Cyber Security Jobs : Certifications, Roles and More


With the increased prevalence of cyber-attacks and a projection of global spending on cybersecurity to reach $133.7 billion in 2022 (Gartner), the demand for cybersecurity professionals isn’t going down any time soon in the foreseeable future. According to research conducted by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, the cybersecurity workforce has the potential to grow by 150% in the coming years. This means that there are plenty of opportunities for you to land a cybersecurity job with competitive pay, a challenging array of tasks, and immense growth opportunities. This article helps you explore careers in cybersecurity by taking you through various roles, job descriptions, salaries, and skillsets required.

What Does A Cybersecurity Professional Do?

Much like a data scientist, a cybersecurity professional is tasked with a diverse range of responsibilities. This would typically encompass evaluating, planning, and implementing all sorts of security systems. The fundamental task of a cybersecurity professional is that of protecting the IT infrastructure and data of an organization and preventing it from being compromised.
To safeguard the organization from potential threats, and monitoring activities as well. A qualified cybersecurity professional is able to identify the problem and act quickly to resolve it.


The Must-have Skill Sets for A Cybersecurity Professional

There is a slew of soft and hard skills that make a cybersecurity professional successful. Here are some of the most crucial skills that you would need if you are looking to make a successful career in the field.
Soft Skills
1. Effective Communication: While this might come across as generic advice, being able to effectively communicate is vital for a security professional. As a security professional, you’ll have to translate complicated technical matters into layman’s terms for your audience that could comprise of top stakeholders that have no technical background.
2. Active Listening: Most of the problems can be easily solved when you pay attention to the actual problem. Actively listening to your customers (or whoever brings you the problem) and responding to them could help uncover deeper issues in the processes or a revaluation of the problem is, thus helping you come up with a solution that fits their needs better.
3. Creativity and Adaptation: Besides having the ability to ask questions and seek information, you need to be creative when it comes to solving technical problems. What further helps a cybersecurity professional is his ability to adapt and work with a team.

Hard and Technical Skills
1. The Fundamentals: To start a career in cybersecurity, you need to master the fundamentals of computer science and the art of programming. Also, you need to be familiar with the Mitre Att&ck framework techniques. The ability to make decisions and manage multiple evidence pieces at a time is highly valued in the cybersecurity profession.
2. Malware Analysis and Reversing: In order to facilitate business continuity, cybersecurity professionals must learn disaster recovery planning. Furthermore, being able to analyze and reverse engineer malware and reversing it helps you come up with strategies to minimize or even thwart the potential havoc the malware can cause.
3. White Hat Hacking: As a cybersecurity professional, you need to master white hat hacking as well. White hat hackers purposefully exploit computer systems to uncover potential security flaws and threats. You can also learn penetration testing to be able to identify and assess vulnerabilities.
4. Audit and Compliance: Cybersecurity professionals need to have a thorough understanding of regulatory guidelines including FISMA, PCI DSS, GDPR, ISO 27001, COBIT, etc.
5. Analytics, Intelligence, and Firewall Skills: Besides having a comprehensive understanding of analytic and intelligence, cybersecurity professionals need to demonstrate excellent firewall skills that allow them to prevent unauthorized access.


