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3 Hacking Horror Stories That Could Happen to You

3 Hacking Horror Stories That Could Happen to You

As Halloween approaches, horror fans will line up to be terrified by men in masks, creepy dolls, slashers, monsters, and everything ghoulish and gross. Meanwhile, a more sinister threat lurks in your inbox.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, where public and private companies alike come together to spread awareness and encourage policies that stop attacks in their tracks.

“So what?” you might say. Getting scammed or hacked is dangerous, but it only happens to huge companies or the most tech illiterate, right? Wrong. For the spookiest month of the year, we’ve prepared three cyber security horror stories that will chill your blood.

Or, at the very least, make you change all your passwords. (Password1? Come on, guys!)

Story #1: The Good Samaritan (Who Makes You WannaCry)

The Legend

It’s a dark and stormy night (of course), and you’re at home. You know the risks of cyber crime. You’ve got antivirus software, your data backed up, and you update regularly. That’s when you get a message from Microsoft confirming your worst fears.

You’ve been hit with ransomware.

A notification pops up and urges you to call tech support. You dial the numbers, the sound of your heartbeat pounding in your ears. Someone picks up and you explain the disaster.

The woman on the other end puts your fears to rest. She’s here to help. She walks you through setting up some anti-ransomware software for $300. It’s a bit much but worth it to save your data.

Reluctantly, you fork over the fee and give her remote access to your computer. After a few minutes, she thanks you and assures you your computer is ransomware-free.

One week later, you’ve nearly forgotten the incident. During your morning coffee, you turn on the news and see a story about a local scam. Your eyes widen in horror.

That’s when you realize you were never hit with ransomware. The woman you talked to wasn’t from Microsoft. She was a scammer. And you let her into your computer.

The Reality

According to UK’s fraud and cybercrime center, Action Fraud, criminals have been exploiting fears around WannaCry by offering tech support after they fake a ransomware attack. During their “tech support,” they charge ridiculous amounts of money and can even install malware on your computer.

“It is important to remember that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number. Microsoft will never pro-actively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication they have with you must be initiated by you.”

Action Fraud

And this isn’t limited to computer users. Some Android apps like, “WannaCry Ransomware Protection,” promise safety but instead install buggy adware on your phone that will expose you to a ton of annoying and potentially dangerous ads. They’re available on Google Play and even have high star ratings.

What can you do? First, know that Microsoft, or any other big organization, will never send you a tech support number in an error message. They will likely not reach out to you unless you’ve asked them first. Second, do your research before you install anything on your phone or computer. Check out these articles for tips on how to avoid fake virus & malware software and learn how to recognize fake virus warnings.

Okay, that was a pretty mild story compared to some. From here on out, it gets worse. Are you ready?

Story #2: Let the Right One In

The Legend

It’s a lazy Wednesday afternoon in the office. You’re in charge of supplier relations at a company that buys and resells wholesale products. It’s your job to make sure big orders come and go without hassle. The clock is striking 2 pm and your mid-morning coffee buzz has worn off.

You’re debating whether or not a Snickers is technically cheating on your diet (it is) when you get an email from a vendor. It’s a company you regularly work with. They tell you they’ve received over $20,000, but weren’t sure what you ordered. They want your account info so they can sort it out.

Your heart jolts. You’ve got deadlines to meet and if you don’t get this out, you’ll be in big trouble. You click the attachment and scan the invoice, confirming they have your account and some of your bank info. You send them an email with payment info so they can sort it out.

They respond promptly. It’s been taken care of. You breathe a sigh of relief, happy you’ll be able to tell your boss you’ve already fixed the problem.

A few weeks later, you get a strange call. One of your clients is complaining their order never came. That’s strange, you’re sure you remembered. You dig back through your inbox to find the email.

That’s when you take a closer look at the invoice. You’re used to working with this company, but you thought for sure their name was spelled differently.

That’s when it hits you. This isn’t from your vendor. You’ve given an enormous amount of money and your company’s banking info to a scammer. By opening the pdf with your account information, you’ve also exposed your company’s entire network to heaven only knows what.

And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

The Reality

While we associate Nigerian phishing scams with sketchy deposed kings and poor grammar, cyber attackers continue to adapt in more serious and pernicious ways. One such scam targets suppliers, customers, commercial organizations, and delivery services who have data access to a greater pool of victims.

Nigerian phishers would send a legitimate-looking invoice and ask recipients to clarify product pricing or goods. They’d even register similar domain names to the companies their victims worked with. Then, they’d send their victims attachments with trojan-spies or backdoors.

“Using the newly registered domains, the cybercriminals are able to carry out a man-in-the-middle attack: they intercept the email with the seller’s invoice and forward it to the buyer after replacing the seller’s account details with the details of an account belonging to the attackers. Alternatively, they can send a request on behalf of the seller for an urgent change of bank details in addition to the seller’s legitimate email containing the invoice.”

Securelist, Kaspersky Lab Security Experts

This type of attack is an especially big risk for industrial companies that buy from wholesalers and resell. They lose out on the money the scammer stole and have to deal with replacing the order that didn’t go out.

What can you do? The best advice in this situation is to always, always think twice before clicking. The difficult thing about these attacks is they appear to come from people you know. Ask yourself, how well do I know the source? Am I expecting this information? Make sure to double check the spelling of the sender’s address and name against previous emails from them. And, of course, make sure all your data is backed up. Strengthen your network, and, if you think your computer has been compromised, shut it down immediately.

If you think that’s bad, just wait. We saved the worst for last.

Story #3: Destroying Your Digital Life

The Legend

You get home after a long day. You sit down, happy to spend some time with your one-year-old daughter. As you play, you realize your iPhone shut down. Since you’re expecting a work call, you plug it in.

Instead of bringing up your familiar lock screen, it takes you to the setup display you saw when you first bought it. Weird. And annoying. You figure it’s probably just a bug and, luckily, you’ve backed everything up on the iCloud. You hook your phone to your laptop so you can enter your Apple ID and restore your data. When you open it, a message pops up letting you know your Gmail information is wrong. It asks for a four-digit pin.

But, there’s just one problem… you never set up a four-digit pin.

A twisted, burning hole in your stomach confirms it before you can even think it. You try your laptop. No luck. In horror, you start checking your other accounts. Your Google account is gone. Your Twitter has been hacked and is sending out an ugly stream of racist and homophobic tweets.

Fearing for your household network, you shut down the laptop and disconnect your router. You call Apple support. During your call, you think of everything you could lose. It’s bad enough that you’ll have to recreate all your work, notes, data, and maybe even create new online accounts. What’s even worse is that you realize almost every picture you’ve taken of your daughter’s first year on earth was on that hard drive. That can’t be replaced.

