Is Cybersecurity a Good Career Choice?

The digital age brings incredible opportunities but new challenges. With a rising tide in technological advancement, we’re seeing an increase in data breaches, identity theft, and other types of cybercrime. According to Statista’s Market Insights, the global cost of cybercrime is expected to climb into 2028, rising from $9.22 trillion in 2024 to $13.82 trillion.

If you’re interested in technology – and more particularly cybersecurity – there are jobs readily available.

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Cybersecurity, in general, is an in-demand field that benefits the wider public directly. At an individual level, you may have already experienced cyber problems with social media hacks or even financial compromises with credit cards and personal finances.

At a higher level, cyber attacks regularly occur, leaving many organizations exposed. Consider how damaging leaked sensitive information could be from places like doctor’s offices, hospitals, and even large corporations where user accounts are managed. The bottom line is that cybersecurity careers can help address and combat these growing problems.

Are you considering learning more about this career path but wondering if cybersecurity is a good option? What degree do I need for a cybersecurity job? Let’s explore why pursuing a cybersecurity program could be an excellent career choice and how the Master of Information Technology program at New Mexico State University (NMSU) Global Campus can help you reach your next career opportunity.

What is Cybersecurity?

Before we explore whether cybersecurity is a good career choice, let’s define jobs within this field. In practice, cybersecurity helps organizations and companies protect systems, networks, and data from digital attacks. These can take various forms, including malware, phishing, ransomware, and hacking attempts.

Cybersecurity professionals are the frontline soldiers in the fight against cybercrime. They build defenses to prevent attacks (like firewalls), monitor for threats, and respond to breaches (like data leaks) to keep our data and systems safe.

Why is Cybersecurity a Good Career Choice?

The ever-evolving threat landscape of cybercrime has created a booming job market for cybersecurity professionals. These skilled individuals are in high demand across various industries, and the need for their expertise is only expected to grow. Here are several compelling reasons to consider a career in cybersecurity:

What Do Cybersecurity Professionals Do?

We know cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing fields globally, but what do these experts do? They hold diverse duties, primarily safeguarding information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. 

Most professionals in this field are skilled in protecting systems by creating accessibility structures and reducing vulnerabilities that natural disasters, power losses, and other unintended disruptions may cause.

Critical cybersecurity tasks on the job

Let’s explore critical cybersecurity tasks within the job field:

  • Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing: This involves pinpointing weaknesses in computer systems and networks to thwart potential attacks in the future.
  • Security Incident Response: Investigating and swiftly responding to cyberattacks, aiming to mitigate damage and restore normal operations.
  • Security Policy Development and Implementation: Here, the focus is on crafting and enforcing policies that foster secure practices within an organization.
  • Security Awareness Training: Cybersecurity professionals play a pivotal role in educating employees on the best practices.
  • Network Security Monitoring: Continuously monitor networks, diligently searching for any signs of suspicious activity.

What is the Best Degree for Cybersecurity? Find Out Here

Job Requirements for Cybersecurity Professionals

Success in cybersecurity is dependent on more than technical expertise. So, how do you work in cybersecurity? Understanding programming languages, network protocols, and operating systems is fundamental, but it’s only part of the equation. Equally vital are softer skills like problem-solving, effective communication, and meticulous attention to detail.

Critical and analytical thinking are indispensable for cybersecurity professionals. They need to sift through complexities to pinpoint vulnerabilities and devise robust solutions. Adept communication skills also play a pivotal role. 

It’s not just about conversing within the technical circle; it’s also about effectively conveying intricate technical details to non-technical stakeholders and collaborating seamlessly with colleagues from other departments.

Average Salary for Cybersecurity Jobs

Cybersecurity offers some of the most competitive salaries in the tech industry. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for cybersecurity professionals varies depending on factors such as experience, education, and location. 

For instance, entry-level positions like cybersecurity analysts typically commence at approximately $75,875 annually, whereas senior roles such as cybersecurity architects or managers can yield salaries exceeding $105,538 annually.