Different Roles in the field of Cybersecurity

In this section, you’ll get to know more about what it takes to become a cybersecurity professional. Not only will you get to know about the job description but also more about education and average salary.
1. Security Engineer:
A security engineer focuses on creating and implementing strategies to protect the network from unauthorized access. As a security engineer, you will be working along with network engineers, system engineers, and security architects.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree
Salary: $70,000 – $1,10,000
Skill You Need The Most: Persistence in solving problems
Responsibilities and Duties: The security engineer plays a vital role in mitigating the damage caused by a cyberattack in an organization. Not only does (s) recognize hardware or software failures but also identifies vulnerabilities in the system that could be leveraged by perpetrators in the future. In this process of protecting networking assets, you will be working with a team of experts including security engineers to protect the network. Some of the job responsibilities include:
  1. Running penetration tests to recognize vulnerabilities
  2. Finding new means to secure assets
  3. Configuring firewalls across the entire network
  4. Authoring automation scripts that run on a regular basis to check for issues
  5. Designing and implementing authentication, authorization, and encryption algorithms
  6. Defining corporate security policies
  7. Being up-to-date with recent cyber threats and security events
  8. Making recommendations for protecting corporate software
2. Cybersecurity Business Owner:
A cybersecurity business owner manages cybersecurity programs for his or her clients. Using tools like Wireshark, BurpSuite, Nessus, or Nmap, (s)he identifies the risk for the clients and works on mitigating them.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree
Salary: $90,000 – $95,000
Skill You Need The Most: Understanding business markets
Responsibilities and Duties: A cybersecurity owner or consultant has the expertise to offer a gamut of services ranging from technical support to penetration testing to vulnerability analysis to managed services, and much more. He or she also runs regular audits to ensure compliance with the best security practices. Cybersecurity business owners keep themselves informed on what the developments are in the industry, new malware, standards, defense strategies, new technologies, startups, and so on. They also reach out and network with cybersecurity professionals and look for clients that would benefit from their services. Their roles include :
  1. Implementing user controls across the client’s organization
  2. Monitoring network performance for identifying potential threats
  3. Performing mandatory audits at regular interval
  4. Detecting endpoint issues and using tools to prevent malicious attacks
  5. Setting up patch management for updating applications
  6. Implementing vulnerability management systems both on cloud and site
  7. Creating a business continuity plan in case of the occurrence of a cyberattack
3. Developer-Pentester:
A developer-pentester simulates attacks on the system in order to identify the vulnerabilities. By conducting tests on networks or applications, (s)he assesses the security of physical devices. The main job of a developer-pentester involves looking for ways to exploit vulnerabilities in the system followed by designing solutions that path the vulnerabilities accordingly.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree
Salary: $100,000 – $110,000
Skill You Need The Most: Curiosity and desire to learn more
Responsibilities and Duties: A typical day for a pentester involves attempting to breach computers as well as network security systems. Popularly known as an ethical hacker, a pentester works on finding out potential threats and vulnerabilities. After planning the incident, he or she makes intrusion attempts and tries to uncover vulnerabilities that can potentially cause damage. Once identified, they create a report on the vulnerability, the data they could access, and the amount of time for which they remained undetected on the system. Some of the job responsibilities of a developer and pentester include:
  1. Conducting regular tests on security-protected applications and networks
  2. Assessing servers, network security devices, and systems
  3. Understanding vulnerabilities and designing solutions for it
  4. Identifying ways in which attackers can exploit the weaknesses in the security systems
  5. Running audits to identify compliance of the network and system security
  6. Analyzing security policies for suggesting further improvements
  7. Documenting findings and offering feedback for improvement
4. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP):
A certified information systems security professional is recognized for his or her mastery in all fields of data security. With the CISSP certification, a cybersecurity professional earns the necessary knowledge to identify threats, offer solutions, and create a secure network for an organization. A CISSP can apply for a number of job positions including IT Security Engineer, Information Security Risk Officer, Information Assurance Analyst, Security System Administrator, etc.
Education: Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
Salary: $140,000 – $150,000
Skill You Need The Most: Pushing the limits and making things possible
Responsibilities and Duties: Helping organizations to protect their network and device from malicious attacks, a certified CISSP bolsters the cybersecurity of an organization. He or she is responsible for creating security policy and monitoring networks as well. In addition, they create plans and set up measures in order to mitigate challenges in case of a security breach. Some of their responsibilities include:
