Cybersecurity Career Paths

Interested in cybersecurity career paths? With the current market combining high demand with an insufficient amount of qualified cybersecurity professionals, now is a great time to enter the industry. 

In this post, we’ve collected some standard job titles, their typical requirements, and the average salaries to expect.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity, also called information technology security, is the protection of computer systems and networks from information disclosure, theft of, or damage to their hardware, software, or electronic data, as well as from the disruption or misdirection of the services they provide.

In more simple terms, it is the practice of protecting sensitive digital information from unauthorized access.

Why pursue a career in Cybersecurity?

Frankly, demand is booming for cybersecurity professionals. According to research by Cybersecurity Ventures, “the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs grew by 350 percent, from 1 million positions in 2013 to 3.5 million in 2021 … and an estimated 1.8 million cybersecurity jobs will go unfilled.” (1) 

For those looking to switch jobs or careers entirely in Cybersecurity, there are myriad opportunities. According to Cyber Seek, there are over 714k jobs available in the US alone, especially in tech hotspots of the country like California, Texas, Florida, Virginia, and New York. (2)

Cybersecurity Career Paths Job Openings By State
Cybersecurity Job Openings in the USA State Heatmap (Cyber Seek)

Recent years have seen digital transformations in the form of new platforms (i.e., the cloud), technologies, and software. Paired with recent waves of new regulations on the digital space due to growing privacy concerns and recent high-profile breaches, the cybersecurity industry is struggling to keep up and is faced with a growing skill shortage. 

For many organizations, current staff training levels leave companies unprepared for new digital risks and compliance requirements, and bad actors are taking advantage. 

Related article: Top 3 Cybersecurity Pain Points

Rise In Cyber Attacks

Despite the persistent cultural mental image of hackers as a single individual in a dimly lit basement, in the digital age cyberhacking has become a lucrative, multi-billion dollar industry. (3) And, with the rise of advanced technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation, the industry has seen an exponential increase in the number, frequency, and complexity of cyber attacks. 

This is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic that forced a rushed adoption of remote working and left companies to fumble through the transfer to cloud hosting platforms and employees working from home with lower security levels and far more access points. 

The cyber skill gap highlights vulnerabilities concerning newer technologies and platforms that, if left open to attackers, could cripple a company before it’s aware of the risk. 

Organizations, both big-name and boutique, are rapidly hiring cybersecurity professionals to fill skill gaps on their teams, particularly those concerning newer technologies and platforms.  For those interested in Cybersecurity, there is no better time to enter the field.

Entry-Level Roles

Information Security Analyst

Average salary: $113,653 USD*

Typical job requirements: Information Security Analysts are the gatekeepers and security guards of information systems. These professionals plan and execute security measures to shield an organization’s computer systems and networks from infiltration and cyberattacks.

Security Specialist

Average salary: $72,242 USD*

Typical job requirements: A Security Specialist is responsible for maintaining the security of an organization’s database, ensuring that it’s free from cyber threats and unusual activities. 

They upgrade hardware and software applications, configure networks to improve optimization, address unauthorized database access, troubleshoot system discrepancies, conduct security audits on the system, and improve automated processes.

​​Digital Forensic Investigator

Average salary: $93,908 USD*

Typical job requirements: A Digital Forensics Investigator uses digital evidence to solve virtual crimes. Should a security breach occur, resulting in stolen data, a Digital Forensic Investigator will attempt to recover data. This can include documents, photos, and emails from computer hard drives and other data storage devices that have been deleted or damaged.

IT Auditor

Average salary: $103,138 USD*

Typical job requirements: Information Technology (IT) Auditors protect internal controls and data within an organization’s technology system. They safeguard sensitive information by identifying network weaknesses and creating strategies to prevent security breaches.

Mid-Level Roles

Security Systems Administrator

Average salary: $88,315 USD*

Typical job requirements: A Security Systems Administrator is someone who gives expert advice to companies regarding their internal security procedures and helps detect network weaknesses that may make them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. 

Security Systems Administrators are in charge of the daily operation of security systems and can handle things like systems monitoring and running regular backups, setting up, deleting, and maintaining individual user accounts, and developing organizational security procedures.

