Cyber Security Specialist Career Path


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Cyber Security Specialist – 5 Reasons You’ll Love This Career

One of the best ways to start developing the skills youâll need as a penetration tester is to enroll in a specialized course or training program. With these types of programs, you can learn in a more structured environment while building multiple skills at once.

If youâre new to cybersecurity, consider an option like the IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate, which includes an entire unit on penetration testing and incident response. The entire program is online and at your own pace, so you can learn job-ready skills while working or managing lifeâs other responsibilities.

What Do Cybersecurity Specialists Do

Cybersecurity specialists create and implement security audits across computer hardware and software systems. They make sure that the systems perform the way they are supposed to, and that they are safe from attack.

Often times the job of a cybersecurity specialist can be somewhat routine. They are responsible for making sure that networks and computer systems are up-to-date and not vulnerable to software bugs.

In addition, security specialists are also responsible for making sure that other co-workers are kept up-to-date on security best practices, which means they might take on the role of a trainer or an advisor.

Another aspect of a cybersecurity specialists job is the design of firewalls and other security measures to make sure that information and proprietary networks are compliant with the most recent security standards.

Cybersecurity specialists are also responsible for continual monitoring security systems and networks for anomalies and tracking those activities in documents and reports.

What Do You Get Paid In Cyber Security

All of the salary averages in the list above should be taken with a grain of salt. Your specific salary in the information when you become a cyber security specialist will vary depending on a few different factors. Besides the actual job responsibilities, your earnings will also be affected by your level of cybersecurity education and experience, the type of industry your company is in, its size, and where it is located.

  • Experience and education

Cybersecurity professionals with bachelors degrees earn more than those without. It generally doesnt matter if this is a cyber security degree or one from a related field, such as a degree in computer science. Statistics say that only 23% of IT professionals with a masters degree or higher feel like their degree helped them obtain a higher salary, so anything above a bachelors degree is not a must.

In terms of experience, your salarys size is also directly proportional to how much experience you have. Senior-level positions earn more than junior level ones, even if their job titles are the same on paper .

  • Type of industry

IT professionals work in practically all other industries protecting sensitive information isnt only relevant to the technology sector. In fact, the highest average salaries for IT employees are in the defense, aerospace, PR, communications, advertising, medical, pharmaceutical, biotech, military, and homeland security industries.

  • Business size and revenue
  • Business location

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Four Key Steps To Becoming A Cybersecurity Specialist

1. Education: Like most other careers in cybersecurity, most jobs falling under the cybersecurity specialist category require some form of formal education. However, since cybersecurity specialist jobs can fall across a wide spectrum of job descriptions and responsibilities, it is possible to obtain a specialist job after completing many levels of cybersecurity education.

In other words, there are cybersecurity specialist jobs for people completing a cybersecurity associates degree, a bachelors degree, or a masters degree. Additionally, much of the cybersecurity specialist workforce found employment after completing a related degree and/or by having closely-related work experience.

2. Industry certifications and clearances: Again, as is the norm in many other cybersecurity career paths, obtaining the proper industry certifications and/or clearances is an important step in career preparation.

It makes sense to start thinking about what kinds of certifications are required by an employer, or what kinds of certifications make job applicants competitive within the field.

To get an idea of some of the kinds of cybersecurity certifications available, here are a few examples:

Security+ is a CompTIA certification that is considered a basic cert among cybersecurity professionals. It covers the topics of risk management and threat assessment.

3. Experience: Another important aspect of obtaining a job as a cybersecurity specialist is demonstrating relevant experience.

Where Do Penetration Testers Work

Cybersecurity Career Path

Penetration testers typically work in one of three environments.

  • In-house: As an in-house penetration tester, you work directly for a company or organization. This typically allows you to get to know the companyâs security protocols well. You may also have more input into new security features and fixes.

  • Security firm: Some organizations hire an outside security firm to conduct penetration testing. Working for a security firm offers greater variety in the types of tests youâll get to design and perform.

  • Freelance: Some penetration testers choose to work as freelancers. Choosing this path can give you greater flexibility in your schedule, but you may need to spend more time looking for clients early in your career.

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After Completing This Cybersecurity Course What Should I Do Next

After completing this Cyber Security training online, you can receive assistance from our Career Support team. They will help you to prepare for cybersecurity job interviews with top MNCs in this domain. The team will help to build and polish up your resume as well as get you interview ready with cybersecurity mock interviews conducted by the technical experts.

Join An Organization For Security Professionals

Join a professional organization for more opportunities to build your skills and network with other professionals. By networking, you can stay up-to-date with whatâs happening in cybersecurity, including new job opportunities that might not get listed on public job boards. Some organizations to consider include:

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How To Become A Security Specialist

Everyone and most every thing needs some type of protection. You protect your home with locks or alarm systems you protect your car with insurance, and you protect your health by going to the doctor. A major corporation or organization uses a security specialist to protect their software and network security system. A security specialist is smart career path to take to begin your career in cyber security, as you’ll be the go-to person responsible for the overall safety of your employer’s data.

