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Is Cyber Security a Good Career Choice?

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 24, 2024
14 min read


After hearing about data breaches and the rising number of cyberattacks, it’s apparent that robust digital defenses are essential for individuals and businesses alike. If you find yourself interested in what it takes to build up these defenses or enjoy reading up on the latest developments in security-focused tech you might be wondering, “is cyber security a good career for me?” 

We’ll dive into a few reasons why cyber security may be a great career choice for you, look at some of the technical and soft skills you’ll need to get the job done, examine some top cyber security careers, discuss how you can prepare to pursue a cyber security career of your own and what the future of the industry might look like. 

What is Cyber Security?

Before we get into the ins and outs of building a career in the space, let’s define what cyber security is: defending computers, networks and the data they contain from cyberattacks. Cyber security professionals engage in a never-ending mission to identify vulnerabilities in their information systems and close or fortify these gaps before cybercriminals can exploit them.

Within the broad spectrum of cyber security, areas of focus like analysis, disaster recovery, penetration testing, programming and others each play a role in safeguarding the systems that our interconnected economy depend on. 

Why Is Cyber Security a Good Career Choice?

There are several reasons why pursuing a cyber security career might be a good fit for your personal and professional goals. Take some time to look into the different branches of this field. You may find that one area of focus piques your interest more than others.

Are you more of a defense and strategy minded person? Or do you prefer to work with the hardware involved in keeping systems safe? The way you go about preparing to pursue a career in this field will depend on what your long-term goals are.

But in general, here are some things that you might want to know:

High projections in job growth

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for information security analysts to grow 32% from 2022 to 2032, a rate that’s much faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS also projects about 16,800 job openings for this group each year, on average, over the decade.1 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.

The BLS attributes this impressive growth to the increasing frequency of cyberattacks, the rise of e-commerce and the need to create innovative solutions to prevent hackers from interfering with or stealing critical information from networks. 

Remote and hybrid work opportunities

If you think working in cyber security always requires an on-site work environment, think again. Working from home has become common in many industries over the past few years, and cyber security is no exception. A search of job listings in a range of roles is likely to reveal a large number of positions that are either fully remote or hybrid. This may make the occupation more accessible for those who prefer, or need to, work remotely.

Self-employment possibilities

If your ultimate goal is to become your own boss, it is possible to establish yourself as an independent contractor in the information security field. You may need to start off working for a company while you build up your skills, earn industry certifications and gain experience. As you become more familiar with the work in the field, you can take on some small paid projects on the side as a freelancer, gradually building your reputation and your portfolio.

Keep in mind that growing your business and your income will require marketing yourself, whether this is through your own website, social media channels, word of mouth from previous clients or through professional networking.

Options to work in the public or private sector

Cyber security professionals work for both large and small private sector organizations, such as financial institutions, healthcare systems and e-commerce platforms. They also work in the public sector, for government agencies or public utilities that manage power grids, water systems and other infrastructure.

Government organizations are being increasingly challenged by cyber threats, whether from bad actors seeking to steal intellectual property or cybercriminals intent upon accessing personal identifying information. Industry professionals are also seeing the emergence of what’s been described as advanced persistent threats (APT), with premeditated and targeted attacks using ransomware and other aggressive attack code.

As large organizations and governments become aware of new vulnerabilities and explore how to manage them from both an IT and OT (operational technology) standpoint, more new career opportunities for cyber security specialists may arise. 

Varied career opportunities

As noted in job growth projections by the BLS, the need for cyber security professionals is being fueled by our increasing dependence on information systems and the increasing need to safeguard them.

Opportunities to begin and advance your career within the cyber security field are plentiful, with numerous pathways at the entry, mid and advanced levels that often intersect in their scope and areas of responsibility. As you begin to map out your cyber security career path, keep in mind that every organization is different, and roles, responsibilities and advancement opportunities will vary widely from one job posting to another.

Examples of entry-level roles for cyber security professionals include:

  • Cyber Security Specialist

  • Cybercrime Analyst

  • Incident and Intrusion Analyst

  • IT Auditor

Mid-level roles may include:

  • Cyber Security Analyst

  • Cyber Security Consultant

  • Penetration and Vulnerability Tester

Advanced-level roles, which may require years of relevant experience or additional education can include:

  • Cyber Security Manager

  • Cyber Security Engineer

  • Cyber Security Architect

What Skills Do You Need for a Career in Cyber Security?

As with many other careers, you’ll need to cultivate a variety of technical and workplace skills if you want to position yourself for long-term career growth and satisfaction. But skills for cyber security professionals may require a bit more specialized knowledge and ability, especially as you progress through your career.

If you’re just starting out, it’s important to identify what kinds of core competencies employers in this field will be looking for. You can then make the effort to acquire these skills through education or independent study.

Some technical skills you’ll need might include: 

  • Tech fundamentals

    In order to perform complex tasks, it’s important to know how to navigate technical tasks like firewall installation, programming, network configuration and management in various operating systems.

