Cyber Security Career and Salary Facts

Research what's required for a career in cyber security. Learn about necessary degrees, career options and potential earnings to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Cyber Security Analyst?

Cyber security analysts help ensure that confidential or otherwise valuable digital data is protected. As such, these professionals may help set up and monitor digital security systems that safeguard against hackers, viruses and other malicious cyber threats.

In addition to developing and overseeing protective measures, the analyst will utilize extensive computer and software knowledge to evaluate, test and identify different types of threats. If a cyber- attack is executed, the analyst will also play a major role in lessening and remedying the effects of the attack.

Extensive collaboration with security personnel and other professionals, as well as frequent presentation of findings to the company and organizational personnel, make interpersonal skills another essential asset for this career.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree for most positions; master's degree available
Education Field of Study Information security, information technology or similar field
Key Responsibilities Maintain secure electronic environment for companies, monitor cyber security threats, prevent system disruptions
Job Growth (2014-2024) 18%* (all information security analysts)
Median Salary (2017) $75,118** ('cyber security analyst')

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale

What Types of Cyber Security Degree Programs Are Available?

While cyber security as an educational field is still relatively new, a host of applicable programs is available. One popular program is the Master of Science in Cyber Security degree program. In this type of program, you'll study the methods and means of protecting the informational assets of a company or organization. You'll enroll in courses that cover computer network system architecture, computer forensics, firewall applications and the latest trends in hacking and other threats. You'll also explore the laws and ethics behind cyber security and cyber terrorism.

What Types of Jobs Can I Apply For?

This degree program will help prepare you for a range of information technology security positions. One such position would be a chief security officer. Another possible career title would be cyber security operations analyst. In both of these positions, your primary responsibilities would center around maintaining a secure electronic environment for your company or organization as well as monitoring and preventing cyber security threats and system disruptions.

In addition to these corporate employment opportunities, you might also be able to work for the federal government. The Department of Homeland Security employs numerous cyber security specialists in various occupational roles involving safeguarding the national information infrastructure and preventing national and international cyber security attacks (www.dhs.gov).

What Could I Expect to Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for all information security analysts was $90,120 as of May 2015. PayScale estimates the average salary for cyber security analysts specifically at $75,118 as of January 2017.

The BLS also states that employment opportunities for this field should increase by 18% or more between 2014 and 2024. This growth in jobs is larger than the average for other industries. Further, according to the BLS the computer systems design industry is the top employer for this profession, based on the number of individuals employed.

What Are Some Related Alternative Occupations?

Cyber security analysts are part of the larger field of information security analysts. A general information security analyst and/or information security specialist's responsibilities may heavily emphasize cyber security, but the job may be more extensive and encompass protecting all of a company's data, including hard data. Like the cyber security analyst, he or she will research and gather information to develop sound security solutions and recommend organizational policies.

In the cyber realm, you might consider a career in IT development and management. These individuals will often be influential in security measures, but their overall duties encompass the efficient development and operation of cyber systems. As such, they might oversee company websites, digital communication tools, data storage systems, digital infrastructure and also troubleshoot computer-related problems.

Other bachelor's-level computer-focused occupations that emphasize the development and/or supervision of digital systems and data include computer programmers, computer network architects, database administrators and software developers.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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