On your tech support call, they mention this is the second call you’ve had with them today. But that doesn’t make you sense, you insist. It’s the first time you’ve called them today.

That’s when you realize. The first call to tech support was from the hacker, posing as you. It took them less than an hour to destroy your entire online existence. You have no idea what to do next.

The Reality

This is exactly what happened to tech journalist and Wired.com writer, Mat Honan. In the space of an hour, his Google account was deleted, Twitter was commandeered, and all data from his iPhone, iPad, and MacBook was erased.

Mat, a tech journalist, revealed that the scale of the devastation was due to the fact that information from one account let the hacker get into his other accounts.  A hacker got his address and the last four digits of his credit card from the support staff at Amazon. From there, they got into his AppleID, his Google account, and his Twitter.

[pexyoutube pex_attr_src=”https://youtu.be/CgKUd36xCrs”][/pexyoutube]

Fortunately for Honan, the hacker wasn’t interested in his bank account or the people on his contact list. So why did this hacker ruin Mat’s digital life?

For his Twitter handle.

The hacker was interested in Mat’s rare three-character Twitter handle. For that reason, they laid Mat’s data to waste.

Fortunately for Mat, the team at the Apple store managed to restore over 75% of his hard drive, including the photos of his daughter. It didn’t come cheap at a hefty fee of $1,690. Not everyone has the time or the resources to retrieve memories like the one below.

What can you do? First of all, two-factor authentication is your best friend. This links your accounts to a phone number. Every time you log into a new device it will ask you to enter a code that’s sent to your phone. It will also send you an email to let you know when and where someone logs into your account. Second, back up everything. The cloud gives us a false sense of safety. Sure, it backs up all your data, but if it’s hacked you will lose everything. An external hard drive could be your savior.

Protecting Your Data

Whether it’s at home, work, or even across your devices, cyber attacks can affect even the most tech-savvy among us. It could be as simple as opening an attachment or setting up accounts for convenience rather than security.

Though ghosts and ghouls will haunt many nightmares this month, cyber security is a real and present danger we face every day. For most, the best offense is a good defense. The National Cyber Security Alliance provides online safety tips and has info on the ever-evolving world of online fraud, theft, and crime.

If you’re interested in joining the fight in a more hands-on way, there’s never been a greater need for talented pros. By 2019, there will be a global shortage of two million cyber security professionals. Even now, employers are struggling to fill 40,000 information security analyst positions and over 200,000 other cyber-security related roles, according to cyber security data tool CyberSeek.

If you’re interested in a career fighting hackers with unparalleled job security, we offer cyber security training courses whether you want to protect networks, keep information safe, or use white hat hacking to fight hackers.

So this month, stay safe! Don’t let your regime fall by the wayside or you could end up in your own cyber security horror story.

See How Many Open Cybersecurity Jobs There Are in the U.S. Right Now

See How Many Open Cybersecurity Jobs There Are in the U.S. Right Now

By Mark Emery

We yap about it all the time.

Cybersecurity is an exploding industry! Get in now! The pay is great, the possibilities endless! What are you waiting for?! Get started now!

And you know what? It’s all true.

Sometimes even this lowly blogger asks himself: What the hell am I doing writing marketing content about cybersecurity growth when I could easily get certified and experience its benefits for myself?

If I ever think of a good answer, I’ll be sure to let you know.

But back to LeaderQuest and the aforementioned yapping. We can go on and on about the 0% unemployment rate, the half a million job openings, and facts like, “the workforce must grow by 145% to meet global demand.”

But talk is tiring. Rather than continue telling you about all cybersecurity jobs available, repeating all the lines you’ve heard before, this time we’d like to show you.

Cybersecurity Openings, Everywhere You Look!

Thanks to Cyberseek.org, we can do just that. The website, which seeks to “close the cybersecurity talent gap with interactive tools and data,” has a fun, useful map showing the amount of cybersecurity job openings in all 50 states.

Guess what? There isn’t a state in the union that doesn’t have literally hundreds of openings. Most have thousands. Many are in the tens of thousands. See for yourself!

cybersecurity growth

Here are some highlights:

The top five states with the most cybersecurity openings are California (67,915), Virginia (54,432), Texas (46,279), New York (24,431), and Florida (23,629). The five states with the fewest cybersecurity openings are Wyoming (340), Vermont (431), North Dakota (622), Montana (624), and South Dakota (660).

Here’s a full rundown on the stats in table form:

cybersecurity jobs

Are you a Vermonter who assumed you’d have to move to Boston to get into cybersecurity? Hopefully after reading this you reconsider.

What Does the Future Look Like?

Now, a large quantity of jobs is one thing. But is the amount shrinking or growing?

The cybersecurity growth is undeniable.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average growth rate across all occupations is 5%. For Information Security Analysts, it’s an eye-popping 32%!

The numbers are similarly good for other cyber roles. Computer and Information Systems Managers, for instance, have a projected growth rate of 11%. For both Computer Systems Analysts and Database Administrators, it’s 9% — almost double the overall average.

With factors like automation and migration, work was already changing before. Throw in a global pandemic and the need for remote employment, and the landscape becomes that much more complicated.

But cybersecurity is one industry you can count on to be there. And in uncertain times, there’s a lot to be said for that.

OK, But How Much Money Is There In Cybersecurity?

Convinced yet? No? Well, let’s take a look at some other statistics. Financial ones.

Check out these entry-level pay rates for cyber roles from Indeed: $38.57 an hour for Project Managers, $51.86 an hour for IT Security Specialists. Extrapolate those numbers over a full year, and you get salaries of $80,225.60 and $107,868.80, respectively!

And that’s just to start. Let’s take a look at the figures later down the career path.

cybersecurity training

Mondo, too, has a breakdown of high-paying cybersecurity jobs. Here’s a look at the average salary range for six different positions:

  • Information Security Manager: $125,000 to $215,000
  • Cybersecurity Engineer: $120,000 to $200,000
  • Application Security Engineer: $120,000 to $180,000
  • Cybersecurity Analyst: $90,000 and $160,000
  • Penetration Tester (Ethical Hacker): $80,000 to $130,000
  • Network Security Engineer: $125,000 to $185,000

But again, say you’re a Vermonter or a Montanan. How useful are those numbers, when location isn’t factored in?

The folks at ZipRecruiter considered that, too. They put together handy salary figures broken down by state — a perfect complement to the above map from Cyberseek.

Among states with the highest average cybersecurity salaries, New York narrowly leads the way ($123,918), followed by Massachusetts ($122,746), Washington ($121,890), New Hampshire ($119,461), and Hawaii ($117,889).

As good as those top numbers are, the bottom ones aren’t nearly as bad as you might think. North Carolina, the lowest state on the list, still carries an average cybersecurity salary of $90,882.

Maybe this lowly blogger is biased, but who wouldn’t want to make that?

