How to Score High-Paying Cybersecurity Jobs
When you think of high-income jobs, professions like doctor and lawyer probably come to mind. But lately, there has been a new contender among the ranks of these traditional high-earning jobs: the tech industry. There are many different sub-categories you can get into, from software development to data science, but if you're looking for the highest-paying tech jobs, look no further than cybersecurity. We're about to show you how to score those coveted positions.
You don't just jump into cybersecurity at the top of the field. You'll need to develop a good foundation in basic IT and networking principles, from installation and configuration to firewalls and cryptography. You'll also want to master at least one programming language, like Java or Python. But that's just the beginning — much like cybersecurity salaries, it can seem like there is no limit to the things you can learn. According to CompTIA's report, International Technology Adoption and Workforce Trends, U.S. employers listed networking and infrastructure knowledge as the most important "hard" skills, in addition to database management and web application development.
Don't forget about your soft skills
As you pursue more cybersecurity job growth and want to advance in your career, you'll find that employers are looking for more than just expert system administration, cryptography, and coding skills. The International Technology Adoption and Workforce Trends report also notes that U.S. employers rated project management and excellent communication skills (including writing and speaking) highly on the list of in-demand soft skills. Technical writing is one area that is particularly useful for cybersecurity and information security careers, helping you write crystal-clear code comments, communicate with upper management, and present your own great project ideas.
Get the right certifications
The field of cybersecurity has some of the highest-paying jobs you can get without a degree, but you'll still need the right certifications to prove your skills. If you're looking for top-paying information security jobs, you're probably more advanced on your career path. Consider expert-level certifications like Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), designed for those who create policies and procedures, or Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), for those in management roles. The CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) credential can also be useful for those seeking employment with the U.S. Department of Defense. And you can even earn certifications for some of the soft skills we mentioned, like project management.
With the right experience and credentials, it's time to take your career to the next level. Make sure you read the job description thoroughly and include similar keywords in your resume. For example, if the job description mentions "intrusion detection" or "IDS/IPS," use those exact words in your resume. Each resume and cover letter should be tailored to a specific employer and job description — don't get caught with a "one size fits all" mindset. Once your awesome resume gets your foot in the door, prepare as much as possible for your interview. Research the company and come up with a list of questions about their culture, policies, and procedures. And much like you do with your resume, align your talking points to the job description and make sure you highlight your relevant skills.
You've already made a great career move by choosing to specialize in cybersecurity. Even at the entry level, cybersecurity salary ranges are higher than what you would make at the same level in many other industries. However, at the top of the ladder, the competition can be tough. Keeping your skills and certifications up to date — and working on new skills you never even knew you needed — are key to scoring the best-paying cybersecurity jobs. So, how much money can you make in cybersecurity, anyway? You're about to find out.