This just in: Cyber security training—or a cyber security degree—are today’s hot-ticket job items. Now is the best time in history to be in the cyber security field—for new-to-the-market graduates as well as veterans, retirees, and those simply needing a career change. People with cyber security certifications are in demand as never before, and the industry is only going to grow.

Cyber Crime Is on the Rise

Cyber crime isn’t going away. It only multiplies, like the monstrous Hydra: cut off one of its many heads, and several others sprout in its place. Big business, federal agencies, startups and individuals are all scrambling to keep up, but falling more behind every day. With more and more high profile hacks happening every day, cyber security awareness is at an all-time high!

According to the World Economic Forum, worldwide costs inflicted by cybercrime are expected to double, from $3 trillion in 2015 to $6 trillion in 2021. One reason why: an explosion in data—50 times greater than the amount existing today, Microsoft predicts. The “Internet of Things” will also grow exponentially, with some 50 billion devices going online over the next several years, the company estimates. And every device is a new opportunity for hackers.

The number of people on the Internet, too, likely will grow in number, doubling to four billion by 2020. And as we know, people tend to use more than one computer. Many have a laptop and a phone, maybe even two, and perhaps a tablet. All of these devices will need cyber security.

Meanwhile, hackers constantly shift their tactics. From identity theft, to malware, to ransomware, to something we haven’t thought of yet, cyber criminals slip through each new defense or go around it. Software can do a lot—and cyber-security software is a booming industry—but in the end, staying ahead of the black hatters will take ingenuity and skill that only humans can provide.

Cyber Security Certifications in High Demand

What is cyber security? Cyber security is essentially a set of measures taken to protect an individual, a company or a network from criminal or unauthorized use, and cyber security certification shows that an individual has trained in these techniques. Fortunately for cyber-security-degree holders, too few people can fill the bill. More than 1 million cyber security jobs will be available this year, according to one report. In 2015, an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data notes, more than 209,000 cyber security job postings were left unfilled. Worldwide, the shortage will worsen: the number of unfilled cyber security positions is predicted to reach 1.5 million over the next few years. Cyber security skills are poised to be one of the most in-demand tech skills of 2017.

“The field of cyber security is the least populated of any field of technology,” John McAfee, founder of Future Tense Central and CEO at MGT Capital Investments, told CSO Online. “There are two job openings for every qualified candidate.”

This supply-vs-demand imbalance puts workers with cyber security certification in the “catbird seat,” indeed. About one-third of information security jobs require an industry certification, compared to 23 percent of all IT jobs. In the U.S. alone, some 50,000 vacant jobs require 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.

So, for the graduate with a cyber security degree, the question isn’t finding a job, but which job to take. The unemployment rate in cyber security is zero, and for CISSP holders the ratio may even be three jobs per candidate—with higher pay, too. Because so many cyber security professionals are needed, cyber security schools (like LeaderQuest) have risen to the challenge of educating the next generation of cyber warriors. Our cyber security training program can help you quickly gain the knowledge and certifications you need to start a new career.

The Top 10 Cyber Security Jobs

Here are 10 top cyber security jobs, with average salary and number of openings July 2015-July 2016 as listed by Cyberseek.

Entry level

1. Cyber Security Specialist

Average salary: $81,603
Number of jobs: 6,741
Related certifications: CCNA, GSEC/GCIH/GCIA, Security+, CEH, CISSP
Recommended LeaderQuest Course: Cyber Security Specialist

Infosec specialists work to defend devices and networks against intrusions, fight cyber crime, and even hack other sites on an employer’s behalf. Understanding the risks to the organization’s information and data will be the focus of your work: you’ll look for vulnerabilities in systems and networks, and repair and strengthen them. You’ll need broad knowledge of information systems and cyber security.


