: Being in Demand. The need for cyber security is undeniable. (For more on why cyber will continue to be in high demand over the next decade, see our article.) Cyber security has an unemployment rate of less than 1% (and has even reached zero percent in some areas), indicating that there are more jobs than people to fill them. Our cyber security experts were well aware that they could immediately leave their current business and find work elsewhere, maybe for greater money. Here are some thoughts:
“Recruiters who find me on LinkedIn send me interview offers on a weekly basis.”
“Google contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to relocate to California.”
“This year, I’ve had proposals from more than six different companies.”
“I’d be able to find a job for more than $160,000 even if I lost my security clearance.”
Pros #4: Ability to Advance. Because there are so many various sorts of cyber security positions to pick from and the need for qualified specialists is so high, individuals who want to advance can. There are various opportunities to grow your career in cyber security because it is an unregulated business (unlike medicine, which requires a licence, for example). Obtaining new certifications, degrees, or skill sets through training is one example (we cover the expected costs for cyber security training in this article, including options that are free.)
Pros #5: The ability to work for yourself. We spoke with a number of IT and cyber security specialists who choose to work for themselves. Because technology is frequently outsourced and consulting is widespread, there are many options in the cyber career arena to work independently as a self-employed professional if you so desire.
Pros #6: Possibility of gaining new knowledge. Almost all of the cyber security professionals we spoke with adore their jobs, and they especially adore the fact that they can provide for their families while doing work they enjoy. These professionals appear to love acquiring new skills and being challenged by new technology.
“I love that I have the opportunity to learn something new every day.”
“There are no two days alike.”
“There is always something new to learn and try out.”
Cons of Cyber Security Careers
There are drawbacks to every career, and cyber security jobs are no exception. The cyber security experts we spoke with were able to cite a number of drawbacks to their professions, but they seemed to believe that these drawbacks were simply part of the work, and that all careers have some drawbacks. These professionals acknowledged the drawbacks of their jobs, but believed the benefits outweighed the drawbacks, leaving them with jobs they enjoyed. Here are a few of the drawbacks they revealed.
Cons #1: On-Call and Demanding Hours. A cyber security attack is a serious problem that can strike at any moment. As a result, many cyber security specialists are required to be available at all times, including weekends and evenings. Depending on the situation, the amount of times they may be called varies dramatically, making this negative a non-issue or a real problem. Here are some thoughts:
“While I’m on vacation, I might have to answer to an email.”
“Every three weekends, we switch off on call.”
“The first thing I do when I wake up is to check my messages from the office.”
“They know how to reach me if the office needs to contact me.”
“It was all hands on deck when we were putting this new system in place.”
“I didn’t leave the office from Friday morning until Sunday night.”
Cons #2: Some tasks are tedious or monotonous. Every job has its share of dull moments, and cyber security professionals claim to be no exception. Documentation, checking incident log files, and attending meetings were the most common tasks.
Cons #3: Job Pressure. Because of the constant nature of the threat of a hack or an assault, some cyber security occupations involve high pressure, similar to the necessity for being on call. Here are some thoughts:
“Attackers can strike at any time.”
“Every day, we get hacking attempts, and we’re under continual pressure to safeguard ourselves.”
“We need to be ready for everything because it feels like we could lose at any moment.”
“Being hacked would be really public, and not in a good way.”
“Hacking attempts against our company are so persistent that I have to brief our CEO on the status of our systems on a daily basis.”
Cons #4: The Learning Treadmill Never Stops. No other sector appears to be moving as quickly as cyber security. This may be both a benefit and a burden, as it can bring new and intriguing things to learn while also weeding out those who can’t keep up. However, because of the never-ending learning curve in cyber security, you must constantly learn merely to stay afloat. That can be a difficult task. (If you want to learn cyber security on your own, we’ve put together this resource.) Here are a few of the ideas that were expressed to us.
“I know I won’t be able to do this job indefinitely.” As I become older, learning will get more difficult, and I won’t be able to keep up with the younger guys.”
“Continuous learning can be draining.”
“Because my employer failed to upgrade the technology I support, my skills became obsolete.” I’m now in the red.”
“I haven’t worked with technology as much as I should have since I became a manager.” I’ve evolved into a generalist. It would be impossible for me to return to the field at my current level.”
Con #5: Lack of Resources. Although most managers recognise the necessity of cyber security, it is common in the cyber security profession for management to lack a thorough understanding of what you do and the significance of your work. As a result, cyber security professions necessitate frequent communication with management and advocacy on your own behalf. Although this does not appear to be the case everywhere, several cyber security specialists have identified this as a drawback, which typically occurs in larger firms that are not in the cyber security industry.
Every job has advantages and disadvantages, which vary considerably depending on the environment of the job, as well as the individual and how they handle their jobs and their overall view on their work. There are a lot of ways that you may see the positives and cons of cyber security work first hand. Examining online interviews and looking for opportunities to shadow are both excellent ways to gain a sense of what a career in cyber security entails.
Is there a demand for cyber security? Cyber security is one of the fastest developing sectors on the planet, with a low unemployment rate. Our information on cyber security demand can be found here.
Is it true that cyber security positions are monotonous? Positives and negatives exist in every career, but they are frequently decided by the attitude and outlook of the person doing the job. What one person thinks uninteresting, another finds fascinating. Knowing what you’re good at and what you enjoy is crucial.
Is a degree required for a career in cyber security? The majority of cyber security jobs require or will require a degree at some point in the future. In this article, we look at the chances of getting a job in cyber security without a degree.