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Cyber Security Careers

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The cyber security industry is home to a broad variety of opportunities for individuals who want to pursue careers as digital defenders, protecting critical systems and sensitive information from digital attacks. In this article, we will define cyber security, describe cyber security careers and discuss the job growth in this industry. We will also outline how you can prepare to pursue a career in cyber security as we explore the following topics:


Accreditation Matters

DeVry University’s Cyber Security curriculum is acknowledged and verified as an approved provider by NICCS.


What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security combines elements of security, data protection and technology. IBM defines cyber security as the practice of protecting critical systems and sensitive information from digital attacks that are commonly referred to as cyberattacks. Also known as information technology (IT) security, cyber security and its measures are designed to combat threats against networked systems and applications, whether those threats originate from inside or outside an organization.

According to IBM, the main goal of cybercriminals is to target customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). This includes names, addresses, social security numbers and credit card information, then sell it in underground marketplaces. For organizations, the consequences of a data breach can include loss of revenue, a damaged reputation leading to loss of consumer trust, potentially substantial regulatory fines and legal action. 

As organizations reprioritize cyber security, they no longer see it as an issue reserved for their chief information officers (CIOs) and chief information security officers (CISOs), but one that needs to be treated as a material business financial risk. This is leading many organizations to increase their investments in the technologies and talent that enable enhanced cyber security as part of their overall risk management strategy.

To further answer the question, what is cyber security, consider the number of careers that are available in this area of information technology for professionals who defend against cyberattacks like phishing, malware and ransomware. The advancement of network technology through innovations like the Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled more effective layers of defense used by cyber security professionals to improve network security.

What Careers are Available in Cyber Security?

This is a vast and multifaceted industry. Cyber security jobs at the entry, middle and advanced levels include roles involving vulnerability testing, application development, administration, incidence response and other responsibilities.

Entry Level Cyber Security Careers

Qualifying for your first job in the broad cyber security field typically entails 4 basic elements: Education, certification, experience and skills. Most entry-level positions require at least a year of experience in a related IT field, where you would develop skills that can be applied to a cyber security role. Here are some examples of entry-level cyber security jobs:

    • Information Security Analyst: Information security analysts observe the flow of data within a company and research industry trends to determine the safest way to transmit information between relevant parties.
    • Security Specialist: Security specialists help to educate a company’s employees about security and work to prevent cyberattacks. They are often involved in a company’s day-to-day information and data security measures.
  • Digital Forensic Investigator: Digital forensic investigators look into security breaches and recover data from devices in order to identify the culprit behind a cyberattack, or to gather evidence for legal proceedings.

    • IT Auditor: IT auditors are responsible for observing the usage of IT elements within a company to ensure that they are being deployed in a security-conscious manner.
    • Incident Responder – Incident responders work to recover lost data, find out what was compromised and restore service function after a breach in security.
    • Cybercrime Analyst: Cybercrime analysts investigate crimes after they have occurred. They also study crimes that are happening around the world in order to pass along information that will help companies avoid similar security breaches.

Mid-Level Cyber Security Careers

Jobs for cyber security professionals with mid-level experience can include roles in administration, testing, systems analysis, security management and network support:

    • Systems Administrator: Systems administrators, sometimes called admins or sysadmins, oversee all systems, networks and data transmission methods within a company to ensure that they are being used properly and in a security-conscious manner.
    • Penetration Tester: Penetration testers, also known as pen testers or ethical hackers, ensure that cyber security safeguards are up to par by attempting to breach them from the outside, exploiting the same vulnerabilities and using the same techniques that a malicious hacker would employ.
    • Security Systems Administrator: A security systems administrator oversees the cyber security systems that are used to keep computer networks safe from attacks, while also ensuring the efficiency of day-to-day operations.
    • Computer systems analyst: A computer systems analyst works with programmers and engineers to help build secure computing systems. They often serve in an advisory role, but may run tests and perform basic programming on the equipment they help build.
    • Computer network support specialist: A specialized branch of technical support, computer network support specialists help companies troubleshoot their networks. They can also provide advice on how to set up networks to be more secure.
    • Security analyst: Security analysts are skilled at managing software, systems and networks. They ensure that the software being used is the latest and most secure version, which can help prevent cyberattacks.
    • Vulnerability assessor: Vulnerability assessors are similar to ethical hackers in that they use programming and hacking skills to find weaknesses within a system. Unlike an ethical hacker who may be employed to break into the databases of criminal elements, a vulnerability assessor solely focuses on finding areas of weakness in a system to improve them.