  • Programming

    Cyber security pros deploy top programming languages like JavaScript, Python and HTML in a variety of ways, including using code to construct internal systems that can keep cybercriminals at bay.

  • Automation implementation

    An increasing number of security tasks can be automated to eliminate repetitive coding. An understanding of this technology can give any cyber security specialist an edge.

  • Risk identification and management

    Risk management is at the core of any cyber security program, requiring regular monitoring and analysis. That’s why an ability to identify areas that may be vulnerable to internal or external threats is crucial in this job.

  • Application security and protection

    As businesses increasingly rely on external applications, it’s important for cyber security professionals to understand this key security aspect of security alongside internal systems and processes.  

  • Access management

    Identity verification, monitoring and security alerts are all elements of strong access management, which is controlling which members of an organization have access to certain systems and information.

The soft skills required in cyber security are just as important as the hard ones, as they can help build a bridge between the technical and human aspects of the job:

  • Communication

    Strong communication skills enable cyber security professionals to collaborate more effectively, whether they be on-site or working remotely. As you sharpen your communication skills, you’ll develop the ability to communicate effectively with teammates, management, internal or external stakeholders and make technical subject matter more understandable to people with non-technical backgrounds. 

  • Logical reasoning and troubleshooting

    The ability to think clearly and logically, especially when under pressure, is an important attribute. Troubleshooting skills require technical knowledge, but also the ability to think outside the box to find alternate solutions or creative ways to solve short and long-term problems.

  • Adaptability

    As a cyber security pro, you’ll need the ability to adapt to changes in technology, new security problems and to adopt a lifelong learning mindset to keep pace with how frequently the cyber landscape evolves.

How to Get Started in a Cyber Security Career

If you’re curious about how to get into cyber security, you should remember that the first step in any career journey is education. Here at DeVry, we offer a variety of cyber security degree and certificate programs that can be earned 100% online. Coursework in security systems procedures, standards, protocols and policies are taught by experienced faculty who will teach you core cyber skills through hands-on learning experiences.

Explore our Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security, our Associate Degree in Cybersecurity and Networking, our Bachelor’s Degree Specialization in Cyber Security Programming and our Bachelor’s Degree in Cybersecurity and Networking programs.

After your education is complete, some steps you can take toward entry-level cyber security jobs include:

  • Gain experience

    Many roles in cyber security require some level of previous experience. Consider starting out in an entry-level position in another area of IT, such as networking, software development or systems engineering that can help you gain relevant skills.

  • Earn certifications

    Take the time to find out what certifications are specific to cyber security. You’ll find the easiest way to do this is by reviewing online job listings for cyber security-related jobs to see what certifications employers are specifying.

After obtaining your education and acquiring the skills and experience needed, be sure to update your resume to best position yourself to respond to job opportunities. Showcase your workplace skills like communication and problem-solving alongside your technical skills. As a companion to your resume, you may also want to develop an online portfolio to showcase your skills in programming, written communication and other capabilities.

Top Cyber Security Careers

The landscape for cyber security careers is remarkably broad, spanning industries like banking and finance, insurance, healthcare, government and information technology. We’ve chosen a few, and included the primary responsibilities associated with each of them. Bear in mind that as you start you search, you may see job descriptions with titles that vary from one employer organization to another.

Cyber Security Analyst

Whether called a cyber security analyst or an information security analyst, this cyber security professional is responsible for identifying and fixing vulnerabilities in computer networks and data systems against cyberattacks. Their responsibilities may include reviewing security systems, setting security protocols and configuring security tools. They may also petition for software and hardware upgrades to enhance safeguards, and investigate security breaches in order to configure countermeasures that will fend off future attacks.

Network Systems Administrator

The typical duties of a network administrator include maintaining computer networks and system hardware, software, routers and other components, and installing and configuring network equipment to remedy issues or complete updates. The administrator might also train new network users, update virus protections and communicate networking issues to colleagues and management.

Cyber Security Specialist

Keeping sensitive information from being lost, stolen or damaged, cyber security specialists typically run diagnostic tests and analyze data to identify security threats, then construct security measures to safeguard their systems. They also may make recommendations for upgrades to shore up security efforts and assist in developing best practices to help organizations reduce the risk of data theft. They also may write reports explaining the results of testing and the results of security incidents after they’ve occurred. 

Information Security Manager

The specific duties of an information security manager typically include the development and implementation of policies and procedures related to keeping information safe. This may include overseeing cyber security awareness and training, assessing and mitigating security risks and managing security incidents when they occur. This cyber security professional is also typically responsible for making sure these systems are complaint with industry standards, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS).

Ethical Hacker

Hacking is recognized as the unauthorized entry to, or interference with, a computer or network.  So what is ethical hacking? It’s a ways of launching simulated attacks in order to test an organization’s security defenses and resilience in the event of a real attack. An ethical hacker would launch a sanctioned simulated attack on a system and work with their team to fortify security where it’s needed.

