An Inside Look at Cybersecurity Jobs and Their Functions
Cybersecurity Jobs Are in High Demand
The job growth for cybersecurity jobs shows promise, projecting a 24% growth by 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that without qualified professionals entering the field at an exponential rate, there will be an even larger employment gap than we’re currently experiencing.
Due to high growth potential, there are a variety of cybersecurity jobs to choose from. Organizations such as the National Institute of Standards of Technology (NIST) and other private companies hire cybersecurity experts.
Some of the best cybersecurity jobs at the entry-level include:
- System Administrator
- IT Support/Help Desk
- IT Technician
- Network Administrator
- Computer Software Engineer
Application Security Jobs
According to Veracode State of Software Security, 83 percent of the 85,000 applications tested by the experts had at least one major security loophole.
Application security is the process of fixing, updating, and securing computer applications from malware and similar types of security breaches that can make the application vulnerable to hackers and computer viruses.
Common types of application security:
- Using a strong password to protect our computers from others.
- Two-Factor authentication: a type of security designed to keep the application safe.
- Using a secure Internet browser to access websites.
- Using a firewall to prevent unauthorized access to a network-based app
Information Security Jobs
Information security is the process of preventing unauthorized access, disruption, destruction, and inspection of information. The information usually resides in electronic form inside computer networks and applications.
The social profile of millions of users on social media is an example of important information. Similarly, personal data on the mobile phone and critical data such as details of biometrics on a computer network are examples of information that can be accessed or destroyed by unauthorized sources.
Such information is highly vulnerable to attacks because it’s relatively easier for hackers to intercept the flow of information when users are careless in transferring such information from one digital source to another digital source. Accessing an unsecured website using Google or Facebook profile is also an example of an information security breach, which can make your social profile and the personal data vulnerable to hackers.
Operational Security Jobs
This security procedure is often used by operations managers to assess the security of their computer systems against attacks by rivals and potential hackers. Operational security encourages operation managers to evaluate the security from the perspective of an adversary to protect sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.
In a nutshell, the operational security procedure starts by identifying security issues. Once these issues are identified, managers evaluate how critical is a specific risk to an organization. Based on the priority level, operational managers implement safety procedures and allocate financial resources accordingly
Examples of operational security and cybersecurity jobs include:
- Monitoring workers and company employees regarding their Internet use habits to prevent access to vulnerable websites.
- Training and creating rules for sharing information on the Internet.
- Discouraging employees from sharing their login information using email and text messages.
Network Security Jobs
As the name suggests, network security is the process of monitoring and implementing resources, procedures, and tools to prevent the misuse of computer networks and network-accessible resources. Defining admin roles, setting up passwords for specific network areas, and verifying the identity of a network are examples of network security.
Network security covers a wide range of computers in private and public organizations and can include securing data while it’s transferred between network nodes.
Use of encryption when sharing information over the network was regularly used as early as the Second World War. Nowadays, network administrators and managers use two-factor authentication, security-token, fingerprints, and retinal scans as some of the useful procedures for risk management. Antivirus software, firewalls, and other intrusion prevention systems are tools used by network administrators to deal with computers connected to the Internet and advanced persistent threats.
Among the most common career pathways is to become a security architect. This is a career path for someone who loves designing, implementing, and building computer security networks.
The stepping stone for this pathway is getting certification such as CompTIA Security+. Ideally, you should either have at least a Bachelor’s degree in IT or equivalent experience before starting this course. You can also start by taking one of the entry-level IT courses, as identified above.
This is another well-known cybersecurity job. A consultant does not actively build a security network; instead, the individual assesses and analyzes risks, problems, and loopholes in the system by guiding organizations on how to protect their data.
If you want to take this path, it’s important to gain first-hand experience in the field and earn an entry-level certification such as CompTIA Security+, Cybersecurity Analyst CySA+, and Certified Ethical Hacker CEH.
Since there is no direct pathway to becoming a security consultant, you will likely start by gaining certification and three to five years of experience in a related IT field.
Ethical Hackers & Penetration Testers
The growth of the Internet and cyber technologies has increased demands for ethical hackers and penetration testers who can simulate real-life cyberattacks and ensure continuous monitoring. The role of these hackers is to perform a penetration test on web applications, networks, and computer systems to investigate potential weaknesses in the network. These hackers are trained to research documents and evaluate the risks. The risks and findings are discussed with the management team and IT workers.
Unlike the other two cybersecurity jobs previously discussed, ethical hackers usually gain an initial IT certification or work experience, but the majority of their skills evolve from taking IT certification courses geared towards their specific cybersecurity job choice.
Ethical hackers learn from their experiences and initial training. Based on their performance, it’s not uncommon for ethical testers to climb up the corporate ladder quickly to become senior security consultants and security architects.
Chief Security Officer
Aspiring individuals seeking this lucrative and enriching career path can take any one of the three pathways defined above before securing a top-level position in an organization.
The Chief Security Officer usually has an MBA degree so they are often aware of the business-related concerns of their company. In certain cases, they also coordinate with the National Institute of Standards of Technology (NIST). Most Chief Security Officers have some managerial experience running a company.
Similarly, they undertake some of the intermediate and advanced cybersecurity courses such as Certified Information Systems Auditor and Certified Information Security Manager.
What Experience is Needed for Cybersecurity Jobs?
In the computer and IT field, there is usually no prerequisite to take an entry-level course. The starting point for most individuals is to acquire CompTIA Security+ certification. Lots of individuals undertaking CompTIA Security+ also ensure that they have completed the CompTIA Network+ course so they can easily correlate security issues to the network.
Since you only need to pass an exam to get the certificate, the time to complete cybersecurity certifications depends on your current knowledge, pace, and lifestyle. A lot of people take training classes to enhance their experience before the actual exam. These classes run anywhere from one month to six months. A few experienced IT professionals buy an online course because they feel confident they can pass the test without requiring formal classroom training.
The traditional cybersecurity degree pathway to a cybersecurity job lasts anywhere between two years for an Associate Degree to 5 1/2 years before candidates can complete their Master’s coursework. However, a successful candidate always has practical experience, which helps the individual understand the dynamics of cybersecurity from a real-world’s perspective.
Anyone pursuing a cybersecurity job or getting a cybersecurity degree must understand that there are multiple pathways to enter this field. It also means that the most qualified individuals possess both theoretical and practical experience before they can climb up the corporate ladder. The training is usually provided by tech schools, training institutes, community colleges, and universities.
If you have some sort of IT experience, it’s better to take a training class in cybersecurity management so you may get hands-on experience. For career changes, entry-level IT professionals, and newly graduating students, it’s also wise to gain practical experience in a classroom environment before taking the certification exam. If you don’t have the time to take a class, consider an online classroom or a well-developed extensive course to prepare for the certification exam.
Pursuing a Career in Cybersecurity
With an estimated 1.8 million unfilled cyber jobs worldwide expected by 2022, now is the time to explore the variety of cybersecurity jobs available. Want to find out if you can be a cybersecurity professional? Learn about the University of Miami Cybersecurity Bootcamp and get on the fast track to your new career in cyber.