When Will I Find Out If I’m Selected

An Introduction to Cybersecurity Careers

WGU evaluates scholarship applications on a continual basis because we start new students in their programs every month. Often we are able to make an award decision within 810 weeks of receiving your application. You will also need to have applied for admission and been accepted to the university. An Enrollment Counselor can help explain the process.

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Professional Organizations For Security Specialists

CISA is a national organization that seeks to understand, manage, and reduce risk to cyber and physical infrastructure. They offer industry resources, analyses, and tools to help build cyber communications.

NICCS offers comprehensive information on cybersecurity education and careers. The NICCS Education and Training Catalog helps cybersecurity professionals find over 6,000 cybersecurity-related courses.

AISP helps local and state governments responsibly use data. They collaborate across sectors to inform best practices, research, and funding opportunities for ethical data sharing.

CSIA offers an environment for an exchange of ideas between national security thought leaders. CSIA focuses on intelligence issues related to cybersecurity, military, and space.

What Degree Programs Teach Network Security And Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity degree programs go all-in on computer system and network security, preparing students for technical and management careers in cybersecurity. These programs typically cover hardware and system security, data security, network security, cybersecurity policy development and the logistics of security. Some bachelors degree programs focus wholly on cybersecurity, but most cover topics related to cybersecurity as part of the main computer science or in a concentration track. Students in SMUs B.S. in Computer Science, for example, can choose the Security track, which covers system security, data security and network security.

Computer and information systems programs may or may not cover the same topics as cybersecurity degree programs. Computer information systems is a catch-all term, and computer and information systems security is concerned with securing computing hardware and platforms, software systems and individual applications. Students pursuing bachelors degrees in computer and information systems security might become information security analysts, security engineers or network and computer systems administrators. Masters programs in computer information systems cover everything from systems analysis and secure computer architecture to risk assessment and policy analysis.

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The Guide On How To Become A Cyber Security Specialist

MITs Technology Review estimates that by 2021, 3.5 million jobs in information technology will be available in the cybersecurity field. There will also be a shortage of qualified candidates: approximately fewer than one in four will have the required education, skills, and experience. There is no better time with such hopeful statistics than now to read through an ultimate guide to how to become a cyber security specialist.

IT security or cybersecurity is a vast industry that has a place in all other industry types. When most sensitive information is stored online, data, system, and network protection are crucial in doing business in this digital age. In 2018 alone, there were 80,000 cyberattacks per day roughly 30 million attacks in one year!

Suppose we add the fact that the average cost of a cyberattack on an organization is $2.4 million. In that case, it is no wonder that companies are investing in cybersecurity like never before. Cybersecurity specialists are highly valued and desperately needed. If youre planning to become one, you should first learn exactly what type of a job this is, in what ways you can advance your career, and how you can get your foot in the computer security industry door.

It Security Specialist Job Outlook

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Employment of IT security specialists is expected to increase by thirty-three percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the 8% average for all U.S. occupations. Security will remain a top concern for IT hiring managers as the frequency and impact of cyber attacks continues to rise.

Aggressive government mandates are helping to drive demand for IT security specialists, for instance the DoD 8570 initiative, which requires Department of Defense employees, military personnel, homeland security officers, and private contractors with access to sensitive data to get trained and certified in information security topics relevant to their access and position.

“Security is the only area of certified IT skills that has never had a negative quarter throughout this recession,” says David Foote, CEO and Chief Research Officer of leading research firm, Foote Partners. “We’ve never had a three-month period with a loss or decline in premiums for IT security specialists.”

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Does Cyber Security Pay Well In Canada

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Cyber security is a growing field with plenty of opportunity in Canada. The pay is good, with the average salary for a cyber security specialist being over $80,000 per year. There is a demand for skilled professionals in this field, and the pay reflects that. If you are interested in a career in cyber security, you can expect to be paid well for your skills.

A cybersecurity engineer is in charge of creating and implementing methodologies to protect an organizations cyber assets. Cybercriminals use sophisticated techniques to attack and destabilize processes and systems. There is a serious shortage of cyber talent in all business sectors in Canada. A cyber security team that is effective works with a diverse range of people from every corner of Canada. According to Payscale, a cybersecurity job earns an average salary of $166,985 per year. A chief security professional in Canada can earn up to $229,000 per year. The Cybersecurity Bootcamp from Simplilearn is an excellent choice for getting started with cybersecurity. Taking this course will assist you in becoming a professional ready for the workplace.

