How To Get Into Cyber Security - The Best Way
Read all about cybersecurity degrees and how to get into cybersecurity, and what the job outlook looks like for professionals.
More and more people are asking themselves how to get into cyber security. Why? Our dependency on technology in our personal and professional lives makes the role of cyber security more vital than ever. Technology is an intricate thread woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. This means professions in cyber security and related fields are thriving and poised to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 35% employment growth for information security analysts from 2021 to 2031, with a median annual wage (for information security analysts) of $102,600 in May 2021.
What is Cyber Security?
The National Security Agency (NSA) relies on cyber professionals to help protect and defend U.S. government I.T. systems and to help exploit the intelligence of adversaries. This field protects interconnected systems and networks from digital attacks or cyber threats.
Does Cyber security sound like an exciting career opportunity? If so, read on to learn how to get into a cyber security job, including roles such as Information Security Analyst, Network Engineer, Cybersecurity Engineer, and more!
The Best Way To Get Into Cyber Security
Anyone willing to learn is capable of starting a career in cyber security, but knowing how to start is essential! It would be unusual for us here at Arizona Online not to recommend earning a degree in a cyber-security-related field. But don't just take our word for it. According to Forbes, approximately 90% of job postings in this field require a bachelor's degree in cyber security, computer science, or a related field. A traditional degree remains the most popular path to launch a cyber security career, especially if you want to get into cyber security with no experience.
Cyber Security Undergraduate Degrees
Some degree programs at accredited universities focus specifically on cyber security, while others offer cyber security as an emphasis or specialization. Arizona Online provides several degree programs that are ideal foundations for kickstarting a cyber security career.
The Cyber Operations and Intelligence and Information Operation BAS programs are administered through the College of Applied Science and Technology. They have received the National Security Agency (NSA) designation as National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) programs. The Electrical and Computer Engineering BS is ranked among the Best Undergraduate Computer Science Programs in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2021.
Cyber Security Certificate Programs
The University of Arizona also offers certifications to prove that your cyber security knowledge and experience meet stringent industry standards. These credentials can improve your marketability and earning potential as an employee. We recommend supplementing the experience you've already gained in technology with these certifications. These can give you a leg up in a competitive field. These certification programs are mainly designed for the post-baccalaureate level.
There are numerous certifications available to cyber security professionals. Below are some of the most common and relevant options.
You can also enhance your cyber security career pathway by obtaining an advanced degree such as a master’s in cyber security.
How Long Does It Take To Get Into Cyber Security?
How long it takes to find a career in cyber security depends on the path you take to get there. You have many options, from online courses a coding boot camp, or a college degree in cyber security. An undergraduate degree can take two to four years, whereas a coding boot camp could take six months to a year to complete.
Remember, though, cyber security requires lifelong learning as the industry evolves. Staying apprised of industry trends and looking for opportunities to grow and develop is recommended.
Cyber Security Skills
As a cyber security specialist, your responsibilities could include the following:
Implement security audits across the company's systems and networks to detect vulnerabilities, prevent data breaches, and monitor security systems.
The NSA looks for individuals who have backgrounds in the following fields:
- Computer Science
- Computer/Electrical Engineering
- Intelligence Analysis
Hard cybersecurity skill requirements could include:
- Programming languages like Java and Python
- Information systems
- Intrusion detection
- Cyber forensics
- Cloud computing
- Risk assessment
- Project management
Cyber Security Career & Cyber Security Salary
In this high-tech field, you must be accurate and fast and use critical thinking skills in any cybersecurity-related role you pursue. As a result, cyber security positions have a higher bar for entry-level jobs than other industries.
Below are some popular cybersecurity roles and their average annual median salaries:
Cybersecurity Engineer: $99,000
Lead Software Security Engineer: $97,000
Security Manager: $92,000
Information Security Analyst: $74,000
Security Management Specialist: $68,000
As long as digital assets exist, cybersecurity professionals will be in demand. High job security and increased earning potential show that a career in cybersecurity is worth pursuing.