Five Reasons to Study Cybersecurity
Rapid technological advancements represent positive progress for society in near-endless ways. However, this growth is not without its challenges. Topping the list of obstacles threatening millions of people and organizations? Cyber threats. Certainly, cyber criminals are savvy -- which is why even savvier cybersecurity experts are needed to stay one step ahead. Thinking of becoming a (cyber) crime fighter yourself? Read on for five reasons to consider a career in this red-hot field.
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Rapid technological advancements represent positive progress for society in near-endless ways. However, this growth is not without its challenges. Topping the list of obstacles threatening millions of people and organizations? Cyber threats. In fact, incidents of cyber crime overtook traditional crime for the first time in 2016, according to a report by BT/KPMG.
Certainly, cybercriminals are savvy -- which is why even savvier cybersecurity experts are needed to stay one step ahead. Thinking of becoming a (cyber) crime fighter yourself? Read on to learn about the importance of studying cybersecurity.
1. Cybersecurity is in demand
Given omnipresent reports about cyber crime, it’s hardly a surprise that experts are predicting a worldwide shortage of information security professionals looking toward the future. Symantec CEO Michael Brown told CSO Online’s Cybersecurity Business Report, “The demand for the (cybersecurity) workforce is expected to rise to 6 million (globally) by 2019, with a projected shortfall of 1.5 million.”
It’s hardly a surprise that Infosecurity routinely tops lists of the best jobs out there. It was recently ranked eighth on U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of top careers, due in no small part to a meteoric growth rate of 36.5 percent over the next half-decade. As a result, there is a demand for people holding a degree in cybersecurity.
2. Your work will have purpose
Job security is indeed a plus, but it’s far from the only thing. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty once declared cyber crime to be “the greatest threat to every company in the world.” The takeaway? If you’re looking to make a difference in your career, cybersecurity offers the chance to save and protect sensitive, personal information from hackers and cyber attacks.
And while you may not become famous for your efforts, you’ll still be providing an essential and noble service. Says SecurityIntelligence.com, “What’s under constant attack is more than just our networks, devices, servers, applications and data; it’s also our mobile, flexible, connected way of life. Very much like the thin blue line of law enforcement or the thin red line of firefighters, the thin digital line of cybersecurity professionals will increasingly be recognized and appreciated as an important and meaningful vocation.”
3. The financial incentives are many
While the chance to serve the greater good is a compelling one, doing so won’t pay your bills. The good news? Cybersecurity professionals are extremely well compensated for their skills and talents. In fact, according to recent figures from DICE, information security professionals, including lead software security engineers, directors of security, and security consultants, can all can expect to make upwards of $200,000 salaries -- more than CSOs!
Not only that, but salaries rise with demand, so as the shortage increases so will your earning potential.
4. Cybersecurity majors can find jobs in many different fields
When looking for a job within cybersecurity, you can find opportunities in several different fields. While technology-related fields may come to mind when you hear the word “cybersecurity,” the reality is that in today’s digital landscape, all industries -- from banks and finance to education and nonprofits -- require information security services.
While demand will be universal for analysts with innovative minds and the skills to back them up, two areas in particular are expected to experience meteoric growth. Says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The federal government is expected to greatly increase its use of information security analysts to protect the nation’s critical information technology (IT) systems. In addition, as the healthcare industry expands its use of electronic medical records, ensuring patients’ privacy and protecting personal data are becoming more important. More information security analysts are likely to be needed to create the safeguards that will satisfy patients’ concerns.”
5. Cybersecurity professionals have a lot of bargaining power
One last thing to keep in mind about cybersecurity? Because of its unique combination of in-demand status and inherently digital nature, cybersecurity professionals have a lot of bargaining power when it comes to finding work.
Reveals CSO Online, “Cybersecurity pros are most likely to leave to find more challenging work, better pay, and more flexible working hours, according to a survey released this morning. Office location also played an unexpected role in employees' decision as well.” As a result, companies looking to hire (and retain) the best people, are charged with coming up with “more meaning, flexibility and growth opportunities,” including everything from more exciting work to more flexible working conditions. On the receiving end of these upsides? Sought-after cybersecurity professionals.
If you’re sold on a career in cybersecurity but not sure a return to campus life is for you, you’re not out of luck. Many universities offer extensive online programming, courses and degree programs aimed at helping prepare the next generation of cybersecurity experts with the knowledge, skills and experience they need to succeed in this dynamic field.
Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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