Phishing. Ransomware. Denial-of-service attacks. Password thefts. A world swarming with online threats has also become a world filled with opportunities for cyber security experts.
Between 2013 and 2021, the number of unfilled cyber security jobs grew from 1 million to 3.5 million, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. In March 2023, Cyber Seek tracked more than 80,000 job openings in California alone. Virginia and Texas each had an additional 60,000 jobs available for information security professionals.
At least for the time being, jobs in cyber security are abundant. For anyone who can combine tech skills with leadership ability, cyber security management offers a career path with a bright future. So, how do you become a cyber security manager? We answer that question in this article by discussing:
Cyber security managers have become essential workers in an interconnected world. They erect and maintain barriers against cyber attacks and lead response and recovery efforts when attacks break through those barriers.
Common tasks include:
The level of responsibility depends on the size of an organization. At smaller organizations, a cyber security manager might handle all aspects of security, with plenty of hands-on duties. At larger organizations, the position tends toward more managerial tasks.
Larger organizations sometimes divide the role of cyber security manager into two separate jobs:
Jobs for cyber security managers exist across the country and in virtually every walk of life. A scan of recent cyber security manager jobs listed on Indeed shows openings in:
Most people work their way up to cyber security manager after earning one or more degrees and gaining experience in the field. Indeed lists four key steps:
Most cyber security manager jobs require, at minimum, a bachelor's degree in an IT-related discipline. Some schools—Tulane University in New Orleans is one—offer a bachelor's degree in information technology with a concentration in cyber security.
Many schools have master's degree programs in cyber security. Leading institutions include San Diego State University, Harvard University, and St. Leo University in Florida.
These programs offer deep dives into understanding and addressing cyber threats, protecting critical infrastructure, and developing security policies. They teach skills such as:
Examples of classes in master's-level cyber security management include:
Licenses and certifications may increase your chances of landing the cyber security manager job of your dreams. They offer a boost in knowledge and expertise at a fraction of the cost and expense of an advanced degree.
Many universities and tech firms offer licensure and certification programs in specialized subject areas. For example, San Diego State University has 14-week cyber security certificate programs in:
CompTIA promotes its Security+ program as "a global certification that validates the baseline skills necessary to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career." The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies offers a range of specialty certifications, including:
Gaining the education and experience needed to become a cyber security manager takes time, money, and effort. Fortunately, jobs are plentiful at the end of the process. As William Candrick, an IT research director, told TechRepublic: , "The global demand for cybersecurity skills far exceeds the current supply of traditionally qualified individuals."
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) backs up that assertion. It projects a 16 percent growth in the computer and information systems management job market between 2021 and 2031. That will create 82,400 new positions over that period. Promotions, retirement, and other job market activity should result in about 48,500 job openings in the field each year.
Schools offer plenty of support for career planning and networking, a good place to start any job hunt. You'll also find thousands of cyber security manager positions listed on job sites such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and Indeed.
People who invest the time and money required to land a cyber security manager job can earn sizable rewards for their efforts. Salary.com reports an average annual wage of $145,000 for information security managers. The same site sets the standard hiring range between $131,500 and $161,000.
The BLS reports a median annual wage of $159,010 for computer and information systems managers. The lowest 10 percent make less than $95,220 and the highest 10 percent make more than $208,000. The BLS also gave median annual wages broken down by field:
A master's degree in cyber security provides extensive training and preparation toward a career as a cyber security manager. Universities offering online cyber security master's programs have proliferated in recent years, giving prospective students a wide range of choices.
A number of schools go beyond general cyber security MS degrees to offer more specialized advanced degrees in cyber security management, which may appeal to someone committed to pursuing a leadership role. Those schools include The University of Maryland, The University of Tulsa, and Purdue University.
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