Professions in Cyber Security

Find a cybersecurity career

(Cybersecurity Careers | Guides to Explore Different Careers )

The field of cybersecurity has seen consistent growth in recent years, especially in the tech sector. Despite the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for cyber professionals has remained high, driven by rising concerns over remote work security and an increase in ransomware attacks. A survey from the World Economic Forum reveals that cybersecurity is a top concern for CEOs in US-based companies, highlighting a shortage of skilled professionals in the field. With job postings in cybersecurity rising by 65% during the pandemic, now is an excellent time to pursue a career in this field, particularly with the right training.

Why Cybersecurity Career Paths Matter

Having a diverse set of experiences and skills is crucial for a successful career in cybersecurity. As you progress in your career, a well-rounded background will make you a more effective cybersecurity leader. Additionally, gaining exposure to various domains in cybersecurity will help you determine which areas you are most interested in and want to focus your career on. Before committing to a specific domain in cybersecurity as your career path, it's important to gain exposure to different areas to make an informed decision.

Examples of Cyber Security Career Paths

There are many different career paths to choose from within the cybersecurity industry. However, it’s common to categorize paths in three areas:

  1. Management

  2. Technical

  3. Senior leadership

1. Management: Security governance and oversight roles

The security management and governance domain is all about the oversight and management of cybersecurity within the organization. Though it’s important to understand as much as you can about technology and the technical nuances behind cyber risk, this area tends to be less technical than others. Instead of configuring systems or getting deep into operational support, a career path in this space entails using business savviness, organizational management, and soft skills to programmatically manage security.

● Security analyst: A security analyst is responsible for monitoring and protecting an organization's computer systems and networks from cyber threats. They use various tools and techniques to identify vulnerabilities and assess the risk to the organization.

● Penetration tester: A penetration tester, also known as a "white hat" hacker, simulates cyber attacks on behalf of an organization to test the security of their systems and identify vulnerabilities.

● Security engineer: A security engineer is responsible for designing, building, and maintaining an organization's security systems. They work to ensure that the systems are effective in protecting against cyber threats and meet the organization's security needs.

● Security consultant: A security consultant is an expert in cybersecurity who is hired by organizations to provide advice and recommendations on how to improve their security posture. They may also be responsible for conducting security assessments and audits. ● Cybersecurity manager: A cybersecurity manager is responsible for leading and managing the cybersecurity efforts of an organization. This includes developing and implementing security policies and procedures, as well as managing a team of cybersecurity professionals.

Management: Security governance and oversight roles:

Some common tasks in the security management and governance domain include:

● Developing and implementing security policies and procedures to ensure the protection of information assets

● Defining and implementing security standards and best practices

● Managing security budgets and identifying areas where investment is needed

● Leading incident response efforts and coordinating with relevant stakeholders to ensure timely and effective resolution of security incidents

● Conducting risk assessments and implementing risk management strategies

● Educating employees on security best practices and promoting a culture of security within the organization

● Working with upper management to establish security as a priority within the organization and allocate necessary resources

● Providing guidance and leadership to other cybersecurity professionals within the organization.

2. Technical: Security engineering and operations roles

This area of career path focuses on the technical aspect of cybersecurity. It encompasses roles that involve a deeper understanding of systems, data, tools, and networks. The objective is to defend against, detect and respond to cyber threats. Some examples of positions that fall under this category include, but are not limited to:

● Security architecture:

Security Architects are responsible for designing and implementing the security infrastructure of an organization. They work closely with stakeholders to understand the organization's goals and requirements, then develop a comprehensive security plan that aligns with those objectives.

● Incident response:

Incident responders are the cyber first responders, accountable for identifying and handling security breaches or other cyber-attacks. Their job is to evaluate the impact and take necessary actions to lessen the threat and stop any additional damage.

● Cybersecurity management:

Cybersecurity Managers are accountable for managing the security of an organization's data and systems. They collaborate with teams and stakeholders to devise and execute cybersecurity strategies, procedures and also make sure to educate employees on cyber threats and effective practices.

● Compliance:

Cybersecurity compliance experts guarantee that the organization adheres to the security regulations and standards. They collaborate with leadership team to comprehend the standards and aid the organization in implementing the necessary controls and procedures to comply with those standards.

3. Senior leadership: Focusing on the People

Like any industry, company culture and leadership plays a critical role in the success of the business. Example opportunities in this space include, but are not limited to:

  • Chief information security officer:

Senior level leadership is of great importance in Cybersecurity. To secure the buy-in and support throughout the company, it is vital to have a senior executive who leads the company towards a world-class cybersecurity position. This career path necessitates a wide range of experience and knowledge across all facets of cybersecurity as well as excellent people leadership skills.

  • Managers and directors of domains:

In various domains of cybersecurity, management roles are required in different degrees depending on the size of an organization. Therefore, a career development in some domains may present opportunities for transitioning from hands-on work to managing a team of professionals who perform the hands-on work. For this career path, it's crucial to find a balance, having an understanding of key principles and best practices of the domain, as well as how to lead and inspire a team.