Responsibilities vary depending on the job, but duties generally comprise:

  • Designing, testing, implementing and monitoring security measures for your company’s systems
  • Analyzing existing security requirements and establishing new ones
  • Configuring and supporting tools including firewalls, anti-virus software, and patch management
  • Defining access privileges and controls
  • Testing for vulnerabilities
  • Identifying anomalies
  • Monitoring security administration
  • Developing and updating business continuity and disaster recovery protocols
  • Designing and conducting security audits and recommending upgrades
  • Responding immediately to incidents
  • Conducting post-incident analysis


2. Cyber Crime Investigator/Forensics Expert

Average salary: $94,188
Number of jobs: 640
Related certifications: CEH, CPT, CCE, ENCE, GCFA, CCFE, CREA
Recommended LeaderQuest Course: Cyber Security Specialist

Called the “digital detective of the cybercrime world,” these cyber sleuths figure out how criminals got in and where they slipped through by examining data logs and other evidence. To do the job well, they must stay apprised of the latest cyber crime trends and how they work in order to find digital “fingerprints” and other evidence hackers might leave behind.


Responsibilities include:

  • Examining device data
  • Finding systems and networks that have been breached
  • Preparing evidence for trial
  • Drafting technical reports
  • Working with law enforcement
  • Investigating security incidents and data breaches
  • Rebuilding damaged systems
  • Retrieving lost data
  • Giving expert technical advice to attorneys
  • Providing expert testimony in court hearings and cases


3. Information Technology (IT) Auditor

Average salary: $82,664
Number of jobs: 10,304
Related certifications: CISM, CISA, CISSP

An IT audit involves analyzing an organization’s IT structure, operations, and software programs. You might identify how your organization’s computer systems can better meet its needs, configure hardware and software programs to design new systems, and test systems to ensure that they are working properly.

The majority of IT auditors work in an office setting, primarily with computer systems. Depending on the employer, some auditors may be required to travel to evaluate the systems of clients. Auditors work independently most of the time, though larger projects may require some collaboration.

Desirable skills and talents among IT auditors include

  • Communication
  • Management
  • Understanding data security standards
  • Analytical skills
  • The ability to navigate a company’s IT system


4. Incident Analyst/Responder

Average salary: $70,647
Number of jobs: 17, 457
Related certifications: CEH, CPT, CCE, CCFE, CREA
Recommended LeaderQuest Course: Information Security Analyst

The “first responder” to a cyber attack, an incident responder may work as part of an incident response team. In this job, you’d be a cyber superhero, coming to the rescue in times of security system trouble. You’d work as quickly as possible to solve the problem or problems, and do what needs doing to prevent whatever happened from happening again.


Duties include:

  • Pinpointing errors or potential vulnerabilities in networks and systems
  • Developing a strategy for handling emergencies, including communications
  • Watching for suspicious activity on systems and applications
  • Collaborating with colleagues
  • Running risk analyses, security audits, and penetration tests
  • Writing incident reports



5. Cyber Security Analyst

Average salary: $89,232
Number of jobs: 29,160
Related certifications: ECSA, CEH, CISSP
Recommended LeaderQuest CourseInformation Security Analyst

A security analyst is responsible for the digital security of the company or government agency they work for. They analyze existing security policies and protocols and do a thorough audit to find existing weaknesses in the system and anticipate future ones. As opposed to systems administrators, who ensure that the IT systems are running properly, security analysts analyze data and may recommend changes to protocols, tools and methodologies, but would not implement them. Cyber security analysis takes a great deal of attention to detail and an analytical mindset.


Duties include:

  • Assessing new firewall technologies
  • Customizing security software so that it’s unique to your organization
  • Making sure security measures are still within budget
  • Auditing contractors and making sure they have proper security clearances


6. Cyber Security Consultant

Average salary: $107,282
Number of jobs: 21,612
Related certifications: OSCP, CPP, CISSP, CSC, PSP

Listed by Dice.com as among the 10 highest-paid cyber security professionals (Dice also lists a salary of $198,909 for this work), security consultants work with clients on cyber security strategy. You’ll need to know best practices and recommended procedures, and be a good communicator.

Duties include:

  • Discussing security issues with department heads and staff
  • Researching authentication protocols, security standards, and security systems
  • Planning and designing robust security systems
  • Disseminating technical reports and other documents
  • Implementing, defining and maintaining corporate security policies
  • Testing for vulnerabilities
  • Testing new security software
  • Guiding and supervising IT teams
  • Responding to security incidents
  • Offering cyber security awareness training
  • Providing detailed analyses of events


7. Penetration and Vulnerability Tester

Average salary: $90,590
Number of jobs: 12,702
Related certifications: CEH, CEPT, OSCP, CVA, CPT, CISSP
Recommended LeaderQuest Course: Cyber Security Specialist

We know about black hat hackers—they’re the “bad guys” and the reason we need cyber security in the first place. Penetration and vulnerability testers have the same skills, but use them for good, working to beat cyber criminals at their own game.

