Cyber Security Careers: 10 Highest Paying Jobs and Salaries

Cyber security engineer job.
Cyber security engineers possess the right skills and competence to protect organizations’ systems against cyber attacks.

Cyber Security Careers: 10 Highest Paying Jobs and Salaries

This post provides exhaustive information on the cyber security careers, highlighting our ten highest paying jobs anyone can get into for a rewarding career.

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What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security entails providing security during the development stages of software systems, networks, and data centers.

Cyber security experts look for vulnerabilities and risks in hardware and software, and monitor any attacks and intrusions.

10 Highest Paying Cyber Security Jobs and Salaries

1. Application Security Engineer

Application security engineers analyze software designs and implementations from a security perspective; identify vulnerabilities within a network, and create firewalls to enhance existing security features.

Duties and Responsibilities

The major duties and responsibilities commonly performed by an application security engineer include:

  • Keeping all the software and hardware in relation to security
  • Documenting security certification
  • Finding current and emerging technology issues, including security trends, vulnerabilities and threats
  • Knowing complex technical issues and handling them within a fast-paced business environment
  • Networking with vendors to implement security solutions
  • Being threat intelligent
  • Sourcing and implementing new security solutions to better protect the organization
  • Conducting practical research to analyze security weaknesses and recommending proper strategies.

Skills and Experience for Career Success

Application security engineers require the following skills and experience to gain a job and succeed in their careers:

  • Strong time management and organizational skills
  • Commercial intelligence
  • An eagerness to stay up to date with the very latest updates about security threats and solutions
  • Expertise across a diversity of security products including information security, firewalls, URL filtering, and virus protection
  • Exceptional communication skills
  • Prior exposure to Windows Operating Systems and/or Linux, Networks and/or coding languages
  • Work experience as an application security engineer
  • Software development experience in Java, JavaScript, .NET, and Ruby on Rails
  • Detailed technical knowledge of applied cryptography, security vulnerabilities, remediation, techniques, standards and state-of-the art capabilities for authentication and authorization
  • Adequate knowledge of web related technologies such as Web Services, Web applications and Service Oriented Architectures, as well as network/web related protocols.

Qualifications and Certifications

To be qualified for an application security engineer role and build a career, you need to possess BS degree in Computer Science or in a related field.

Certifications, such as CISM, CISSP, and GISP, may be required by individual organizations.

Application Security Engineer Salary

Application security engineers made a median annual salary of $90,120 in 2015 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the current annual salary of a typical application security engineer hovers around $128,128.

According to ZipRecruiter, the salary of an application security engineer is $112,387 per year in the United States.

The annual salary for this career ranges from $77,000 to $102,000 according to Dice while Glassdoor stated $1,117,558.

Future Job Outlook

There is a high demand for application security engineers due to increase in cyber-attacks, making organizations to become progressively reliant on the expertise of application security engineers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be an 18% growth in application security engineering job employment.

2. Director of Information Security

The director of information security is responsible for implementing, designing, managing, and allocating all the technology security measures within a company.

Duties and Responsibilities

The major duties typically performed by directors of information security are given below:

  • Manage security programs and supervise security departments
  • Allocate resources correctly and efficiently
  • Keep an eye on security vulnerabilities and threats
  • Develop strategies to handle security incidents
  • Prepare financial forecasts and budgets for security operations
  • Prepare technical reports for executive management
  • Participate in investigating security issues and make useful recommendations on action to take
  • Implement and maintain security policies and procedures
  • Ensure policies, procedures and protocols are being executed
  • Offer leadership, training and guidance to staff members
  • Design education programs on user awareness and security compliance
  • Connect organizational requirements with security goals
  • Hire, review, and fire employees.

Skills and Experience for Career Success

The director of information security requires the following skills and experience to succeed in their careers:

  • Proven track record
  • High level of personal integrity
  • Ability to professionally handle confidential matters, and display an appropriate level of judgment and adulthood
  • Strong knowledge of common information security management frameworks
  • Ability to advise infrastructure and applications staff in securing their respective environments
  • Exhibit strong written and verbal communication skills, interpersonal, and collaborative skills
  • Strong ability to convey security information in a simple and clear way to non-technical end-users, that inspires adoption and adherence to all IT and Board security policies and programs
  • Anywhere from 5 to 7 years of experience in the field
  • Hands on work experience in information security
  • Experience in designing and managing new and existing security systems
  • Experience with contract and vendor negotiations
  • High degree of experience managing multiple, simultaneous and high-profile information security initiatives and responses
  • Experience in developing information security programs, policies, and procedures, including successful implementations in medium to large enterprise environments.