I’m Sold. How Do I Get Into Cybersecurity?

If you’ve read this far and started to evaluate your life choices, don’t worry! One of the great things about IT and cybersecurity is that it’s never too late to start down this path. Plus, cybersecurity training is relatively affordable and speedy.

At LeaderQuest, helping aspirants become professionals is what we do. From top-tier cybersecurity training with experienced instructors to effective exam prep before certification time, we’re with our students every step of the way. Even after they pass their exams and get certified, our all-star Career Services team pulls out all the stops, making every call they can, to help these qualified candidates get started in their fulfilling new careers.

The whole cybersecurity training and hiring process can happen in a matter of months. As for payment, a lot of times it’s covered for you! Whether you’re a veteran or a military spouse, or you’re unemployed or low-income, government funding options exist to get you trained at precisely zero cost.

When you factor in how easy it is to get trained, and how expansive the opportunities are once you get certified, IT/cybersecurity starts to look too good to be true. We assure you — it isn’t.

Fill out the form below to learn more cybersecurity training.

5 Cybersecurity Risks Exacerbated By the COVID-19 Pandemic

5 Cybersecurity Risks Exacerbated By the COVID-19 Pandemic

Blog courtesy of Reciprocity.

Just like every other crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the boats of most businesses. The fact that it has discouraged physical interactions has forced enterprises to embrace work from home initiatives. Most companies have had to increase their reliance on collaborative technology to keep their business operations afloat.

Sadly, while businesses are busy adapting to the new normal, hackers and threat actors have been taking advantage of the security loophole introduced by working from home. Most of these loopholes have been around for a long time, but the pandemic aggravates the threats they pose. If your business fails to look for solutions to these threats, you stand to lose a lot.

Here are five cybersecurity threats that have been made worse by the pandemic:

1. Phishing Attacks

Contrary to the norm, employees now have to communicate heavily through phone calls, emails, and social platforms. As such, it is easier for cybercriminals to send out phishing scams. A hacker could easily send out emails to an unknowing employee in the façade of a trusted authority in your business. If your employee isn’t careful enough, they could click on the email and end up downloading malware.

In other cases, these attacks result in the employees offering threat actors private information about the company or even sending out unwarranted payments. Aside from these direct attacks, hackers have also been preying on the need to know for all things COVID-19-related.

There has been a spike in the number of fraudulent links being shared on social media that claim to provide COVID-19-related information. Something as simple as an employee clicking on these links could be detrimental to your data security. The best way to tackle this threat would be to hire security experts to educate employees on how to spot and avoid current and emerging phishing attacks.

2. Unsecured Devices

It is easier for a business to control its cybersecurity posture when employees are working in-house. Since most of the devices they use are provided by your company, implementing the necessary cybersecurity control measures is straightforward. Also, you could send out updates anytime with little friction.

In the case of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, most businesses have implemented practices that have ensured that employee’s devices have the latest security updates. Sadly, controlling all of this isn’t as easy when employees are working from home.

It can be tough to send updates to all devices employees could use when logging into corporate networks. Even worse, some employees may connect to corporate accounts through Wi-Fi networks that aren’t secure enough. As soon as a hacker identifies such threats, your business is in trouble.

Business leaders can keep this threat at bay by creating and implementing policies that outline the kind of devices employees should use to access corporate data. These policies can also contain security best practices and outline how to handle software updates. Another valid option would be to implement data masking techniques like encryption.

3. Shadow IT

Shadow IT has always been an issue even before the pandemic hit. Employees who are always looking for more effortless ways to do their job are known to use unsanctioned apps from time to time. Sure, not all apps pose security risks, but a data breach might need only having a single employee use a malware-infested application.

What’s even worse is that IT departments might not know that employees are using these unsanctioned apps. When employees were working in the office, it was easier to spot the use of unsanctioned apps.

However, with more employees working remotely, they have the freedom to design their work environment, and this includes the apps they can use. Sure, IT departments might offer a list of sanctioned apps, but most employees will use other alternatives if the sanctioned ones can’t make their work easier.

IT departments can tame this menace by containerizing their corporate data on employee’s devices and involving employees in picking the ideal organizational tools for their jobs. Besides giving you more control over what employees can do with corporate data, containerization un-complicates most security complexities that come with remote work.

4. Poor Physical Security

It is tough to predict who your employees interact and live with at home. In some cases, the threat actors could also be neighbors. In the office environment, it is pretty easy to achieve physical security. Employees can store sensitive documents under lock and key. Your office environment is a sanctuary for your business operations, with little to no intrusion from the outside world.

The situation can be reversed when working from home. Employees who aren’t aware of common cybersecurity threats could leave sensitive documents lying around anywhere. They could also forget to turn off their computer screens when interacting with friends and neighbors. As for the disposal of confidential documents, employees may lack shredders at home to make the data unrecognizable. All these factors make it easier for threat actors to gain access to your corporate data.

Corporate leaders can implement cloud storage solutions to limit the amount of data employees store physically. Training employees on the best practices for physical security will also ensure that corporate data is safe, even while working remotely.

5. Insider Threats

Insider threats occur when employees expose sensitive corporate data either intentionally or unintentionally. With the stress levels brought about by COVID-19 and its effects on most employees’ finances, most people could be looking for additional income sources. Employees who have had to take a pay cut or were laid off might be disgruntled to the point of selling your data.

In other cases, the lack of a nearby IT department to approach security concerns also increases the chances that employees will make costly mistakes. While IT departments might be reached through a phone call, there are instances where the responsible people might be out of reach. Having employees sign, NDAs could help mitigate common insider threats from disgruntled staff members. As for common security errors employees can commit, solving them can be as easy as educating employees and ramping up your IT team’s availability.

Businesses that want to survive through the pandemic will need to find ways to deal with the threats above. One great way to start is by educating employees on cybersecurity best practices. Business leaders will also need to continually monitor their businesses to identify security loopholes that pose the most significant threats.

The Most Lucrative IT Careers for 2020

The Most Lucrative IT Careers for 2020

It’s clear that Information Technology is a fast growing field with lots of opportunity. According to (ISC)2’s Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2019, which polled more than 3,000 cyber and IT professionals, the current cybersecurity workforce in the United States and 10 other world economies at 2.8 million – about 4 million short of what it needs to be. LeaderQuest is proud to help train the next generation of IT specialists and cybersecurity pros.

Considering that IT workers are needed in nearly every sector of industry, it’s no surprise that these roles are growing like crazy. Salaries are also increasing at high rates, with Information Technology Managers seeing their compensation rise by over 8% from 2015-2019.

So what does this mean for IT? In this examination of the Robert Half 2020 Technology & IT Salary Guide, we’ll be exploring areas of growth, examining average salaries, and reviewing other information that’s essential for anyone thinking of getting into IT.