  1. Protecting data and network devices from unapproved access
  2. Identifying potential security dangers and creating plans for mitigating them
  3. Investigating frameworks for anomalous movement
  4. Running penetration tests for finding security shortcomings
  5. Creating reports of discoveries and providing feedback for improvement
5. Security Analyst:
A security analyst is responsible for identifying and responding to attacks and threats to network devices and data. He or she has a comprehensive understanding of cyber threats and aids an organization to come up with defense procedures. Besides protecting the network, a security analyst creates procedures and protocols for the organization to follow.
Education: Bachelor’s degree
Salary: $95,000 – $100,000
Skill You Need The Most: Ability to manage multiple evidence pieces
Responsibilities and Duties: Protecting sensitive digital assets, a security analyst is responsible for a number of things including protocols, penetration testing, monitoring, and so on. He or she monitors the digital assets of the organization and performs a risk analysis to identify any potential security issue. Besides monitoring current security alerts, (s)he will be responsible for preventing intrusions as well. Here are some of the responsibilities of a security analyst:
  1. Identifying and preventing security breaches
  2. Finding the right software for creating a safe networking environment
  3. Defining and enforcing enterprise-level security policies
  4. Managing security threats in compliance with law enforcement and other vendors
  5. Performing risk analysis for identifying issues that may lead to stolen data
  6. Creating protocols for security audit including updates, addition, and deletion
6. Cybersecurity Law Professional:
A cybersecurity law professional plays a key role in any organization. He or she is responsible for devising strategies so that legal requirements at all levels including state, federal, and international are met. At times, (s)he may have to represent the organization before the regulatory bodies. During any incident, a cybersecurity law professional advises the company on ensuring compliance with the law.
Education: Doctoral or professional degree
Salary: $120,000 – $130,000
Skill You Need The Most: Ability to comprehend and analyze laws
Responsibilities and Duties: A cybersecurity law professional essentially becomes the
liaison between the technical department and anything that falls in the territory of law. Creating and implementing processes on security, e-records, and investigations, a cybersecurity law professional is responsible for creating credible reports during an incident response. Here are some of the responsibilities:
  1. Analyzing cyber laws and creating cybersecurity policies in compliance with those laws
  2. Offering consultation regarding GDPR compliance
  3. Reviewing privacy policies, terms and conditions, licenses, and contracts
  4. Conducting ethical investigations and preparing reports after an incident
  5. Being responsible for representing the organization before the regulatory bodies
7. Security Architect:
A security architect maintains the security of the entire computer system in an organization. This job requires the architect to think like a hacker. He or she needs to use the necessary tactics to stop any move that a hacker might make to gain unauthorized access to the system. A greater part of the work involved implementing tested security systems with the IT network.
Education: Bachelor’s degree
Salary: $105,000 – $115,000
Skill You Need The Most: Problem-solving
Responsibilities and Duties: The most important part of a security architect’s work involves the ability to identify weaknesses in a network system. Besides being able to promptly identify security breaches, a security architect needs to be able to offer quick responses. He or she also reviews the security measures in place and then implements further enhancements. Here are some of the responsibilities:
  1. Conducting system tests at regular intervals
  2. Monitoring network security consistently
  3. Ensuring execution of system upgrades according to the timeline
  4. Creating procedures for disaster recovery
  5. Establishing access to the IT system according to need and role
  6. Conducting security breach drills
  7. Responding to any security incident and creating comprehensive post-event analysis
8. Cybersecurity Sales Engineer:
A cybersecurity sales engineer advises customers who are looking forward to avail cybersecurity services. Working hand-in-hand with the sales team, he or she helps a customer during the evaluation stage of the sales process. Decoding the technology that will meet the business needs, (s)he helps customers in making the right decision. A successful cybersecurity sales engineer must be able to work in a fast-paced environment and stay self-motivated.
Education: Bachelor’s degree
Salary: $100,000 – $105,000
Skill You Need The Most: Active listening and effective communication
Responsibilities and Duties: A cybersecurity sales engineer answers any technical question that a customer might have in his mind. After understanding the requirements, he or she offers product demonstrations to potential customers. He or she plays a key role in converting potential customers into paying ones. Here are some of the responsibilities of a cybersecurity sales engineer:
  1. Researching competitors and persuading customers with the best solution
  2. Creating and communicating proof of value and concepts to the customers
  3. Developing analytic demonstrations to potential customers
  4. Driving user adoption across various cases
  5. Understanding the technical and functional components of RFIs and RFPs
  6. Collaborating with product managers for delivering specific product requirements