Computer hackers are everywhere, waiting for a chance to access, change, or destroy sensitive information. Hackers often also try to extort money from users and interrupt normal business processes. These attacks are prevented by cyber security professionals. Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and programs from these digital attackers. Cyber security professionals utilize software and technology to help them protect against attacks. They also help educate people on the best security practices for keeping digital assets safe.
The first step to getting a cybersecurity job is to familiarize yourself with information technology and cybersecurity practices. This is often done best by getting an IT degree, like computer science, cyber security, or information systems. Western Governors University has an online cybersecurity degree that can be perfect for those just starting out in the IT world. This degree will cover many IT basics, while giving specific training on cyber security. A bachelor’s degree is the obvious first place to start, but often a master’s degree in IT can help propel your career. Whether you choose to pursue the bachelor’s or master’s degree in cyber security at WGU, you’ll have the opportunity to get cybersecurity certifications, which can help legitimize your training and give your more specific knowledge about programs or networks. Many employers are looking for a cyber expert who can tackle many security systems, and learn new ones on the go.
There are hundreds of jobs that are available for individuals with a cybersecurity degree. From security in the military, to private tech companies, the possibilities are endless. These days, most large companies require a cyber security professional to help protect their online programs and networks, so the industry you choose to work in can vary based on your skills and interest. Some job titles within the cyber security field include; security analyst, security architect, security software developer, cryptographer, forensics expert, vulnerability assessor, chief information security officer, and more.
Most cybersecurity professionals spend roughly 40 hours a week in the office for full-time employment. However, during technology releases or program updates there are often longer hours required. Sometimes systems need updates or maintenance overnight, over weekends, etc. This requires that cyber security professionals sometimes have different hours than regular 9-5 workers. Cyber security professionals also may be required to be on-call to have consistent security against digital attackers. Work-from-home options are often available for these professionals as their work is primarily online, and often can be accomplished remotely. The work culture for cybersecurity jobs is often laid-back but with important, solid deadlines.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median salary for information security professionals is about $95,510 per year. The longer professionals are in the field, or the higher degree and certifications they have, the more they were paid. Because cyber security is a growing field, the job outlook is fantastic. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sites about 28% job growth over the next several years, which is much faster than most industries. Almost every industry requires a form of cyber security, so the need for good professionals will continue to exist in all kinds of companies.
So the bottom-line question remains, is cyber security a good career path to choose? With the easy access to education and certifications from institutions like Western Governors University, the good pay and work culture, and the ability to help protect organizations, the answer seems simple. YES, cyber security would be an excellent career field to pursue for many individuals.