Penetration Tester

Average salary: $108,671 USD*

Typical job requirements: Penetration Testers, often abbreviated as “pen testers”, perform simulated cyberattacks on a company’s computer systems and networks. These authorized tests identify security vulnerabilities and weaknesses before malicious hackers have the chance to exploit them.

Security Engineer

Average salary: $116,786 USD*

Typical job requirements: Security Engineers are responsible for testing and screening security software and monitoring networks and systems for security breaches or intrusions. 

Security Architect

Average salary: $166,521 USD*

Typical job requirements: Security Architects assess an organization’s IT and computer systems to identify strengths and weaknesses. They also conduct penetration tests, risk analyses, ethical hacks, and assess routers, firewalls, and systems to determine efficacy and efficiency.

Cryptographer

Average salary: $97,477 USD*

Typical job requirements: Cryptographers secure computer and information technology systems by creating algorithms and ciphers to encrypt data. They often also carry out the duties of a cryptanalyst, deciphering algorithms and ciphering text to decrypt information. Cryptographers also analyze existing encryption systems to identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities. 

Cybersecurity Manager

Average salary: $130,243 USD*

Typical job requirements: Cybersecurity Managers monitor the channels through which information flows into and out of an organization’s information network. They are responsible for observing all of the operations occurring across the network and managing the infrastructure that facilitates those operations. 

Senior Level Roles

Senior Manager of IT & Security Compliance

Average salary: $142,631 USD*

Typical job requirements: A Senior Compliance Officer manages an organization’s compliance team to ensure adherence to industry guidelines. They check for, investigate, and resolve any unethical or illegal behavior, identify regulatory compliance issues, and conduct compliance risk assessments.

Director of IT Security

Average salary: $173,829 USD*

Typical job requirements: An Information Security Director oversees the information technology security operations of a business. Responsibilities often include security assessments, department budget management, training employees, managing security programs, and crisis management. 

Cybersecurity Architect

Average salary: $142,486 USD*

Typical job requirements: A Cybersecurity Architect plans, designs, tests, implements, and maintains an organization’s computer and network security infrastructure. 

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

Average salary: $200,965 USD*

Typical job requirements: A Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is the executive within an organization responsible for establishing and maintaining the enterprise’s vision, strategy, and program to ensure information assets and technologies are adequately protected. The CISO directs staff in developing processes, responds to incidents, establishes standards and controls, manages security technologies, and directs the establishment and implementation of policies and procedures. 

Bug Bounty Specialist

Average salary: $115,627 USD*

Typical job requirements: Also known as an “Ethical” or “White Hat Hacker”, a Bug Bounty Specialist is an individual that takes advantage of deals offered by websites, organizations, and software developers by which individuals can receive recognition and compensation for reporting bugs, especially those regarding security exploits and vulnerabilities.

Breaking Into The Field

The market in 2022 is red-hot, to say the least. With frequent cohorts of cybersecurity graduates training in the latest technologies and platforms and high amounts of turnover as skilled workers trade up for more convenient and lucrative jobs, the talent pool is both deep and competitive.

To be a competitive applicant for these cybersecurity career paths, gaining an educational certificate from an established training organization like Flatiron School can super-charge your career and make you stand out among a sea of hopefuls. 

Ready to take the next step? Start with a Free Cybersecurity Lesson, or check out the Cybersecurity Course Syllabus that will set you up for success with the skills to launch you into a fulfilling and lucrative career.

Related Articles:

What Certifications Do You Need for Cybersecurity?

How to Get into Cybersecurity: 6 Questions from Beginners

Top 3 Cybersecurity Pain Points in 2022

* Salaries cited current as of June 2022 

Sources:

  1. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/future-cybersecurity-job-market-2022-amit-doshi/
  2. https://www.cyberseek.org/heatmap.html
  3. “Cybersecurity: Hacking has become a $300 billion industry,” InsureTrust
  4. https://www.isc2.org/News-and-Events/Press-Room/Posts/2021/10/26/ISC2-Cybersecurity-Workforce-Study-Sheds-New-Light-on-Global-Talent-Demand

Data Science Career Paths

In the modern digital age, data is now the currency of business, and data science career paths are proving to be both in-demand and numerous.

