If you are thinking about a career change in 2016, then you might want to have a look at the burgeoning cybersecurity market which is expected to grow from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020.
A knack for cat and mouse play may indicate that you have an aptitude for cybersecurity. It is a field where the good guys — cybersecurity professionals — are pitted against the bad guys — cybercriminals a.k.a. hackers. Assuming you’d want to be a good guy – a career can mean a six-figure salary, job security, and the potential for upward mobility.
More than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. are unfilled, and postings are up 74% over the past five years, according to a 2015 analysis of numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by Peninsula Press, a project of the Stanford University Journalism Program.
A report from Cisco puts the global figure at one million cybersecurity job openings. Demand is expected to rise to 6 million globally by 2019, with a projected shortfall of 1.5 million, says Michael Brown, CEO at Symantec, the world’s largest security software vendor.
If you are already in the tech field, then crossing over to security can mean a bump in pay. Cybersecurity workers can command an average salary premium of nearly $6,500 per year, or 9% more than other IT workers, according to the Job Market Intelligence: Cybersecurity Jobs 2015 report published by Burning Glass Technologies.
For newbies to the tech field who are contemplating a career in cybersecurity, they will often start out as information security analysts. U.S. News and World Report ranked a career in information security analysis eighth on its list of the 100 best jobs for 2015. They state the profession is growing at a rate of 36.5% through 2022. Many information security analysts earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming or engineering.
The most recent median pay for an information security analyst is $88,890 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which says the typical entry level education is a Bachelor’s degree. The lowest 10% earned less than $50,300, and the highest 10% earned more than $140,460.
If you don’t have a college degree – don’t write off a career in cybersecurity. With a huge shortage of qualified cybersecurity talent, companies and government agencies are aggressively trying to fill their openings. If you are lacking a college education but have a leg up in cyber training, then you can still nab a job. Heimdal Security posted a blog listing 50 cybersecurity online courses you should know about – and several of the courses are for beginners.
The top five IT security salaries, according to the tech job board DICE:
1. Lead software security engineer – $233,333
2. Chief security officer – $225,000
3. Global information security director -$200,000
4. Chief information security officer – $192,500
5. Director of security – $178,333