Qualifications and Certifications

To become a director of information security, you need a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Cyber Security, or in a related field. Higher companies will require a relevant Master’s degree with a concentration in IT security.

Certifications for this career are pretty much compulsory. CISSP and CISM are the most frequently mentioned accreditations.

Director of Information Security Salary

The salary of a director of information security is commonly estimated at $127,855 per year.

Future Job Outlook

Employment for directors of information security is anticipated to grow 28% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all professions.

As directors of information security are needed daily to create innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing important information or causing problems for computer networks, demand for their services is projected to be very high.

3. Senior Security Consultant

A senior security consultant job involves exploring problems, risks, and solutions for security issues.

The job can be done either as an IT consultant who works with computers or as a physical security consultant.

Duties and Responsibilities

Senior security consultants typically perform the following duties:

  • Take part in the creation, review and update of information security policies
  • Take a lead in the design, implementation, operation and maintenance security management systems
  • Conduct information security management reviews and information security management system (ISMS) assessments
  • Ensure the alignment of technical implementation and business processes
  • Provide complicated technical advice, recommendations, and consultancy on networks, infrastructure, products, and services supplied
  • Provide or assist with implementation documentation.

Skills and Experience for Career Success

Senior Security Consultants require the following skills and experience to succeed in their careers:

  • Communication skills
  • Endpoint security skills
  • Computer coding
  • Technical expertise
  • Security architecture
  • 5-7 years of experience required.

Qualifications and Certifications

A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Engineering is required to become a senior security consultant.

IAPSC (International Association of Professional Security Consultants) is where you need to get certified as a senior security consultant, as companies may require proof of the certification before hiring you.

Senior Security Consultant Salary

According to PayScale, the average salary for senior security consultants is $106,691, with addition of $30,000 bonus and $5,120 commission.

Future Job Outlook

The senior security consultant job is growing at a high speed, and employment in this profession is projected to grow by 28% through 2026, being much swifter than average.

4. Cloud Engineer

A cloud engineer is an IT professional responsible for assessing an infrastructure of a business and migrating diverse functions to a cloud-based system.

The role of a cloud engineer can be broken into cloud security engineer, cloud systems engineer, cloud software engineer, cloud network engineer, and cloud architect.

Duties and Responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities commonly performed by cloud engineer are shown below:

  • Planning, designing, and developing an application on Cloud.
  • Maintenance, management and support
  • Planning and positioning cloud resources to several cloud networks, including Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud
  • Developing and deploying software networks using OpenStack. Familiarity with RedHat tools such as Open Baton is a plus!
  • Developing and deploy software networks using Kubernetes
  • Understanding the inner workings of OpenStack and Kubernetes so they can be expanded specifically for network’s usage.
  • Understanding deployment of network resources using Ansible
  • Administering, maintaining, and troubleshooting source and change control repositories
  • Performing, confirming, and troubleshooting full software system builds
  • Defining, implementing, and documenting software deployment strategies and installation procedures
  • Using most appropriate languages and technologies to improve build scripts and tools for builds.

Skills, Experience, and Qualifications for Career Success

Cloud engineers require the following skills, experience, and qualifications to gain a job and have a successful career:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Great technical skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Great leadership skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Highly detail oriented
  • Experience with software development/languages, including Python and BASH
  • 7 + years experience in software development, configuration management, and/or cloud networking deployment
  • Experience with Linux, Mac, and Windows required
  • Development experience with OpenStack, Kubernetes, and Open Baton
  • A cloud engineer needs to have a Bachelor’s of Science degree in any of Computer science, Engineering, or a related field.

Cloud Engineer Salary

According to PayScale, the annual salary for a cloud engineer stands at $91,409. Their hourly average rate is $28.49. There is also an additional $7,000 bonus payment and $5,500 profit-sharing.

