Cybersecurity jobs overview

Let’s sit with this number for a minute: 3.5 million. According to a study by Cybersecurity Ventures reported in the New York Times, that’s how many unfilled cybersecurity jobs experts predict will be available worldwide by the end of 2021. There are numerous issues driving this demand, but it all comes down to the continued growth of online services. The world is massively digital, and unless an asteroid or solar flare sets us back 100 years, there’s no going back.

If the global pandemic has taught us anything, the lack of security infrastructure and trained security professionals leaves businesses, governments, educational institutions, and private citizens vulnerable to cyber attacks. According to David Shearer, CEO of (ISC)2, “We are outnumbered.” The pandemic led to a 63% increase in cyber attacks, even as the US alone faces a shortage of 500,000 trained cybersecurity professionals.

Growing cybersecurity threats means right now is the best time to consider a job in cybersecurity. And thankfully, most employers don’t require you to have prior experience for entry-level cyber security jobs. All you need is education and training. To find a job in cybersecurity, you’ll need to explore available cybersecurity fields, plot out the path to get there, then enroll in and take cybersecurity courses that will help you earn the requisite certifications for high-paying cybersecurity jobs.

High Paying Cybersecurity Jobs

Your potential earnings in cybersecurity depend on multiple factors, including your level of education, years of experience, and location. Your potential earnings may also be boosted if you choose to acquire additional certifications.

Top Online Cybersecurity Programs

University of North DakotaMaster of Science in Cybersecurity20 months
Norwich UniversityMaster of Science in Cybersecurity18 months
Marlyville UniversityMaster's in Cybersecurity12 - 20 months
King's College LondonAdvanced Cyber Security, Master of Science24 months
New York UniversityBasics of Computing and Programming1.5 months
Rochester Institute of TechnologyComputer Forensics2 months
Southern New Hampshire UniversityBachelor of Science in Cybersecurity4 years
Champlain College OnlineBachelor of Science in Cybersecurity4 years
Purdue University GlobalBachelor of Science in Cybersecurity4 years
Regent UniversityBachelor of Science in Cybersecurity4 years

What Does a Cybersecurity Professional Do?

Cybersecurity professionals are essential personnel who examine, test, analyze, and secure a business or organization’s internet security infrastructure. This could include developing security apps, testing hardware and software for vulnerabilities, monitoring network activity for potential threats, or aiding in the recovery efforts following an attack.

Organizations are desperate to protect their digital assets and their customers’ data. The number of business-disrupting malware attacks has nearly doubled in the past few years, highlighting the strong demand for cybersecurity professionals.

Meanwhile, some researchers predict that by 2025, over 25% of all cyberattacks will be against IoT devices. Healthcare organizations are a special concern for IoT and data security. Over 80% of healthcare organizations that use IoT devices have experienced a security breach.

The global pandemic has complicated and increased the need for cybersecurity professionals, especially for educational institutions. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, US schools had already leaked 24.5 million records, many of which were lost due to data breaches. Since the beginning of the pandemic, schools have experienced spikes in cyberattacks on their information infrastructures, including major ransomware attacks.

Governments worldwide have a steadily increasing need for cybersecurity professionals, especially in the wake of a cyberwarfare threat. For its part, the United States Department of Defense is working to provide advanced cybersec for itself and US allies. That’s a Herculean task that can only be met by hiring more cybersecurity professionals. 

Popular Cybersecurity Careers

1. Application Security Engineer

Application security engineers design security measures for mobile and desktop applications. Those working in this role seek out app vulnerabilities, then create security protocols to mitigate potential threats. Application security engineers assess security vulnerabilities before and after the release of applications.

2. Chief Information Security Officer

Chief information security officers (CISOs) are executives who oversee the IT security of the whole organization. As a senior and highly responsible role, a CISO can cover all aspects of cyber security, including strategic vision, design, development, implementation, incident response, budgets, leadership, and staff training. CISOs need to have several years of experience in various IT positions to succeed in their role.

3. Cloud Security Architect

Cloud security architects review and develop the technical infrastructure necessary to secure online data within a cloud infrastructure. This role requires advanced knowledge and certification in cloud-based network technologies like Amazon Web Services.

