Cybersecurity has become one of the most in-demand career paths in the United States and globally. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the number of vacant cybersecurity positions worldwide increased by 350% between 2013 and 2021. Additionally, the company reported that in 2023, approximately 750,000 cybersecurity jobs have already gone unfilled in the United States. As these statistics indicate, the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals has far outpaced the number of available workers.1
Cybersecurity jobs are numerous and professionals are in high demand because they safeguard confidential data, devices, and networks from cybercriminals and other unauthorized users.2 Cybersecurity falls under the broader umbrella of information technology (IT). This term refers to developing and managing hardware, software, and other integrated technology.3 This article explores cybersecurity career opportunities and best practices in cybersecurity and IT.
Cybersecurity career paths and specializations
Does your dream job involve working in a security operations center? Fortunately for you, cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field with diverse career opportunities. Common cybersecurity jobs can include:4
- IT program auditor: IT program auditors evaluate a company’s IT program or cybersecurity protocols to ensure they comply with industry standards and legal regulations.
- Security architect: A career as a security architect or cybersecurity engineer involves designing security measures for enterprise architecture according to stakeholder requirements. Similarly you could work as a security software developer creating applications to protect computer networks.
- Threat/Warning analyst: a cybersecurity analyst assesses emerging cyber threats and develops alerts to detect changes in computer systems.
- Vulnerability assessment analyst: The vulnerability assessment analyst evaluates networks and security systems for weaknesses that may expose them to cyber attacks. In this role like many top cybersecurity jobs, you could work as a generalist or specialize in a particular set of threats. For example, you could be a malware analyst who works primarily with malware protection tools and security protocols.
- Chief information security officer: After spending time working in other cybersecurity jobs you could take the lead on system administration and guide a team in networking protocols, preparing for and managing security incidents, conducting computer forensics and more.
Building a career in cybersecurity and information technology
Aspiring cybersecurity and information technology professionals can use many strategies to prepare for roles in this field and achieve career growth.
Many people earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science, information technology, cybersecurity, and related fields. These programs allow students to learn foundational concepts and skills while specializing in areas like software engineering, information security and computer systems. You can also expand your knowledge by earning cybersecurity certifications in ethical hacking, computer forensics, penetration testing, incident handling, malware analysis tools and other areas of cybersecurity.5
Some companies will also offer apprenticeships, internships, and on-the-job training. These opportunities allow workers to gain hands-on experience and receive mentorship from senior employees.5
Best practices and industry standards in cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has many established practices and industry standards to maintain data security and reduce the risk of cyber attacks and other threats.
Risk management and threat modeling
Organizations face a broad range of cybersecurity challenges, such as data breaches and ransomware. Cybersecurity engineers use risk management and threat modeling to assess and mitigate the risk of attacks. For example, they can use penetration testing to find vulnerabilities in their system and simulate cyber breach attacks to evaluate how personnel response.6
These strategies aid information security teams by enabling companies to assess their cyberattack readiness and implement preventative measures.6
Businesses often gather sensitive data, including customer payment information and employee bank accounts. Basic data protection techniques include:7
- Physically securing devices that contain sensitive data
- Only collecting and gathering essential data
- Restricting employee access to data not related to their responsibilities
- Encrypting sensitive data
- Training employees about best practices for data protection, such as not sharing passwords
Network security and firewalls
Cybercriminals may hack computer networks, to steal data and cause damage. Information security professionals can prevent these attacks and increase network security by installing firewalls. This software or hardware makes it difficult for criminals to access the network and hack into connected devices.7
Additionally, intrusion detection systems can be installed to identify network breaches. This tool enables a cybersecurity professional to promptly detect and respond to cyberattacks to minimize damage.7
Emerging technologies and cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has evolved rapidly in response to technological advancements and new threats. Recent innovations in the field include:8
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): Cybersecurity professionals can use self-learning AI models to detect and respond to cyber attacks
- Cloud Security: Tools like multi-factor authentication and role-based access control allow companies to restrict access to cloud resources, increasing network security
- Internet of Things (IoT): The development of 5G networks and IoT allows more devices to connect to Wi-Fi, leading to new vulnerabilities
Security awareness and training
Employee education is a pivotal aspect of cybersecurity. Professionals often teach other workers about cybersecurity risks and strategies to avoid them. Cybersecurity workers can promote awareness by:9
- Organizing security day events
- Creating handouts about cyber threats
- Sending simulated phishing emails and educating employees who open them
- Planning security-related trivia games
- Praising positive behavior, such as reporting security risks to the cybersecurity team
These methods empower employees to participate actively in cybersecurity and foster a security-conscious culture.9
Ethical and legal considerations
Cybersecurity and IT professionals must adhere to many ethical and legal guidelines. Several laws regulate data protection and other aspects of information security, including:
- Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022: This law requires businesses to disclose cyber incidents to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Agency10
- Federal Trade Commission’s Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information: Financial institutions must take steps to protect customer data11
- Copyright Act of 1976: Like all Americans, cybersecurity professionals must respect copyright laws for software, hardware, music, and other intellectual property12
The Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) also states that a cybersecurity professional has an ethical responsibility to maintain data confidentiality and integrity. Additionally, ISSA members must avoid conflicts of interest and follow industry standards.13
Career growth and professional development
Cybersecurity and IT professionals have many resources for career growth and professional development. Many career paths lead to advancement. For instance, a vulnerability assessment analyst could get promoted to a cyber defense analyst or a system testing and evaluation specialist.4
Additionally, cybersecurity associations offer numerous professional development opportunities. For example, the ISSA organizes web conferences, educational workshops, and networking events. These resources can help you develop new skills and contribute to the larger cybersecurity community.14
Unlock your career potential in cybersecurity and information technology
Accelerate your professional path and explore cybersecurity careers by learning the latest practices and standards in cybersecurity and information technology. Marquette University’s online M.S. in Computer and Information Science (CIS) program enables you to study cutting-edge techniques under the guidance of industry experts.
Students in the online CIS program can specialize in four areas, including Information Assurance and Cyber Defense. Additionally, the career-changer pathway allows newcomers to fast-track their entry into cybersecurity and information technology. These options can help you break into the industry and work toward your dream cybersecurity career whether its getting into the weeds of operating systems as a cybersecurity engineer or leading a team as a chief information security officer.
Don’t wait to get started on your career in cybersecurity. Speak with an admissions outreach advisor today to get started.
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from cybersecurityventures.com/jobs/
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from cisa.gov/news-events/news/what-cybersecurity
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from tn.gov/education/educators/career-and-technical-education/career-clusters/cte-cluster-information-technology.html
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from niccs.cisa.gov/workforce-development/cyber-career-pathways-tool
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from nist.gov/system/files/documents/2023/07/21/Identifying%20Multiple%20Cybersecurity%20Career%20Pathways_508compliant.pdf
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from ibm.com/security/digital-assets/strategy-risk-management-ebook/pdfs/Strategy_Risk_Management_EB.pdf
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from ftc.gov/business-guidance/resources/protecting-personal-information-guide-business
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from isaca.org/resources/news-and-trends/industry-news/2023/an-executive-view-of-key-cybersecurity-trends-and-challenges-in-2023
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8201414/
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from cisa.gov/topics/cyber-threats-and-advisories/information-sharing/cyber-incident-reporting-critical-infrastructure-act-2022-circia
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from ftc.gov/business-guidance/resources/ftc-safeguards-rule-what-your-business-needs-know
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from copyright.gov/title17/
- Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from members.issa.org/page/CodeofEthics
Retrieved on October 10, 2023, from issa.org/membership/developing-connecting-cyber-security-professionals-globally/