Glassdoor reports $117,211 as the annual salary for cloud engineers, while Ziprecruiter reports $127,978. Also, the data shown by Indeed gives the salary or cloud engineer to be $118,828.

Future Job Outlook

Demand for cloud engineers keeps growing and will accelerate in 2019. A report by Burning Glass stated that from 2015 to 2016, there will be a growth of 27% for cloud engineers, which stands higher than average, and is projected to grow.

5. Malware Analyst

A malware analyst is a professional that studies malicious software to help an organization understand threats like Trojans, worms, viruses, bots, etc.

Duties and Responsibilities

Malware analysts majorly perform the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Recommend and carry out procedures designed to help systems recover from any damage inflicted
  • Prevent the spread of malware
  • Conduct both dynamic and static analyses of suspicious code in order to establish signatures that indicate its presence
  • Determine how code spreads through systems and develop tools and procedures to detect the code in advance of any infection.

Skills and Qualifications for Career Success

  • Oral communication between staff and managers
  • Ability to identify threats and quickly mitigate them
  • Ability to alert users to threats
  • Ability to offer help to other security team members
  • Bachelor’s degree either in Computer Science or Information Systems, or in a similar field.

Malware Analyst Salary

According to PayScale, the median salary for malware analysts is $92,880 plus $5,400 bonus.

Future Job Outlook

The fact that new viruses and malware come out every day has made the job opportunity for malware analysts to keep increasing.

These days, hackers are trying daily to gain access to corporate data and accounts, which has made the demand for malware analyst to rise with speed.

6. Pen Tester

A pen tester investigates and exploits security vulnerabilities in web-based applications, networks, and systems of an organization, and helps the organization improve its security.

The pen tester utilizes a series of penetration tools – both predetermined and self-designed penetration tools – to fight cyber-attacks.

Duties and Responsibilities

Pen testers commonly perform the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Plan and make new penetration tools and tests
  • Investigate vulnerabilities in web applications, fat/thin client applications and standard applications
  • Do formal penetration tests on computer systems, web-based applications, and networks
  • Implement physical security assessments of network devices, systems, and servers
  • Employ social engineering to uncover security holes (e.g. poor user security practices or password policies)
  • Incorporate business considerations into security strategies
  • Evaluate and define requirements for information security solutions
  • Working to improve security services
  • Identify approaches that attackers could use to exploit weaknesses and logic flaws
  • Deliver feedback and verification as an organization fixes security issues.

Skills and Experience for Career Success

To be able to secure a job and build a successful career, a pen tester should have the following skills, knowledge, and experience:

  • Knowledge of Windows, UNIX and Linux operating systems
  • Knowledge of C, C++, C#, Java, ASM, PHP, PERL
  • Skills with network servers and networking tools (e.g. Nessus, nmap, Burp, etc.)
  • Competent with computer hardware and software systems
  • Skills with web-based applications
  • Knowledge of Security frameworks (e.g. ISO 27001/27002, NIST, HIPPA, SOX, etc.)
  • Knowledge of security tools and products (Fortify, AppScan, etc.)
  • Vulnerability analysis and reverse engineering
  • Metasploit framework
  • Forensics tools
  • Cryptography principles
  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving and analytical thinking
  • Ethical high standards
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • 1-4 years of security-related experience with practice in penetration testing and vulnerability assessments

Qualification and Certifications

To become a pen tester, a BS or higher degree in Cyber Security is required.
Some large firms require one or more of these certifications:

  • CEPT – Certified Expert Penetration Tester
  • GPEN – GIAC Certified Penetration Tester
  • OSCP – Offensive Security Certified Professional
  • CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  • GCIH – GIAC Certified Incident Handler
  • CEH- Certified Ethical Hacker
  • CPT – Certified Penetration Tester
  • GCFE – GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner
  • GCFA – GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst
  • CCFE – Certified Computer Forensics Examiner
  • CREA – Certified Reverse Engineering Analyst

Pen Tester Salary

The median salary for a penetration tester is $81,928, according to Payscale 2019 report. With base annual salary, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings included, a pen tester should expect to take home an overall total pay of $49,252 – $134,946.

