Any organization that deals with sensitive information know the importance of a cyber security expert. Almost every company has sensitive data to protect from the prying eyes of hackers.
But the increasing demand for cyber security experts is not met. There is a vast difference in the supply and demand of cyber security experts.
If you want to develop a career in cyber security, know many different paths for you. However, provided you have the skillset, landing a job in cyber security can be easy.
This article will help you understand the career paths you can take in this field. Let us dive in!
Table of Contents
- Best Cyber Security Career Paths For Beginners In 2022
- 2. Penetration Tester
- Things To Know Before Starting A Career In Cyber Security
Best Cyber Security Career Paths For Beginners In 2022
Cybersecurity is an ever-growing industry with many opportunities for growth and development.
The cyber security industry is constantly evolving, so it’s impossible to say precisely what the best careers will be in 2022.
However, there are some trends that we can anticipate. For example, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is expected to grow by more than 50% by 2027. This means that cybersecurity professionals will continue to be in high demand throughout the coming years.
Here are some of the top jobs for cyber security experts and engineers in 2022.
1. Cyber Security Manager
Cyber security managers ensure the overall protection of the company from hacks and malware. In addition, they have a team of auditors, analysts, and technicians at their disposal to ensure the IT systems are safe.
From setting up firewalls to using ISP proxies, they ensure every employee takes all the safety precautions.
Cyber security is an increasing necessity for any organization. However, if your company is not prepared to protect itself from cyber attacks, it may have problems in the future. To keep an organized and well-maintained cyber security system, a Cyber Security Manager is required.
This role entails ensuring that all employees are well-versed in cyber security measures and regular cyber security management reviews.
Since this job involves directing a group of people, it requires a master’s degree and experience in beginner and mid-level positions. But all the hard work will not be in vain because the pay is high!
Apart from having a cyber security degree and work experience, it is essential to develop some soft skills. A good cyber security manager should have:
- Good leadership skills and team management skills
- Extensive knowledge about the latest technologies
- Good problem-solving skills
- Being self-aware and working well in teams
A Cyber Security Manager will take a leadership role in implementing policies and procedures to secure the network infrastructure and ensure continuous monitoring of critical systems.
In addition, the position requires the ability to develop a security awareness program for employees and design a security policy that would also include appropriate penalties for non-compliance with the guidelines.
2. Penetration Tester
Most of us would have heard the fancy term “ethical hacker.” Penetration testers are also known as ethical hackers and assurance validators.
A penetration tester is a hacker who tests security systems to make sure they are secure. The penetration tester looks for holes in system security, especially in network security. In addition, the penetration test looks for ways that hackers can get into the system. The reason to do this is that.
A penetration tester is responsible for hacking an IT system for the sole purpose of finding its weak points. When a crack is found, they report it to the team and develop solutions to address it. Thus, removing the opportunity for malicious hackers to attack these gaps.
Penetration testers are required to know coding languages such as Python, Powershell, Golang, and Bash.
Additional requirements include having experience in a pen test and application security tools such as:
- Network Mapper (NMAP)
Many companies believe hiring hackers can give them an insider perspective of a hacker’s mindset. As a result, ethical hackers are in demand either as freelancers or in-house counsel, and they get paid in the range of $80,000 to $130,000.
A penetration test may have several parts:
- It determines whether the security system is well designed and works as it should. This part is called a vulnerability assessment.
- It determines how much damage can be done by exploiting each hole in the system.
- It determines how difficult it would be to control each hole in different computer systems.
Some professional certifications are IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional). These certificates add weightage to your resume since employers seek after them.
3. Cyber Security Engineer
The job role of a cyber security engineer involves designing IT systems that can withstand cyber attacks and malware. They also analyze networks, inspect firewalls, anticipate future threats and prepare for them.
They are tasked with developing and maintaining secure network systems, conducting occasional assessments, and managing audits.
Cyber security engineers are also called network security engineers or data security engineers. This is one of the highest-paid jobs in cyber security.
A cyber security engineer usually starts his career by earning a four-year bachelor’s degree. However, some people take the unconventional route of acquiring a cyber security certification and taking up an entry-level job. Unfortunately, people who choose the latter are often less paid than their educated peers.
Cyber security engineer also makes sure that the application is secure from external attackers. Cyber security engineers must know about computer security, operating systems, network engineering, and cryptography.
The job comes with a lot of responsibility as the entire company depends on the cyber security engineer. The work involves a lot of research and development, as it involves designing a new script or system for a client.
Security engineers can get cyber security certifications from IT companies or professional organizations like Information Systems Security Association. Some of the popular certifications include:
- CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor)
- CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) – This was one of the most celebrated certifications and ranked as a top-paying IT security certification in 2014.
- CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) is pursued by individuals who look for higher-level managerial positions.
4. Malware Analyst
This section will talk about malware analysts and their responsibilities.
Malware analysts are responsible for identifying and analyzing malware threats. They usually spend their time analyzing malware samples, extracting data from them, and writing whitepapers to help others in the industry understand the latest cyber security risks.
In a world of increasingly sophisticated malware attacks, a career as a malware analyst offers a unique perspective. It is the job of a Malware Analyst to investigate and analyze malware or malicious software programs that have been designed to disrupt or damage computer systems.
Many people have heard of viruses because there have been so many reports about them. But not many people know what an analyst does. An analyst studies malware to see how dangerous it is and tries to figure out what kind of harm it could do if someone else made it into a virus.
Malware is now being used as a tool to steal information from organizations and can be copied and spread throughout a network without detection by antivirus programs.
Malicious software is the biggest single threat to any system. If you think about it enough, it becomes obvious that there is some fraction of it that can be analyzed by humans, with computers merely providing raw data to be processed by humans. That fraction has probably been increasing over time, so this job will become more important, not less important.
It is the job of the Malware Analyst to understand how malware attacks work and how it can be thwarted.
Malware Analysts examine computers for evidence of infection and contain, neutralize, and eliminate detected malware. The organization’s cyber security team may use this data for investigation and assessment purposes.
Here’s a list of skills that you must possess before you can become a successful malware analyst:
- Good communication and presentation skills
- Understand the complexities of Windows, Linux, and UNIX operating systems
- Knowledge of C and C++ is required. You’ll also need to learn how to use tools like IDA Pro, OllyDbg, RegShot, and TCP view.
A malware analyst is one of the more exciting jobs on the Internet. Not only do you have to perform the C-level job of finding malware, but you also have to figure out how it works, what it does, and what the risks are.
5. Cybercrime Investigator
With the rise in cybercrimes, government officials are expected to protect citizens from real-life and cybercrimes. This paved the way for the increase in the need for cybercrime investigators.
Cybercrime investigators are involved in investigating crimes that take place online. They identify the hackers behind an attack and bring justice to the victim.
A cybercrime investigator is expected to have extensive computer skills. Aside from that, they should know the software, hardware, and network security processes. In addition, they collect data, do background checks, and find the authors of malicious hacks.
Cybercrime investigators can work in national security agencies and private security agencies.
A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or cybercrime is a good start to becoming a cybercrime investigator. A degree in computer science is also desirable.
A degree complemented with sound knowledge can help land a good job. A career path for a cybercrime investigator includes being a part of a cybersecurity team and gaining experience.
This job is very similar to a police detective. Some cybercrime investigators do their work as cops. First, they gather the information that leads them to suspects, and then they try to get the evidence that will put the criminals behind bars.
In addition to gathering evidence, a cybercrime investigator must also be a skilled computer technician. He or she knows how to fix computers and other electronic devices, and here’s where all those computer science courses come in handy.
Although there is no industry-wide accepted certification, two certificates are given importance in this field. CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) exhibits your sound understanding of security management and architecture. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) demonstrates your knowledge of cyber-attacks and problem-solving skills.
6. IT Auditors
IT auditors, also known as senior IT compliance analysts, analyze and identify flaws in a company’s security system. They additionally formulate strategies to thwart the attacks that may arise in the future.
An IT auditor is one of the most important people in any organization. IT auditors are responsible for defining an organization’s information security policy and procedures, examining the effectiveness of those policies and procedures, reporting on any gaps or weaknesses in security, and helping to identify areas where security procedures need to be improved.
Managing IT security means making sure that the right patch is applied at the right time. The problem with patching is that you can’t tell if you’re applying the right patch until after you’ve applied it.
The only way to do this is to monitor everything happening in your system and see if anything bad happens afterward. That way, you can find out if you applied the right patch rather than just fixing whatever caused it in the first place.
People who pay attention to detail and can analyze and record complex data can choose this career path. The job responsibilities include:
- Identifying gaps
- Compiling it into a report
- Informing the team and brainstorming ideas on rectifying it
IT auditors do not solve the issue; they merely identify and report it. This is a job that suits both in-house and remote options.
So how is an IT auditor different from a penetration tester?
A penetration tester attacks the system using similar methods to that of a malicious hacker. Companies employ penetration testers when they wish to check if all avenues of security have been covered.
On the other hand, an IT auditor evaluates the system security against standard baselines. As a result, companies employ an IT auditor to ensure that the minimal cyber security requirements are met.
IT auditors typically require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology. An additional 2-5 years of work experience with certifications such as CISA and CISM can help build a career as an IT auditor.
