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It's no secret that most cybersecurity jobs are in demand and pay well. In fact, the median base salary of a cybersecurity professional in the U.S. is about $113,158 per year, as of November 2023. But not all cybersecurity salaries are the same. Senior-level positions in the field command higher salaries and come with complex responsibilities.   

 If you're considering joining the cybersecurity field and are wondering how much your earnings could increase over the years, here's what you should know.   

Where to Find Cybersecurity Salary Information 

CyberSeek, a program funded in part by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, offers an interactive career pathways map that provides information on various domains of expertise in the cybersecurity world—such as networking, software development, and auditing—and their various entry-level jobs. The interactive tool also displays salaries for various cybersecurity roles like that of security technician, incident responder, or security analyst. 

What Your Career Path and Salary Growth Could Look Like 

Using the data from CyberSeek, let’s explore exciting jobs in cybersecurity and the degrees you’ll need to pursue them. Just over 60% of U.S. postings for jobs in this field require a bachelor's degree, with another 20% requiring a master's degree.  

Salaries for Entry-Level Jobs in Cybersecurity 

Individuals new to the field and cybersecurity professionals interested in entry-level roles with less than one year of experience and a bachelor's degree in IT, can expect an average annual salary of $69,711, while individuals with one to four years of experience and a bachelor’s degree earn an average salary of $76,887. As you look to grow your skills and climb the corporate ladder, keep in mind that income ranges can vary based on factors like education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years spent in the profession, and the location of the employer.   

Salaries for Mid-Level Jobs in Cybersecurity 

Cybersecurity professionals with five to nine years of experience earn an average annual salary of $92,302. After gaining professional work experience, and perhaps some additional education or certifications, the professional moves up to a more advanced cybersecurity analyst position. This role requires a bachelor's degree or higher in 73% of job postings, and boasts an average annual salary of $102,600

Salaries for High-Level Jobs in Cybersecurity 

Cybersecurity professionals with over 10 years of experience typically earn an average annual salary of $107,289 or more. Continuing their upward trajectory, some qualified mid-level professionals apply to be cybersecurity engineers, a role that pays about $110,575 annually. Experienced cybersecurity engineers can move up to the position of cybersecurity architect, earning around $143,779 per year. 

 The numbers show that cybersecurity jobs are both lucrative and in high demand. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects job growth in this field to grow by 32% from 2022 to 2032. And according to LinkedIn, a recent study by Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that there will be 3.5 million open cybersecurity jobs by 2025. 

Cybersecurity Salaries by Industry 

Cybersecurity experts can work in numerous industries and settings to carry out a range of responsibilities to protect an organization’s valuable data. Many cybersecurity professionals work in computer systems design and related services (25%), finance and insurance (16%), and information (10%).  

 According to the BLS, among the industries that pay the most for these experts are the information industry at an average annual salary of $131,910, finance and insurance at an average annual salary of $122,810, and computer systems design at an average annual salary of $119,270.   

Highest-Paid Cybersecurity Roles 

Cybersecurity is a field where individuals can apply specialized skills to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities, conduct maintenance on various computer systems, and lead response efforts for cyber attacks. While employers seek to hire workers with the knowledge and abilities to carry out the responsibilities assigned to cybersecurity professionals, it’s important to remember that different factors contribute to job environments, assigned tasks, and salaries in the industry.  

As you explore cybersecurity careers, take a look at some of the highest-paid roles: 

  • Malware analyst: Earning an average annual salary of $155,000, malware analysts work to identify, examine, and understand various forms of malicious software and their delivery methods. Malware may include all the diverse forms of adware, bots, bugs, rootkits, spyware, ransomware, Trojan horses, viruses, and worms. 

  • Security architect: The primary role of a security architect is to assess  organizations’ systems for weaknesses. Security architects conduct penetration tests, risk analyses, and ethical hacks on local area networks, wide area networks, and virtual private networks. They earn an average annual salary of $143,779

  • Cybersecurity engineer: With an average annual salary ranging from $110,000 to $130,000, cybersecurity engineers create and manage hardware, software, and security policies to protect systems, networks, and data. Cyber engineers incorporate electrical engineering and computer science to understand cyberspace. 

  • Cybersecurity manager/administrator: A cybersecurity manager/administrator acts as the cybersecurity team’s point person and is generally responsible for installing, administering, and troubleshooting an organization’s security solutions. Earning an average annual salary of $112,000, cybersecurity managers also write up security policies and training documents for colleagues and are responsible for the system overall, rather than specific parts. 

  • Penetration tester: This role earns an average annual salary of $92,759. The tester conducts a cybersecurity technique known as a penetration test, also called a “pen test” or “ethical hacking.” In this specific technique, the IT professional uses data to identify, test, and highlight vulnerabilities in the organization’s security posture

Starting Your Cybersecurity Career 

WGU’s bachelor’s and master’s cybersecurity degree programs are developed with input from industry experts to set you on the path to success right from the start. Competency-based learning means you can complete courses as fast as you master the material—and even use your existing knowledge to pass assessments and fast-track your degree. Plus, you’ll earn valuable industry certifications at no extra cost. This allows you to utilize both your degree and additional certifications to demonstrate your IT expertise.

If you're interested in launching a career in cybersecurity, check out WGU’s guide to cybersecurity jobs to learn more about the current market for these professionals and what your future could look like. 

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