Colten Hopkin- Information Assurance Analyst at the National Information Assurance Training and Education Center (NIATEC) in honor of Cyber Security Awareness Month.
“What am I going to be when I grow up?” Many of us come to college still wondering that exact thing. We take our required courses, explore a few electives, and declare our major in a field we enjoy. However, a lot of college graduates still struggle to find work after graduation in a crowded job market.
There is a booming field right now that is being overlooked by students, and organizations can’t fill jobs fast enough: cybersecurity. As the world becomes more reliant on technology, and it becomes more integrated with our lives, the protection of our information becomes more important. Data breaches seem to be the headline of the news almost weekly, and millions of people’s personal information is stolen in the blink of an eye. This makes it all the more surprising that there will be a shortage of over 1.8 million cybersecurity workers by 2022, according to a study done by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education.
As the Equifax breach showed, information security is not something that can be done as an afterthought. The reality is, our data is safest when we implement security policies from the beginning. This is what cybersecurity professionals are needed for, and the payoff for a career in the field can be high. The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the median annual wages for an Information Security Analyst at $92,600, with the highest ten percent of earners making over $147,290 per year.
The cybersecurity field has a wide variety of jobs. While the traditional image of the IT professional who is sitting at a computer with ten screens writing code is a career that many people enjoy, there are many other opportunities where less technically inclined people will flourish. The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education has developed a framework for implementing security programs, and outlines many different positions that are available. These include Security Analysts, Business Intelligence Managers, Computer Crime Investigators, Forensic Analysts, and more.
So if you find yourself asking “what am I going to be when I grow up”, consider the opportunities in cybersecurity. A career keeping our information safe could be just the thing for you.