4. Computer Forensics Analyst

Computer forensics analysts examine evidence that can be found on computers for the purposes of investigating crime. A computer forensics analyst will try to recover data using certain principles and techniques, and they ensure they collect evidence in a way that is legally viable, so it will hold up in court. Computer forensics analysts seek to identify, preserve, and analyze relevant data while presenting facts and opinions about this information.

5. Cryptanalyst

Cryptanalysts take coded messages and decipher them without a ‘key’ (a piece of code that you can use to turn a secret coded message into readable, plain text). A cryptanalyst will look for weaknesses in the algorithms of encryption systems (instructions that a computer follows to turn a message into code). A cryptanalyst wants to find these vulnerabilities before a hacker does and illegally accesses the encoded information.

6. Cryptographer

Cryptographers encrypt an organization’s sensitive information, with the aim of preventing cyber criminals from illicitly accessing it. This encryption process involves converting the data into code. A cryptographer is highly skilled at both encryption and decryption (translating coded messages back into plain text). Cryptographers devise systems and algorithms that ensure only those sending and receiving coded messages can see the contents of them.

7. Cyber Threat Analyst

Cyber threat analysts examine the flow of information into and out of an organization’s network to identify and stop potential threats. Those employed in this role actively utilize their knowledge and experience to find key indicators that represent compromises in the network.

8. Cybersecurity Software Developer

Cybersecurity software developers use programming languages to create security software applications. Those employed in this profession may create security software intended for use internally within organizations, or externally for consumers or businesses.

9. Data Privacy Officer

A data privacy officer (also known as a data protection officer, or DPO) is a leadership-level employee who ensures an organization is compliant with existing laws protecting personal data. This can include verifying that current policies meet both national or international regulations on the storage and transmission of personal data.

10. Data / Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts take a leading role in the development and execution of an organization’s data security measures. They coordinate with multiple departments within an organization to design and implement critical security measures that protect private and sensitive data.

11. IT Specialist

IT specialists carry out regular assessments of an organization’s network and computer systems, analyzing how robust they are in terms of security. An IT specialist will recommend improvements where necessary. This involves being aware of the current best practices in IT security, as well as developing cyber threats. With this understanding, IT specialists can implement measures that prevent cyber attacks. A security specialist will test security software such as firewalls and present their findings to senior members of the IT team.

12. Malware Analyst

Malware analysts employ software development and programming knowledge to analyze the behavior and potential impact of existing malware. This role may require a close examination of malware code to determine how a malicious program works, then create a solution to mitigate or prevent its impact.

13. Network Security Administrator

Network security administrators oversee the security infrastructure of an organization. This role may involve creating or updating an organization’s security infrastructure, and monitoring network activity for potential threats.

14. Penetration Tester

Also known as pen testers, those employed in this role create and execute stress tests on existing software or security infrastructure. Pen testers seek out and then document security weaknesses, then provide recommended solutions or mitigation strategies for clients.

15. Security Architect

Security architects are senior members of an IT team who design computer systems with security in mind. A security architect will take responsibility for all of the measures, processes, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) that help organizations stop, minimize, and assess a range of cyber security threats.

16. Security Consultant

Security consultants assess all of the security protocols and processes that an organization uses. This kind of role can involve overseeing security for one firm, consulting with several client firms independently, or being employed by multiple clients through a bigger company. Security consultants try to find security risks and breaches through tests they run. The consulting nature of the role means that security consultants will offer advice on how to enhance security infrastructure.

17. Security Engineer

Security engineers block unauthorized access to an organization’s computer systems from outside sources. They also help companies recover from major disruptions such as malicious hacks. A security engineer adopts a comprehensive cyber security role by implementing and testing security strategies, reporting security incidents, continually checking the status of network security, and raising awareness about IT security in an organization.

18. Security Manager

Security managers, like other cyber security employees, work to protect a company’s computers, networks, and data against cyber threats. However, as this is a managerial role, duties involve overseeing other IT employees who are taking steps to strengthen an organization’s overall security system. Because they manage many different IT employees, security managers need a solid understanding of all aspects of cyber security.