Future Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a 28 percent growth rate, from 2016 to 2026. The forecast is four times the national average job growth rate for all occupations.

7. Computer Forensics Expert

A computer forensics expert is a digital officer that gathers information from digital devices as part of legal investigations.

They are not usually involved with stopping illegal acts or countering cyber attacks at the time of occurrence, but they deal with incidents after they have occurred.

Duties and Responsibilities

Typical duties and responsibilities performed by computer forensics experts are shown below:

  • Conduct data breach and security incident investigations
  • Remain capable in forensic, response, and reverse engineering skills
  • Identify additional systems/networks compromised by cyber attacks
  • Compile evidence for legal cases
  • Give professional counsel to attorneys about electronic evidence in a case
  • Provide professional testimony at court proceedings
  • Educate law enforcement officers on computer evidence practices
  • Keep abreast of rising technologies, software, and methodologies.

Skills, Experience, and Qualifications for Career Success

  • Network skills
  • Windows, UNIX and Linux operating systems
  • Computer hardware and software systems
  • Operating system installation, patching, and configuration
  • Backup and archiving technologies
  • Cryptography principles
  • eDiscovery tools (NUIX, Relativity, Clearwell, etc.)
  • Forensic software applications (e.g. EnCase, FTK, Helix, Cellebrite, XRY, etc.)
  • Data processing skills in electronic disclosure environments
  • Evidence handling procedures and ACPO guidelines
  • Cloud computing
  • 1- 2 years of forensics experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or in a related discipline.

Certifications

Certifications for computer forensics experts include:

  • GCFE: GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner
  • GCFA: GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst
  • GCIH: GIAC Certified Incident Handler
  • CCFE: Certified Computer Forensics Examiner
  • CCE: Certified Computer Examiner
  • CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
  • EnCE: EnCase Certified Examiner
  • CPT: Certified Penetration Tester
  • CREA: Certified Reverse Engineering Analyst

Computer Forensics Expert Salary

According to Pay Scale 2019 figures, the median annual salary for computer forensics experts is $71,701 per year.

In combination of your base annual salary, bonuses, commissions, profit sharing, tips, overtime, etc., you can expect to go home with a total of $42,767 to $117,799.

Future Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,) the employment outlook for computer forensics expert is favorable due to the fast growth of crimes involving computers (cybercrime).

According to the BLS, the computer forensics expert job is expected to grow by 28 percent between 2016 and 2026.

8. Incident Responder

An incident responder’s job entails using a suite of forensic tools to investigate issues as they develop, restrict any damage, and possibly provide a solution.

Duties and Responsibilities

The incident responder commonly performs the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Working with existing skilled IT Security staff, responding to cyber security threats in as near real-time as possible
  • Ensuring all IT security related systems, such as the LAN (Local Area Network), Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), plus the WAN (Wide Area Network), and VPN (Virtual Private Network). Providing a rapid and effective initial response against emergence of threats with a specialist suite of IT Security monitoring tools and techniques
  • Reporting to senior IT management during incidents caused by network intrusions and/or hacking attempts
  • Developing a set of procedures to be used during different types of IT Security incidents
  • Getting involved in gap assessments, upgrade paths, bug fixes and necessary workarounds for new IT Security issues.

Qualifications, Skills, and Experience

  • A Bachelor’s degree in any of the following courses required: Computer Science, IT, or Cyber-Security related field
  • Good communication skills to enable reporting regularly to management and other stakeholders
  • Updated knowledge of IT Security hardware, software and solutions
  • C, C++, C#, ASM, PERL, Java, PHP or other scripting/programming skills may be required
  • Knowledge of Forensic and eDiscovery tools such as Relativity, Clearwell, NUIX, EnCase, Helix, and FTK, etc.
  • A problem-solving mind-set
  • Team player skills
  • The ability to react quickly and efficiently under pressure
  • Experience using computer operating systems.

Incident Responder Salary

The average annual salary for an incident responder is $81,000, which can vary depending on the actual job duties and the location.

California reports the highest annual salary and is $83,000. Illinois has lower annual salary, which is only $65,000.