More and more, the rise of big data means big opportunities for those possessing specific data science skill sets. It pays to know how to collect, clean, sort, and analyze data in a way that is valuable and provides actionable insights. 

In this post, we’ve collected some standard job titles, their typical requirements, average salary, and the required skillset to hold them. If you’re interested in data science career paths, here’s what to look for.

What is Data Science?

In simple terms, data science is using and preparing data for analysis. It is a data scientist’s job to clean and analyze it to provide digestible and actionable insights to decision-makers and business leaders.

There is a growing need for data scientists and analysts globally to help navigate a digital-first and data-driven global market. Data science is used in just about every corner of the economy – from political forecasts and predicting sports outcomes to forecasting media trends and warning of business slowdowns. Data scientists turn mountains of captured data into neatly packaged, connected dots that detect trends, make predictions, and provide insights into an organization’s goals.

Why pursue a career in Data Science?

The current marketplace combines a high demand for data scientists with a shortage of qualified applicants, making it the perfect opportunity for those interested in entering the field.

Research shows there was a shortage of 250,000 data science professionals in 2020. In addition, 35% of organizations surveyed said they anticipated difficulty finding skilled candidates for data science roles. (1) What’s more, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for data science skills will drive a 27.9 percent rise in employment in the field through 2026. (2) 

For those with the needed skill sets, companies are paying top dollar, especially for candidates familiar with emerging technologies such as cloud computing, A.I., and machine learning. (3)

Entry-Level Roles

Data Analyst

Average salary: $93,262 USD*

Typical job requirements: A Data Analyst collects and stores data on sales numbers, market research, logistics, linguistics, or other behaviors. They ensure the quality and accuracy of data, then process, design, and present it to help stakeholders make better decisions.

Typical skillset required: Java, Python, SQL, R, Scala

Junior Data Scientist

Average salary: $115,586 USD*

Typical job requirements: Junior Data Scientistsinterpret and manage data and solve complex problems with the help of various data software. A typical job description for a Junior Data Scientist would include things such as having an extreme passion for data science and data analysis, being able to conduct data mining, and working in teams.

Typical skillset required: Java, Python, SQL, R, Scala 

Data Engineer

Average salary: $116,206 USD*

Typical job requirements: Data Engineers are responsible for finding trends in data sets and developing algorithms to help make raw data more useful to the enterprise. This IT role requires a significant set of technical skills, including a deep knowledge of SQL database design and multiple programming languages.

Typical skillset required: SQL, Python, R, and Scala

Database Administrator

Average salary: $101,097 USD*

Typical job requirements: Database Administrators are responsible for the management and maintenance of company databases. Database Administrators’ duties include maintaining adherence to a data management policy and ensuring that company databases are functional and backed up in the event of memory loss.

Typical skillset required: SQL, PHP, Python, R, C#

Mid-Level Roles

Data Mining Engineer

Average salary: $114,682 USD*

Typical job requirements: A Data Mining Engineer is an advocate for both the database system and its manager. They advise company executives on the best equipment and software to meet the company’s needs and look for opportunities to improve the system and increase its relevance to company goals.

Typical skillset required: Python, Java, R, MapReduce

Data Scientist

Average salary: $118,537 USD* 

Typical job requirements: Data Scientists work closely with business stakeholders. They work to understand their goals and determine how data can be used to achieve those goals. They design data modeling processes and create algorithms and predictive models to analyze data. Combining computer science, modeling, statistics, analytics, and math skills data scientists help organizations make objective, data-driven decisions.

Typical skillset required: Python, SQL, Java, R, Scala

Senior Level Roles

Data Architect

Average salary: $133,823 USD* 

Typical job requirements: Data Architects build and maintain a company’s database by identifying structural and installation solutions. They work with database administrators and analysts to secure easy access to company data. Duties include creating database solutions, evaluating requirements, and preparing design reports.