Commonly Required Skills for Cybersecurity Experts

Cybersecurity experts are in high demand to protect computer systems and networks from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. To succeed in this ever-evolving field, they need technical and soft skills.

Here are some of the skills commonly required by cybersecurity experts.

Technical Skills for Cybersecurity

  • Network Security: Understanding of network protocols, firewalls, routers, and switches.
  • Cryptography: Knowledge of encryption algorithms, hashing, digital signatures, and PKI (Public Key Infrastructure).
  • Secure Coding: Ability to write secure code and understand common vulnerabilities like SQL injection, XSS (Cross-Site Scripting), and CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery).
  • Operating Systems: Proficiency in various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and Unix.
  • Malware Analysis: Ability to analyze malware behavior, reverse-engineer malware, and develop countermeasures.
  • Incident Response: Experience responding to security incidents, including identifying, containing, and mitigating threats.
  • Penetration Testing: Ability to conduct security assessments to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in systems and networks.
  • Security Tools: Familiarity with various security tools such as IDS/IPS (Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems), SIEM (Security Information and Event Management), and vulnerability scanners.

Soft Skills for Cybersecurity

  • Analytical Skills: Ability to analyze complex systems and identify potential security issues.
  • Problem Solving: Capacity to solve security-related problems efficiently and creatively.
  • Communication: Effective communication skills to convey technical concepts to both technical and non-technical stakeholders.
  • Collaboration: Ability to work collaboratively with other teams and departments.
  • Adaptability: The flexibility to adapt to constantly evolving changes and updates in the cybersecurity landscape.
  • Attention to Detail: Being meticulous in examining systems for vulnerabilities and ensuring thoroughness in security procedures.

These are just some of the skills commonly required by cybersecurity experts. The specific skills most in demand will vary depending on the job role. However, developing a solid technical- and soft-skills foundation can increase your chances of success on the job.

Discover the Degree Options for Cybersecurity Jobs at NMSU Global Campus.

Educational Requirements for Cybersecurity Experts

There is a range of educational requirements for cybersecurity jobs. While some entry-level positions may only require a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as computer science, information technology, or cybersecurity, many employers prefer candidates with advanced degrees or specialized certifications.

Do You Work in Tech?

If you’re interested in learning more about cybersecurity but already have a job in the tech field, making the switch may be easier than you think. Working in tech, particularly in IT or a similar field, means you’ve already gained experience with some of the hard and soft skills we’ve outlined above.

Programs such as the Master of Science in Information Technology offered by NMSU Global Campus provide students with a comprehensive understanding of cybersecurity principles, advanced technical skills, and hands-on experience through practical coursework and real-world projects.

Do I Need a Degree for Cybersecurity Jobs?

One common question is whether a degree is necessary. While it can undoubtedly enhance your credentials and improve your job prospects, it is only sometimes a strict requirement for entry into the field. 

Many cybersecurity professionals have gained experience through self-study, online courses, and professional certifications.

However, having a degree can open doors to more opportunities and positions with higher salaries and greater responsibility. Additionally, employers may prefer candidates with formal education in cybersecurity or related fields, especially for roles that require advanced technical knowledge and expertise.

Degree Options for Cybersecurity Jobs at NMSU Global Campus

If you are considering a career in cybersecurity, obtaining a degree from a reputable institution is essential. NMSU Global Campus offers a range of degree programs tailored to the industry’s demands. 

The Master of Information Technology program provides students with the knowledge and skills to excel in various cybersecurity roles, including network security, digital forensics, and risk management.

Want to learn more?

About New Mexico State University Global Campus

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At NMSU Global Campus, our mission is to help prepare the next generation of leaders. We focus on offering high-quality education that spans a multitude of disciplines and career pathways. Whether you’re seeking a degree or certification in teaching, science, engineering, healthcare, business, or others, we provide exciting opportunities that can help shape your future. 

NMSU Global Campus is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), with specialized accreditation offered for some programs. We offer flexible, career-focused 100% online courses and degree options in New Mexico, across the nation, and around the globe. Start your journey with our accessible and affordable degree options.