Penetration Tester

Penetration testers are responsible for trying to find weaknesses in a system before cybercriminals can. Their everyday duties include performing security assessments of servers and systems, developing and carrying out penetration tests on them, documenting their findings and providing them to management. They also work to implement any improvements to system safeguards.

The Future of Cyber Security

Emerging cyber security trends reflect the accelerating pace of technological advancements, making this an exciting and challenging time for the industry. These underscore the realization that cyber security is no longer a discipline assigned strictly to the IT department, but rather a strategic priority that has taken a seat in the board room.

Concerns that are front and center in 2024 include:

Leveraging AI in cyber security

With its ability to automate repetitive tasks and analyze massive amounts of data, artificial intelligence continues to be a rising influence in cyber security.  As AI increases in sophistication, its predictive abilities are helping nudging security professionals to take on proactive approach to defense rather than a reactive one. 

Securing IoT devices

The widespread use of connected smart devices will continue to raise cyber security risks, since each device can be a potential entry point for cybercriminals. Gaining access to one device has the potential to disrupt the entire system. 

Remote workforces present unique challenges

Remote work comes with cyber security risk, especially if personal devices are utilized. Since these are less likely to have robust security protocols, cybercriminals may have an easier time accessing them. Remote workers often feel as through their home networks are secure, but their devices could pose a significant risk if used to access company data and are inadequately protected. 

Mobile device and app security

The convenience and accessibility phones and apps offer consumers are countered by the cyber security challenges they bring. Each mobile app is a potential vulnerability, as they expose your sensitive data and make your phone accessible to hackers. The security of mobile devices like phones or tablets is also a concern for this year. As more people use and rely on them, the more they may be seen as a target.

The cyber talent gap

In 2024 and likely beyond, cyber security teams will continue to grapple with a shortage of professionals with adequate training and skills to protect organizations from cyberattacks.

In its 2023 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, ISC2 found that in spite of the global cyber security workforce increasing in size, the skills gaps have also reached new heights. Falling short of the demand, an additional 4 million workers are needed to sufficiently safeguard information systems and assets.

Highlights from the ISC2 study demonstrate the severity of the problem:

  • 92% of cyber security professionals report a skill gap at their organizations.

  • The top 3 skills gaps are cloud computing security, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and zero-trust implementation.

  • 51% of organizations that have experienced cyber security layoffs have been impacted by one or more significant skills gaps, compared to just 39% of organizations that have not had layoffs.

Make Your Mark as a Cyber Defender with Help From DeVry

If a career in cyber security sounds like it may be right for you, we can help get your journey started.

Our online Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security program can help you prepare to pursue a career as a cyber defender with coursework that introduces concepts like how design strategies to protect information, infrastructure and brands from cyberattacks.

This undergraduate certificate program can also help prepare you to pursue industry-relevant cyber security certifications like CompTIA A+, PentTest+ and Network +, and the EC Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). This program does not require you to have a previous technical background and can be completed in as little as little as 1 year and 2 months on a minimum schedule, or 1 year and 6 months on a normal one.2

2Normal schedule assumes 2 semesters of full-time enrollment in 7-13 credit hours a semester per 12 month period. Minimum schedule does not include breaks and assumes 3 semesters of year-round, full-time enrollment in 7-13 credit hours a semester per 12 month period.

Our Associate Degree in Cybersecurity and Networking program was designed to help you gain relevant skills in building and updating security infrastructure, application and network defense, and introduce you to cryptography.


Our Bachelor’s Degree Specialization in Cyber Security Programming focused curriculum was designed to help you gain familiarity working with code security, programming, and building the programs that keep vast information systems secure.


Our Bachelor’s Degree in Cybersecurity and Networking program will help you develop a focused approach to identifying, preventing and defending against cyberattacks. Students in this program will automatically be enrolled in our Future Cyber Defenders Scholars Program, where they will get access to career support, learn about trainings, conferences and networking opportunities hosted by industry professionals, join DeVry’s National Chapter of CompTIA and much more.


DeVry University’s Cyber Security curriculum is acknowledged and verified as an approved provider by the National Initiative of Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS).


As a student in qualifying online technology programs, you’ll receive a complimentary laptop during your second session. It’s our way of investing in your cyber security education—and you.3



1Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location. BLS projections are not specific to DeVry University students or graduates and may include earners at all stages of their career and not just entry level.
2Normal schedule assumes 2 semesters of full-time enrollment in 7-13 credit hours a semester per 12-month period. Minimum schedule does not include breaks and assumes 3 semesters of year-round, full-time enrollment in 7-13 credit hours a semester per 12-month period.
3As part of this program, one complimentary laptop is provided to students enrolled in the Associate in Cybersecurity and Networking, Associate in Information Technology and Networking, Associate in Engineering Technology, Bachelor’s of Information Technology and Networking, Bachelor’s of Software Development, Bachelor’s of Engineering Technology, Bachelor’s of Cybersecurity and Networking and Bachelor’s of Computer Information Systems. The laptop is issued during the student’s second session. Certain restrictions apply.

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