Career Path Series: Cybersecurity

Laptop open and running cybersecurity scan

The issue of cybersecurity continues to be a hot topic in national news and companies are increasingly looking for qualified professionals with computer and network security experience. As of May 2021, there are about 500,000 jobs available in cybersecurity according to CyberSeek, a tech job-tracking database from the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is clear cybersecurity professionals are needed in all industries including financial institutions, governments, and healthcare organizations. The median annual salary for an advanced level information security analyst according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is $103,590.

These are some careers paths you can take in the cybersecurity industry according to CyberSeek:

  • Cyber Crime Analyst or Investigator
  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Cybersecurity Management
  • Security Auditor
  • Cybersecurity Specialist
  • Cybersecurity Consultant

So what kind of education does someone need for a career in cybersecurity? 

Certifications are a great way to break into the field. Let’s explore a few that will prepare you for a job in cybersecurity. 

CompTIA Network+ and COMPTIA Security+

If you are looking to get into an entry-level cybersecurity position or are already in the IT field, Network+ or Security+ through CompTIA is a good place to start. These credentials arm you with basic IT security knowledge. Certification holders are able to: 

  • Design and implement functional networks
  • Configure, manage, and maintain essential network devices
  • Use devices such as switches and routers to segment network traffic and create resilient networks
  • Identify benefits and drawbacks of existing network configurations
  • Implement network security, standards, and protocols
  • Troubleshoot network problems
  • Support the creation of virtualized networks

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

CEH certification, offered through the EC-Council, teaches you how to think and act like a hacker. You’ll have hands-on hacking challenges and go through real-time scenarios. Topics include:

  • Hacking technologies that target cloud computing technology, mobile platforms and the latest operating systems
  • Coverage of the latest vulnerabilities, malware and viruses
  • Information security laws and standards

This certification is for the more advanced IT professional. 

Although certifications are a great way to stay relevant in the industry, you can’t forget about the value of a degree. With cyber-attacks on the rise, colleges and universities are now making it a priority to offer degrees in cybersecurity both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Most employers like to see a combination of both formal education and professional credentials. Some degree programs even build certifications into the curriculum. If you are looking to get into a management-level role, most companies prefer you hold a degree. 

University of Maryland Global Campus, a member of the EdAssist Education Network, offers a variety of online cybersecurity degrees and certificates. UMGC has been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Recognition from these agencies assures quality standards in cybersecurity education. 

Cybersecurity is a growing career path and, as this blog demonstrates, there are a number of ways to get your foot in the door. Start by researching the different kinds of cybersecurity careers available, and the skills, knowledge, and certifications they require. Armed with this information, you can then decide how you want to approach your education and training. 

Reference:

New Horizons: "The Best Cybersecurity Certifications to Boost Your Career in 2019"

Written by: Stephanie Delanois

May 26, 2021

About the Author

Stephanie Delanois headshot

Stephanie joined Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions in 2018. She previously worked at Merrimack College in the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies advising transfer students and adult learners. Stephanie holds a master’s in Education.