With the online world growing larger, faster and more interconnected by the day, cybersecurity careers have exploded. On a daily basis, computer users are blindsided by attacks that cripple their laptops, desktops, mobile devices and network connections. Adding insult to injury is the exposure of their sensitive data, an issue from which no one can completely hide from, particularly businesses.
According to the National Cybersecurity Society, 70% of all cyberattacks affect small businesses, even though large enterprises are typically the ones that get the headlines. Moreover, even though laws often require businesses to disclose whether they’ve ever been affected by cybercrime, industry experts believe many often go unreported.
Software engineers and organizations are constantly trying to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals’ subterfuge, but as they alter their strategies, so too do the perpetrators of cybercrime. Given that these cyberattacks affect businesses of all sizes, causing losses of $200,000 on average according to Hiscox, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Cybersecurity professionals are on the case, but because of the increasingly sophisticated nature of the viruses attackers inflict on their victims, employers need professionals with extraordinary expertise.
High-level training and learning are available with a Master of Science in Cybersecurity through the University of Nevada, Reno. This fully online program can provide you with the experience, comprehension and practical tools needed to establish a successful cybersecurity career, along with the prospect of the strong salary a master’s in cybersecurity commands.
Cybersecurity Career Paths
Some wonder if the financial investment of a master’s in cybersecurity pays off with higher salaries. A graduate degree brings a higher level of experience and understanding of cybercrime, typically resulting in higher income. Exactly how much you stand to earn largely depends on your level of experience and the positions you seek. Some possibilities include the following:
- Cybersecurity specialist
- Cybercrime analyst
- Incident analyst
- Information security analyst
- Information technology (IT) auditor
- Cybersecurity engineer
- Cybersecurity consultant
- Vulnerability/penetration tester
- Cybersecurity architect
Master of Science in Cybersecurity Salary
The expected annual salary for a Master of Science in Cybersecurity graduate varies widely depending on the anticipated scale of difficulty. The cybersecurity employment site CyberSeek analyzes the income differences between various cybersecurity-related occupations, with data updated in March 2021.
Consider a cybersecurity specialist or technician as an example. Although they may be entry-level roles, cybercrime specialists/technicians earn an average of $92,000 annually. Salary averages for those with a master’s in cybersecurity may be even more, and some employers require a graduate-level degree as a prerequisite.
Cybersecurity analysts and information security analysts are considered midlevel positions in the field. These professionals may focus on combating or deterring specific viruses or malware, or they may carry out defensive measures designed to protect an organization’s networks and data. According to CyberSeek, cybersecurity analysts make an average salary of $95,000 per year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the information security analyst occupation with a median annual salary of $103,590 as of May 2020, while projecting employment in the field to grow 31% from 2019 to 2029.
As their title suggests, cybersecurity architects develop the structures that protect large organizations from breaches. These tools may include creating software or determining the best networks to reduce the chance of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. Because of the pressure and stakes involved, cybersecurity architects are usually well compensated. Based on estimates from CyberSeek, their average annual salary is $133,000.
Cybersecurity Salary by State
Just as the cost of living fluctuates by state and region, so do salaries for different cybersecurity jobs. Some of these differences are more significant than others.
According to May 2021 data from PayScale, these three positions see considerable variation in salary based on location:
- Cybersecurity analyst. Those in New York City earn approximately 16% more than the national median, followed by 12% in Washington, DC.
- Cybersecurity engineer. San Diego offers the highest salary, at 9% more than the national median, with Arlington, Virginia, offering pay 3% higher than the national median.
- Network security engineer. Denver offers salaries 14% higher than the national median, followed by Houston at 11%.
What Makes Someone a Good Fit for Cybersecurity?
As with most positions, cybersecurity professionals rely on a combination of hard and soft skills in their craft. Chief among these is problem-solving. By definition, cybersecurity jobs involve recognizing problems and determining the best way to resolve them quickly and efficiently. There’s no shortage of predicaments, as cyberattackers never let up. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were roughly 1,108 breaches in 2020, with more than 300,000 individuals impacted by a data breach.
If you’re creative and enjoy problem-solving, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice within the cybersecurity field.
Attention to detail is another quality that makes someone a good fit for this line of work. Frequently, cyberattacks don’t produce symptoms that are readily detectable. Sometimes, they can be just a click away if employees click on a link that looks legitimate but contains a virus. Phishing is a common scam, and perpetrators are improving their ability to make counterfeit websites look like the real thing. Cybersecurity professionals must be able to pinpoint clues that only the trained eye can detect.
Learn More About the Potential of Cybersecurity
According to the BLS, most employers of cybersecurity professionals are in the computer systems design field. However, because so many organizations have been hit by viruses in recent years, companies are increasingly devoting IT teams to address these incidents. Employees may have basic skills in defending themselves and identifying websites to avoid, but not the kind of working knowledge they need to identify or respond to the nuanced attacks that infiltrate networks.
Online threats are complex and require practical skills to resolve. An online Master of Science in Cybersecurity from the University of Nevada, Reno can provide you with the training you need to diagnose and defend networks and plug gaps. Take a look at our curriculum, engineered to grant you a competitive market advantage, featuring classes such as Digital Forensics and Internet Security.
Should You Become a Cybersecurity Analyst?
How to Become a Security Architect: Educational Requirements and Potential Career Paths
How to Become an Information Security Analyst
Hiscox, Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2019
Identity Theft Resource Center, Consumers at Risk: 126% Increase In Exposed Consumer Data, 1.68 Billion Email-Related Credentials
Identity Theft Resource Center, Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2020 Annual Data Breach Report Reveals 19 Percent Decrease in Breaches
ISACA, National Cybersecurity Society
PayScale, Average Cyber Security Analyst Salary
PayScale, Average Network Security Engineer Salary
PayScale, CyberSecurity Engineer
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Information Security Analysts