Need a Job Upgrade? Here's Why You Should Consider a Career in Cybersecurity

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If you're looking for job security, a wide variety of opportunities, and a rewarding, long-term career, look no further than the field of cybersecurity.

In recent years, cyberattacks — defined as attempts by hackers to damage or destroy a computer network or system with the intention of causing harm — have dominated headlines. Cyberattacks are the fastest-growing crime in the U.S. and are expected to increase as more and more people use the internet worldwide.

These attacks have wide-ranging effects, from simply crippling a computer system to devastating companies, compromising national security, and influencing major elections. They’re also costly; Cybersecurity Ventures predicts cybercrime damages will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015.

To bring down the cybercrime rate and reduce emerging threats, the U.S. needs qualified, committed men and women who value integrity, justice and safety. As the demand for experts in cybersecurity continues to skyrocket, more and more database and networking professionals are turning to careers in this lucrative field.

Cybersecurity Job Growth

Cybersecurity professionals with the right skills are in high demand today. According to national statistics, cybersecurity jobs are among the fastest-growing occupations in the United States, with an expected 3.5 million job openings by 2021. In fact, employment of information security analysts is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations over the next decade.

Yet, employers are struggling to fill 200,000 other cybersecurity-related roles, according to cybersecurity  data, and the cybersecurity unemployment rate is expected to remain at zero percent until 2021. Put simply, the current demand for cybersecurity workers is outpacing the supply — meaning it’s the perfect time to enter the profession.

“I highly recommend pursuing your education in information technology or computer science” says Robert Herjavec, founder and CEO at Herjavec Group , a Managed Security Services Provider with offices and SOCs (Security Operations Centers) globally. “There is a zero-percent unemployment rate in cybersecurity and the opportunities in this field are endless. Gone are the days of siloed IT and security teams. All IT professionals need to know security full stop. Given the complexity of today’s interconnected world, we all have to work together to support the protection of the enterprise.”

Benefits of a Degree in Cybersecurity

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most cybersecurity positions require a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. A report by Burning Glass Technologies showed that 84% of cybersecurity  postings specify at least a bachelor’s degree and 23% require at least a master’s. Additionally, employers usually prefer to hire analysts with experience in a related occupation;

this makes cybersecurity an ideal next step for database or networking professionals looking to advance their careers.

Earning a degree in information systems (IS), information technology (IT), or computer science (CS) opens many doors to the wide variety of cybersecurity opportunities. Government agencies, financial services, healthcare industries, and other fields with private data are often looking for cybersecurity professionals, from security analysts to forensic experts.

By learning to defend and protect vital information systems from attack, IS, IT, and CS graduates are equipped as digital defenders — and those with a reputation for trustworthiness and a strong moral compass become highly valued employees.

The field is financially lucrative, too. Cybersecurity professionals report an average salary of $116,000, or approximately $55.77 per hour — almost three times the national median income for full-time wage and salary workers. Additionally, cybersecurity specialists make upwards of $6,500 more than their IT peers, according to statistics.

With data breaches, political attacks and threats to national security on the rise, the need for informed, ethical, and capable cybersecurity experts cannot be underestimated. By entering the field of cybersecurity — whether as a database or networking professional or a newcomer to technology — anyone can have the opportunity for a satisfying career that makes a difference.