Advanced Level Cyber Security Careers

Roles for professionals who’ve reached an advanced level in their cybersecurity careers tend to be more specialized than entry or mid-level jobs, and may involve a greater level of management responsibilities: 

    • Security Architect: Security architects are responsible for identifying the suite of software applications that a company will use in order to protect its data. They often work alongside IT managers and systems administrators to make sure that security concerns are addressed.
    • Cryptographer: Cryptographers work to secure data using a complex system of ciphers, codes and algorithms. In the event that a company receives an encrypted file, they also perform the analysis of those files in an isolated system.
    • Cyber Security Manager: Cyber security managers oversee and manage the systems and channels used by a company for the transmission of internal information.
    • Security Auditor: Security auditors investigate the software, programming and systems that a company uses for its cyber security measures to determine areas of weakness and identify potential improvements.
    • Source Code Auditor: Source code auditors use their programming experience to identify areas of weakness within the source code of a software program to help build safer, more secure software applications.
    • Cyber Security Engineer: These senior-level cybersecurity professionals design, develop and implement highly secure network solutions to defend against cyberattacks. They often perform penetration testing to uncover vulnerabilities, install, test and configure networks and define security protocols.

Cyber Security Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), cyberattacks have grown in frequency, leading businesses to focus on enhancing their cyber security efforts. The BLS attributes this increase to several factors, including the shift to remote work, the continuing growth of e-commerce and strong growth in digital health services and telehealth, which increases risk for healthcare providers and healthcare systems.

The BLS expects the demand for information security analysts to increase by 35% between 2021 and 2031, a rate that is much faster than the average for all occupations, and projects about 19,500 job openings each year, on average, during this period. 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.

How to Pursue a Cyber Security Career

To pursue a cyber security career path, it often makes sense to begin by advancing your education. As a technology career, the landscape of cyber security moves fast and evolves frequently. An education covering the basics can help prepare you to accomplish information security tasks and provide you with the foundation needed to pursue a variety of jobs in cyber security.

At DeVry, you can increase your skills with stackable degrees2 in our cyber security programs, allowing you to work toward your education goals at your own pace. You don’t need to wait four years to add a credential to your resume. 

For example, our online Cyber Security Certificate program can serve as a building block to our Associate Degree in Cybersecurity and Networking. When you complete the associate, all courses are designed to stack into our Bachelor’s in Information Technology and Networking with a Specialization in Cyber Security

Earn Cyber Security Certifications to Boost Your Resume

Industry-recognized certifications can help validate your skills in different areas of cyber security and help you stand out from other job candidates. That’s why they can be such important resume builders. Here at DeVry, some courses in our cyber security degree and certificate programs can help you to prepare to pursue these important certifications. 

Some of the cyber security credentials you may choose to pursue include:

    • CompTIA Linux+: The Linux certification verifies proficiency with the Linux operating system and its various applications. This is particularly useful for those who wish to work with operating systems and devices.
    • CompTIA Network+: Network+ certifies your knowledge of emerging technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things. This credential is recommended for security specialists and is a great way to future-ready your skillset.
    • CompTIA Cloud+: This certification proves your ability to set up, manage and maintain cloud computing systems in a secure fashion. 
  • CompTIA Security+: Incorporating best practices in hands-on troubleshooting, this fundamental cyber security certification establishes the core knowledge the field requires. It verifies the problem-solving skills required to assess an organization’s security, monitor and secure hybrid environments, operate with an awareness of applicable laws and policies and identify, analyze and respond to security events and incidents.

  • CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+): For cyber professionals tasked with incident detection, prevention and response, the CySA+ credential demonstrates competency of current security trends affecting the daily work of security analysts and verifies knowledge of incident response and vulnerability management processes. It confirms skills and methodologies in detecting and analyzing indicators of malicious activity.

  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA): With this certification from ISACA, mid-career cyber security professionals can verify their ability to apply a risk-based approach to planning and reporting on audit engagements. Elements of the certification confirm candidates’ abilities to identify critical issues and recommend enterprise-specific practices to support and safeguard the governance of information and related technologies. 

  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+): This advanced-level cyber security certification is intended for security architects and senior security engineers. Covering both security architecture and engineering, it is the only hands-on, performance-based certification for advanced cyber security practitioners. It verifies the skills needed to assess an enterprise’s cyber security readiness and lead technical teams to implement enterprise-wide cyber security solutions.


Ready to Take the First Steps toward a Cyber Security Career?

If cyber security is the right path for you, we can help you prepare to pursue your new career. Explore our Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber Security, Associate in Cybersecurity and Networking,  Bachelor’s Specialization in Cyber Security Programming or Bachelor's Specialization in Cyber Security, and learn how we can help you develop the skills you'll need as you work toward a job in this exciting industry.


2At the time of application to the next credential level, an evaluation of qualifying transfer credit will occur and the most beneficial outcome will be applied.