Expanding IT Industries

Though the need for IT is rising everywhere, the three industries with the biggest demand are healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing.

  • Healthcare — Big innovations are needed to improve patient care by modernizing healthcare operations.
  • Financial services — In the wake of the Equifax breach, this shouldn’t be surprising. Both big data and information security initiatives drive the need for pros in this industry.
  • Manufacturing — While manufacturing has been slow to adapt, things are changing quickly with the trend toward automation.
  • Technology — Unsurprisingly, the tech industry has a huge and growing need for all kinds of information technology roles.

The most in-demand job roles include:

Highly Valued Technology Certifications

Certifications are always in high demand as a way for employers to verify the skills of a new hire. The skills and knowledge required to pass these exams give employers confidence that they’ve made the right hire.

IT Salaries for 2020

In Robert Half’s extensive salary guide, they break down the numbers for what people in the 25th, 50th, 75th, and 95th percentile will make. Which percentile an individual falls into is decided by things like level of experience, special skills/expertise, job complexity, location, and other such factors.

When looking at these charts for yourself, it’s important to remember that the 50th percentile represents the midpoint. Those just getting started in the industry will be closer to (or below) the 25th percentile. Those with a lot of experience or credentials would fall in the 75th or 95th percentiles. For more information on using the salary guide, check out the video below.

When you examine the chart below, you can see that IT salaries top out with executive positions such as the Chief Information Officer ($174,750 – $298,750), Chief Technology Officer ($152,250 – $266,000), and Chief Security Officer ($155,250 – $278,000).

While that’s the highest of the high, it’s still worth noting that many of the salary ranges for IT roles easily reach over $100,000 including specialties and years of experience. Here are just a few high paying jobs in technical services, networking, and security.

Technical Services, Help Desk, & Technical Support

As you can see from the chart below, these positions represent the lower end of the salary range in IT. However, with the midpoint salary range for most positions around or over $50,000, it’s still much more than a living wage.

While salaries start in the $34,000 to $40,000 range, they quickly move to $50,000 – $60,000 as they get more and more specialized. This is especially true for systems administrators and systems engineers.

Position Title 25th Percentile 50th Percentile 75th Percentile 95th Percentile
Help Desk Tier 1 $34,250 $40,500 $47,500 $56,750
Help Desk Tier 2 $41,500 $50,000 $56,500 $65,250
Help Desk Tier 3 $50,500 $60,250 $72,000 $83,000
Desktop Support Analyst $49,750 $61,500 $73,500 $86,500
Systems Administrator $69,250 $84,750 $102,750 $117,250
Manager $107,500 $130,250 $157,750 $185,250
Systems Engineer $88,750 $106,000 $125,750 $148,000

When you’re looking to get into IT for the first time, it’s important to have a base of knowledge to draw upon. Our Computer User Support Specialist program combines popular ITIL® and CompTIA training programs necessary to develop the skills you’ll need for entry-level IT.

If you’re looking to get started in IT with little to no experience. Learn more about us by clicking the link below.

Contact Us!

Networking/Telecommunications

Network Administrators are listed as one of the most in-demand positions for 2020, so it should be no surprise their salaries range from $76,250 to $129,500, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Many higher level network positions such as Network Engineers, Managers, or Wireless Network Engineers start around $105,000 and can go as high as the $178,750.

Position Title 25th Percentile 50th Percentile 75th Percentile 95th Percentile
NOC Technician $53,750 $64,500 $79,250 $101,750
Telecommunications Specialist $60,000 $72,250 $86,000 $101,250
Network/Cloud Administrator $76,250 $92,500 $110,250 $129,500
Telecommunications Manager $83,750 $103,750 $120,500 $140,000
Network/Cloud Engineer $94,750 $112,000 $134,500 $159,000
Network/Cloud Manager $97,500 $120,000 $141,750 $169,750
Wireless Network Engineer $105,000 $123,750 $148,750 $178,750
Network/Cloud Architect $117,500 $141,750 $169,500 $196,250

If you’re interested in the networking positions, our Network Support Specialist Program teaches fundamentals, competencies, and qualifications that are necessary to start a career in networking. Through these classes, you’ll learn how to install, configure, run, verify, and troubleshoot medium-sized networks.

Interested in learning more? Click the link below.

Contact Us

Security

Cyber security is rapidly expanding and in desperate need of more professionals to stay on top of security. The compensation for these roles reflects this high demand.

In cyber security, even the jobs in the 25th percentile start around $90,000. With rising concerns about data from the Equifax breaches and others, it makes sense that Network Security Engineers, Data Security Analysts, and Information Systems Security Managers most often make between $115,000 and $160,000.

Position Title 25th Percentile 50th Percentile 75th Percentile 95th Percentile
Network Security Administrator $94,750 $113,500 $137,000 $160,500
Systems Security Administrator $93,750 $112,250 $134,750 $159,750
Network Security Engineer $101,500 $119,750 $143,000 $168,500
Data Security Analyst $108,250 $129,000 $154,000 $183,500
Information Systems Security Manager $119,500 $143,250 $172,250 $205,750

With the gap between cyber skills growing wider by the day, the industry provides professionals with unparalleled job security and a world of opportunities. Whether you’re interested in working on securing networks, keeping data safe, or even getting inside the mind of a hacker, cyber provides a variety of great, high-paying options.

Interested in learning more about how our programs can help you build a career path toward cyber security? Click the button below.

Learn More!

Perks, Incentives, and More

Most IT positions include generous benefits packages. Here are the most common benefits broken down by the percentage of companies that offer them:

  • Medical Insurance (81%)
  • Paid Time Off (76%)
  • Dental Insurance (71%)
  • Vision Insurance (63%)
  • Retirement Savings Plan (65%)

Employers also consider a number of other incentives to snag top talent including signing bonuses, health insurance, generous vacation time, and professional development opportunities.

As for perks, places often offer flexible work schedules, social events, the option of telecommuting, paid parental leave, employee discounts, onsite gym or access to a gym offsite, a compressed schedule, or free/subsidized meals.

Importance of Certifications

Ultimately, the difference in salary comes down to specialization. For IT pros, that means skills and certifications. Both increase the marketability of a professional. Employers may increase salaries between five to ten percent for professionals with sought-after skills and abilities.

Some of the most popular certifications, as identified by the Robert Half guide, include CISSP, CCNA, CompTIA A+, and PMP®. However, certifications show more than proving a skillset. They also signal to employers that a professional is committed to keeping their skills up to date at all times. With the ever-widening cyber security gap, certifications and willingness to keep on top of the latest updates are becoming more and more of a commodity.

