Choosing the right major and career path can be a daunting, yet inevitable dilemma that all college students need to face at one point or another. Technology is changing rapidly, leading to many jobs becoming obsolete quickly as society progresses. Having a career choice disappear and vanish can be incredibly distressing for college graduates that recently completed their education as they scramble for a new place in society. Not only does a student have to choose a job that pays well and appeals to his interests, he also needs to place his trust in a career path that will be secure for years to come.
Those who are at a loss will be interested to know that cybersecurity has been rising through the ranks. It is also a field in which there are plenty of job offers, yet very few applicants that are qualified enough to be hired. But what is cybersecurity, and what makes it a wise choice for upcoming college students? Read on to find out to see if this may be something that you are interested in!
What Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity consists of the technologies, processes, and methods specifically designed to protect networks, computers, programs, and other data from unwanted attacks, sabotage, or unauthorized access.
Why Has There Been an Increase in Demand?
Technology has become an increasingly dominant force within our lives. As society and businesses become more reliant upon the use of technology has led to the unavoidable rise in cybersecurity demand. Without the right cybersecurity in place, governments, industries, and individuals become perilously vulnerable to attacks, putting them at the mercy of their competitors and enemies.
As a result, groups are now aggressively protecting their technology. In fact, the Pentagon itself plans to add over 4,000 experts to its Cyber Command between the years of 2014 and 2016. The education system is also making drastic attempts to reach out to students and garner interest for cybersecurity – this is why more and more students are being encouraged with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM majors) education.
By pursuing a career in cybersecurity, you can relax knowing that your knowledge will not become invalid or obsolete within a few years. Your hard work will not be wasted, and you can trust that you will have a secure job waiting for you when you graduate.
What Kind of Salary Can You Expect from a Job in Cybersecurity?
Unsurprisingly, due to rising demands for cybersecurity experts, the salary offered to cybersecurity careers can be quite impressive. For your reference, here are cybersecurity careers with the highest median annual wages of 2013:
- Computer systems analyst ($81,190)
- Systems software developer ($101,410)
- Network / computer systems administrator ($74,000)
- Computer network architect ($95,380)
- Information security analyst ($88,590)
- Computer and information systems manager ($123,950)
- Computer systems engineer / architect ($82,340)
- Intelligence analyst ($76,730)
What Skills Are Currently Necessary by Cybersecurity Employers?
Keep in mind that technology is always evolving with new innovations regularly. If you are only just about to begin your college career, by the time you graduate, there may be newer skills that you must have a great grasp over. However, right now, these are the skills that you should be proficient in for a cybersecurity job:
- Network security
- Transmission control protocol / internet protocol (TCP / IP)
- System and network configuration
What Should I Focus On If I Want to Pursue Cybersecurity as a Career Path?
As you have probably surmised, you will need a college degree in order to be truly successful in cybersecurity. Currently out of every 5 cybersecurity jobs, 4 of them require degrees, and you can only expect the bar to be set higher as the years pass.
While you are still in college, you want to start taking the right steps to ensure your success. Once you have taken enough classes in cybersecurity, you want to try and secure a cybersecurity internship. As with most professions, internships are integral if you want to establish connections and gain experience. Internships can help you open windows and doors to an endless number of future possibilities as well.
Work hard on your education, and spend time polishing your resume as well as cover letter. Work together with your college’s career centers and advisors to apply to potential internships. As you continue to build your experience and knowledge, you will find that cybersecurity can be an extremely rewarding career path.