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What Jobs Can I Get With a Cybersecurity Degree?

The average growth rate for all occupations is 8% through 2030. So, what would you say to a career with a growth rate of 33%? As cyberattacks and security breaches hit record highs, the demand for information security specialists is skyrocketing.

Earning a master’s in cybersecurity can be an excellent way to transition from diverse career backgrounds into this high-growth field. For example, the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) offers an online Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management program. Designed for working professionals, this online degree program equips graduates with the technical and business expertise they need to meet the urgent need for cybersecurity experts.

What Are 5 Career Options in Cybersecurity?

In 2021, cyberattacks shut down a major fuel pipeline and several production facilities of the world’s largest beef processing company. Attacks on healthcare systems compromised more than 40 million patient records, and the national NBA organization was also victim to attacks.

Those interested in pursuing a career in cybercrime have a handful of positions that are in high demand. The following are some of the most common:

1. Information Security Analyst

U.S. News & World Report notes that information security analysts “ensure that the most up-to-date security measures are in place to prevent critical information from leaking into the hands of online criminals.” This role is one of the most high-demand jobs and one of the top 20 fastest-growing occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Information security analysts are commonly involved in responsibilities such as:

  • Analyzing IT requirements
  • Designing and implementing IT security systems
  • Monitoring network security concerns
  • Performing simulated cyberattacks to identify security risks

A graduate degree may be preferred for this entry-level cybersecurity career.

Median Annual Salary: $114,972

2. Cryptographer Analyst

The word “cryptology” might bring to mind secret agents and coded messages in World War II. If the idea of codes and encryption has your attention, this career may be your calling.

Cryptographer analysts identify cybersecurity weaknesses to strengthen encryption and protect data from hackers. Companies rely on secure encryption, for example, to safeguard credit card information in online transactions. Government agencies employ cryptographers to protect information systems.

According to Glassdoor, qualifications for this career include one to five years of experience in marketing or a related field, along with a master’s degree.

Median Annual Salary: $98,589

3. Penetration Tester

Penetration testing (pen testing) involves identifying network, server and web application weaknesses before hackers do. The “phishing test” is a common pen-testing activity. A company’s employees receive a seemingly legitimate email, such as one that asks them to click a link to update HR information.

Employees who fall for the scam receive additional cybersecurity training. Over time, the goal is to decrease the click-through rate on malicious links and increase the rate of employees reporting suspicious emails.

That of pen tester is considered an entry-level role. Typical qualifications include a relevant bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Median Annual Salary: $109,715

4. Cybersecurity Manager

This leadership role focuses on overseeing the safety of a company’s computer networks. Common activities include:

  • Protecting an organization’s information systems
  • Detecting and responding to information security threats
  • Keeping up with the latest malware (malicious software)
  • Ensuring compliance with regulations and industry standards for safeguarding data

Employers may prefer a master’s degree for this management position. Candidates will also need experience in entry-level positions, such as information security analysts. Managerial experience is important.

Median Annual Salary: $139,014

5. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

Like a chief information officer (CIO), a chief information security officer (CISO) is an executive-level role. The difference between the two positions lies in the area of focus. A CIO leads an organization’s information technology (IT) initiatives. A CISO focuses on protecting the IT infrastructure from internal and external threats.

Cybersecurity specialists who aspire to this senior-level job can prepare by building experience at increasingly higher levels of responsibility. But, as with other C-level executives, a master’s degree may give candidates an edge. According to Glassdoor, CISOs with a graduate degrees earn $297,778 compared to $84,157 for those without them.

Median Annual Salary: $191,811

Cybersecurity is a business priority, and the demand for professionals in this field will likely remain strong for years to come. Those who pursue a master’s in cybersecurity can expect to find a job seeker’s market, with high salaries and plenty of opportunities for advancement.

Learn more about the University of Illinois Springfield’s online Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management program.

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