Certifications can mean the difference between thousands of dollars in salary. That’s why, at LeaderQuest, we balance by-the-book training that helps people pass their exams with real-world, hands-on experience. This ensures our students can take their learning beyond the classroom and be fully prepared for a brand new career.

We understand the pressures of working full-time while still wanting to advance education and earning potential That’s why we offer classes during the day, at night, on campus, or online to meet any schedule and learning style.

Ultimately, a certification is a great, cost-effective way to get into the lucrative IT field for the fraction of the cost of a university. With the continuing upward trend in salaries, the IT industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

If you’re interested in building a successful career in IT, contact us and we’ll get you set up with one of our expert career advisers.

Contact us today and unlock your career’s full potential!

PMI, PMP, CAPM, and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

How To Start A Profitable Career In Cyber Security

How To Start A Profitable Career In Cyber Security

The field of cyber security is growing every year by leaps and bounds as companies and other organizations realize how imperative it is to protect their networks and data. According to the Cybersecurity Ventures’ 2019 Cybersecurity Market Report, worldwide spending on cyber security is expected to exceed one trillion dollars by 2025. As companies struggle to keep up with the rising threat of cyber crime, they’re having one major problem: they can’t find enough qualified candidates.

That’s right, cyber security specialists are so in demand that the number of open positions has outstripped the number of qualified applicants by as much as 2 to 1 in some industries. So what’s holding applicants back? About one-third of information security jobs require a cyber security certification compared to 23 percent of all IT jobs. In the U.S. alone, some 50,000 vacant jobs require the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification. But the number of certificate holders is only about 73,500, according to the Information Security System Certification Consortium, and most of them are already working.

Are you considering a career in cyber security, but not sure where to start? LeaderQuest offers multiple cyber security training programs that can prepare you to enter this exciting industry. Take a look at the four programs below, and you’ll be able to choose one that’s ideal for where you are now and what you’d like to do with your career.

Don’t have any experience in IT? Then the programs below won’t be a good fit. To get started in IT, we recommend that you take our Computer User Support Specialist or our Network Support Specialist program.

Information Security Analyst

Certifications: Comptia Security+, CND, and CEH
Base Training Period: 15 days
Skill Level: Intermediate
Recommended Experience: CompTIA Network+ and two years of experience in IT administration with a security focus
Ideal for: If you have Network+, some experience under your belt, and you’d like to massively expand your job opportunities and earning potential, Information Security Analyst could be the perfect program for you.
Roles you’ll be qualified for: Cyber Security Specialist, Information Security Analyst, Information Security Auditor, and Site Security Administrator

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If you’ve got some experience in entry-level IT and want to take your career to the next level, this program is for you. Security+ will teach you the basics of threat management, identity management, security systems, security risk identification and mitigation, and more. Building on this information, Certified Network Defender (CND) will teach you how to protect, detect, and respond to network attacks in real-world situations. With an in-depth understanding of how network traffic functions, you’ll be able to secure your network and identify the signs of an infiltrator. See below for more information on CND.

By obtaining your Certified Ethical Hacker designation, you’ll not only be prepared to secure networks and look for vulnerabilities; you’ll be an active part of the mitigation and remediation process. You’ll be able to strengthen your network through rigorous penetration testing and stop cyberattacks in their tracks.

Certified Network Defender

Certifications: CND
Base Training Period: 5 days
Skill Level: Intermediate
Prerequisites: CompTIA Security+
Ideal for: If you’ve completed Security+ and want to keep building your resume and knowledge base, Certified Network Defender can be completed in one week and is a HUGE step up from Security+.
Roles you’ll be qualified for: Network Administrator, Network Security Administrator, Network Security Engineer, Network Defense Technician, and Security Analyst

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Certified Network Defender (CND) is a vendor-neutral, hands-on, instructor-led comprehensive network security certification program created by EC-Council. This tactical network security training course prepares network administrators to defend their networks from intrusion. Through this course, you’ll gain a hands-on understanding of data transfer, network technologies, and network software needed to secure a network.

If you would enjoy taking a hands-on role in the defense and security of your network, this program could be perfect for you. CEH is the natural next step after attaining this certification, and if you’re interested in having a good depth of technical knowledge when it comes to network defense, you may want to sign up for our Information Security Analyst program (above).

CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner

Certifications: CASP
Base Training Period: 5 days
Skill Level: Advanced
Prerequisites: 5-10 years of IT experience or CEH/Security+ certifications
Ideal for: Getting CASP certified is ideal for individuals who have 5-10 years of IT experience and are interested in cyber security. Unlike the CISSP certification, another important cert in the cyber security world, CASP’s focus is hands-on and technical. This is ideal for people who AREN’T interested in management.
Roles you’ll be qualified for: Network Security Engineer, Information Security Specialist, Information Security Auditor, Security Analyst, Security Architect, and Site Security Administrator

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If you’re interested in assessing and managing risk, securing networks, preventing cyber attacks, and even getting inside the mind of a hacker to make sure that a company’s data is safe as possible, CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) could be right for you. CASP is often compared to CISSP, but that’s like comparing apples to oranges. If you’re looking for a career in IT management, CISSP might be the better choice. If not, CASP can level up your career at a fraction of the cost.

For more on CASP, check out our blog, “What is the CASP Certification and is it Right For You?

Cyber Security Specialist

Certifications: Security+, CEH, CHFI
Base Training Period: 15 days
Skill Level: Advanced
Prerequisites: Knowledge of TCP/IP, Information systems and security background, and 12 months of experience in networking technologies
Ideal for: If you’ve completed A+ and Network+, or have similar job experience, you’re ready to take on this ambitious program.
Roles you’ll be qualified for: Cyber Security Specialist, Information Security Specialist, Information Security Auditor, Site Security Administrator, and Computer Forensics Investigator

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If you enjoy detective work and want to get inside the mind of a hacker, this is the perfect program for you. Security+ and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) will provide a thorough understanding of the attack vectors and methods of hackers, as detailed above. By adding the Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) certification to this mix, you’ll be able to track the movements of intruders in your network and systems and report on their activities and methods.

Does the idea of doing penetration testing on corporate networks pique your interest? Corporations understand the need for strong security better than anybody, and they are looking to hire experienced cyber security specialists who can protect them from cyberattacks and identify what went wrong. The mix of certifications in this program will perfectly position you for these kinds of opportunities.


Are you ready for a career in cyber security?

If you’ve got some experience in IT and are ready to take a huge step forward in your career, we can help! Our advisors can aid you in choosing a program that will advance your career and increase your earning potential in just a few weeks.

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The Ultimate Study Guide for the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Exam

The Ultimate Study Guide for the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Exam

Let’s be honest, no one likes studying. No matter the subject, it’s tempting to procrastinate. After all, some tests you can take on an hour of sleep and two cans of Red Bull. Unfortunately, the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is not one of them.

