Is cybersecurity a good career choice? A guide to whether your skills and interests make cybersecurity right for you
Cybersecurity is one of the most important jobs that exist today.
Because everything is run on software. Software that has to keep everyone’s data safe.
And it’s the job of cybersecurity professionals to keep the software that stores our data secure.
From our medical records stored on digital hospital systems to our bank details, our passwords, to our private photos, cybersecurity is what keeps these things safe. Because, unfortunately, there are people always trying to hack into and steal it—so they can sell it or use it to get what they want.
We need cybersecurity experts. But is cybersecurity something you’re interested in?
In this article, we’ll explore whether cybersecurity could be a good career for you.
Table of contents
Why is cybersecurity a good career choice?
High school students listen to a cybersecurity professional during a Work ED externship. Copyright Work ED.
We know why we need cybersecurity—but is it a good career?
When we choose a career for ourselves there are always things you should think about:
Does it pay well? Is this job going to provide enough of an income for you to pay your bills, save money, and not have to worry about your financial future?
Are there enough opportunities? Some jobs are in high demand and have hundreds of qualified people applying for each post that comes up, such as university professors. Others have what’s known as skills gaps, where there aren’t enough skilled people to fill jobs. Choosing a career in an industry with skills gaps can make it easier to find a job and get promoted through your career.
Does it have a purpose? Finding work that gives you purpose can be more fulfilling than something that’s “just a job”.
Does it match your skills and interests? You’ll find a job more rewarding if you get to do things that interest you every day. The funny thing about skills is they aren’t always obvious though—things like problem solving or working in a team are very valuable skills.
Remembering these things, let’s take a look at why cybersecurity can be a rewarding career.
There’s a skills gap
Companies need more and more cybersecurity professionals—in fact, there aren’t enough qualified people to fill the number of jobs available! This is great news for you: there’s a good chance you can get a job compared to other fields.Read how educators can help fix the skills gap
There’s high-earning potential
Cybersecurity professionals do an important job—and they get well paid to do it. As of May 2023, the average salary for an entry-level cybersecurity analyst in the US is $75,804. That’s the beginner salary! Senior cybersecurity engineers earn between $132,881 and $163,304 on average.
It’s always evolving
Cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to launch attacks—so cybersecurity experts have to keep learning new tools to combat these threats. Some jobs stay the same for decades—not cybersecurity!
Many pathways to choose from
There are many different routes for cybersecurity professionals to take, which means you can guide your career to match the parts that interest you the most.
You don’t have to go to college (but college can help)
Many top cybersecurity professionals do not have a degree in computer science. While a degree could help you develop a deep understanding of computers, there are also many courses and certifications you can take in your own time without getting into student debt.
Many industries to work in
No matter what you’re interested in, everything is digital these days. Whether you’re into sports, finance, medicine or fashion, every industry needs cybersecurity professionals to keep their data safe from cyber criminals.
That all sounds pretty great, right? But does that mean that cybersecurity is right for YOU? Let’s see if we can figure that out.
How do I know cybersecurity is the right career for me?
Work ED students trying out cybersecurity during a paid externship. How do you know a career could be right for you before you try it? Copyright Work ED.
The thing about careers is you can’t always know if it’s the right one until you’ve tried it.
BUT there are ways to know if some careers match your interests and skills more than others.
So, if you like the following things, cybersecurity might be a good career choice for you:
You’re into computers, digital systems, and software
Cybersecurity is all about securing digital systems, from the laptops people work on the data centers that power online business. If you have an interest in computers and modern software, including coding languages, you could have a long and happy career in cybersecurity!
You like getting into the details
Being a great cybersecurity professionals means wanting to know how things work on a deep level—that doesn’t mean being a computer science genius, it means paying attention to the small stuff. Because that small stuff could be the difference between cyber attack or cyber defence.
