Cybersecurity Jobs

5 of the Most in Demand Cybersecurity Career Paths

All companies in all industries need to keep their data safe. 

And as the amount of companies and digital information rapidly grows, so too does the demand for cybersecurity professionals who can protect that data against breaches and attacks. In fact, there are currently over half a million cybersecurity job vacancies in the United States.

But before you blindly chase after a career in cybersecurity, it is important to know the various career paths available, and the various routes to achieving rewarding roles in the industry.

In this post, Action Threat covers the routes towards five of the most in-demand and rewarding career paths in cybersecurity;

  • Security Architect and Engineer
  • Cloud Security
  • Security Analyst
  • Penetration Tester
  • Security management and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

Security Architect and Engineer

Security architects are the problem-solvers of cybersecurity. Similar to military tacticians in the war room, security architects formulate a defensive strategy and plan how to successfully protect their organization’s assets against malware, hacker breaches, and other types of attacks.

They can see the big picture, identify what needs to be done, and then conceptualize, construct and implement security programs unique to the demands of their organization.

Most security architect roles require between 5-10 years of industry experience, with 3-5 years specifically dedicated to security. This experience is well paid, with the mean salary currently at $122,830 PA in the United States.

A typical journey towards achieving a job as a security architect might be;

  • Study towards an undergraduate diploma in computer science, IT or cybersecurity
  • Get an entry-level role in the industry as a systems, security or network administrator
  • With the right personal and leadership skills, get promoted to a mid-level role as a security analyst or engineer
  •  With outstanding business skills, get noticed and groomed for a role as a junior security architect and grow from there

Leadership, communication, and business skills are imperative for the role as a security architect, and many cybersecurity professionals benefit from learning these skills as well as the technical skills necessary for the role.

Some of the technical certifications that can help advance professionals towards security architect roles include CompTIA Security+, Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Cloud Security Engineer

A cloud security engineer is responsible for ensuring that data stored in cloud systems are secure and safe from information theft and security breaches.

Cloud security engineers may simulate attacks to identify weaknesses in current systems and then strategize and solve these faults in existing cloud systems.

The average wage is comparable to security engineer wages of $89,094 PA, and generally, a bachelor’s degree or relevant training, demonstrable personal skills, plus 3-5 years of industry experience are necessary for the position.

Providing recommendations on innovative technologies, applications and coding methods is integral to the role of a cloud systems engineer, and as such interpersonal skills are essential for the role.

Security Analyst

Security analysts work in-house to ensure that the security of their organization is constant and robust.

They are responsible for handling and triaging security alerts identifying any unusual or suspicious activity and responding to instances where they believe their organization might be at threat from a data breach.

The security analyst is constantly analyzing, modifying and updating the security protocols of their organization to ensure the highest levels of data protection. This requires persistent communication with managers and other Information Security professionals and often involves giving advice directly to employees on best practices when it comes to online security and information safety.

The average salary for an entry level role is north of $67,949 PA, and the role is often used as a stepping stone towards more rewarding roles such as security architect.

As such, the role is perfect for a professional to grow their personal conduct, communication, and empathy, all essential skills for higher-paying roles in more experienced positions.

Penetration Tester

These are the cybersecurity professionals who use their powers for good.

Penetration testers are tasked with trying to breach an organization’s security systems or applications, in order to identify vulnerabilities and offer insight into how the security systems can be improved.

With an average yearly salary of $84,246, and experienced testers earning upwards of $120,000, penetration testers are well rewarded for their efforts in protecting an organization’s data.

While ethical hacking skills are obviously critical to this role, penetration testers must accurately document and explain their findings to other members of a cybersecurity team. As such, like other roles in the industry, interpersonal communication, leadership, and storytelling are vital skills for this rewarding role.

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

This role is the culmination of extensive training, experience, and personal development as a cybersecurity professional.

The CISO of an organization is responsible for overseeing the entire security program, and usually hires some, if not all, of the above job roles.

They are integral to the development of an organization’s security protocols and responsible for the persistent maintenance and upkeep that comes with protecting sensitive data and other electronic assets.

Communicating with CEOs, stakeholders, and in cases of data breaches even law enforcement, CISOs need not only be outstanding cybersecurity tacticians, but also have exceptional interpersonal and communication skills.

They need to surround themselves and their organization with outstanding professionals, listen to their team, take recommendations on board, and implement the best protocols to maximize data security.

The role is extremely well rewarded, with an average wage of $226,265 PA. However, this comes with high demands on personal experience, accreditation, and career achievements.

As we have seen, cybersecurity careers start with gaining some level of technical competency and growing from there.

Many people begin at university, however, many also begin with basic technical qualifications and build their experience from entry-level positions.

Experience and solid fundamental skills are too frequently overlooked by new and intermediate-level cybersecurity professionals, as well as neglecting to develop their capacity for interpersonal communication.

Being a leader and effective communicator are absolutely essential skills for the higher-paying jobs in cybersecurity. Fortunately, just as coding and ethical hacking are skills that can be learned, so to can the personal skills of leadership, storytelling, communication and listening. Discover how you can grow as an individual and enhance your cybersecurity career prospects with Action Threat’s training here.