The cybersecurity field is one of the fastest-growing industries, with 33% job growth expected before 2030. Not only is the field growing much faster than average, but there's also a huge skills gap, with a current shortage of 2.7 million workers. Because of the expanding industry and increasing skills shortage, cybersecurity professionals are highly in-demand and well-paid.
In this article, we'll cover what cybersecurity is, what qualifications you need to work in cybersecurity, and how you can get a job in cybersecurity. You'll also learn what certifications you need, if bootcamps are worth it, and how much cybersecurity analysts make.
What Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity involves protecting computer networks, systems, and resources from attacks by malicious actors. Hackers usually try to access, steal, or destroy sensitive, valuable information in these attacks, with the intent of stealing or extorting money or interrupting business.
Protecting networks, systems, and devices is both more difficult and more crucial than ever because of the digital transformation and the shift to remote work and cloud computing. People access networks from all over the world and frequently switch between devices. An employee might begin a task on a laptop, switch to a tablet to work on the go, and then finish up back at the office on a desktop. All of these devices and access points need to be protected, which is the job of cybersecurity professionals.
What Do Cybersecurity Analysts Do?
A cybersecurity analyst's specific day-to-day job duties will vary depending on what type of organization they work for and whether they're securing resources or responding to threats. In general, though, a cybersecurity analyst will perform some or all of the following tasks:
Evaluating and monitoring access for best security practices involving passwords, employees' behavior, log-ins, firewalls, and security standards
Assessing network security to check for vulnerabilities and weak spots by performing risk analysis
Mitigating any risks that they find
Performing security audits or working with outside organizations to facilitate security audits
Creating and implementing security recovery plans in the case of a data breach
Identifying any security breaches after they occur and following notification protocols
Working with outside vendors to ensure products meet security standards
Is It Hard To Get a Job in Cybersecurity?
With the 2.7 million worker shortage, as noted above, there are openings in every industry. There are jobs available at every level, from help desk technicians to chief information security officers (CISO). Many entry-level jobs don't require a degree at all while some advanced positions require a master's degree as well as extensive experience.
If you're looking for an entry-level job in cybersecurity, your best option is to build your knowledge while pursuing a beginning certification such as CompTIA Security+. Although it's possible to get a job without certification, it's much easier if you can show you have the skills and knowledge to do the job well. The cybersecurity field offers excellent opportunities for advancement, so once you gain some experience, you can obtain additional certifications and move up to positions with more authority and responsibility.
How Much Do Cybersecurity Analysts Make?
How much you can expect to make will depend on how much experience you have. The average salary for entry-level cybersecurity jobs is $63,235, while experienced cybersecurity analysts earn an average of $112,984.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Work in Cybersecurity?
The qualifications you need to work in cybersecurity depend on what job you want. As mentioned above, many entry-level jobs don't require a degree. However, high-level positions may require a bachelor's or even master's degree. Cybersecurity is a major concern for all organizations because so much is at stake.
Privately owned businesses stand to lose their reputations, money, and business if their security is compromised. Publicly traded companies are held to even higher standards and can face criminal penalties for not following protocols to ensure transparency and security in handling data. Because of the high stakes, most companies have high standards for upper-level cybersecurity positions.
An industry-standard certification such as CompTIA Security+ will help you get your first job. When you have several years of experience, there are advanced certifications that you can obtain to qualify for higher-level positions.
Whether you choose to get a college degree or attend a bootcamp, you'll need to be able to recognize and mitigate security threats in the following areas to work in cybersecurity:
Identity verification and access management
Security assessment and testing
How Do I Get Started With a Cybersecurity Career?
There are two main ways you can get qualified to work in cybersecurity: a college degree program or a bootcamp. A college degree can take four years and costs an average of $35,331 per year, including living expenses. With a bachelor's degree, you'll also be taking general education classes that are unrelated to cybersecurity.
A bootcamp, on the other hand, only covers the skills you need to get started in cybersecurity. Because of its more limited scope, bootcamps can be completed in much less time and for a fraction of the cost. For instance, the University of Maryland Global Campus Cybersecurity Bootcamp can be completed in six months for about a third of the cost of one year of college.
Do Cyber Security Bootcamps Help You Get a Job?
Cyber security bootcamps prepare you to pass certification exams, which are required for many jobs. Hiring managers view certifications as very important when they're deciding whom to hire. Good bootcamps will also help you figure out how to start a career in cybersecurity by providing resources that will help you prepare your resume and practice your interviewing skills. The UMGC Cybersecurity Bootcamp provides students with 1:1 career mentoring to ensure you're prepared for your job search.
How Do I Get Started in My Cybersecurity Job Search?
The most important step in getting started with your cybersecurity job search is passing the certification test. The 100% online Cybersecurity Bootcamp with UMGC consists of three technical units that will teach you everything you need to know to pass the globally-recognized CompTIA Security+ certification. You'll also have access to career coaches and a curriculum that will teach you how to research jobs, build a cyber resume, and stand out in your interviews.
You can start your job search by applying to one of the over 52,000 cybersecurity jobs posted on Indeed.com or other job search websites. Attending meetups and other networking events will help raise your profile and get your name in front of hiring managers. Additionally, creating and maintaining a professional profile on sites such as LinkedIn will offer you opportunities to meet other professionals and make connections that can help you land a job.
Take the First Step Towards a Career in Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is a booming field that pays well and has many opportunities. As more organizations complete digital transformations, the need to protect computer networks, systems, and resources grows exponentially. In the US, there are now more devices than people, which makes cybersecurity more challenging than ever. Companies have to balance providing their customers with convenience and protecting their personal information. Additionally, they have to ensure their corporate data is protected from bad actors.
If you're wondering how to get a job in cybersecurity, bootcamps such as the UMGC Cybersecurity Bootcamp help prepare you to pass the certification you need to break into this lucrative field. With a comprehensive curriculum that covers all of the core principles of cybersecurity as well as the personalized career resources, you'll be prepared to start building a rewarding career.