What Exactly is Cybersecurity

What Exactly is Cybersecurity: A Complete Guide To Getting Started.

You might have probably heard that there is an increasing demand for tech professionals, especially cybersecurity experts, and that is true due to the recent increase in cybercrime by 125%, so what exactly is cybersecurity?

What Exactly Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity in simpler terms is defined as any step or process that is taken to protect systems, networks, and digital programs from bad guys.

These bad guys also known as cyber attackers manipulate systems with the aim of gaining control over sensitive information, changing patterns, extorting money from users, etc.

A cybersecurity professional or expert is, therefore, the person who protects internet-connected systems such as hardware, software, and data from cyber threats.

Why Is Cybersecurity Critical?

Cybersecurity has become very critical because of the massive increase in cybercrime, technological advancement, sophisticated software programs, and an increasing number of users in this modern age.

Some of the challenges that cybersecurity professionals continually face include;

  • Data loss
  • Risk management
  • Privacy and changing cybersecurity strategies
  • Evolving threats
  • Shortage of workforce
  • Supply chain and third-party risks.

What Skills Are Required For A Career In Cybersecurity?

Because of the nature of the industry, pursuing a career in Cybersecurity now means you must equip yourself with some technical skills which employers look for.

Here are some of the top skills you should focus on for cybersecurity jobs;

  • Scripting
  • Network security control
  • Controls and frameworks
  • Network security control
  • Intrusion detection
  • Incident response
  • DevOps
  • Clouds and
  • Operating Systems

With a good understanding of these skills, you can go on to apply for cybersecurity jobs.

Highest-Paying Cybersecurity Roles

Cybersecurity has also become a very important field of study with a very lucrative pay rate too, you can explore the industry opportunities by getting the required education.

To help you find your dream job, we have resources on the best schools offering cybersecurity programs where you can obtain your degrees, below are some of the highest-paying career options in the field of cybersecurity;

1. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

A Chief Information Security Officer is a professional in the industry that works directly with the industry executives to manage the companies’ overall security. He or she is a senior executive who is in charge of developing and implementing an information security program, which includes:

  • Procedures and policies to protect enterprise communications, systems, and assets from both internal and external threats.
  • Overseeing the overall IT, Information, and Data security of an entire organization.
  • Collaborating with the CIO to procure cybersecurity products and services, as well as manage disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
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According to research done by the cybersecurity jobs team as of August 2022, the average salary of a CISO is $230,204 per year. However, some CISOs earn as little as $120,000 while others earn as high as $900,000.

2. Application Security Engineer

An application security engineer is responsible for ensuring the secure function of software application programs.

Their duty is to evaluate lines of programming code to make sure a given application is safe from cyber-attack. According to ZipRecruiter’s report, Application Security Engineer can earn $138,423 annually.

3. Cybersecurity Architect

A Security Architect is a senior-level employee in charge of designing, constructing, and maintaining security structures for a company’s computer system.

According to PayScale, the average salary for a Security Architect is $130,666, and according to Salary.com, the average Cyber Security Architect salary in the United States was $145,189, with a salary range of $131,531 to $160,715.

4. Cybersecurity Engineers

Cybersecurity engineers, also known as information security engineers are one of the highest-paying careers in cybersecurity.

They identify threats and vulnerabilities in systems and software before developing and implementing high-tech solutions to protect against hacking, malware and ransomware, insider threats, and all types of cybercrime.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for a cybersecurity engineer as of Dec 6, 2022, is $121,065.

5. Cybersecurity Sales Engineers

Cybersecurity sales engineers are in charge of selling clients cybersecurity products and services. After the sale, they may be tasked with providing technical support, training, or other forms of assistance to their clients.

Cybersecurity sales engineers must be well-versed in the products they sell, this includes:

  • Understanding how these products work
  • What features do they provide, and
  • Why they are superior to competing market offerings

According to ZipRecruiter, a cybersecurity sales engineer can earn an average of $115,944 a year. However, the salaries vary according to their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company.

6. Incident Manager

An Incident Manager records all issues and helps to design ways to prevent similar problems in the future. They will be knowledgeable and experienced in a variety of cyber security techniques and approaches such as;

  • Assess the security of the current system, looking for flaws in the policies
  • Develop and implement improved policies
  • Install hardware and software that can better protect our data
  • Troubleshoot general technical issues

To perform as a top Incident Manager, you need to get one of the best cybersecurity laptops to help you produce quality designs and complete cyber tasks.

As of Dec 27, 2022, the average annual pay for an Incident Manager in the United States is $93,104 a year according to a report by ZipRecruiter.

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7. Malware Analyst

Malware analysts play an important role in a company’s cybersecurity team and are also one of the highest earners in the industry. According to the Salary.com report as of November 23, 2022, a Malware analyst earns an average yearly salary of $96,578.