Key Soft Skills For Security Specialists

  • Communication: Security specialists must monitor existing security infrastructure and communicate all threats. Effective communication enables professionals to take correct action to prevent security breaches. Specialists may also need to simplify issues/solutions for discussions with administrators.
  • Collaboration: Ensuring the information security for an entire organization requires coordination. Security specialists often work in teams and must readily and effectively collaborate with other security professionals.
  • Attention to Detail: Intercepting security threats takes detailed technological solutions that need constant monitoring and improvement. Cybersecurity specialists conduct deep computer system analyses and inspect the smallest details for improvement.
  • Problem Solving: Security specialists regularly identify security problems and propose effective solutions. This position requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills to create comprehensive solutions for new and evolving threats.

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How To Begin Your Cyber Security Career Path

All cybersecurity careers commence with broad IT knowledge. You should know how technology operates before you can understand how to safeguard and defend it. As there is so much to learn in cyber security, the main question that arises is where to start from. The Cyber Security career path is widespread and complex. So, here is a complete step-by-step approach on how to start a career in cyber security and how to become a cyber security expert.

Main Skills Needed For Cyber Security Jobs

Cybersecurity Career Roadmap

One of the main skills for a lot of cyber security roles is programming. We have put together a list of the most relevant programming languages and why theyre used.

Programming languages you should know for cybersecurity


Python is an open-source scripting language that has been steadily gaining popularity over the years. It is popular mainly for how easy it is to learn and its readability. The extensive number of libraries and support also help


A lot of malware is coded in Golang. This makes it an ideal language to pick up and master. Its advantage is its portability and the ability of malware coded in it to escape detection by antivirus software due to its large size


Javascript is the language of the web and, as such, is on most of the internet. It is a lightweight scripting language that you can use to access cookies on a browser, access and manipulate databases, and carry out cross-site scripting . It has a vibrant support group and is also relatively easy to learn.


C is a low-level programming language that is useful for reverse-engineering malware and creating antivirus software to counter it. Its simple syntax and a small set of commands make it ideal for learning. The language is also used to identify weaknesses in a network before it is attacked


The most important soft skills for a cyber security role are:

  • Management skills: this refers to time, people, and project management.
  • Problem-solving
  • Pros

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    Choosing A Cyber Security Career Path That Works For You

    To choose implies that there are options for you to choose from. The cyber security space is vast enough that you can find roles that suit the skills you have and your natural inclination. To help with the selection, weve compiled a list of cyber security roles and what is needed for each one.

    1. Becoming a Pen Tester

    A pen tester is someone you hire to hack you. Sounds counter-intuitive but wouldnt you want to know about your systems vulnerabilities before external and possibly malicious parties do? The pen tester simulates a cyberattack, and the insights they generate can help an organization close up the vulnerabilities in their system.

    Pen testers are creative they have to be to find ways to penetrate networks. They also keep extensive records of their activities and any vulnerabilities they discover. If this appeals to you, then you may have found your calling.

    2. Becoming a Compliance Analyst

    Compliance analysts make sure their organization is up to date with government rules and industry regulations. They are more into research and administrative work. They ensure which rules directly or indirectly affect their organization and educate the members of the organization to make sure they comply.

    The compliance analyst is a researcher, and more than anything has top par project and people management skills.

    Average salary: $98k

    Chief Information Security Officer Job Role

    • They are senior-level officers in an organization. They ensure the information’s safety and develop, implement, and maintain information security and risk management programs.
    • Additionally, they interact with stakeholders and regularly brief them with information security concerns.
    • According to Payscale, the average annual salary of a Chief Information Security Officer in the states is a whopping $165,000 annually, and in India, it is 22,22,845.

    Now that you understand the different career paths of cyber security you will see how Simplilearn can help you in your cyber security journey.

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    Security Leader: 8+ Years

    Security leaders — often called a chief information security officer, or CISO, at large companies with a C-suite — are seasoned cybersecurity veterans with an ability to manage people and projects. The best CISOs have diverse backgrounds and can come from strong IT training or even the risk departments of banks. While some have worked in risk and compliance, others may have managed a few racks of Windows servers and then worked in network management.

    The most traditional path for someone who wants to become CISO would be to earn a computer science degree or a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in IT management. A master’s in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity also helps but is not required for those with many years in the field.

    Candy Alexander, president at ISSA International and CISO at NeuEon, said the best CISOs also understand business at a deep level. Alexander, chief architect of ISSA’s CSCL model, said the industry needs people who can talk to senior management in ways they understand instead of talking about network logs and threat pattern. Effective CISOs can explain what the risks are to the business and how security incidents will impact sales, profits, future growth and the company’s reputation.

    Other security leader jobs that pay top salaries include the following:

    Job titles: CIO, chief cybersecurity architect, chief cybersecurity strategist, CISO

    Salary range: $150,000-$250,000

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