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Cybersecurity Jobs: Career Options to Consider

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If you have ever wondered what it’s like to work in an exciting new career path, then computer and information security is a potential choice. This articles explores some of the most popular career propositions along with the descriptions of their specific requirements. It can be an useful introduction to the industry as the individual offerings can showcase just how varied cybersecurity can be.

Cybersecurity Jobs Available Everywhere

The cybersecurity field is one of the best places to find an attractive career option. Job seekers will find that this is one of the spheres where the demand is high and the propositions lucrative. Last year according to several reports there were one million cybersecurity jobs posted. The HR specialists and the technology industry speculate that this figure will rise to about 6 million vacancies by 2019. This is one of the highest growing spheres that are currently being tracked globally by experts.

The different companies and corporations usually employ the specialist as part of a dedicated team or under the guidance of a senior network/computer administrator. Depending on the position the average salary for someone working in the industry can range from 110,000 to 160,000 USD. And higher positions are very likely to negotiate salaries that are sometimes beyond the top salaries that are offered to programmers and managers.

Chief Information Security Engineer (CISO)

This is probably one of the most well-known professions in the industry. The CISO is the security director of an establishment that coordinates the overall information and computer security strategy. This is the senior-level position that supervises all major processes that involve the security of the company or organization. Usually the professional is involved with working with the on and off site emergency response team when a threat has been identified.

Other areas which are the domain of the CISO include disaster recovery, privacy control, information risk management and all manners of IT investigations that are related to security incidents. According to one report the median salary of the CISO’s was 131 322 USD in 2015.

Related Story: CISO Demand Drives CISO Salaries up to €1 Million

Security Architect

The security architect is another important senior-level employee that is primarily responsible for managing the computer and network infrastructure. These specialists are involved in the planning of the network layout and supervise the addition and removal of individual components and resources when an impact is made to the overall structure.

The security architects are the people who purchase and integration of new technologies and security products into the network. Their median salary is about 120 000 USD.

Security Engineer

Security engineers are the the main workforce of the cybersecurity team. They are mid-level employees responsible for the maintenance of IT security of the organization. They test the new components, configure the solutions and report to higher-ranking employees when incidents are required. Depending on the organization a security manager can be hired to coordinate a team of security engineers. They earn around 87 000 US Dollars according to a 2015 report.

Computer Forensics Expert

They are responsible for analyzing evidence during investigation of a security incident or an intrusion attempt. They work closely with law enforcement and may be hired specifically for a case in particular. a forensics expert usually works for a specialist company. Depending on the negotiated terms they may draft reports, offer expert testimony in trials and offer security training and courses to company employees on the basic security principles. Their median salary is rated at 90 000 USD.

Certified Ethical Hacker

These professionals, otherwise simply known as “hackers for hire” are among the most sought out experts in the industry. Their role in defending the corporate network and all assets revolves around their skills in conducting penetration testing among other methods. They continuously monitor how malicious users intrude into networks and use that knowledge to work with the rest of the security team to set up adequate protection.

Among other things they are proficient at auditing the most common types of intrusion attempts: social engineering, Trojans, insider attacks, phishing and etc. According to a PayScale survey they earn an average salary of 84 000 USD.

Malware Analyst

Malware analysts are responsible for investigating virus attacks of all sorts: worms, bots, ransomware, Trojans, adware and etc. They work closely with forensics experts during large-scale investigations and reveal the behavior patterns of the captured samples. Their duties include conducting static and dynamic analysis of the malware in order to identify if they have any correlation with known samples “in the wild”. The analysts can reveal the source of the threats by tracing the intrusion location. Their median salary in 2015 was reported to be 75 000 US Dollars.

Penetration Tester

Penetration Testers are usually professionals hired from outside companies. They use automated and manual tools to find weaknesses in the security of the establishment. If an successful intrusion is performed the possible consequences of a malicious hacker attack are noted in a report that is given to the CISO or another professional who is responsible for the negotiation of the testers contract.

As expected regular penetration testing checks are now a standard among policies worldwide. The specialists involved in these activities can expect to earn a median salary of 79 000 US Dollars.

Cybersecurity Specialists

These are the entry level positions that are also known as cybersecurity technicians. Based on their experience and knowledge they can progress further into the career and become analysts, consultants or testers. The specialists are employed under the control of the organization to carry out routine tasks that cannot be automated in an efficient way.

