October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a national commemoration in place since 2004 that’s intended to expand knowledge and understanding about cybersecurity threats and how people can protect themselves.
Every day, cyber threats evolve and get more sophisticated. An analysis of 1,200 companies in 13 industries across 16 countries found the average number of cyberattacks and data breaches increased 15.1% year-over-year in 2021. Individuals are also at risk, with Deloitte research finding an increase in health- and financial services-related fraud risk post-COVID-19.
Cybersecurity professionals help protect businesses and those they serve, like bank customers and healthcare patients, from cybersecurity fraud. As threats increase in prevalence, so does the need for information security analysts who plan and execute effective security measures. As of October 2022, there were more than 668 available jobs related to information security analyst work in Arizona.
Why Become a Cybersecurity Professional?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for information security experts is projected to grow 35% between 2021 and 2031. That’s much faster than average, with around 56,500 new positions expected to be added to the 163,000 number of jobs there were in 2021.
The profession can be financially rewarding, as the BLS reports the 2021 median pay for information security analysts was $102,600 per year. That’s higher than the annual mean wage for all occupations, at $58,260.
In Arizona, the average salary for information security analysts was $80,910 per year in 2022, with expert-level information security analysts making an average of $96,490 per year.
If you enjoy working with computers, you like to solve problems and you want to play an integral role in taking down threats and helping businesses and the general population, a career as a cybersecurity professional could be for you. Here’s how to get a job in this exciting and in-demand field.
1. Get Educated
According to the BLS, information security analysts typically have a bachelor’s degree in a computer science field or in one that teaches skills related to the industry, like math or engineering. Some workers are able to enter the field with a high school diploma, but they typically have relevant industry certifications or training, like the CompTIA Security+ certification or the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.
If you’re interested in the cybersecurity field, it’s helpful to research cybersecurity job descriptions to see what education and cybersecurity skillset requirements there are. That can help you identify the relevant training, certificate and/or degree to pursue.
You can also check out online cybersecurity resources like forums, blogs and podcasts to learn more about parts of the field you’re interested in and connect with other cybersecurity professionals. It’s helpful to stay up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity trends so you know which areas are trending, since that may drive the education you pursue in the industry.
2. Seek Out Work-Based Experiences
When you’re new to the field or you’re in the midst of studying for a certificate or degree, a work-based experience can provide you with helpful practice in the field. Work-based experiences can be internships, where you work for an employer in a supportive and supervised environment and get to learn on the job. There may also be part-time junior roles you can work in while you train.
A work-based experience like an internship matters because the BLS reports related work experience is typically required to obtain an information security analyst role. A network and computer systems administrator role is an example of an entry-level position some cybersecurity professionals work in before they move into an information security analyst position. According to the BLS, you can typically get this type of position with just a postsecondary certificate or associate’s degree.
3. Network in the Industry
As you look for jobs, it’s helpful to build your professional network by connecting with other cybersecurity professionals. You can do this by:
- Attending industry networking events and professional conferences where you can meet other cybersecurity professionals
- Joining professional technology organizations, like the Arizona Technology Council
- Participating in professional cybersecurity groups and discussions online, like through LinkedIn
Speaking of LinkedIn, once you’ve optimized your profile on the professional social networking site, you can add people in your real-life network to your digital network on LinkedIn. You can also turn your LinkedIn profile to the “Open to Work” setting, which alerts recruiters and hirers that you’re interested in relevant job opportunities.
4. Apply for Jobs
Once you’ve developed your skillset in the cybersecurity field, you can apply for jobs you’re qualified for. Pipeline AZ has hundreds of job openings in cybersecurity and information technology throughout Arizona.
Before you apply, make sure to revise your resume so it’s updated and optimized for your job search. You can use your resume to guide your LinkedIn profile content, since recruiters and hirers on the site may be searching for the same keywords your resume features.
As you prepare for interviews, refresh yourself on the job description and how your qualifications match up with the requirements. It may be helpful to practice answering interview questions with someone, so you’re prepared once you attend the interview.
A Job in Cybersecurity Can Be Rewarding
The cybersecurity field is only expected to grow in the next decade and beyond. The field can be stimulating, because there are always new problems to tackle and new skills to develop.
If you’re interested in a career in cybersecurity, check out the Pipeline AZ cybersecurity hub. We have job postings, information on education and training, cybersecurity scholarships and more.