Given the ever-growing importance of cyber security, maybe it’s no surprise that the CEH is rated as one of the hardest exams in the IT world. A four-hour long affair that costs $950 or more, it’s not something you want to do more than once. That means studying smart is everything if you want to learn how to ethically hack.

Fortunately, there’s no need to go it alone. We’ve prepared a list of resources and handy advice so you can pass with flying colors.

Exam Overview

“To beat a hacker, you need to think like a hacker.”
—EC-Council on CEH

The Certified Ethical Hacker is a vendor-neutral certification focused on cyber security and penetration testing. Its goal is to certify that a professional is able to identify weakness and vulnerabilities that a malicious hacker could exploit. In ethical hacking or, “white hat,” hacking, this information is used to help an organization strengthen its defenses.

Here’s the lowdown on the test.

The purpose of the CEH credential is to:

  • Establish and govern minimum standards for credentialing professional information security specialists in ethical hacking measures.
  • Inform the public that credentialed individuals meet or exceed the minimum standards.
  • Reinforce ethical hacking as a unique and self-regulating profession.

If you’re not sure if you want to get your CISSP or CEH, check out our blog on 5 Essential IT Certifications for Cyber Security Jobs.

CEH Exam Quick Facts

  • Exam Voucher Cost: $950 – $1,199 (this is the Certified Ethical Hacker certification price)
  • Number of Questions: 125
  • Duration: Four hours
  • Format: Multiple choice
  • Test Delivery: ECC EXAM, VUE

Source: EC-Council

Though it may seem pricey, CEH-certified individuals make an average salary of $90,000 per year and as much as $126,381. With earning potential like that, the investment is well worth it.

CEH Prerequisites

The CEH program requires the candidate to have two years of work experience in the Information Security domain and should be able to provide a proof of the same as validated through the application process unless the candidate attends official training. If a candidate has completed official EC-Council training either at an Accredited Training Center, via the iClass platform, or at an approved academic institution, the candidate is eligible to attempt the relevant EC-Council exam without going through the application process. LeaderQuest is an Accredited EC-Council Training Center

Free Resources

Of course, everybody wants free hacker training! Fortunately, the EC-Council provides a variety of free resources to get you started. Begin by heading over to the CEH assessment which provides 50 questions that will give you an idea of how prepared you are to dive in. It’ll help you gauge what needs the most attention.

Next, the EC-Council’s comprehensive exam blueprint dives deep into which subjects will be covered in the text, how they are weighted, and even how many questions will be devoted to each topic. Going one step further, the EC-Council CEH Candidate Handbook v2.2 covers not only the nitty-gritty details, but also lays out a CEH career path, discusses the application process, and even outlines a strict code of ethics that white hat hackers must follow.

If you need to study on-the-go, this free EC-Council CEH™ v9 Exam Prep (which includes some in-app purchases) provides you with 600 practice questions over seven different subjects. It’s available for iPhone, Android, and through Amazon. It’s perfect for Certified Ethical Hacker online training.

Lastly, it’s important to stay in the mindset of a hacker and the EC-Council white papers are a great way to do that including the 10 Deadly Sins in Virtualization Security and 5 phases every hacker must follow.

Best Textbooks

Internet resources are great, but they can only take you so far. At some point, putting money into your CEH study is a wise choice. Here are the most highly-rated textbooks and what you can expect to learn from them.

Study with an Expert

No matter how hard you study alone, there’s bound to be gaps. If you’ve hit a wall in your studying, or are worried you’re missing key information that will help you pass, don’t go through it alone. At LeaderQuest, we offer a 5-day Certified Ethical Hacker training course taught by industry expert instructors. They know what they’re talking about because they’ve been there and had years of real experience. They’re ready to help you get certified while also preparing you for the real-life challenges you’ll face during your cyber security career.

LeaderQuest classes come with a CEH VUE exam voucher (value $1,199) and an opportunity to take the test at our onsite location. That way, you don’t have to stress about the details and can focus on passing. You also won’t have to pay the $100 eligibility application fee for self-study students. If you ever feel like you need a refresher, we offer free class resits to all our graduates.

No matter what your schedule, we can work with you. Our classes are available on campus, online, during the day, or at night. We will work with your schedule to get you certified and strengthen your earning potential.

Don’t tear your hair out studying for your Certified Ethical Hacker. Train with the experts at LeaderQuest and kick your cyber security career up a notch. Your next Ethical hacking job is out there today.

Learn more about LeaderQuest training.

 

10 Pros and Cons of Being an IT Professional

10 Pros and Cons of Being an IT Professional

When you’re standing on the precipice of a new career, taking the plunge can be scary. No one likes being stuck in a job they hate, but getting out takes hard work, grit, and a little luck. You might know that IT is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, but deciding to make it your new career isn’t easy.

Never fear! If you’re thinking about going into information technology, we’ve prepared a list of pros and cons so you can decide for yourself if the world of tech is right for you. This list builds on research from our 2016 article but includes more stats and more considerations for IT professional jobs.

Stress & Constant Complaints vs. Great Salary & Benefits Package

Let’s not beat around the bush about the hardest part of IT. You’re interacting with people whose patience has been ground down until they’re ready to throw their computers out the window. This is especially true for the Help Desk.

What’s more, for people employed in positions such as Systems Administrators, Network Engineers, or anything cyber security related, even a small screw up can mean big problems for a company and its data. With cyber security horror stories floating around, it’s bound to be high pressure.

Fortunately, with big risk comes big rewards in terms of IT professional salary. Even for entry-level Help Desk positions, the salary midpoint is around $38,000 and can go as high as $54,000, according to the Robert Half 2018 Technology & IT Salary Guide. Again, that’s just entry-level. Systems Administrators are in huge demand with starting salaries at $67,000 that can go as high as $113,000 while Network Engineers make anywhere from $90,000 to $150,000.

The real money is in cyber security which has an unprecedented need for new professionals. More and more, companies are prioritizing people who are willing to learn quickly. Many positions garner over $100,000 with the salary for a seasoned, specialized professional such as Data Security Analyst between $100,000 and $170,000.

As you can see, the pay scale for IT professionals is a huge draw. Employers use a number of other incentives and benefits to snag the top talent like signing bonuses, health insurance, generous vacation time, and professional development opportunities. Perks are also a big draw and can include flexible work schedules, social events, telecommuting, onsite/offsite gym access, a compressed schedule, and even free/subsidized meals.

Long Hours vs. Flexible Hours

Late nights as an IT ProfessionalUnfortunately, tech problems don’t work on a 9 am – 5 pm schedule. They can strike at 6 am or five minutes before you were planning to leave. This is definitely a job that asks much of its employees and that’s no different when it comes to their time.

Fortunately, companies understand that and deeply appreciate and value the time of their IT pros. They want you to be rested, de-stressed, and ready to deal with whatever the servers throw at you.