Right now the demand for them is high, the median salary is about 81 000 USD.

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Related Story: Top 5 Future Cyberattacks Already Happening Now

Cybersecurity Certification ‒ Jumpstart Your Career

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing fields right now and this has lead to the availability of a number of certification programs. A lot of them are now being accredited by large enterprises, government institutions and companies worldwide. By choosing an appropriate certificate prospective employees can jump start their career. Some of them are led by industry associations, others by well-known vendors that have created their own routine of work. All of the programs give insight on securing the network and provide the best practices.

CompTIA Security+

This is one of the most popular entry-level certifications that are given to new entrants to the field. Successful completion of the program gives the holders information on the most important topics related to securing an enterprise: network security oversight, vulnerability control, application and host security, access controls, identity management and cryptography.

The program is recommended for beginner cybersecurity specialists and IT administrators in general. Some of the companies and institutions that use CompTIA Security+ include: U.S. Department of Defense, Apple, HP, Dell, IBM and Intel.

ISC2 SSCP (Systems Security Certified Practitioner)

This certification is awarded when the provided in-depth exam has been successfully complete. The organization tests the individuals and their knowledge of the most important areas of security. The weight of the test is divided into 7 main topics:

  1. Access Controls ‒ Implementation of authentication mechanisms and operating the required architecture.
  2. Security Operations and Administration ‒ Complying with the code of ethics, basic security concepts, asset management and security awareness.
  3. Risk Identification, Monitoring, and Analysis ‒ performing assessment activities, operating monitoring systems and analyzing the results.
  4. Incident Response and Recovery ‒ Handling incidents and working with forensic investigators and data recovery procedures.
  5. Cryptography ‒ Understanding cryptography fundamentals and implementing such systems in the corporate network.
  6. Networks and Communications Security ‒ Understanding network security issues, protecting telecommunications, controlling network access and implementing new devices.
  7. Systems and Application Security ‒ identifying and analyzing malware, implementing device security, cloud services and virtual environments.

The listed areas of cybersecurity expertise display the basic foundation required by every organization. The SSCP exam is commissioned to employees that are actively engaged with security matters of all kinds in a given company or institution.

GIAC Security Essentials

The Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC) Security Essentials certificate is one of the most widely recognized certificates that have been prepared to deal with the security aspects in IT. Completion of the exams will give the holders in-depth knowledge beyond the basics needed by every government institution or enterprise environment. The following fields are components of the tests:

Access Control & Password Management, Active Defense, Advanced Persistent Threat, Contingency Plans, Critical Controls, Cryptography, Cryptography Algorithms & Deployment, Cryptography Application, Defense in Depth, Defensible Network Architecture, Endpoint Security, Enforcing Windows Security Policy, Incident Handling and Response, IT Risk Management, Linux Security: Structure, Permissions and Access, Linux Services: Hardening and Securing, Linux: Monitoring and Attack Detection, Linux: Security Utilities, Log Management & SIEM, Malicious Code & Exploit Mitigation, Network Device Security, Network Security Devices, Networking & Protocols, Securing Windows Network Services, Security Policy, Virtualization and Cloud Security, Vulnerability Scanning and Penetration Testing, Web Communication Security, Windows Access Controls, Windows Automation, Auditing, and Forensics, Windows Security Infrastructure, Windows Service Packs, Hotfixes, and Backups & Wireless Network Security

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Related Story: The Most Popular Hacking Tools in 2017

The Cybersecurity Industry Is Ever Expanding

Among the IT industry one of the fastest growing spheres is security. As the threats to both enterprise, vendors and government institutions are ever rising, so are the needs for qualified security experts and managers. This is the reason why cybersecurity is one of the most rewarding fields when it comes to both salaries and career options.

Many universities around the world have already started to offer Masters and PhD programs that research contemporary and future issues on an academic level. Likewise the industry and several vendors offer their own certification for practical and theoretical skills.

Information about the salaries were gathered from the University of San Diego, CyberSeek & PayScale.

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Martin Beltov

Martin graduated with a degree in Publishing from Sofia University. As a cyber security enthusiast he enjoys writing about the latest threats and mechanisms of intrusion.

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