The Rise Of IT Security Employment In 2018

Bernard Hastings | Last Updated:

Technical Writer

We live in the digital age and thanks to increasing technological advancement, billions of people use the internet every day and huge amounts of data and information are processed every minute through web browsers. However, this has led to an increasing number of new risks that users and business can be exposed to online. For those looking to commit crimes in the digital space, there is are more and more opportunities to do so with more data being circulated each day. While this can be a dynamic challenge for people to deal with in different ways, it is also the reason that the cybersecurity field is one of the most thriving and lucrative job markets at the moment. As cyber-attacks and breaches become more frequent in online spaces, the demand for professionals with the necessary skills and capabilities to work in this space.

There are more and more job openings for those looking for roles in the IT sector, especially in cybersecurity. However, the current problem is that these jobs are not necessarily being filled. Currently, in the United States, there are around half a million job openings related to cybersecurity and this is expected to rise to 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021 should the situation continue as is. This is why there is a need to address this potential labor crisis now by investigating strategies and insights around recruiting cybersecurity staff and emphasizing the global importance of IT security employment.

Working In Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a broad area, it refers to the practice of protecting computer systems, networks, and programs from digital threats and attacks. These attacks can be aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying data, identity theft, extorting money from users or interrupting and damaging system structures. For this reason, there is a range of different positions in the IT security sector and different skills and credentials needed to execute these jobs. Essential skills for a job in cybersecurity include:

  • A solid understanding of IT including the fundamentals of system administration and web applications
  • Coding Skills
  • Risk management
  • Situational awareness
  • Toolkit maintenance

Roles in Cyber Security

These are considered the foundational skills necessary to succeed in a cybersecurity role but your specific capabilities will depend on the type of job you have. Some potential roles you may be employed in are:

Information Security Analyst

It is an information security analyst’s job to plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. This involves monitoring, reporting and addressing potential security issues as well as installing using protective software.  An ISA is also responsible for designing and creating data recovery plans in the case of a cyber-attack. Part of being an effective ISA is staying in the know about the latest cyber threats, the industry trends, technologies, standards and best practices so that they can suggest changes and areas of improvement to the organization’s security system if necessary. ISAs are in high demand at the moment and it is expected that by 2026 there will be a 28% increase in the job openings for this type of role. The average salary is currently about $96,000.

Security Architect

Security architects are responsible for establishing and maintaining network security for a company and design security systems that will thwart malware and intrusions by hackers. They also help to develop and implement policies and procedures relating to cybersecurity for other employees so that the security of the computer system can be maintained by everyone working for the company. On a day-to-day basis, security architects may have to analyze breaches and repair problem areas of the system. The role involves thinking as a hacker would in order to best anticipate the weaknesses of the systems and how a hacker might gain unauthorized access to the computer system. Security architects can work for all sorts of different companies, whether it be a government agency or a profitable business. The median salary is $101,210.

Penetration Tester

A penetration tester contributes to cybersecurity by identifying system vulnerabilities and weaknesses in firewalls, simulating cyber attacks and testing IT infrastructures. Essentially, it is their job to hack into a computer system with authorization in order to discover potential problems with the system, improper configurations and gaps in the digital infrastructure. With more and more cyber attacks happening each year, this job is in high demand and job growth is expected to be around 18% by 2024. In order to be a successful penetration tester, one needs to be highly creative in their methods of thinking and create effective testing tools they can use while working. It also involves keeping a record of their activities in order to report on what they discover. Entry-level salaries start at around $71,600.

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

The Chief Information Security Office is the head of a company’s security department and is in charge all security initiatives a company takes. They manage a group of security experts for the company, strategies plans to avoid cybercrime, develop corporate security policies, monitor system vulnerabilities and help to deploy information security technologies and programs. It is a role that encompasses a lot of responsibilities and salaries are usually at around $200,000 depending who you work for.

How To Find A  Job In Cybersecurity?

Working in a position in cybersecurity requires certain skills and training. As a result, most jobs will require that you have completed a bachelor degree or some sort of advanced training. Coursework in the fundamentals of system architecture, IT concepts, programming and computer forensics help to prepare you for working in the field. Several education providers offer courses in information technology and security can help you complete the courses necessary to get you a job, at your own pace, also be on the lookout for companies offering great perks. Once you have the relevant training, you can begin your job hunt. Searching for a job online is usually the best method. If there is particularly company that you admire and want to work for, for example, a VPN company or a government agency, it can be useful to look up and their website and see if they have a careers page or even just send them a quick email to show that you’re interested. It is also a good idea to set up email alerts so you’re notified of new jobs in the cybersecurity field that might interest you.

Cybersecurity jobs not only offer above average compensation and an interesting, diverse work routine, but cybersecurity professionals are also more needed than ever. Those with an interest in IT security, should assess their skills or enroll in relevant courses in order to help address the problem and prevent a cybersecurity labor crisis.

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