Typical skillset required: Python, Java, C, C++

Machine Learning Engineer

Average salary: $122,844 USD*

Typical job requirements: Machine Learning Engineers develop self-running AI software. This software automates predictive models for recommended searches, virtual assistants, translation apps, chatbots, and driverless cars. They design machine learning systems, apply algorithms to generate accurate predictions, and resolve data set problems.

Typical skillset required: Python, Java, R, Julia, LISP 

Breaking Into The Field

If you want to break into any of these data science career paths, it’s critical to learn the required programming languages for your target title. 

This can be achieved in several methods – including with university classes or self-teaching – but by far the most time-conscious and cost-effective way is by enrolling in a technical training course that will get you to your goals faster. 

These courses are completed in months, not years, cost a fraction of traditional university tuition, and provide practical training to prepare graduates to jump headfirst into their first position. Short-term, intensive courses teach you up-to-date skills that won’t be obsolete when you graduate. 

Check out all the programming languages and skills Flatiron School will teach you. 

Ready to take the next step? Start with a Free Data Science Lesson, or check out the Data Science Course Syllabus that will set you up for success with the skills to launch you into a fulfilling and lucrative career.

* Salaries cited current as of June 2022 

Sources:

  1. https://quanthub.com/data-scientist-shortage-2020/
  2. https://www.bls.gov/
  3. https://fortune.com/education/business/articles/2022/02/24/a-hot-market-for-data-scientists-means-starting-salaries-of-125k-and-up-this-year/#:~:text=Data%20scientists%20made%20a%20median,%24152%2C500%20median%20salary%20in%202019
  4. https://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm

7 Rules For Networking

This article on networking is part of the Coaching Collective series, featuring tips and expertise from Flatiron School Career Coaches. Every Flatiron School graduate receives up to 180 days of 1:1 career coaching with one of our professional coaches. This series is a glimpse of the expertise you can access during career coaching at Flatiron School.

“…you mean I’m supposed to just call up someone I don’t know and ask them for a meeting? “

“Yes,” I say in my most matter-of-fact tone. 

I can tell by the look on his face he doesn’t believe me or, if he does, there’s no way he’s going to act on my recommendations without some more support. So, I take a deep breath and settle in to explain.

Reframing Networking

This is the way many of my coaching sessions on networking start. Networking, it’s a word that gets tossed around quite a bit but what does it really mean? When used as a verb, networking conjures up other words like pushy, presumptuous, creepy, or stalking – that last one I hear the most from Flatiron School graduates while preparing them for their job search. 

While the old adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is true, it’s also cold comfort if you don’t know anyone – anyone connected to tech or a software engineering job anyway.

I’m officially changing that saying to “it’s not what you know that is going to lead to your next job, it’s who you are going to meet that will lead to your next job.” This reframe is much more realistic and easier to put into action because networking is just another way of describing relationship building. 

So, how to get started? Making digital connections, accumulating likes, and creating engagement with posted content are all tactics that support networking but that alone is not enough to build human relationships. 

“The Connector’s Way,” by Patrick Galvin, an expert relationship builder, keynote speaker, and co-founder of the Galvanizing Group, outlines the following Seven Rules for Building Business One Relationship at a Time.

1. Nurture the body and mind to create positive energy that attracts others.

Albert Einstein famously said, “Everything is energy, and that’s all there is to it.  Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy, this is physics.” Be the sort of person with whom you would like to engage. You’ll find that others who match your frequency will show up on your radar making it easy to connect.

2. Seek out individuals who expose you to new ways of thinking.

Being open to different perspectives and learning how to re-frame an existing paradigm is one of the most powerful ways to learn about the universe of opportunities that lie just outside of your awareness. There are advantages and disadvantages to every state of being that exists. Seek out those likely to have a different perspective on your perceived advantages and disadvantages to expand your worldview.

3. Ask your connections how you can be of service to them.

This is important! Many of the job-seeking grads I meet forget that they bring value to the table. We have intrinsic value in our humanity and life experiences. Don’t be surprised if your obscure hobby or interest in a certain topic has value to someone else. 

