4 most in-demand cybersecurity jobs and the career paths to get you there

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Last year alone, there were over 2 million cyberattacks, including a 12% percent increase in ransomware resulting in a $45 billion losses, according to the Online Trust Alliance’s Cyber Incident & Breach Trends Report. At the forefront of the battle against cyberattacks there is a desperate need for a legion of tech professionals primed with the latest skills to stop these data breaches. 

And salaries in the field reflect that demand. According to Indeed.com data, almost all of the top 10 cybersecurity salaries cash in at more than $100,000 annually, on average.

With the demand for cybersecurity in mind, we dug into the data to find the top cybersecurity careers, cities and companies hiring for those of you preventing cybercriminals from compromising networks and systems across the nation.

Table of Contents

  1. Top cybersecurity careers and their salaries
  2. Companies hiring most for cybersecurity professionals
  3. Top 3 cities where you can establish a cybersecurity career

In-demand cybersecurity careers and their salaries

We analyzed Indeed data to find out which cybersecurity roles are in highest demand and discovered the top four cybersecurity-related job titles with the most job postings in the US. 

1. IT security specialist

At the top of the list is the IT security specialist, the person in charge of safeguarding a company’s data in any form, digital or physical, from threats of any type—not just cyber-related threats. The person in this role will study previous breaches to gain an understanding of what caused them and how to prevent them in the future. Depending on the company, an IT security specialist may focus on a certain area, such as web apps or the company’s networks.

Average salary: $117,483 per year

What you’ll do

As an IT security specialist, it’s up to you to search for any weak points and threats by identifying any potential threats or attempted breaches while closing off any security vulnerabilities. You’re also responsible for researching any new tech that will help protect systems from data loss or service interruptions. 

Cybersecurity skills you’ll need

Vulnerability testing, firewall, intrusion and prevention protocols, secure coding practices, ISO 27001/27002, ITIL, COBIT frameworks.

Career Path

The walk down your cybersecurity career path may begin as a systems administrator, network administrator or security administrator, before becoming an IT security specialist. From there, you can move on to mid-level and senior-level roles like security manager or CISO (Chief Information Security Officer).

2. Network security engineer

While the role of the IT security analyst (and infosec in general) focuses on protecting any type of data from unauthorized use, the role of a network security engineer involves protecting a company’s networks from cyber attacks. 

Average salary: $107,920 per year

What you’ll do

The network security engineer is like the Swiss Army knife of cybersecurity jobs. It’s your job to troubleshoot, optimize, design, plan, audit and implement an organization’s entire network security system. When it comes down to it, you’re there to protect the network from any and all types of threats that can attack the network.

Cybersecurity skills you’ll need

Secure coding practices, encryption technologies and standards, threat modeling, ethical hacking, application security and encryption technologies, gateway anti-malware and enhanced authentication, secure network architectures.

Career Path

Getting your feet wet as either a network engineer or network administrator sets you up to be a network security engineer. Once you’ve established yourself, future roles along your cybersecurity career path may include security engineer or chief information officer.

3. Information security analyst

The network security engineer builds and maintains solutions that protect the network, based on the findings presented by the information security analyst, the person responsible for the digital security of a company that extends beyond the network. The information security analyst analyzes the company’s security policies and runs audits to determine if there are any weaknesses in the system, including individual computers and networks.

Average salary: $79,409 per year

What you’ll do

Install security measures and operate software to protect systems and information infrastructure. You’ll also work with firewalls and data encryption programs and document security breaches and keep a record of the damage caused by the breaches.

Cybersecurity skills you’ll need

Penetration and vulnerability testing, firewall and intrusion detection/prevention protocols, anti-virus and anti-malware tools.

Career Path

A good starting point is that of a systems administrator, technical support specialist, or network specialist, roles which all involve working with and understanding a variety of systems, software and hardware. From here, you can move up to senior roles such as an information security engineer or chief security officer.

4. Penetration tester

The goal of the penetration tester is to help a company improve its security and find any vulnerabilities that exist by simulating real-life cyber attacks.

Average salary: $116,939 per year

What you’ll do

In this role, you get to hack and get paid for it. You’ll execute penetration tests on web networks, computer systems and apps. Your job is to find security holes and target the methods criminals use to exploit systems. It’s up to you to research and document, then present your findings to other teams and higher-ups.

Cybersecurity skills you’ll need

Cryptography, computer forensic tools, security tools and products, reverse engineering, security frameworks, vulnerability analysis, metasploit frameworks.