As a “white hat” hacker, you’ll look for and exploit applications, systems, and networks, simulating cyber attacks and then explaining how and why the attacks worked, all with an eye toward improving security.


Duties include:

  • Penetration testing
  • Creating and using new tools or tests
  • Discovering and explaining attackers’ methods
  • Documenting findings and sharing them with senior staff or IT teams
  • Testing the physical security of systems, network devices and servers
  • Finding and filling security holes
  • Setting and reviewing requirements for new security solutions


Advanced level

8. Cyber Security Manager/Administrator

Average salary: $113,407
Number of jobs: 15,120
Related certifications: CCNA, CISSP, Security+, ENSA, CISM

Security Administrators deals with myriad cyber security issues, and what they do depends on the employer. Generally, they administer, install, and troubleshoot an organization’s security issues.

Duties include:

  • Assessing networking and vulnerability scanning
  • Installing and supporting security software and tools including anti-virus, firewalls, and patch management
  • Establishing and analyzing security requirements
  • Developing and updating disaster recovery protocols
  • Defending systems from modification and unauthorized access
  • Watching network traffic for unusual activities
  • Installing and configuring computer security software
  • Improving security awareness
  • Conducting security audits


9. Cyber Security Engineer

Average salary: $107,705
Number of jobs: 45,549
Related certifications: CNNP, CISSP, CEH

Cyber security engineers, also known as information systems security engineers (ISSE), are the ones who design an organization’s cyber security systems. They also put these systems in place and monitor them.

To become a security engineer, you should have a strong technical background in vulnerability and penetrations testing, application and encryption technologies, and network and web-related protocols.

Duties include:

  • Identifying and defining system security requirements
  • Developing information security plans and policies
  • Developing strategies to respond to and recover from a security breach
  • Planning and implementing security awareness programs
  • Installing software such as firewalls and data encryption programs
  • Testing for vulnerabilities and penetration
  • Monitoring for and investigating security breaches


10. Cyber Security Architect

Average salary: $117,403
Number of job openings: 6,921
Related certifications: CISSP, CEH, CISM, CSSA

A security architect builds, designs, and oversees the implementation of computer and network security for a company or organization. These senior-level employees create very complex security structures and make sure that they work.

Duties include:

  • Researching, planning and designing high-end security architectures for IT projects
  • Building up public key infrastructures that include digital signatures and certification authorities
  • Installing and approving VPN, servers, IDS scanning technologies, and firewalls
  • Identifying issues around integrating new IT projects, and preparing cost estimates
  • Creating requirements for wide- and local-area networks, VPNs, firewalls, and routers and other network devices
  • Providing thorough analysis after each security-related incident


Cyber Security Requires Experience

A caveat: Although cyber security training and certification qualifies you to enter the field, don’t expect to rise to the top right away. It takes several years’ experience in the field to obtain a CISSP, for instance. Even with the best cyber security certifications, most graduates will need to start at the bottom of the cyber totem pole and work their way up.

“Just because you have a degree doesn’t equate to a high-paying position–you have to work for it, and many times that means you take the junior positions and get experience,” Gary Hayslip, deputy director, CISO for the City of San Diego, Calif., and author of the book ‘CISO Desk Reference Guide, A practical guide for CISOs‘, told CSO Online.

Many of the jobs listed here, even entry-level ones, need at least a modicum of experience to apply. A good first job may be systems administrator, network administrator, or security administrator.

LeaderQuest IT Training

Interested in Starting or Advancing Your IT Career with Cyber Security Training?

All it takes is a little IT experience and the right cyber security certifications to gain access to this huge industry and become a highly in-demand professional! Whether you’d like to come in and study at one of our four state of the art campuses or take advantage of our online cyber security certificate programs, a Career Training Advisor at LeaderQuest can help you make the career change you’ve been looking for.