Introduction

When it comes to starting a career in the cybersecurity field, you have many options to choose from, but only one will be the right fit. CyberSeek’s Career Pathway tool is here to help you find it.

Regardless of which position you ultimately choose, you can feel confident that cybersecurity is an excellent field to get into in terms of long-term career growth. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the cybersecurity field is projected to grow considerably between 2016 to 2026, with an impressive 28% increase in jobs in this category.

In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into the Cybersecurity Specialist/Technician position. This role is entry-level and a great foothold if you’re looking to break into the cybersecurity field. The well-rounded skill set you develop as a Cybersecurity Specialist/Technician will open up lots of opportunities for mid-level careers in areas including Cybersecurity Analyst, Cybersecurity Consultant and Penetration & Vulnerability Tester.

Brief Summary of the Tool

To learn about the ins and outs of being a Cybersecurity Specialist/Technician, we’ll use CyberSeek’s Career Pathway tool. This interactive website was built to put the latest career-related information about the cybersecurity field right at your fingertips.

Who Benefits From the Career Pathway Tool?

Students: If you’re in school and contemplating going into the cybersecurity field, this is a great place to start. CyberSeek’s Career Pathway tool will teach you everything you need to know about what to expect as a Cybersecurity Specialist/Technician. From salary expectations to education and training requirements, you’ll have all the information you need to confidently decide whether or not this is the right career for you.

Job Seekers and Cybersecurity Professionals: Working pros in the cybersecurity field can also benefit from learning more about their chosen career path. If you’re contemplating making a switch to a Cybersecurity Specialist/Technician role from an entry-level IT role, the CyberSeek Career Pathway tool will fill you in one what core skills you should pick up and what (if any) certifications you should acquire to make a smooth transition into your new field. If you’re currently working as a Cybersecurity Specialist/Technician, you can use the same tool to map out what your future will look like in terms of moving up to mid-level and advanced-level roles.

What Is a Cybersecurity Specialist/Technician?

Cybersecurity Specialists play an important role in securing an organization’s computer information systems. Their specialized skill set is invaluable in offering protection against various Web threats posed by cybercriminals including viruses, malware, phishing attacks and denial-of-service attacks.

Average Salary: You can expect to make around $75,000 a year, according to CyberSeek. Be aware that this number is based on a national average and your specific salary will vary based on factors like your level of experience and education, the company you work for and even the geographic region you work in.

Common Job Titles: Job titles for Cybersecurity Specialist/Technicians may vary from company to company, though this doesn’t mean the day-to-day aspects of the job itself are different. Here are a few of the most common titles: Information Security Specialist; IT Specialist Information Security; Cyber Security Specialist; Information Technology Specialist — Information Security and IT Security Specialist.

Education: The majority of job postings (58%) request that applicants have a bachelor’s degree, while roughly one-quarter (27%) ask for a graduate degree. While an advanced degree is not technically necessary (15% of job postings call for a sub-BA level of education), it’s safe to say that earning a bachelor’s degree or higher is highly recommended. The most common majors for cybersecurity specialists to study are computer science, information technology and engineering. Cybersecurity professionals who choose to pursue graduate school often study towards a Master of Science in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity.

Top Certifications: Certifications are a popular way to learn new skills and keep the skills you already know updated to match the fast-moving changes in the field. Take a look at job postings for Cybersecurity Specialist/Technicians and you’ll notice that many will require you have to certain certifications directly related to your day-to-day duties and tasks. According to CyberSeek, the most common certifications for Cybersecurity Specialists include CISSP, GIAC, Security+, CISM and CISA.

Top Skills: To succeed as a Cybersecurity Specialist, you’ll need a combination of technical skills that focus on information systems and network security as well as general business skills like project management and business acumen. According to CyberSeek, you should specifically focus on skills such as: information security, information systems, information assurance, network security, vulnerability assessment, intrusion detection, Linux, customer service and project management

Total Job Openings: According to CyberSeek, there were 7,792 openings for Cybersecurity Specialists/Technicians as of August 2018. Overall, the demand for cybersecurity specialists is projected to increase by 28% over the next decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Common NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework Categories

The job landscape in the cybersecurity field is complex and constantly evolving. Fortunately, our friends at the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) put together a framework that neatly organizes jobs into categories based on technical competencies and job duties.

The Cybersecurity Specialist’s role overlaps with two NICE categories:

  • Operate and Maintain: Customer service and technical support to data management and systems administration.
  • Protect and Defend: Analysis and infrastructure support for cyber-defense, incident response and vulnerability assessment and management

Clicking on either skill heading in the Career Pathways tool will show you a (very, very extensive) drop-down list of knowledge, skills and abilities that Cybersecurity Specialists master on the job.

Career Pathways

A job as a Cybersecurity Specialist/Technician will teach you a versatile set of core cybersecurity skills that you can then use to assist yourself on different career paths within the field. It’s this versatility and the multitude of career trajectories that make Specialist/Technicians roles such a great building block for cybersecurity professionals.

When you’re ready to move on to mid-level roles, you have a number of options:

  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Cybersecurity Consultant
  • Penetration & Vulnerability Tester

Next Steps?

Ready to join (or excel further in!) the exciting field of cybersecurity? That’s great, because the world needs you! As cybercriminals develop innovative and more effective instruments of attack, businesses and consumers around the world are at risk of having their sensitive information compromised. Cybersecurity specialists are on the front lines of protecting the public from cybercriminals, hackers and scammers.

So what are your next steps? First, you should hop onto the CyberSeek Career Pathway page and explore everything there is to learn about Cybersecurity Specialist/Technicians. Next, you should check out opportunities to learn core cybersecurity skills through certification programs.

Certifications are a respected way to demonstrate your knowledge and experience in the cybersecurity field. Whether you’re learning the skills for the first time or simply refreshing concepts you learned in the past, certifications are sure to catch the eyes of hiring managers by identifying you as a high-quality, competitive job candidate.

Here is a list of the certifications that CyberSeek recommends you earn to become a Cybersecurity Specialist/Technician and the corresponding Training Boot Camps offered by Infosec to prepare you to pass the test:

When you’re ready to take your next certification exam, we’ll be here to help! Infosec’s boot camp has a 93% exam pass rate driven by over 20 years of award-winning training in the information security field.

 

Sources

  1. Cybersecurity Career Pathway, CyberSeek
  2. Information Security Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Courses, Infosec