What a malware analyst does basically is to examine, identify, and understand the nature of cyber threats such as viruses, worms, bots, rootkits, and Trojan horses.

They also collaborate closely with security administrators, architects, and analysts to create software that safeguards software and hardware assets.

8. Penetration Tester

Penetration testers, also known as pen testers, assist organizations in identifying and resolving security flaws in their digital assets and computer networks.

Some professionals work for permanent employers in-house, as part of internal cybersecurity or information technology (IT) teams.

Other pen testers work for specialized firms that provide clients with services, they are frequently employed by industries that deal with sensitive, personal, classified, or proprietary information.

As one of the top-paying cybersecurity careers, penetration testers earn as much as $87,436 on average yearly, according to Payscale’s report.

9. Cybersecurity Manager/Administrator

The position of a cybersecurity administrator, also known as IT security administrator, security administrator, network systems administrator, or systems security administrator, is an excellent one in the field of cybersecurity.

What this employee does on a daily basis is heavily influenced by the size of the employer and the nature of the industry in which they work: finance, healthcare, retail, banking, or government.

Some of the roles of a cybersecurity administrator include;

  • Management of firewalls
  • Development of security policies, and
  • Monitoring network activity to identify potential threats

As a cybersecurity manager or administrator, you can earn an average of $82,735, this report was sourced from ZipRecruiter

10. Database Administrator

The database administrator (DBA) is the person who manages, backs up, and ensures the availability of the data produced and consumed by today’s organizations via their IT systems.

The DBA is a critically important role in many of today’s IT departments, and by extension, their organizations overall.

A database administrator (DBA) is the information technician responsible for directing and performing all activities related to maintaining a successful database environment.

According to Payscale, the average annual salary for a Database Administrator is $76,574 per year as of December 20, 2022.

Highest Paying Cybersecurity Certifications

1. Certified Information Systems Security (CISSP)

The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, also known as (ISC)2, offers the independent information security certification known as CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional).

The CISSP is one of the highest-paying cybersecurity certificates to get, according to PayScale, the salary range for a CISSP security professional is $69,490 to $151,148.

2. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

The CEH certification is an ethical hacking course that grooms students into becoming skilled professionals, according to Payscale, ethical hackers can anticipate an annual salary of $130k or more, but the average CEH certification salary is roughly $82,966.

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Getting your CEH certification is the best course of action if you want to advance your cybersecurity expertise and knowledge.

3. ISACA CISA

For professionals in IS audit control, assurance, and security, ISACA’s Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) designation is a widely recognized credential.

The CISA certification highlights your audit experience, expertise, and knowledge and shows that you are qualified to identify vulnerabilities, report on compliance, and implement controls within an organization.

The salary of CISA professionals, as reflected on PayScale, ranges from $60,829 to $122,089.

4. Cisco CCNP Security

The Cisco Certified Network Professional, or CCNP, is a prestigious certification that allows professionals working in the security infrastructure domain to demonstrate their abilities.

The CCNP Security certification is valid for three years from the date it was obtained, after which it must be renewed by meeting the re-certification requirements.

CCNP security certificate  Holders can get Jobs roles like Security Engineer, Network Manager, Network Designer, etc, and can earn between $60,564 and $113,442 per year, according to PayScale.

5. Cisco CCNA

CCNA Security is a hands-on, career-oriented e-learning solution that emphasizes practical experience. The CCNA certification strengthens fundamental networking knowledge and networking devices such as repeaters, routers, and switches.

A significant advantage is that it covers advanced and cutting-edge network technologies such as programmability and network automation, and the salary of CCNA professionals, as reported by PayScale, ranges between $51,471 and $96,068.

6. CompTIA+

CompTIA Security+ is a global certification that validates the fundamental skills required to perform core security functions and pursue a career in IT security.

The first security certification a candidate should obtain is CompTIA Security+. It establishes the fundamental knowledge required for any cybersecurity role and serves as a stepping stone to intermediate-level cybersecurity positions.

According to PayScale, certified CompTIA Security+ professionals can earn between $42,128 and $95,829. These professionals can work as Helpdesk Managers / Analysts, Systems Administrators, and Security Administrators.

Top Cities With Highest-Paying Cybersecurity Jobs

Without any form of doubt, the United States of America is one of the best hubs for cybersecurity operations, so if you are looking to explore a career in this industry you should be looking out for cybersecurity organizations in the USA.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, cybersecurity professionals, especially Information Security Analysts get the highest employment in these five states;

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
Virginia 16,930 $121,940
Texas 13,530 $101,800
Florida 9,360 $102,850
New York 7,500 $$133,210
Maryland 7,330 $126,110

Conclusion

To round this up, cybersecurity has become a very important part of our today’s world, everyone benefits from advanced cyber defense programs.

Everyone relies on important infrastructures such as power plants, hospitals, and financial service companies, it is therefore, the duty of cybersecurity professionals to see to it that our society is very functional.

References:

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