IT auditors make a good living, but their job is not much fun. They spend most of their time searching for security holes in the systems they are charged to protect. Then, if they find a flaw, they have to find a way to patch it without breaking other things or upsetting users.
Soft skills such as solid communication and analytical skills are an added advantage.
7. Incident Analyst
Incident analysts are the first line of defense against cybercrimes. They are the ones who notice when a hack is unfolding and respond adequately to it. Then, they try to prevent the attacks, protect a company system, and suggest preventing them in the future.
This job deals with sensitive information about a company. Therefore, a security clearance is necessary. In addition, extensive knowledge about computer forensic tools is a prerequisite for people who want to start a career as an Incident analyst.
The average annual salary of an incident responder is projected around $70,000 -$74,000 and can vary as you take up senior positions in a company.
A bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in cybersecurity or computer forensics can help you get started on this path. If you are looking for a career change, you can opt for a master’s degree in information security or incident response management.
The incident analyst’s job is to analyze incidents, assess their risks, and make recommendations for minimizing them. He or she assesses the organization’s security posture, determines what types of incidents are likely to occur, explains that risk, and tries to accommodate it.
This sounds like a specialized job that only a few people would ever get to do. But in fact, it is not that hard to find work in incident analysis. The skills are out there–you just need to know where to look.
Certifications are crucial as well. The credentials that are required may vary based on the position, industry, and employer. Many professionals also gain access to these jobs by simply acquiring certifications such as Certified Incident Handler or Certified Intrusion Analyst.
Individuals with extensive knowledge of operating systems, hardware, and software systems are preferred. Additional expertise in programming languages, forensic software, and e-discovery tools are required.
Individuals who are versatile and possess good communication skills with good problem-solving skills are best suited for an incident analyst position.
8. Cyber Security Consultant
Cyber security is a growing field and a global one. As a result, many companies that need help with cyber security have been exploding over the past few years.
The best Cyber Security Consultant should have a thorough grasp on all types of cyber security threats and be capable of researching the latest threats and developing effective strategies to defend against them.
When a company does not possess the budget for a full-time cybercrime expert, they hire a consultant. A cyber security consultant’s job responsibilities include: analyzing a company’s security systems and providing reports on their flaws.
Companies and agencies may also hire a CSC to find out what kind of threats they are vulnerable to.
The best Cyber Security Consultant should also have a firm understanding of technology, understand it well enough to develop effective strategies to protect against threats, research threats, and develop effective strategies to protect systems from them.
Cyber consultants are also required to know all the existing threats and how they work, analyze computer code to identify flaws within it, know about the latest threats and their vulnerabilities, and develop effective methods of protecting systems from attacks.
Cyber Security Consultants should also have in-depth knowledge of penetration testing, firewall testing, encryption, and ethical hacking is a must for people who want to pursue this as a career.
A cyber security consultant can work with as many clients as they want. So you can be your boss and not have anyone to report to.
Cyber security consultants should be adept at analyzing the threat landscape and suggesting solutions to mitigate. It is vital to understand firewalls, proxies, VPNs, SSL inspection, and security monitoring platforms.
Soft skills like excellent communication and documentation skills are mandatory.
9. Cyber Security Architects
Cybersecurity is the new warfare. Like it or not, cyber security is now an existential threat to our way of life.
Governments are investing more in offensive cyber capabilities than ever, and the private sector is developing better defenses. But the problem with offensive measures is that someone else can always build better ones. The only solution is to defend ourselves, and it’s hard enough to protect ourselves without over-engineering our defenses.
As a cyber security architect, you will design and implement new systems and networks for different organizations. You will devise information gathering and handling processes and procedures that allow these organizations to detect and prevent cyber-attacks. You will also build sensors and networks so the systems can communicate with each other.
If you are a person who loves managing your team members, then this is a job role that would suit you.
A cyber security architect is a high-level official who creates corporate security structures and meticulously tests them to ensure they work seamlessly. Since they are senior-level workers, they also have a hand in forming security-based rules and regulations of a company.
The job requires you to have a hacker mindset and formulate strategies to outmaneuver them at every turn. Skillful cyber security architects are consistently in demand. Therefore you can hope for a very competitive salary. Provided that you have the right skills and certifications, landing a job in this area can be profitable.
A good cyber security architect can bring in over $300,000/year and more than $1 million/year at some firms.
Hard skills such as knowledge of Windows, Linux and security concepts such as DNS, authentication, VPN, proxy servers, and DDOS mitigation are necessary. Apart from hard and soft skills, acquiring certifications such as CEH, CISSP, and CSSA.
Cryptography is a branch of mathematics that studies the mathematics of security. Its goal is to design algorithms that can be used to transform a plain text message into an random string.
