Updated: Jan 15, 2020
Cyber security is one of the hottest topics of the tech industry right now. From ransomware attacks taking down entire government systems to data breaches impacting hundreds of millions of people at a time, cyber security challenges and issues are constantly in the headlines. Companies are scrambling to find creative and effective ways to combat cyber-attacks. Doing so requires having the right people on board to create and deliver on a robust cyber security strategy. The challenge? The industry is so new that the demand has grossly outpaced the supply of professionals available to deliver these services. It’s predicted that by 2021, there will be 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs around the world. In the U.S. alone today there are about 300,000 unfilled jobs, and that’s expected to climb to half a million in the next two years.
Furthermore, the average pay for a cyber security professional ranges from around $85k – $120k depending on the location. Of course this is an average so you’ll see salaries wayyy higher and some lower, but this is a good gauge of compensation in the industry. When there is more demand than supply, people are willing to pay more. In my mind, this is money simply left at the table. Adding salt to the wound is the lack of diversity in the industry. Minorities and women make up 12% of the industry. It’s my mission to shift this, which is part of why I am sharing this information. Here are reasons to join:
0% Unemployment Rate: Yes, you read that correctly. The unemployment rate in cyber security is 0%. Again, companies are scrambling to find and keep cyber security talent. There are way more jobs and needs than people to fill them. Right now, in my career, I know that I can go ANYWHERE and make good money.
Your six-figure goal isn’t far-fetched: The average pay for the industry is already in this range. I had my first 6 figure year in this industry at age 23. (Note that this didn’t fall in my lap or come easily – I’m a negotiator and side hustle queen.) I have also personally interviewed and hired people, degreed and non-degreed who have started their careers in cyber security and today are making the same salaries that doctors and lawyers make, if not more. Of course, this depends on experience and how good you are at what you do, but it’s very possible. The key is that you have to be willing to do what it takes to get REALLY good at your job. This scares most of the people looking for an easy payday away. It’s not an easy payday. It takes hard work, but the return on investment is well worth it.
You’re a Digital Hero: You are doing something great for the world! You are protecting people and companies from attacks. You become a hero. I can’t tell you how good it feels every time I learn that the work that I do stopped someone from being scammed out of millions of dollars or protected a person from having their identity stolen and having to endure the pain of navigating fraud. No matter where you work in the cyber security industry, you are making a difference.
It’s fun!: This one more so depends on your personality type and what you enjoy. I was always described as a mischievous kid. I liked doing things people told me not to do. I liked trying to deceive people. Sounds crazy to admit, I know but it was my personality, and it’s the same way that hackers tend to be wired – creative mischiefs looking for ways to exploit systems for personal gain. The difference for me is that I don’t use it to do evil in the world or deceive people for my own benefit. What I have done is taken that trait and turned it into a career that does good for the world and helps people understand how to protect themselves and companies from cyber security attacks. This is just my personal example, but the world of cyber security is SO complex and interesting. Whether you are mischievous like me, or not there are many roles in cyber security that can align with a wide range of personalities.
You don’t have to be technical: There are a broad range of opportunities in cyber security. Yes, technical skills are critical in the industry especially for certain roles but, a lot of them actually don’t require heavy coding and tech skills like most people think. Don’t be intimidated if you aren’t great with computers. I’ll share more on both technical and non-technical paths in a future post.
Now that you are all excited to build a career in cyber security 😊, the next question is, how? Where do you start? Stay tuned for the next blog coming out on October 7th!