Career Path

As a penetration tester you can get your start as a security administrator or network administrator, and then once you reach pen tester, you can move on up to a role as a senior penetration tester or security architect.

Companies hiring most for cybersecurity roles

During our investigation into employer demand, we looked at the number of US cybersecurity job postings on Indeed. It’s interesting to note that the demand for cybersecurity roles from 2017 to 2018 increased by over 7%, compared to a minimal increase of .28% between 2016 to 2017. Here are the top three companies hiring the most for cybersecurity roles in the US.

1. Booz Allen Hamilton

Booz Allen Hamilton is a management and IT consulting firm that works with defense, intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security sectors to solve issues related to unmanned systems, C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) and infrastructure.

Recently, the company took on a $1.03 billion contract in order to help “build up cybersecurity capabilities over the next six years” at several federal agencies. This push will help further develop and streamline cybersecurity measures for the GSA, DHS, US Postal Services, NASA and various other federal agencies.

Open cybersecurity tech roles at Booz Allen Hamilton.

2. Leidos

With the need for federal agencies to update their infrastructure to protect their data from cyber attacks, companies like Leidos have stepped up to the challenge to bolster their technical framework. Leidos, which was recently acquired by the Capgemini Group, has worked with clients that include the US Department of Defense and Health and Human Services. 

Leidos’ team of cybersecurity experts has developed a multitude of tools to fight back against the malicious hackers disrupting our digital infrastructure. One such tool is the Arena Insider Threat Identification (ITI) which uses big data analytics to monitor threats online.

Open cybersecurity tech roles at Leidos.

3. SAIC

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) provides government solutions and IT support to businesses. They also specialize in fighting against large-scale cyberattacks directed at the federal government as well as commercial customers.

“These threats are constantly evolving and need to be met and defeated sooner,” said Robert Morris, SAIC’s cyber practice lead. “Together, we are working to provide customers with solutions that address a top pain point, further out and faster, without requiring burdensome network software deployments.”

Open cybersecurity roles at SAIC.

Cities with the most cybersecurity roles

1.Washington, DC

It should come as no surprise that the nation’s capital, also known as the “Cyber Corridor” is also home to a huge pool of cybersecurity talent—many of which are defense and federal contractors. One huge draw for companies is the proximity to policymakers and agencies that operate regulated industries. As we saw above, it’s not just government agencies that are hiring for these roles either. Large corporations, hospitals, financial institutions and think tanks in Washington need security professionals.

2. Baltimore, MD

Just 50 miles from DC, Baltimore and Maryland as a whole have a lot going on. The state has the world’s largest state-trained cyber workforce, as well as  the highest concentration of college-educated cyber engineering graduates in the entire world. Baltimore has also committed to building the largest cybersecurity hub in Port Covington, meaning that “Cyber Town USA” as the city’s known, could attract even more cybersecurity companies, making quite an impact on the surrounding “cyber-ecosystem.”

3. New York City

New York and New Jersey are top locations for cybersecurity startups. If you’re a cybersecurity company based here you’ll find yourself surrounded by a blend of conventional businesses, Wall Street and high-profile companies. Working in the financial capital of the world means that cybersecurity roles can be found at Fortune 500 companies to small startups.

As the world relies increasingly on technology, there is a greater need for cybersecurity professionals to protect sensitive data from potential hackers. In fact, by the year 2022, across the world, there will be a need for 1.8 million cyber employees. However, statistics show there has been a consistent shortage of professionals to fill jobs, with 45% of hiring managers struggling to find the talent they need.  

With the rising demand for cybersecurity professionals, it’s time to hit the ground running and jump into one of these roles. If you’ve always dreamed of a job in cybersecurity, now’s your chance to upskill, educate yourself and prepare for a role that will continue to be in high demand.


*Methodology: For the most in-demand tech roles in the US, Seen calculated and analyzed the most commonly listed cybersecurity job titles in Indeed.com job postings for the area over a six-month period through July 5, 2019.

To measure the companies hiring for the most cybersecurity roles, Seen calculated and analyzed the most commonly listed companies for Indeed.com cybersecurity job postings over a six-month period through July 5, 2019.

For the cities hiring for the most cybersecurity roles, Seen calculated and analyzed the most commonly listed cybersecurity job titles in Indeed.com job postings for the area over a six-month period through July 5, 2019.

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