19. Vulnerability Assessor

Similar to a pen tester, a vulnerability tester uses available tools to scan networks and security infrastructure for potential weak spots or vulnerabilities.

Best States to Find Cybersecurity Jobs

Although California has some of the top-paying cities for cybersecurity professionals, it’s not necessarily the best state to start your search for cybersecurity jobs. For example, our research shows that Virginia and Texas are some of the best states for those seeking jobs as information or cyber security analysts.

Top 10 US States for Information / Cyber Security Analysts

Employment by State for Information / Cyber Security Analysts

Top-Paying Industries for Information / Cyber Security Analysts

Top Industries Hiring Information / Cyber Security Analysts

Top Companies Hiring Cybersecurity Professionals


Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited is one of the “Big Four” multinational accounting companies. The organization has over 300,000 employees worldwide, and in 2020, advertised over 1,500 cybersecurity jobs on LinkedIn and other job boards.

Booz Allen Hamilton

An international consulting company, Booz Allen Hamilton has over 90,000 employees worldwide. In 2020, the company had posted nearly 1,000 cybersecurity jobs on LinkedIn and other job search websites.


One of the “Big Four” alongside Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers is an international professional services company with over 276,000 employees worldwide. The company was advertising over 300 cybersecurity jobs online in 2020.


The world’s largest online marketplace is also one of the largest employers. It has 1,000,000 employees worldwide and posted over 250 cybersecurity jobs online in 2020.

U.S. Department of Defense

The DoD is the single largest employer in the world. Thanks to the entire military falling under the purview of the DoD, its employment exceeds 2.8 million people. That includes over 732,000 civilians. The DoD posted at least 100 cybersecurity jobs online in 2020.

Where to Find Cybersecurity Jobs

You can use almost any job website to find high-paying cybersecurity jobs. Posting job advertisements often costs money, so few employers post jobs on every job search website. We recommend you use multiple job search websites to look for local and remote cybersecurity jobs.

Job Sites# of Jobs Under "Cybersecurity"

Cybersecurity Job FAQs

What are the best jobs for cybersecurity?

More than 50 different job exist within the field of cybersecurity. We covered over 25 potential career paths in this article, but you’ll find far more as you investigate potential career options. No job in cybersecurity is really better or worse than another; it all depends on what you want to do. Want to be on the front lines? Consider ethical hacking. Want to work behind the scenes? Consider app security development.

Is cybersecurity a good career?

Cybersecurity jobs offer high salaries, significant potential for upward mobility and salary increases, the potential for excellent benefits, and strong job security.

What is the easiest cybersecurity job?

Most cybersecurity professionals will tell you that there is no “easy” cybersecurity job. Your ease with any job in cybersecurity will depend on your background, education, skills, and experiences. Your experiences will also vary by employer.

Is it easy to get a job in cybersecurity?

You can get started on a career in cybersecurity in under two years! Some employers begin hiring anyone who has the proper certifications with a minimum of a high school diploma. Other employers may expect you to have a Master’s degree in a cybersecurity concentration. Many degree programs take two years or less to complete.

What are the best entry-level cybersecurity jobs?

Many cybersecurity jobs have entry-level or junior positions. These include IT support or helpdesk, junior network technician, cyber policy analyst, and technical writer.

How much do cybersecurity jobs pay?

Your cybersecurity job salary will depend on the type of job, your experience and education, your location, and your employer. However, ZipRecruiter reports the national average annual salary for cybersecurity jobs was over $112,000 in 2020.

What degree or training do I need for cybersecurity jobs?

Although some cybersecurity professionals are self-taught, most have a Bachelor’s degree at a minimum. To increase your chances on the job market, you should begin with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field (including a different math or science field). If you already have a Bachelor’s degree, consider taking an online Master’s degree program in computer science or a specialized cybersecurity program.

Are there cybersecurity scholarships available?

Many employers and private organizations offer scholarships for cybersecurity job hopefuls. You may also find scholarships and grants available through select schools.