You love to learn
As we said above, cybersecurity is always evolving. That means, as a cybersecurity professional, it’s your job to stay up-to-date. Cybersecurity professionals are very active in online communities because they love to learn and share the latest developments. Can you relate?
You’re a problem solver
Have puzzles always been your thing? Do you like thinking outside the box? While there are cybersecurity playbooks, cyber criminals are always trying to outdo the way it’s done. You also have to help companies add new security software to old systems. Both these problems require you to think creatively to find unique solutions.
You believe in protecting people
If you have a strong set of ethics, that is, you believe in doing the right thing and protecting people, cybersecurity is a good career choice. Your whole job is to protect people’s sensitive data—data that in the wrong hands could do a lot of harm.
If that all sounds like things that appeal to who you are, the next step is to think about what different pathways you can take as a cybersecurity professional.
What types of cybersecurity careers are available?
There are a lot of pathways to take in cybersecurity, depending on your interests and personality. Copyright Work ED.
Cybersecurity is not just one job. There are many different paths to take. Here are just a few:
Penetration Tester: Penetration testers, also known as ethical hackers, are responsible for finding weakspots in an organization's computer systems and networks. They have to think like an attacker so that their company can stay one step ahead of cyberattacks, using many different tools and techniques to simulate attack scenarios.
→ This is a good fit if you like problem solving, are a creative thinker, love thinking outside the box. As you will be learning the skills hackers use to commit crimes, you will need a strong sense of right and wrong to stay on the side of the good guys.
Security Architect: A security architect’s job is to understand how their organization’s technology fits together and operates. They combine this knowledge with their cybersecurity expertise to create, build, and maintain digital security solutions to keep the organization and its employees secure.
→ This is a good fit if you are a “systems thinker”: Are you good at mapping out the “bigger picture” and spotting patterns that others don’t see? You will also need great communication skills to work with business executives who might not understand cybersecurity as you convince them to spend money to keep the business secure.
Cybercrime Investigator: Cybercrime investigators work with law enforcement agencies to investigate cybercrimes such as hacking, identity theft, and data breaches.
→ This is a good fit if you have a strong sense of justice. Cybercriminals will take great lengths to stay hidden and not leave any clues: Do you have the dedication to track them down, break up cyber gangs, and bring justice to those affected by cyber crime?
Cryptographer: Cryptographers create the tools that keep information safe from hackers. While many other job roles are about using tools to keep an organization safe, Cryptographers are responsible for making the tools that others use.
→ This is a good fit if you have a deep interest in computer science. You will need to create algorithms that can’t be broken, which requires a mathematical mind and an understanding of the latest in computer science research.
But these are just a few of the available options. If you like solving complex problems, and have an interest in technology, there’s certainly a cybersecurity career for you.
If you want to dive deeper into a career in cybersecurity, CyberSeek has created an amazing interactive website that lets you see what cyber career pathways are available, what certifications you need along the way, and what cybersecurity job demand is like in your region. Check it out.
If you decide cybersecurity is the career for you we wish you all the best and say THANK YOU, because cybersecurity professionals have one of the most important jobs of the future: Protecting our nation’s digital infrastructure and keeping us all safe.
You’ve got this.
Check out all our programs
How Work ED can help you launch a career in cybersecurity
Work ED cyber pros are ready to help you get into cyber. Copyright Work ED.
At Work ED, we help students break into the cybersecurity field by creating workplace experiences in the safety of the classroom.
Our Cybersecurity Programs provide:
Programs designed by cybersecurity experts for every age group, so that students can start learning about cybersecurity at a young age in an accessible curriculum.
Access to software that replicates real-life cybersecurity scenarios
Guidance from cybersecurity professionals—our paid externships and apprenticeships are run by our Head of Cyber Educations and guest spots from a variety of successful industry experts.
Networking and resources that go beyond the end of the program, helping students stay on track and find a route into their first cybersecurity job.
Want to learn more? Email hello@worked or fill out the form below and we'll get in touch.