Top-Paying Cybersecurity Jobs
There are few industries in which you are practically guaranteed to earn a high salary and enjoy a stable, long career — and cybersecurity is one of them. With some of the highest-paying jobs outside the medical field, cybersecurity is a top pick of those looking for jobs of the future. Even entry-level cybersecurity salaries tend to be higher than in other industries, and as you work your way up, you'll find more and more opportunities.
Ambitious professionals can start right here: We've explored the Burning Glass Technologies database and information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to put together a list of eight of the highest-paying jobs in the cybersecurity industry.
8. Network Systems Administrator
Networks are everywhere, from banks and schools to Wall Street and U.S. government offices — and all networks need security. Network systems administrators are a crucial part of network security; they have a broad knowledge of local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), and internet networks. The duties of network systems administrators include monitoring, maintaining, and updating hardware and software, as well as creating and implementing network security solutions, often working under security engineers or information systems security managers. This is one of the industry's highest-paying jobs without a degree; many employers will only require a certificate program and the appropriate experience.
7. Database Administrator
Like networks, databases are ever-present in today's business world. Many organizations use databases to store sensitive financial and customer information — a popular target for hackers. This is where database administrators come in. It is their job to ensure that data is secure, yet also available to those who need it. They use knowledge of database design, structured query language (SQL), and specific database management systems (DBMS) to store and organize a company's data and protect it from theft. Database administrators typically earn a bachelor's degree at minimum, with higher earning potential for those who achieve a master's degree. Certifications in networking and in DBMS like Oracle, Microsoft Access, and Microsoft SQL Server will also help database administrators get ahead.
6. Information Security Analyst
In the first half of 2017 alone, more than 6 billion personal records were exposed through cyberattacks, according to a study by Risk Based Security. And the Ponemon Institute reported that the number of records being compromised is increasing with each attack. However, they also note "the faster the data breach can be identified and contained, the lower the costs." Enter the information security analyst. This cybersecurity job involves a variety of tasks, which might include installing and updating software, penetration testing, monitoring the organization's networks, and implementing cybersecurity best practices. Above all, information security analysts must be analytical and innovative, with the ability to stay one step ahead as hackers become more and more sophisticated.
5. Network Architect
With the word "architect" in the name, you might expect this position to build things — and you'd be right. Network architects design and build data connections, which can range from two computers across the hall from each other to multiple business offices around the world. Like network systems administrators, network architects have extensive knowledge of LAN, WAN, and internet and intranet networks. Experience with cloud networks is increasingly required as businesses adopt these convenient — yet vulnerable — systems. Network architects must also have experience with information security practices and protocols, as these must be kept in mind when designing a network. They typically have earned a bachelor's degree or higher and hold advanced networking and cybersecurity certifications.
4. Network Security Engineer
While the security analyst most often works on the "attack" side, performing penetration testing to find weaknesses in a system, the security engineer is on the side of the "defense." First and foremost, security engineers are responsible for building strong security systems that can withstand cyberattacks. They will also respond to any security issues that the security analyst (or a separate penetration tester) may find, constantly improving an organization's security practices and protocols. Together, these cybersecurity positions ensure that an organization's information remains secure and uncorrupted. Network security engineers enjoy a salary that is nearly as high as an upper-level management position, due to the extensive education and experience required and the high amount of responsibility.
3. Information Systems Security Manager
While an analytical mindset and technical skills are always important in this industry, so-called soft skills are just as important in order to reach the best cybersecurity jobs. Soft skills include things like organization and communication, and in the race for the top cybersecurity positions, there is one skill that is particularly high in demand: project management. As an information systems security manager, you'll put your management skills to use overseeing a team of IT professionals that is responsible for determining an organization's security goals and implementing the proper systems. This is a mid-level management job, typically reporting to the security director or CISO, and is frequently a stepping stone to those top spots.
2. Application Security Engineer
Surprised by the salary for this non-management position? The role of application security engineer is highly specialized, and is a relatively new position that has emerged as large companies begin to create their own proprietary applications. It also requires in-depth, yet broad, knowledge of many aspects of information technology, including application architecture, penetration testing, cryptography, authentication, programming, and more. This means that those with the right skills and experience can command a high premium from companies looking to secure their software — and many larger organizations employ just such specialized security professionals. This is an ideal up-and-coming cybersecurity career goal for those who are interested in developing a broad knowledge of the industry.
1. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
While there are a range of salaries in cybersecurity tied to things like experience and even the city you live in, Chief Information Security Officers are consistently at the top of the ladder. Sometimes, a company may choose a title such as Security Director, but the responsibilities are similar: these senior-level professionals are responsible for overseeing every aspect of information security in an organization, from staffing and budget to creating strategies and protocols and assigning tasks. Ambition is rewarded for those who pursue this leadership position — these information security salaries are some of the highest in the industry, and CISOs may even get a seat at the table of the Board of Directors along with other chief executives.
The question "How much does a job in cybersecurity pay?" has a simple answer: the sky is the limit if you have the ambition and drive to gain the experience and credentials you need. Whether you're just starting out in your cybersecurity career or are looking for a way to step up your game — and your salary — these eight high-paying cybersecurity jobs are sure to lead you to a rewarding and lucrative career.