Future Job Outlook

Prospects for security jobs are high as cyber attacks continue to increase. The incident responder field has great future job opportunities.

The demand is high and will continue to grow as organizations, both private and government, struggle to save critical information from cyber attacks.

9. Security Engineer

Security engineers are responsible for designing computer systems that can deal with disruptions, such as natural disasters or malicious cyber-attacks.

They test and screen security software, systems and networks for security breaches or intrusions.

Duties and Responsibilities

Security engineers perform the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Forming new ways to find solution to existing production security issues
  • Creating various security practices and standards
  • Recommending security enhancements to management
  • Assisting in processing or installing new security products, procedures, and processes
  • Conducting scans of networks to find vulnerabilities
  • Conducting penetration testing
  • Monitoring networks and systems for security breaches or intrusions
  • Installing software that helps with notification of intrusions
  • Developing automation scripts to manage and track occurrences
  • Using industry standard analysis criteria to test security solutions
  • Watching out for irregular system behavior
  • Managing changes in software, hardware, and user needs
  • Helping plan an organization’s information security strategy
  • Educating staff members on information security through training and awareness
  • Recommending changes in legal, technical, and regulatory areas
  • Leading incident response activities
  • Leading investigations into how breaches happen
  • Reporting findings to management.

Skills, Qualifications, and Certifications for Career Success

Shown below are major skills, qualifications, and certifications security engineers require to gain a job and succeed in their careers:

  • Exceptional communication skills
  • Strong time management and organizational skills
  • Expertise across various security products comprising firewalls, URL filtering, information security and virus protection
  • Prior exposure to Linux and/or Windows Operating Systems, coding languages, and/or Networks
  • The commercial insight to provide profitable security solutions
  • A zeal for staying up to date with the very latest updates about security threats and solutions
  • IT-related degree and a technical background
  • For a security engineer, there may be additional requirements from individual organizations, including security certifications such as CISM, GISP, and CISSP.

Security Engineers Salary

Glassdoor stated the average annual salary for security engineers to be $128, 847. According to PayScale, the average security engineer salary stands at $88,527 per year.

Future Job Outlook

Security engineers play a vital role in maintaining a vigilant approach to protect the systems and data of organizations that face cyber-security threat. They deploy wider network security systems and ensure the security of software.

As a result of the increase in cybercrimes, demand for security engineers is projected to be very high.

Employment of security engineers is expected to grow 28% from 2016 to 2026, so they can help companies create innovative solutions to prevent hackers from causing problems for computer networks or stealing important information.

10. Security Auditor

A security auditor is a specialist who works with a company to provide an audit of security systems used by that company, and afterward provides the company with a detailed report of information systems.

Duties and Responsibilities

The security auditor performs the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Assess the efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance of operation processes with corporate security policies and related government regulations
  • Interview personnel to set up security risks and complications
  • Carry out and properly document the audit procedure on a variety of computing environments and computer applications
  • Evaluate the exposures resulting from ineffective or missing control practices
  • Accurately interpret audit results against defined criteria
  • Weigh the relevancy, accuracy, and perspective of conclusions against audit evidence
  • Present a written and verbal report of audit findings
  • Collaborate with departments to improve security compliance, manage risk, and bolster effectiveness
  • Travel extensively.

Qualifications, Certifications, and Skills for Job Hunting and Career Success

  • A Bachelor’s and/or a Master’s degree in Computer Science, Cyber Security, or Information Systems, or in a related field
  • CISA: Certified Information Systems Auditor
  • MSSQL and ORACLE databases
  • Firewall and intrusion detection/prevention protocols
  • ISO 27001/27002, ITIL and COBIT frameworks
  • Windows, UNIX and Linux operating systems
  • Virtualization techniques
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • 3-6 years of experience in general IT/security.

Security Auditor Salary

According to PayScale, the average security auditor salary is $84,039, with a bonus of $5,057. Glassdoor reported $68,931 as the average base salary for security auditors, while Ziprecruiter reported $92,878 as the average pay for this career.

Future Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job growth projection for Security Auditing is 28 percent through 2026.

Conclusion

By reading our 10 highest paying cyber security jobs and the duties they commonly perform, you are now able to decide which career you want to pursue in the cyber security industry.

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