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The demand for cybersecurity professionals is already high, and it’s only likely to grow as technology becomes a bigger and bigger part of our everyday lives. Demand for talented and well-trained cybersecurity professionals is expected to only grow in the years ahead, and salaries can easily reach into the six-figure range. Many employers worry that there won’t be enough trained professionals to meet the demand, because so few young people are interested in this field.
Plentiful jobs and high salaries are just a part of what makes this field so attractive. Many aspiring cybersecurity professionals imagine an exciting career protecting government and corporate computer systems from foreign spies and hackers, identity thieves, and terrorists, not to mention viruses and spyware, but it’s not just that. The profession offers the chance to work for prestigious agencies like NASA, and of course, there’s plenty of job security in the field.
Pros of Working in Cybersecurity
If you plan to earn a Master’s in Cybersecurity online, you’re almost guaranteed to find a job. The field is expected to display job growth of 27 percent over the next 10 years, with an average starting salary of $76,000 and earnings potential that exceeds $200,000. Most positions are full time, and well trained, and experienced professionals should be able to pick and choose which jobs they want, since few people are going into the field at the moment. Only 24 percent of adults aged 18 to 26 are interested in cybersecurity careers. In fact, many young people aren’t aware that a career in cybersecurity is even an option; 82 percent of young adults surveyed said that no career counselor, either in high school or college, suggested the possibility of a career in the field.
Job security is another perk of working in the cybersecurity field. This is especially true if you go to work for a government agency. Scientific organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and the Energy Department are particularly interested in cybersecurity professionals, and they have access to more sophisticated, cutting-edge equipment than other departments. Of course, you could end up working for the IRS, the CIA, the FBI, or another government agency. Or you might eschew government work altogether and work for a private corporation.
Cons of Working in Cybersecurity
You might imagine that a career in cybersecurity would be exciting and interesting, especially if you worked for a government agency — you’d be protecting the nation, and the world, from terrorists, spies, and criminals. You’d foil identify theft and safeguard crucial databases. And while it’s true that you will spend some of your time doing these things, veteran cybersecurity professionals warn that the job is a lot less action-packed than some might like to think.
Most of what you’ll do as a cybersecurity technician will involve handling routine administrative tasks. This is especially true if you work for a government agency. What’s more, you won’t be given the latest equipment, and many times you won’t have admin permissions on your work machine. You won’t be able to download apps or program and your Internet access might be restricted. The majority of your time will be spent enforcing your organization’s policies — telling your coworkers what they can and can’t do within the network.
Of course, there will be times when you’re expected to protect your organization’s system from hackers and spies — and in many cases they’ll be the best hackers and spies in the world. You’ll also have to stand watch against spyware, viruses, and other malware. At times, a position in cybersecurity can be very stressful. If you fail to protect your organization’s system from hackers, the stakes can be high indeed.
A career in cybersecurity may not be the never-ending thrill ride you imagine. Opportunities to foil criminal plots may be few and far between, but they may appear from time to time nevertheless. Most veterans of the field say the job is a lot more mundane than you may imagine, but it provides great job security and a very high salary. If what you want is long-term financial security for yourself and your family, you can’t go wrong with a career in cybersecurity.