4. Serve others without consideration for how you will benefit.

This rule is closely related to the previous one. And I promise you, when practicing rule #4, you will benefit in some way. Also, see Rule # 1 and what Einstein said about energy and attraction. Being of service feels good and feeling good is a benefit in and of itself.

5. Exceed expectations.

People remember those who go above and beyond the expected norm. Be memorable. Engage in excellence to the best of your ability.

6. Let people know how they can help you succeed.

People generally enjoy helping others succeed, but they can’t read your mind to know what you need – make it easy for them. For graduates of FIS, this can be as general as asking “who else do you recommend I speak with?” or as specific as “I’m hoping you will pass my resume to the hiring manager and endorse my qualifications for the job.”

7. Be grateful.

Gertrude Stein said, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” Gratitude in action is called appreciation – and everyone wants to be appreciated. Acknowledging others in meaningful ways is one of the most powerful ways to build connections that last a lifetime.

Of all these seven rules only one (Rule Six) involves asking someone for something, all the others are things completely within our control. Play the long game for your career. 

Begin a practice of nurturing your professional relationships early, maintain the connections and what you put out will come back in surprising and extraordinary ways. 

About Dyana King

Dyana King is a career coach with Flatiron School. She previously worked as a technical recruiter and co-founded a technical recruiting agency, Thinknicity. She became a certified professional coach (CPC) in 2012 and specialized in transition and career engagement coaching. 

How To Become a UX / UI Product Designer

As the world shifts online, the demand for UX / UI Product Designers is booming. Even still, getting started can be difficult when you lack experience and don’t know where to start on your journey to becoming a UX / UI Product Designer. 

If you’re wondering how to break into the field, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s our guide on getting your first gig.

Determine Your Area of Interest

UX / UI Product Design is a broad discipline, made evident by its multi-part name. Under its umbrella fall several jobs that one may be eligible for: 

UI Designers: those who create the visual design of a product

UX Designers: those who create the flow of the product

Product Designers: those who own both the UX and UI experiences with a strategic design focused on business goals  

UX Researchers: those who conduct research to inform decisions for the improvement or creation of a product 

UX Writers: those who write content to move users through what the product is designed to do

Before considering additional education, internships, or a career change, be clear on which part of UX / UI Product Design interests you the most. Do research, talk to people, and learn as much as you need to until you feel confident moving forward to the next steps.

Want more info? Check out this post: What Is Product Design? What Is UX / UI Design?

Structure Your Learning

Now, this step is probably the most important to get right on your journey to a UX / UI Product Design career. There are several ways to structure your learning including self-taught, getting a traditional degree, or enrolling in a training program. 

While each of these methods has merit, there are downsides to some. Traditional degrees are time-intensive (often 2-4 years minimum) and prohibitively expensive for many. A self-taught approach, while significantly cheaper, lacks accountability and guided learning that can be vital to maintaining velocity towards your goal.

Training programs on the other hand – at the risk of sounding cliche – combine the best of both worlds. They are often an economical choice when considering total ROI (return on investment), establish a course to follow, teach practical skills, hold students accountable for progress, and provide guidance throughout. 

Some certification courses, such as this one in UX / UI Product Design, even provide post-graduation career coaching to help new graduates find their first job.

Not sure if a UX / UI Product Design bootcamp is worth the investment? Here’s how to know if it’s right for you. 

Learn Design Fundamentals

No matter which learning avenue you take, the fundamentals of design are next on the agenda. This boils down to learning to think like a designer, and entails understanding universal design principles, thinking in a user-centric methodology, and developing a “designer’s eye”.

Universal Design Principles

Part of Product Design is a visual art, governed by 7 universal principles. They are, in no particular order, balance, scale, contrast, pattern, movement and rhythm, emphasis, and unity. Basically, what makes something look nice.

Developing an understanding and appreciation of these principles is the fundamental first step toward a career in design.

User-Centered Methodology

Designing digital products to be user-centered is exactly what it says – designing for users, instead of for other stakeholders.

When building out a digital product, designers should be aware of the prospective user’s goals and gather feedback via user research. Meeting users’ needs and wants should be the top priority, and design decisions evaluated for accessibility and inclusion.

