Computer Science

How to Become a Cyber Security Manager

How to Become a Cyber Security Manager
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Eddie Huffman profile
Eddie Huffman March 29, 2023

If being a cyber security manager is your goal, you may be wondering where to start. Read on before taking the plunge into this exciting and growing field.

Computer Science and Cybersecurity Programs You Should Consider

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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:

  • What is a cyber security manager?
  • How do I become a cyber security manager?
  • How much do cyber security managers make?
  • Earning the right master’s degree online
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What is a cyber security manager?

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:

  • Maintaining security systems
  • Finding and fixing security flaws
  • Monitoring internal operations and infrastructure
  • Monitoring cyber security developments
  • Monitoring compliance with policies and regulations
  • Training employees
  • Adding new technology
  • Ensuring resources meet critical needs

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:

  • Technical security manager: This professional oversees security systems such as firewalls and encryption
  • Program security manager: This professional monitors risk management and mitigation by evaluating risks from vendors and promoting understanding of third-party risks within the organization

Where do cyber security managers work?

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:

  • Consulting (Advocates for Human Potential)
  • Entertainment (Netflix)
  • Finance (Fifth Third Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union)
  • Government (Amtrak; City of Fremont, CA; Fulton County, GA)
  • Healthcare (Sentara Healthcare, Virginia Beach, VA; CommonSpirit Health, Englewood, CO; Phoenix Children’s Hospital)
  • Manufacturing (Ocean Spray, Rockwell Automation, Porsche Cars North America)
  • Research (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)
  • Retail (Home Depot)
  • Service (Big Fish Games, Las Vegas; Troubadour Golf and Field Club, College Grove, TN)
  • Sports (National Football League)
  • Tech (TikTok, Adobe, IBM, Cyber adAPT)
  • Travel (United Airlines, Royal Caribbean Group)
  • Utilities (S&C Electric Company, Chicago; American Electric Power)
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“I’M INTERESTED IN CYBER SECURITY!”

In its 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, (ISC) estimates the size of the the global cyber security workforce at 4.7 million. It also indicates that the current workforce is 3.4 million workers short. That’s over 3 million positions waiting to be filled by qualified cyber security experts (nearly half a million of them in North America alone). (source)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, top-paying employers in cyber security analytics include those in:

- Information services: $149,500
- Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial instruments: $142,000
- Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences: $129,000
- Scientific research and development services: $128,500
- Software publishers: $126,000
- Publishing: $125,700

The average salaries of professionals with a Master's degree are between $91,000 and $109,000, respectively. About half of all professionals in this field hold a graduate degree. (source)

University and Program Name Learn More

How do I become a cyber security manager?

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:

  • Earn at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (e.g., computer science, cyber security)
  • Earn certifications such as Information Systems Security Management Professionals (CISSP-ISSMP) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Stay current on threats and responses by reading news, watching online videos, and/or joining professional associations
  • Find a job; entry-level options include IT technician, web administrator, and systems administrator

Education and training

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:

  • Planning, managing, and maintaining security for an organization’s networks, applications, and infrastructure
  • Developing, implementing, evaluating, and updating cyber security policies and practices to help organizations respond to threats
  • Evaluating theories, principles, and best practices related to global cyber security
  • Developing cyber incident response procedures
  • Honing skills in communication, critical thinking, and quantitative reasoning
  • Examining psychological and cultural aspects of cyber security

Examples of classes in master’s-level cyber security management include:

  • AI/Machine Learning for Cyber Intelligence and Defense
  • Computer Forensics and Investigations
  • Electronic Business and Big Data Infrastructures
  • Ethical Hacking and Network Defense
  • Foundations of Cyber Security
  • Platforms, Applications, and Data Security
  • Secure Enterprise Networking and Mobile Technologies
  • System Security and Cryptography

Licensure and certifications

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:

  • Artificial Intelligence for Cyber Security
  • Cloud Security and Governance
  • Cyber Governance and Risk Management
  • Cyber Security in Healthcare
  • Ethical Hacking

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:

  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
  • Certified Expert Penetration Tester (CEPT)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Certified Information System Auditor (CISA)
  • Certified Security Analyst (CSA)
  • HealthCare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPP)

Finding a job

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.

How much do cyber security managers make?

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:

  • Information: $165,940
  • Finance and insurance: $162,240
  • Computer systems design and related services: $162,150
  • Management of companies and enterprises: $161,630
  • Manufacturing: $160,010
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Earning the right master’s degree online

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.

(Last Updated on February 26, 2024)

Questions or feedback? Email editor@noodle.com

About the Author

Eddie Huffman is the author of John Prine: In Spite of Himself and a forthcoming biography of Doc Watson. He has written for Rolling Stone, the New York Times, Utne Reader, All Music Guide, Goldmine, the Virgin Islands Source, and many other publications.

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.


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Computer Science and Cybersecurity Programs You Should Consider

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