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Career Spotlight: Cybersecurity

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There are many career paths in cybersecurity, as well as many different roles available within this dynamic field. Regardless of the exact nature of the work, the goal of all cybersecurity professionals is to protect data from compromise, corruption and loss. This work is increasingly important as data continues to fuel business across all industries.

Cybersecurity professionals also help guard against financial loss, which is a growing concern. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), there were reported losses in excess of $2.7 billion due to cybercrime in 2018 alone. This is up from $1.3 billion in reported losses in 2016.

What does a cybersecurity professional do?  

Cybersecurity careers are diverse, spanning a range of responsibilities and titles. This is largely determined by the needs and structure of the organization. A few potential titles include Database Administrator, Computer Network Architects, Information Security Analysts and Computer and Information Systems Manager.

Cybersecurity professionals may monitor their organization’s network for weaknesses and investigate any detected violations. They may develop security standards, set best practices and conduct testing to locate vulnerabilities. Depending on the nature of the role, a cybersecurity professional could also be involved in making technology decisions, recommending company-wide security enhancements and preparing reports for leadership.

Those interested in a more entrepreneurial route can also forge a career in this field. Cybersecurity consultants may work with companies to protect their information security systems, assist once a breach has happened or help an organization comply with regulations. Read this interview with a cybersecurity Consultant to learn more about this career path.

How do you become a cybersecurity professional?

There are many ways to pursue a career in cybersecurity, so the exact path you take depends on your interests and goals. Additionally, each organization will have their own set of requirements in terms of education and experience. Typically, however, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information assurance, programming or other cybersecurity related field. Sometimes, however, a master’s or doctoral degree is required, especially for more senior positions.

Many organizations place an emphasis on work related experience as well. This can take many forms, such as working as a database administrator, within an information technology department or as a network and computer systems administrator. Often times the required experience must align with the responsibilities of the role. For instance, a database security job will likely prefer database related experience.

Additionally, some employers may prefer candidates with information security certifications or other industry certificates. Often times a job candidate may also be asked to perform a system audit or complete some type of proficiency test to illustrate their level of skills.

Career potential and degree information

Career potential varies based on title, but given our growing reliance on data and the importance of protecting it, this field is likely to see growth. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of information security analysts is expected to grow 28 percent by between 2016 and 2026. This level of growth is considered much faster in compared to other occupations, illustrating the growing need within the industry.

Please visit our School of Technology page to learn more about cybersecurity and related technology degrees.