The Designer’s Eye

This is an elusive concept and a skill that is developed over time. The study of UX / UI Product Design will inevitably change how a student views the digital world around them. You’ll begin noticing designs on phones, billboards, and in magazines, questioning what you would change, and critiquing its style and accessibility.

While hard to define, developing your “eye” ultimately results in a signature style that will shine through in your portfolio.

Learn How To Use Design Tools

According to research, 42% of hiring managers say familiarity with design tools is the most important skill they look for in a prospective new hire. (1)

So, which tool to try first?

Prioritize those that help you visualize your ideas and design concepts such as Sketch, Adobe, Figma, and Maze. These platforms help communicate your ideas and knowing the basics is critical to getting hired.

Digital designers should also be comfortable with standard and novel interfaces, prototyping, typography, and platform limitations.

Build Experience

In preparation for applying to industry jobs, it’s a good idea to develop some “real world” design experience to showcase on your resume and in your portfolio.

Volunteer your skills to non-profits, small businesses, and community organizations, or advertise your services on freelancing sites like Upwork or Fiverr. These experiences will improve your application and set you apart from the competition.

Create a Portfolio

A standout portfolio is the number-one way to catch a hiring manager’s eye and can make a significant difference between two similar candidates.

Your portfolio should demonstrate your design process and problem-solving skills, giving them a look into what they could expect should they hire you.

Here’s how to build a stellar, attention-grabbing portfolio sure to get you noticed:

Provide context: explain the problem, your problem-solving, and the final concept reasoning to demonstrate your design process to hiring managers. 

Highlight your top skills: Put the projects you’re proudest of and include the type of work you’d like to do when you’re hired to attract the right recruiters and companies. 

Put it online: post your portfolio online with an easy-to-use interface and ensure that is not password protected to avoid barriers to viewing. 

Don’t include everything: Be critical of your work and take out anything that is just okay – this is quality over quantity. 

Get feedback: ask an experienced UX / UI Designer to review your portfolio and give honest feedback – they’ll know if it’s industry ready!

Need some inspiration? Check out these 4 Inspiring UX / UI Product Design Portfolios

Network, network, network!

Now that you’ve got some education, projects, and a portfolio ready to go, it’s time to network!

Unfortunately, however, the old saying “it’s who you know” is true. Studies show that 70% of jobs aren’t posted publically, and as many as 80% of jobs are filled through referrals. (2)

To give yourself the best chance to find a job, it’s time to establish an industry network. Do this by attending conferences (virtual or in-person), joining online communities, pulling on soft connections (aka your friend’s, cousin’s uncle), and reaching out to people on LinkedIn at your target companies.

(By the way, here are our tips for people who hate networking.) 

Apply to the right jobs

The skills you’ll learn in the pursuit of a career in UX / UI Product Design are versatile and adaptable. Because of this, you’ll be a good fit for several differently titled jobs, not just “Product Designer.”

Look for related roles that pull on the same skill set including UX / UI Designer, User Researcher, Experience Designer, and Visual Designer.

See our full list of job titles to look for: UX / UI Product Design Job Titles & Salaries.

Ace the interview

Every job interview will be different depending on the company and position, but here are some common questions to prepare for:

  • Why did you choose UX / UI / Product Design?
  • What is your design process?
  • Do you prefer working alone or on a team? 
  • What are some websites that you visit regularly? 
  • How do you react to negative feedback? 

Practice your answers to these and other typical questions ahead of time, but always remember that honesty is the best policy. Let your personality, talent, and determination shine through and you’re sure to ace your interview.

Beginning a new career as a UX / UI Product Designer won’t be easy, but it is incredibly rewarding. While it will take time, practice, and patience, Flatiron School is here to help prepare you. 

Ready to take the next step? Start with a Free Product Design Lesson, or check out the Product Design Course Syllabus that will set you up for success and launch you into a new and fulfilling career.

Sources:

  1. https://blog.adobe.com/en/2017/02/03/hiring-trends-in-ux-design-the-6-things-you-need-to-know-about-techs-fastest-growing-field
  2. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/27/how-to-get-a-job-often-comes-down-to-one-elite-personal-asset.html