The idea is to give the person who intercepts your message no way of knowing whether the string you receive is the same as the one you sent.
Cryptography has three main tasks: message authentication, authorization, and privacy. Message authentication means ensuring that the message you got came from the person or organization you think it did. It’s like getting a receipt for a package.
To do this, we use encryption: we scramble the message up so no one else can read it, and then when we send it out, we unscramble it again when we get it back.
So, authorization means saying to whom your message can be seen, who may read it, and when they may do so.
For example, in a bank, you might give each employee a password to let them see their account but not the accounts of other employees’ customers. Or, in a hospital, you might give doctors a passcode to access patient records in their rooms but not the nurses’.
Cryptography is the study of how to make things secure from unauthorized access. In modern times, cryptography has been used mainly for securing financial transactions–like making sure a banknote is not copied before it’s passed from hand to hand.
If you’ve got a credit card, it’s almost certainly protected by some form of encryption. But the field of cryptography has many other applications, and its scope has been growing rapidly in recent years.
It has become a respectable job in itself, with a small but highly paid group of practitioners who can call themselves cryptographers.
Cryptography is widely used in digital commerce, though it’s probably more important for governments and companies with secrets they don’t want people to know.
Cybersecurity is a sexy field, and it’s one where there are opportunities for relatively young people to make lots of money.
Things To Know Before Starting A Career In Cyber Security
A career in cyber security is like working in an office burglarized at night by a group of hackers. Your job is to figure out who did it and how they did it, and then to prevent it from happening again. Unfortunately, both kinds of jobs are much harder than they used to be.
Before diving headfirst into cyber security, we would like you to keep in mind a few things.
1. Network and Survey the Field
Make a point of following leading cyber security experts on social media platforms. Their posts on their niche can act as helpful insights into the industry.
Bruce Schneier has been labeled as “A Security Guru” by The Economist and is a must-follow for anyone interested in cyber security. In addition, he has countless articles and academic papers that you can check out for further reading.
If you are more interested in reading magazines, you can follow Infosecurity Magazine, Tripwire, and other handles on Twitter.
2. Combine Practice and Studying
Practicing along with studying can take you a long way.
High-quality security content is abundant on the internet. Some of our suggestions include CrowdStrike, Endgame, TrendLabs, and so on. When you read, try to put yourself in the investigator’s shoes. If you were there, how would you go about investigating it?
For end-point forensics, the Cobalt strike has the best free training. Make sure to see the videos, get an idea of the mindset of both the attacker and the defender.
If you are a beginner, then you can start with Incident response and computer forensics 3rd edition. This book provides sound knowledge about windows forensics and lays down a good foundation.
For the network side, resources such as a malware traffic analysis blog can help you understand what is expected and what is not. Browsing through these can help you gain insights into the attacker and the defender mindset.
3. Deep Learn Everything
There is no point in taking a class and forgetting everything at the end of the course. We have all experienced this at some point in time.
It might sound like a good idea to skim through boring topics, but it helps no one in the long run.
However, breaking down complex ideas into simple topics and teaching them to someone else can aid you in remembering them better. It also boosts your understanding of the topic.
Thus when you land your first technical job, you will not find yourself going blank when you encounter a situation.
4. Develop a Hacker’s Mindset
Preventing a cyber-attack requires you to put yourself in the shoes of the attacker. A hacker mindset can help you understand a hacker’s intentions and help build countermeasures.
Cyber-attacks cost businesses millions of dollars in damages, loss of intellectual property, and disruption to the business. Preventing a cyber-attack requires you to put yourself in the shoes of the attacker.
A hacker mindset can help you understand a hacker’s intentions and help build countermeasures.
5. Be Bold
Never let your lack of knowledge stop you from doing anything. Apply for that job even if you think you are not qualified for it. Many companies out there are ready to invest in individuals with the potential to learn and prosper. Make sure to apply all that knowledge you acquired.
The rise of cybercrime raises the need for skillful professionals to fight against hackers. As a result, there is a lot of scope for individuals who want to advance their careers in cybersecurity.
If you are a beginner, certifications can help you exhibit your skills and land an entry-level position.
Beginner-level certifications are available that test your basic skills. Working your way up and completing advanced-level certifications can help you develop specialized skills. These certifications show your capabilities to your employers and help you get hired.
Landing a job in cyber security is easy, provided you have the proper certifications and skill set. Put in consistent efforts, and you are sure to land the position of your dreams.
The world of technology and information is rapidly changing, and businesses and individuals are still trying to keep up. Therefore, we must have the right Cyber Security jobs for people looking to start this career path into the future.
Our new Top 10 list of Cyber Security Job titles aims to give you insight into what skills will be in demand as the industry grows. We hope our insights will help you secure these amazing careers in 2022!
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