Despite its significance in the area of cybercrime, the field of cyber security has more in common with computer and information technology occupations than with law enforcement and criminal justice jobs. The career outlook for these occupations proves it. Computer and technology jobs are continuing to grow, and fortunately, some of the best jobs in cyber security are also jobs seeing faster than average rates of job growth. The job growth rates for cyber security and computer careers are generally encouraging, with jobs such as information security analyst, software developer and computer systems manager seeing the most encouraging predictions.
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Job Opportunities for Information Security Analysts
Perhaps the single cyber security job category seeing the best growth rate is information security analyst. Opportunities in this field should rise by 32 percent over just a decade, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. That increase is expected to produce 35,500 new jobs in this field.
Information security analyst encompasses many different job roles, such as Network Security Analyst, Data Security Administrator, Information Security Specialist and cybersecurity consultant. Information security analysts may handle numerous job duties related to cyber security, including selecting and implementing security measures, monitoring systems and networks for any breaches and handling data security recovery procedures if needed. The computer systems design industry is the largest employer of information security analysts, accounting for 26 percent of current jobs in the field. In this industry, specifically, the BLS expects job opportunities to grow by a stunning 55 percent. Job prospects are also good in the finance and insurance industry, which currently makes up 18 percent of information security analyst employment.
Besides having a highly favorable career outlook, information security analyst is a high-paying profession, with the BLS reporting a median wage of $98,350 per year.
The Career Outlook for Software Developers
Information security analyst isn’t the only career role involved in cyber security. Software developers and engineers also make crucial contributions to the field. Professionals who specialize as security software developers, cryptographers and cryptologists, in particular, are part of the cyber security career field. Using their knowledge of the theory of computation and mathematical algorithms and their fluency in programming languages, software developers can create the programs and applications that help keep data, networks and systems protected from cyber threats.
Software developer is a massive occupation, accounting for more than 1,365,300 American jobs, although these jobs don’t all focus on creating security software. More than twice as many software developers work on applications as on systems software, according to the BLS. The Bureau expects job opportunities in this field to increase by 21 percent, which in this large occupation will mean the addition of 284,100 new careers. The BLS expects a focus on developing security software needed to combat cyber threats to contribute to this growth rate.
The BLS reports a median salary of $105,590 for software developers as a whole.
Growth Rates for Computer Systems Management Jobs
In the management occupational group, cyber security is one factor that is driving career growth for computer and information systems managers, the BLS reported. An expected 11 percent growth rate should lead to 46,800 new jobs over a decade. For computer and information systems managers, the median wage is $142,530. To reach this high-paying, high-level job role, you typically need several years of experience in other information technology positions. Graduate degrees, such as a Master of Science in Information Technology or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in IT, can also be valuable in this field.
Career prospects are less positive for top executives, including C-suite professionals such as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). Although this senior executive has considerable earning potential, the BLS expects chief executive jobs to decline by 5 percent.
Who Needs Cyber Security Experts?
Although the field of cyber security has some relevance to law enforcement and criminal justice, it extends well beyond catching cyber criminals, focusing largely on preventing the vulnerabilities that lead to hacking and cyberattacks through proper security measures. As a result, cyber security professionals are needed in just about all industries and employers in both the public and private sectors.
The field of information technology services has undergone rapid job growth since 1990, according to the BLS. As a whole, the computer and information technology occupations are growing at a rate of 12 percent, with 546,200 new jobs expected.