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Experts in cybersecurity state that there will be a shortage of approximately 3.5 million professionals in this field by 2012.

This demand results in near-zero unemployment, lucrative pay, benefits, job opportunities galore, and job security for your working life. Few occupations can boast about these qualities of working in cybersecurity and related fields. The higher-paying positions require experience, certifications, and a bachelor’s degree or higher. Corporate America will require these qualifications in most cases from applicants. However, there are exceptions.

Freelance Bug Bounty Hunters

Bounty hunting is perhaps a little-known job. It pays on a per successful hack basis to individuals worldwide. Companies pay according to the ability of the hacker to access their computer system. They are white hat hackers. This term applies to the ‘good guys’ who hack into computers to show clients where vulnerabilities exist. Some estimates are more than $500k a year, although it is rare to earn that salary. Studies show that 80% are self-taught, and 50% are between the ages of 18 to 24. According to the Hacker Report, freelancers earned over $19 million globally in 2018.

A standout is a teenager from Buenos Aires who was the first one to earn over USD 1 million in rewards as a bug bounty hunter. What started as a part-time job after school soon became a full-time job for the teen. A former resident of London, England, and current Las Vegas resident earned $500,000 in reward payments in 2016. Payments came from companies such as Google, PayPal, Facebook, and Yahoo.

You can either be a solo hacker or join a company. One at the forefront is Bugcrowd. The organization has a team of ethical hackers companies hire to reveal critical gaps in their security systems.

Organized crime rings, which share data, tools, and expertise,

drive 80% of cyber-attacks.

Potential Salary: $500,000

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

As the title suggests, this senior position in a corporation comes with years of experience and excellent performance. The CISO is responsible for managing and executing the company’s cybersecurity policies and risks. He or she oversees the operational and financial aspects of the security measures. In addition to stellar leadership skills, the CISO must keep current on the changing technology as well as the applicable laws, regulations, and contracts. The job may require communication with state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Potential Salary: $380k in major U.S. cities; the median is $204,000.

Deputy Chief Information Security Officer

This position has many of the same duties as the CISO. Being a Deputy, he or she supports and works directly with the CISO. The job is available within the private and government sectors. The Department of Administration’s Information Security Division had an opening in early 2019 for a Deputy CISO. Responsibilities included the establishment of strategies and directives of their cybersecurity program. Applicants needed the minimum of a bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field, plus six years experience in information security.

Potential Salary: $200k to $250K in Fortune 500 companies. Payscale reports the median wage at $156,852. 

Lead Software Security Engineer

This job requires expertise in many areas. Some of the duties include:

  • Designs programming and software systems
  • Directs and manages large scale software programs
  • Tests solutions for complex technical requirements
  • Participates in risk management assessments
  • Analyzes system capabilities

Some of the jobs in software engineering require a background in computer security issues. There are also positions in companies that work with the Department of Defense as independent contractors. Therefore, the ability to obtain a government security clearance is necessary.

Potential Salary: $233,333 according to DICE, a technology employment site.

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Global Information Security Director

The job duties are similar to the information security director and IT security manager. The leadership role involves overseeing the daily security operations, including information policies, security training, regulations compliance, threat identification, and others. You may also perform investigations into unauthorized access to computers and networks. The position requires communication with the CISO, auditing teams, IT personnel, and government agencies.

The job requires communication and analytical skills, as well as technical expertise to conduct network security analysis and threat intelligence for senior management. The preferred degree is in computer science or cybersecurity with a variety of security certifications.

Potential Salary: $200,000 per CIO (Chief Information Officer site)

Information Security Analyst

The above titles require years of experience to attain. This group is not in the upper echelon of a corporation, but it is possible to land with less than five years of experience, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Also, you only need a bachelor’s degree to work as a security analyst. US News lists the profession as #4 in their Best Technology Jobs category.

A variety of industry sectors exist for employment. The federal and state government, health organizations, financial institutions, retail companies, and the list continues. Today, most companies need to protect their proprietary and customers’ information and details. Security analysts are vital to detect, prevent, and thwart criminal access to computer systems.

A degree in cybersecurity, information security, computer forensics, or information assurance applies to the profession.

Potential Salary: The BLS reports the median wage at $98,350 for 2018.

Additional Resources: 

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