10 careers in cybersecurity you need to know about

Connecting Vets
October 29, 2019 - 11:52 am
Careers in Cybersecurity

Getty Images


By: Rhoda Smackum, MA, CMCS, ACCC

Did you know the shortage of cybersecurity professionals is nearing 3 million globally? In fact, North America’s shortfall alone is an estimated 498,000.

The gap isn’t going to close any time soon, either. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cybersecurity field is projected to see a 28 percent increase in jobs between 2016 and 2026.

All that to say now is as good of a time as any to enter the industry. And while there is no best way to enter the world of cybersecurity, there are numerous paths professionals have taken to begin and advance their careers.

For example, if you’re interested in a technical track, to start you’ll need to understand the fundamentals of information technology and how computers operate.

Cybersecurity professionals should also consider taking formal classes, obtaining certifications, and gaining work experience to build their knowledge and skillset. According to the (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study, 49 percent of hiring managers look for cybersecurity work experience as a top qualification in potential candidates. Relevant experience demonstrates a candidate’s interest in the field and conveys the likelihood they will possess the skills needed to perform the job.

Another noteworthy discovery from the survey is 58 percent of current cybersecurity professionals had previous experience in IT, software development, or engineering. These fields offer a transferable experience that may be a factor in hiring or promotion processes.

There are many career paths you might consider when entering the cybersecurity field. Below are ten types of positions to explore.

 Ten Careers in Cybersecurity

1.       IT Auditors: these positions assess the controls, reliability, and integrity of the company’s IT environment. They identify flaws in a system’s network and create action plans to thwart security breaches. The IT auditor role suits people who have a meticulous eye for detail and the ability to accurately record complex information. They identify and document any gaps and compile them in a report for management to act. IT auditors may also be known as:

·     Senior IT auditor

·     IT audit manager

·     Senior IT internal auditor

·     Senior IT compliance analyst

·     Incident analyst/responder


2.       Incident Analysts: these positions are trained to rapidly respond to security incidents as they are unfolding. They identify the incident’s causes, conduct damage control, investigate the situation, and make recommendations on how future incidents can be prevented. A background in computer forensics or computer investigations is key to breaking into this career because incident analysts rely on a wide array of computer forensic tools. Incident analysts may also be known as:

·         Information security project manager

·         Security project manager

·         Senior analyst, information security


3.       Cybercrime Investigators: these positions investigate a number of crimes that range from recovering file systems on hacked or damaged computers to investigating crimes against children, according to Infosec. They recover sensitive information from devices used by criminals, retrieve evidence for prosecuting crimes, work alongside law enforcement officers, and testify in court. Cybercrime investigators may also be known as:

·         Digital forensics analyst

·         Cyber-IT/forensic/security incident responder

·         Cyberforensics analyst

·         Digital forensics technician

·         Cybersecurity forensic analyst


4.       Cybersecurity Specialists: these positions play an important role in securitizing a company’s computer information systems. They use a highly specialized skillset to protect against an arsenal of threats including malware, viruses, phishing, and denial-of-service attacks. Cybersecurity specialists may also be known as:

·         Information security specialist

·         IT specialist, information security

·         Information technology specialist — information security

·         IT security specialist

5.       Cybersecurity Analyst: these positions are entry-level jobs in cybersecurity and are a popular option for newcomers in the field. They may encrypt data transmissions, perform risk assessments, erect firewalls, and protect sensitive information. Cybersecurity analysts may also be known as:

·         Information security analyst

·         Security analyst

·         IT security analyst

·         Senior security analyst


6.       Cybersecurity Consultants: these positions help businesses understand the current threat landscape and evaluate risks posed by potential cybersecurity issues, security incidents, and attacks. Cybersecurity consultants often get to play both roles of attacker and victim. They can work on both the red and blue teams and offer insight to the organization as to how they can better protect themselves from cyber threats, according to Infosec. Cybersecurity consultants may also be known as:

·         Security consultant

·         Security specialist

·         Commercial security consultant

·         Senior security consultant


7.       Penetration Testers: these positions are the ethical hackers of the cybersecurity world. They run simulated attacks against corporate security systems to find gaps before real hackers uncover and exploit them. Penetration testers may also be known as:

·         Ethical hacker

·         Assurance validator


8.       Cybersecurity Architects: these positions are corporate leaders with the mindset of a hacker. They are responsible for building and maintaining corporate security structure to thwart potential attacks. They also supervise security teams of more junior employees. Cybersecurity architects may also be known as:

·         Security architect

·         Information security architect

·         Senior security architect

·         IT security architect.


9.       Cybersecurity Engineers: these positions are highly skilled, detail-oriented professionals on the front lines of protecting a company from security breaches. Daily responsibilities include analyzing computer networks, ensuring networks are running securely, and anticipate security issues that may come up in the future. The core of this role involves designing computer systems that can withstand major disruptions like cyberattacks or natural disasters. Cybersecurity engineers may also be known as:

·         Security engineer

·         Network security engineer

·         Data security engineer

·         IA/IT security engineer


10.    Cybersecurity Managers: these positions are senior-level IT professionals who play a major role in creating corporate security strategies and supervising information security staff.

Other resources

Hire our Heroes (HOH) is a non-profit organization founded with the goal of helping veterans gain employment after their military service. According to the HOH website, veterans are excellent candidates for careers in cybersecurity because of their ability to thwart adversaries, make quick decisions in dynamic situations, and help defend our country. A resource available to assist veterans with cybersecurity training is the Federal Virtual Training Environment (FedVTE), which is an online, on-demand training platform sponsored by the DHS and contains courses covering a wide range of cybersecurity topics for all experience levels and is no cost to HOH users.

Visit the Military section on CareerQuest for an overview of the career resources available for military-affiliated students and alumni.

As always, keep in mind that UMUC Career Services is available to help you plan and achieve career success. Set up an appointment with a UMUC Career Advising Specialist today.

Rhoda Smackum is a career advising specialist for Career Services and Alumni Relations at the University of Maryland University College. She has approximately 28,000 hours of work experience in the field of career development. Ms. Smackum enjoys working collaboratively, in partnership with students and alumni to identify career issues, match values with career choices and obtain meaningful work. She holds a Master of Arts degree from Bowie State University and a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the University of Maryland College Park. She is a Certified Master of Career Services (CMCS) and an Associate Certified Career Coach.

Sponsored by University of Maryland Global Campus