Building a career in cybersecurity is an exciting journey that offers various opportunities. There is no single correct path, and success can be achieved through different routes. It's essential to gain exposure to the available options, try new things, learn as much as possible, and determine which domains you enjoy the most. Then, decide if you prefer to focus on in-depth career paths within those domains or gain broader exposure in pursuit of senior leadership roles. Remember that choosing a career path doesn't mean limiting oneself to a single domain, and don't forget to have fun while learning and growing along the way.

Cyber Security Career Options

Below is an index of complete career profiles:

  • Chief information security officer

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is an executive-level role responsible for formulating and supervising a company's cybersecurity strategy, policy, planning and implementation. This position requires both technical expertise and leadership skills.

  • Chief privacy officer

The role of a Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) is a relatively new executive-level position that is becoming more prevalent in large companies, institutions and organizations, including government bodies. The purpose of this position is to guarantee the safeguarding of sensitive data, including personal information and financial data.

  • Computer forensics

Digital Forensics Experts are individuals that act as detectives, working with company authorities or law enforcement after a data, network, or security incident. They investigate and piece together information to understand how a computer or computer system was hacked.

  • Computer security incident responder

The duties of an Incident Responder are closely related to their job title. They are typically the initial point of contact within an organization in case of a detected data breach or cyber-attack. Their role includes documentation of the attack and devising a plan of action to counter the attack.

  • Cryptanalysts

Cryptanalysts, often referred to as "codebreakers," use mathematical techniques, computer science, and engineering to study various ways of encrypting and hiding data. This profession is sometimes referred to as "cryptographer," but there is a distinction between the two terms within the field.

  • Cryptographer

A cryptographer working in cybersecurity is a contemporary application of an ancient practice. Cryptographers use algorithms and computer code to design and decode encrypted software and associated services.

  • Cybercrime investigator

Cybercrime investigations are unique in that they often occur remotely or within virtual environments, and may involve complex coordination between multiple locations. Cybercrime investigators serve as digital detectives, working to identify and bring cybercriminals to justice following a hack or cyber attack.

  • Data protection officer

Data Protection Officer (DPO) is a recent role established to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe. As GDPR applies to all companies operating within Europe, a DPO is responsible for creating and executing data privacy policies within an organization.

  • Digital forensics

Digital Forensics Professionals are like detectives of the digital realm. They are frequently responsible for investigating and reconstructing what took place during a security incident, and being able to reverse-engineer hacks and attacks. As the number of digital attack surfaces continues to increase, so too does the need for experts with digital forensics skills.

  • Ethical hacker

An ethical hacker, also known as a penetration tester, is in charge of searching for vulnerabilities in computer systems or networks. The objective is to identify these vulnerabilities and recommend solutions or defenses before cybercriminals or unauthorized hackers can exploit the system.

  • Malware analyst

A Malware Analyst is a vital and rapidly expanding role within the cybersecurity field. Part security engineer, part digital forensics expert, and part programmer, they provide comprehensive analysis and insights following a cybersecurity incident.

  • Penetration tester

Penetration Tester, or Ethical Hacker, is a highly sought-after job in the cybersecurity field. They are employed by organizations to identify security risks and vulnerabilities before malicious hackers can exploit them.

  • Risk management

Risk management is a crucial aspect of business operations. As digital presence becomes more prevalent for businesses, managing and reducing cybersecurity risk is becoming increasingly important. Today's risk managers need to possess a diverse background that encompasses an understanding of cybersecurity.

  • Security administrator

A Security Administrator is commonly a role that centers around IT and can evolve into security-related responsibilities.

  • Security analyst

A Security Analyst is accountable for supervising security protocols and ensuring that industry standard practices are implemented and adhered to. The role of a security analyst can vary widely depending on the company's size and industry, but this career path is becoming increasingly popular across various sectors.

  • Security architect

Security Architects are responsible for designing computing networks and other infrastructure while keeping in mind security and maintaining the overall integrity. This job often draws on the skills and experience of various backgrounds and is considered a fundamental function when building secure and robust networks.

  • Security code auditor

A Security Code Reviewer, also known as a Security Auditor, Source Code Auditor, or Security Inspector, is responsible for examining sensitive security code. This role requires a wide range of skills, such as programming, knowledge of network and systems infrastructure, as well as experience in penetration testing and understanding of underlying security protocols.

  • Security consultant

Security Consultants are experts who are retained to provide specialized advice and solutions to pressing security issues and problems faced by a company or organization. They are usually hired for their depth of experience and knowledge.

  • Security engineer

Security Engineers are in charge of developing and preserving security systems and codes to protect data and infrastructure.

  • Security software developer

Security Software Developer is responsible for adding layers of security to existing software used by a company or organization, making it more resistant to attacks. This role combines traditional software development with the growing field of information security.

  • Security specialist

A Security Specialist is an expert with a thorough comprehension of tactics and best practices that can be assigned various security-related roles depending on the size and scope of the company or organization.

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