An Expert’s Advice for Starting a Career in Cybersecurity

An Expert’s Advice for Starting a Career in Cybersecurity

Cyber-attacks, phishing scams, security breaches, and alleged hacking of payment cards make headlines every day in new reports. As the world becomes heavily reliant on technology, homes and businesses contain interlinked devices making it more important than ever to safeguard against cyber-attacks.  Cybersecurity refers to how computers, hardware, and software are protected from a potential threat. This could be through technology, processes, and measures instituted in homes and businesses to reduce the impact of a cyber-attack.

Official estimates put the cybersecurity job growth at 37% per year at least through to 2022. Experts have also estimated the global Middle East and Africa Cyber Security Market to reach USD 66.5 billion by 2025 — a healthy growth rate of more than 15.62% over the forecast period 2018-2025.

The main reason why cybersecurity is seen as the job of the future is that the Internet of Things is rapidly developing, putting the interconnected world at a threat. Already, the cybersecurity labor crunch is expected to hit 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021, according to Forbes. The systems, networks, and devices interconnected by the internet remain insecure as criminals, terrorists, and hostile states continue to get sophisticated at exploiting vulnerabilities.

These threats yield inevitable results, including stolen identities, emptied bank accounts, phishing scams, compromised credit cards, and massive intellectual property theft. More ominous is the physical risk of hacked home door locks, hacked implantable medical devices, and intrusions into the most critical infrastructure. According to Serianu, a Kenya-based IT and business advisory firm, cybercrimes cost African economies $3.5 billion in 2017. This means there is no end in sight for the rapidly developing demand for white hats to detect, block, and mitigate the constant streams of attacks.

The demand for various skill sets in the industry ranks as one of the most difficult. This article shall give you an expert insight into how to build a career in cyberspace.

Starting a Career in Cybersecurity

There is no linear path to a successful career in cybersecurity. Some people enter the security field straight from college, while others transition through organizations’ IT role. No matter where you begin, you need to understand how the technology works before learning how to secure and protect it. If you want to pursue a cybersecurity career, you can consider the opportunities in the following jobs.

Application Security Engineer

An Application Security Engineer tops the list of the most lucrative opportunities available in the cybersecurity career choice. An ASE specializes solely in securing all the software used within an organization and ensuring that all privacy and compliance requirements are implemented and followed.

With the growing use of software in businesses, the Application Security Engineering function also grows to ensure that organizations comply with all security requirements. Being a highly specialized role, a specialist fetches a net of $100,000 to $250,000. If you already want a specific area of specialization that fetches you lucrative returns, ASE is the area to consider.

IS Security Engineer

Information System Security Engineer is among the highest paid professionals in cybersecurity. The position fetches a net salary ranging between $90,000 and $150,000. The IS Security Engineer is responsible for determining system security requirements in an organization. Their job is to design the security infrastructure and determine the appropriate resources to align with existing functionalities in an organization. To become a fully-fledged ISSE, you should acquire certifications such as the Information System Security Engineering Professional (ISSEP).

Penetration Tester

Penetration testing or ethical hacking is the practice of testing a computer system network to look for possible vulnerabilities in the system that an attacker can exploit. A Penetration Tester’s work is to gather adequate information about the target before the test, identify possible entry points, and report back the findings.

Organizations seeking to look into their vulnerabilities daily should hire full-time experts. If you decide to become a Penetration Tester, you can seek employment in an organization as an employee or consultant. The average salary in the market ranged between $80,000 and $130,000. With the increasing demand for the role, the rates are bound to increase.

Network Security Analyst

A Network Security Analyst lists one of the highest-paying jobs in the industry, attracting a net annual salary of $90,000 and $150,000. The main role of a Network Security Analyst includes designing, implementing, and maintaining computer information systems. They monitor networks to detect suspicious activities and take precautionary measures to defend the networks.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the Network Security Analyst has reported the highest growth, with the employment rates expected to be 18% by 2024. If you want to enhance your competitive advantage in the market, you can advance us IT kills by acquiring Privacy certification such as CIPP and CIPT.

Cybersecurity Analyst

A cybersecurity analyst is an information security analyst with the mandate of protecting the use of cyberspace from potential cyber-attacks. A cybersecurity Analyst plans, implements, and monitors security measures such as malware, denial-of-service attacks, viruses, and hacks, on a company’s website and computer networks.

The average annual salary for a cybersecurity Analyst ranges between $90,000 and $185,000, making it a lucrative opportunity to pursue. The salary range also varies based on the needs of a business and the expertise needs. To enhance your competitiveness and gain the relevant skills for a cybersecurity Analyst, you can pursue a Certified Information Security Manager certificate.

The Future of Cybersecurity Jobs

According to the PwC Global Economic Crime Survey, cybercrime is ranked as the second most reported economic crime in the modern age. To mitigate the increasing risks posed by cyberspace, security experts’ demand will continue to increase, creating an arena of cybersecurity experts to detect fraud, malware, and cyber-attacks. The future will demand experts to work alongside artificial intelligence to increase their ability to detect and thwart breaches.

Keeping up with the cybersecurity industry’s demands will be a difficult job for those who do not invest in Artificial Intelligence and next-gen firewalls to enhance the ability to detect new threats as they evolve. Social engineering will continue to pose a huge security threat as the human factor weakens in many cybersecurity environments. As global enterprises start embracing AI technology, cybersecurity experts will be required to increase their interaction with AI to improve their skill set in meeting the demand for specialized expertise in cyber-security environments.

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About the Author

Angela RP is a marketing executive at Reciprocity Labs, a brand leader in helping other businesses navigate risk, data security, and compliance. Contact her via  


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