What Jobs Can I Get With a Master’s in Cyber Security?

What Jobs Can I Get With a Master’s in Cyber Security?
The master's in cyber security is a STEM-based program that teaches how to identify and combat security threats. Image from Unsplash
Lucien Formichella profile
Lucien Formichella July 31, 2020

There's a global shortage of cyber security professionals; projections indicate that nearly three million jobs will be unoccupied by 2023. Earning a master's in cyber security should ensure excellent employment opportunities.

Article continues here

Cyber security is among the world’s fastest-growing professional fields. There’s good reason for that: approximately 25 percent of all Americans have experienced cybercrime at some point. Even more staggeringly, a 2018 study found that 43 percent of businesses were victims of cyberattacks during the previous year. Most took more than six months to realize their businesses had been compromised.

Any organization that collects data—including national security organizations, healthcare companies, dating apps, and social media platforms—needs qualified cyber security professionals. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the demand for information security analysts (just one career path in the field) will grow by 35 percent between 2021 and 2031. Compare that to the overall rate of job market growth—between 6 and 7 percent—and you get a sense of just how hot the cyber security job market is.

There are currently not enough applicants to fill these positions. A recent (ICS)2 study determined a worldwide shortfall of over 3 million cyber security professionals in 2023.

So, is now a good time to get a master’s degree, or a good time to go look for a job? It’s both, actually. Yes, you should be able to find an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree, and you’ll learn while you earn on the job.

You won’t learn as much or advance as far, however, as you would by earning a master’s degree. If you have your sights set on a high-paying job with lots of responsibility, you will probably need a master’s degree at some point. If you can pursue the degree while continuing to work, so much the better. If not, committing a couple of years to a master’s program should advance your career faster than two years at a low-level gig.

In this article on cyber security master’s jobs we will cover:

  • What is a master’s in cyber security, and how do programs differ?
  • What are the best master’s in cyber security jobs, and how much do they pay?

What is a master’s in cyber security, and how do programs differ?

The master’s in cyber security is a STEM-based program that teaches how to identify and combat security threats. Like most master’s programs, a cyber security degree focuses on helping graduates attain senior jobs. The online Master of Information and Cybersecurity program from University of California – Berkeley, for example, “prepares students with the cybersecurity skills needed to assume leadership positions in private-sector technology companies as well as government and military organizations.”

Cyber security is a massive field with many specializations. You can concentrate in one of these areas at some—but not all—cyber security degree programs. For example, if you are interested in the legal aspects of cyber security, Tufts University offers a Master’s of Science in Cybersecurity and Public Policy. It prepares students to become specialists in cyber security policy.

The University of Arizona offers two concentration options in its Master of Science in Cybersecurity: information systems and physical systems. Students on the information track focus on topics like managing system security, data mining, and ethical hacking. Physical systems students complete machine learning, cloud security, and systems engineering coursework.

Not every program offers every concentration. In fact, it’s safe to say that none offers all possible concentrations, and most offer only a handful. Before you commit to a program, make sure that it provides adequate instruction in your area of interest. If it doesn’t, keep looking. Another one surely does; you just have to find it.



University and Program Name Learn More

What jobs can you get with a master’s in cyber security?

Though landing a job—especially a high-paying one—is never easy, opportunities abound in the cyber security field. The demand for experienced and educated cyber security specialists exceeds the supply. Having an advanced degree can push your resume to the top of the pile.

Jobs available to those holding a master’s in cyber security include:

  • Chief information security officer (CISO)
  • Computer information systems manager
  • Computer network architect
  • Cybercrime analyst/investigator
  • Cyber security analyst/consultant
  • Cyber security architect
  • Cyber security director
  • Cyber security engineer
  • Cyber security manager/administrator
  • Cyber security specialist/technician
  • Incident analyst/responder
  • Information security analyst
  • IT auditor
  • Penetration and vulnerability tester
  • Software developer

What are the best master’s in cyber security jobs, and how much do they pay?

Below we describe some of the best job opportunities available to graduates of a master’s in cyber security program.

__ Computer information systems (CIS) manager

Median annual income: $159,000

CIS managers are integral to the IT department. They are responsible for ensuring that a company’s network runs at optimal efficiency. Because information security management and protection are critical aspects of IT, a master’s in cyber security represents an excellent qualification. These professionals work in the government, private enterprise, or the nonprofit sector. The highest-paid CIS managers work in biotech and insurance.

Cyber security architect

Median annual pay: $120,500

With a master’s in cyber security, you are practically made for a job as a cyber security architect. To succeed in this position, you will need to know how to create and maintain a company’s computer system. You may be asked to manage other employees. This job requires someone well-versed in hacking who can anticipate and block malicious intrusions.

Chief information security officer

Average annual salary: $173,000

The CISO is an executive-level position that oversees security policies on a company-wide level. It will likely take quite a few years of leadership experience to get this level, even with a master’s degree. CISOs need excellent analytical and risk management skills to evaluate and eliminate threats, or potential threats, to their organization’s system. A CISO needs to be well-versed in data privacy, including relevant laws. Finally, good CISOs have financial training because they are also in charge of securing project funding. They must be able to perform an accurate cost-benefit analysis of their programs.

Cyber security director

Average annual salary: $122,000

The cyber security director is in charge of day-to-day security operations. They typically report to the CISO or CIO.

Information security analyst

Median annual salary: $103,000

These professionals monitor a company’s security, overseeing encryption and firewall functions. Information security analysts must be up-to-date on the latest security trends. They also need expertise in penetration testing, the process of finding a weakness in the company’s system before someone else does. Though it is possible to become an information security analyst with just a bachelor’s degree and work experience, a graduate degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an information systems concentration, or an MS in cyber security, is typically preferred. Having one can even lead to a raise or the opportunity to manage your own security team.

Questions or feedback? Email

About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

To learn more about our editorial standards, you can click here.


You May Also Like To Read

Categorized as: CybersecurityInformation Technology & Engineering