This sometimes means you can pick your own schedule, work on a compressed schedule, or even telecommute (work from home). This is great for anyone who hates getting stuck in traffic at the end of the 9-5 slog.

No One Understands Your Job vs. Unparalleled Job Security

IT comes with an almost endless number of specializations. Do you want to work on securing networks? Fighting cyber attacks? Or maybe you’re just interested in updating and maintaining systems? No matter what, there’s a field for you.

Unfortunately, that means that people at your company won’t always understand what your duties include. You could be a Systems Administrator, but still get asked to fix someone’s home computer. You’ll be the go-to tech expert, even about stuff that’s definitely not in your job description. What’s next? Fix their iPhone? Debug their Fitbit? Talk about scope creep.

On the flip side, being an IT pro comes with unparalleled job security. Of Business Insider’s list of 26 careers with the best job security, two were IT positions. This is especially true for cyber security. According to the nonprofit group ISACA, there will be a shortage of two million cyber security professionals by 2019.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit group Cyberseek reports that 40,000 jobs for information security analysts go unfilled every year while employers are struggling to fill 200,000 other cyber-security related roles. You will be valued. You will be needed. Most importantly, you will be hard to replace and that’s a good feeling.

People Lie and Lie vs. Challenging and Exciting Work

Pros and Cons of an IT CareerHow did your computer get a virus? Why do all these pop-up ads have the name of a website you shouldn’t be browsing at work? Why is there peanut butter and mustard smeared all over the keyboard? (And why are you eating peanut butter and mustard? That’s just weird.)

Personal snafus with the computer are embarrassing. No one wants to own up to that dumb thing they did. However, figuring out what’s wrong can be frustrating when people aren’t honest about how the computer got messed up.

What’s worse than your coworkers lying to you? Vendors lying to you. In this article from Tech Republic, they discuss the difficulty of debugging software from a third party when their support won’t admit that something’s wrong. (Our software? Buggy? Never!)

You can also expect to be lied to by vendors’ technical support departments. I have lost count of the number of support technicians over the years who have told me that a problem is not related to their software, but rather to the computer’s hardware or to the operating system. And of course I won’t even begin to talk about the number of vendors who have lied to me in an effort to make a sale.

-Tech Republic

On the bright side, what makes this job difficult also makes it challenging and even fun. IT is all about solving problems and that’s reflected in job satisfaction. A whopping 61% of IT professionals in one poll said they feel appreciated by their bosses and coworkers. And, if you ever don’t feel appreciated, you know you can find somewhere that does appreciate you.

Overwhelming Amount of Choices vs. Mobility and Options

Whether you’re interested in working on hardware, software, networks, databases, cloud security, or more, there’s a niche for you. Picking your career path can be nerve-wracking, to say the least. You can get bogged down in a specialization before you realize that it’s not where you want to be. No one wants to be extra-qualified in something they hate.

Fortunately, that also means qualified professionals have many options and career mobility. Since there’s such a tremendous need, especially for cyber security, more employers are embracing nontraditional paths for employment. IT certifications, which qualify and verify your skills, are one of the best ways to show employers you’ve got the right stuff.

With the ever-widening cyber gap, employers are more likely to invest in someone who shows they’re willing to keep on top of the updates on their own time, even if they don’t have picture perfect experience on their resume. Quick learning and the passion for improvement are invaluable commodities.

And this specialization pays off. Again, the Robert Half Salary guide found that employers may increase salaries between five to ten percent for professionals with sought-after skills and certifications. If you’re interested in getting started quickly, especially with cyber security, IT is a no-brainer.

Learn More About Cyber Security!

Is an IT Career Right For Me?

Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference. Some people can’t handle the long hours, difficult work, and stress of interacting with people at their most frantic. However, if you’re interested in challenging and exciting work where you get to solve problems, you could have a long, well-paying IT career ahead of you with salary and benefits.

If you’re interested in becoming an IT pro, but don’t have the time or money for a four-year degree, IT certifications can be a great way to get into the field. At LeaderQuest, we offer 5-15 day courses that get you ready to pass the exam, get certified, and put those skills to use in the working world in no time. We focus on the It professional certifications that employers want the most, like Security+, CCNA and Certified Ethical Hacker.

We know that you have responsibilities. That’s why we offer classes during the day and at night. Whether you prefer to take classes on campus or online, you’ll be getting access to our expert instructors who will prepare you to kick butt on the exam and teach you to excel in your new IT professional career.

Ready to start your IT career? If you’d like to learn more about careers in IT, check out our 2019 IT Career Finder! Choosing an IT career can be a daunting task. You must balance personal experience and aptitude against the likely future of the role, both in terms of earnings and the number of IT job positions that will be available in coming years. We created this guide to help connect the dots between your skills and IT job descriptions and duties to help you find your path to becoming an IT professional!

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The Most Lucrative IT Careers for 2019

The Most Lucrative IT Careers for 2019

It’s no secret that IT is exploding. Forbes has  predicted as many as 3.5 million unfilled positions in the cyber security industry by 2021.

Given this scarcity, it’s no surprise that the salaries for IT professionals are skyrocketing, but the size of that jump might be more than you expect. Salaries for software developers and information security analysts increased 17 percent and 18 percent respectively since 2013 while compensation for computer systems analysts rose a whopping 21 percent.

So what does this mean for IT? In this examination of the Robert Half 2019 Technology & IT Salary Guide, we’ll be exploring areas of growth, examining average salaries, and reviewing other information that’s essential for anyone thinking of getting into IT.

Counteract Inexperience with Quick Learning

As the world shifts towards automation, the need for talented IT professionals is far outstripping the supply. That’s why companies have become willing to hire professionals with less experience but who are motivated to learn quickly.

With technology evolving faster than ever, employers are also looking for new hires who can stay on top of technology in their own time. That means passion is a big selling point.

On the flip side, those with skills and techniques related cloud technology, open source practices, mobile development, big data, cyber security, and other new technologies will definitely be given preference in hiring.

Expanding IT Industries

Though the need for IT is rising everywhere, the three industries with the biggest demand are healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing.

  • Healthcare — Big innovations are needed to improve patient care by modernizing healthcare operations.
  • Financial services — In the wake of the Equifax breach, this shouldn’t be surprising. Both big data and information security initiatives drive the need for pros in this industry.
  • Manufacturing — While manufacturing has been slow to adapt, things are changing quickly with the trend toward automation.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) — This industry is growing quickly as more companies leave traditional software behind for tailored solutions with great support.

The most in-demand job roles include:

Highly Valued Technology Certifications

Certifications are always in high demand as a way for employers to verify the skills of a new hire. The skills and knowledge required to pass these exams give employers confidence that they’ve made the right hire.

