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How to Become a Cyber Security Specialist

By Steve Smith

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.


May 18, 2023

8 min read

You might not realize it, but cyber security specialists help make many of the things we do online every day like online shopping, bill paying, socializing, gaming and learning safe and secure. In our Internet-of-Things economy, businesses rely on the safety and security of their data systems to grow, prosper and innovate. They also need their customer’s private information, often housed on these systems, to be safe too. Robust cyber security systems developed and managed by information security professionals enable these systems to function efficiently and securely.


In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what a cyber security specialist does, how you can become one and a few of the many different cyber security jobs in the industry today.

What Is a Cyber Security Specialist?

Safeguarding data systems against breaches and cyberattacks is the primary responsibility of cyber security professionals. In a nutshell, cyber security specialists work to protect computer networks from cyberattacks. Their specific duties may vary from one organization to another, or depending on their cyber security training and experience, but their purpose is the same – creating and deploying defense strategies to keep sensitive information out of the hands of opportunistic or malicious hackers. 

Cyber security specialists are expected to be high in demand over the next few years. Citing factors like the increasing frequency of cyberattacks, business’ increased focus on enhancing cyber security, the rise of e-commerce and strong growth in digital health services, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for information security analysts to grow 35% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.1 The BLS further projects about 19,500 job openings in this category each year, on average, over the decade. This growth is projected on a national level and local growth will vary by location. This projection is not specific to DeVry University graduates and may include earners at all stages of their careers.

What Does a Cyber Security Specialist Do?

With an overarching responsibility to keep an organization’s data and IT infrastructure secure, the cyber security specialist’s daily tasks may include the following:

  • Researching, testing and implementing cyber security technologies and procedures.

  • Developing and implementing the standards and guidelines that make up an organization’s cyber security program.

  • Installing firewalls (security devices that monitor network traffic and allow or block traffic based on security rules) to secure network infrastructure.

  • Conducting threat and risk analyses and analyzing how new or existing systems or technologies may impact system risk, performance or capacity. 

  • Carry out vulnerability assessments and audits of operating systems, servers and databases to detect anomalies, weaknesses or signs of malicious activity.

  • Installing and managing anti-virus systems and upgrading software as needed.

  • Staying up to date with methods of system intrusion and developing protection plans based on a thorough understanding of vulnerabilities, management systems and applications.

  • Communicating security policies and providing technical support to team members and leadership.

  • Designing training manuals and organizing training sessions. 

How to Become a Cyber Security Specialist

If you’re interested in becoming a cyber security specialist, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the educational and occupational requirements associated. The BLS states that information security analysts typically need a bachelor’s degree in computer or information technology to enter the field.

At DeVry, you can earn a Cyber Security Specialization as part of our Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology and Networking. This industry-focused degree program offers hands-on learning opportunities designed to help you familiarize yourself with networks, software and network security technologies, and is taught by faculty with the real-world experience to make online learning productive and engaging.

Certifications are another important aspect of this occupation and, according to the BLS, many employers prefer to hire candidates who’ve earned information security certifications.

Elements of this specialization are aligned with industry certifications, including: 

  • CompTIA A+: Among the many credentials offered by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), this entry-level certification touches on elements of troubleshooting, hardware and operating systems.

  • CompTIA Network+: Intended to certify your knowledge and proficiency with technologies related to cloud computing and the Internet of Things.

  • CompTIA Security+: Demonstrates your ability to keep network devices, services and traffic secure.

  • CEH Certification: Offered by the EC-Council demonstrates your ability to assess the strength of a networks security and identify vulnerabilities within it.

  • CompTIA PenTest+: Certifies your ability to conduct penetration tests, also known as ethical hacking, to reveal and exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems.

Cyber Security Career Paths

After earning education, entry-level certifications and work experience, a few of the cyber security careers you may want to explore include:

  • Security engineer: Security engineers contribute to the safety of computer networks and systems by planning and establishing security measures. They may also test systems for vulnerabilities and implement security processes.

  • Penetration tester: These professionals help prevent data breaches by finding weaknesses that might otherwise go unnoticed. Working as independent consultants or as part of an in-house cyber security team, they identify and exploit security vulnerabilities by simulating breaches on an organization’s computers or networks.

  • Information security analyst: Working for private companies or as consultants, information security analysts (or cyber security analysts) plan and implement security measures across networks and data systems. They work to uncover and analyze vulnerabilities in systems and take measures to patch these weaknesses.

Learn to Protect Critical Data Systems at DeVry

If you’re interested in building a career in cyber security, DeVry can help. Our online Bachelor’s Degree Specialization in Cyber Security can help you build a firm foundation in technology and cyber defense with hands-on, industry-focused coursework that covers data analysis, network security testing, ethical hacking and more. Elements of our curriculum are also aligned with industry-recognized certifications to help you validate your knowledge and skills while you prepare to take the exams.

Let’s talk about getting you started in our next session. Classes start every 8 weeks.


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