IT Salaries for 2019

In Robert Half’s extensive salary guide, they break down the numbers for what people in the 25th, 50th, 75th, and 95th percentile will make. Which percentile an individual falls into is decided by things like level of experience, special skills/expertise, job complexity, location, and other such factors.

When looking at these charts for yourself, it’s important to remember that the 50th percentile represents the midpoint. Those just getting started in the industry will be closer to (or below) the 25th percentile. Those with a lot of experience or credentials would fall in the 75th or 95th percentiles. For more information on using the salary guide, check out the video below.

When you examine the chart below, you can see that IT salaries top out with executive positions such as the Chief Information Officer ($171,750 – $293,000), Chief Technology Officer ($147,750 – $263,000), and Chief Security Officer ($148,000 – $270,000).

While that’s the highest of the high, it’s still worth noting that many of the salary ranges for IT roles easily reach over $100,000 including specialties and years of experience. Here are just a few high paying jobs in technical services, networking, and security.

Technical Services, Help Desk, & Technical Support

As you can see from the chart below, these positions represent the lower end of the salary range in IT. However, with the midpoint salary range for most positions around or over $50,000, it’s still much more than a living wage.

While salaries start in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, they quickly move to $50,000 – $60,000 as they get more and more specialized. This is especially true for systems administrators and systems engineers.

Position Title

25th Percentile

50th Percentile

75th Percentile

95th Percentile

Help Desk Tier 1

$32,250

$38,750

$46,000

$55,000

Help Desk Tier 2

$38,250

$45,750

$54,750

$64,500

Help Desk Tier 3

$49,000

$58,500

$70,000

$82,750

Desktop Support Analyst

$51,000

$61,250

$73,250

$86,500

Systems Administrator

$68,000

$81,750

$97,750

$115,750

Manager

$82,000

$98,500

$117,750

$139,000

Systems Engineer

$86,250

$103,000

$123,250

$145,750

When you’re looking to get into IT for the first time, it’s important to have a base of knowledge to draw upon. Our Computer User Support Specialist program combines popular ITIL® and CompTIA training programs necessary to develop the skills you’ll need for entry-level IT.

If you’re looking to get started in IT with little to no experience. Learn more about us by clicking the link below.

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Networking/Telecommunications

Network Administrators are listed as one of the most in-demand positions for 2019, so it should be no surprise their salaries range from $74,000 to $126,000, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Many higher level network positions such as Network Engineers, Managers, or Wireless Network Engineers start around $90,000 to $100,000 and can go as high as the $150,000 to $160,000 range.

Position Title

25th Percentile

50th Percentile

75th Percentile

95th Percentile

NOC Technician

$52,250

$62,500

$77,000

$98,750

Telecommunications Specialist

$59,500

$71,500

$85,250

$100,750

Network Administrator

$74,750

$89,000

$106,750

$126,750

Telecommunications Manager

$79,750

$95,500

$114,500

$136,000

Network Engineer

$92,000

$108,750

$130,500

$154,250

Network Manager

$94,750

$113,500

$135,750

$162,000

Wireless Network Engineer

$102,000

$122,000

$146,250

$173,500

Network Architect

$114,00

$137,500

$164,500

$195,000

If you’re interested in the networking positions, our Network Support Specialist Program teaches fundamentals, competencies, and qualifications that are necessary to start a career in networking. Through these classes, you’ll learn how to install, configure, run, verify, and troubleshoot medium-sized networks.

Interested in learning more? Click the link below.

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Security

Cyber security is rapidly expanding and in desperate need of more professionals to stay on top of security. The compensation for these roles reflects this high demand.

In cyber security, even the jobs in the 25th percentile start around $90,000. With rising concerns about data from the Equifax breaches and others, it makes sense that Network Security Engineers, Data Security Analysts, and Information Systems Security Managers most often make between $115,000 and $160,000.

Position Title

25th Percentile

50th Percentile

75th Percentile

95th Percentile

Network Security Administrator

$93,000

$111,500

$134,000

$158,750

Systems Security Administrator

$93,750

$112,250

$134,750

$159,750

Network Security Engineer

$98,500

$118,000

$141,750

$167,500

Data Security Analyst

$105,000

$125,250

$149,500

$178,250

Information Systems Security Manager

$116,000

$139,000

$167,250

$199,750

With the gap between cyber skills growing wider by the day, the industry provides professionals with unparalleled job security and a world of opportunities. Whether you’re interested in working on securing networks, keeping data safe, or even getting inside the mind of a hacker, cyber provides a variety of great, high-paying options.

Interested in learning more about how our programs can help you build a career path toward cyber security? Click the button below.

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Perks, Incentives, and More

Most IT positions include generous benefits packages. Here are the most common benefits broken down by the percentage of companies that offer them:

  • Medical Insurance (88%)
  • Paid Time Off (80%)
  • Dental Insurance (71%)
  • Vision Insurance (60%)
  • Disability Insurance (58%)
  • Life insurance (53%)
  • Employee Assistance Programs (39%)

Employers also consider a number of other incentives to snag top talent including signing bonuses, health insurance, generous vacation time, and professional development opportunities.

As for perks, places often offer flexible work schedules, social events, the option of telecommuting, onsite gym or access to a gym offsite, a compressed schedule, or free/subsidized meals.

In addition, employers offer 14 days paid vacation for the first five years of employment and nine paid holidays including floating holidays. Employers also match 3-4 percent of employees’ 401(k) or Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contributions on average.

Importance of Certifications

Ultimately, the difference in salary comes down to specialization. For IT pros, that means skills and certifications. Both increase the marketability of a professional. Employers may increase salaries between five to ten percent for professionals with sought-after skills and abilities.

Some of the most popular certifications, as identified by the Robert Half guide, include CISSP, CCNA, CompTIA A+, and PMP®. However, certifications show more than proving a skillset. They also signal to employers that a professional is committed to keeping their skills up to date at all times. With the ever-widening cyber security gap, certifications and willingness to keep on top of the latest updates are becoming more and more of a commodity.

Certifications can mean the difference between thousands of dollars in salary. That’s why, at LeaderQuest, we balance by-the-book training that helps people pass their exams with real-world, hands-on experience. This ensures our students can take their learning beyond the classroom and be fully prepared for a brand new career.

We understand the pressures of working full-time while still wanting to advance education and earning potential That’s why we offer classes during the day, at night, on campus, or online to meet any schedule and learning style.

Ultimately, a certification is a great, cost-effective way to get into the lucrative IT field for the fraction of the cost of a university. With the continuing upward trend in salaries, the IT industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

If you’re interested in building a successful career in IT, contact us and we’ll get you set up with one of our expert career advisers.

Contact us today and unlock your career’s full potential!

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PMI, PMP, CAPM, and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.