An area of information technology that is gaining a great deal of attention lately is cybersecurity. While cyber criminals develop new ways to find and exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems, organizations worldwide are reassessing their information security measures and increasingly relying on the expertise of cybersecurity managers.
According to national data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2011, employment opportunities should be excellent for those pursuing a career in cybersecurity management. The BLS projects information security manager jobs to increase by 20% or more through 2018. Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research regarding actual job growth rates, which vary according to location, education and experience.
What is Cybersecurity Management?
Cybersecurity management can be described as everything an organization does to protect its information systems and computer networks from cyber attacks, intrusions, malware and various types of data breaches. All businesses and government agencies are vulnerable to cyber attacks that are growing in sophistication, as well as in number. Keeping networks running smoothly and protecting sensitive data takes constant monitoring and proper cybersecurity management.
Why Cybersecurity Managers Matter
Cybersecurity managers are responsible for knowing where a network’s possible vulnerabilities lie. They stay on top of the methods cyber criminals use to infiltrate information systems and they use their expertise and knowledge to avert these efforts. By performing their daily job duties, cybersecurity managers protect organizations from losing data, such as customers’ credit card information and valuable trade secrets, as well as the time and money lost when information systems are brought to a halt.
Cybersecurity managers accomplish their responsibilities through planning and implementing security measures on all information systems and networks. Typical job duties include establishing network security policies and procedures, regulating access to information and training staff on proper use of information systems. Cybersecurity managers often monitor systems for security gaps, design effective solutions and provide reports to management and executive staff. Running risk assessments, testing data processing systems and designing firewalls are additional duties for these professionals. If an intrusion does take place, it is the cybersecurity manager’s job to take care of it as quickly and effectively as possible.
Where Can I Find Jobs in Cybersecurity Management?
Cybersecurity managers are valuable to a wide range of employers, in companies large and small. With the right qualifications, one may find employment opportunities in industries such as government contracting, information technology, the armed forces, financial services, education or healthcare.
Education Preparation for Cybersecurity Manager Jobs
Preparing for cybersecurity manager jobs involves gaining the expertise and obtaining the industry knowledge employers need most. The first step is to earn a college degree.
- Associate’s Degree: Some entry-level cybersecurity positions may require a two-year associate’s degree in computer science or information technology. Employers may prefer candidates with work experience, which can be obtained through internships or part-time employment. Advancing in this field usually requires a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Bachelor’s Degree: Many cybersecurity manager jobs will require a four-year degree. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, engineering or a related discipline, and gaining some work experience may prepare a professional to break into this field. Some employers may show preference to candidates with advanced degrees, industry certifications or related certificates from a respected college or university, such as the Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance & Cybersecurity offered by Florida Tech University Online.
- Master’s Degree: Mid- and upper-level cybersecurity managers often hold advanced degrees, such as the Master of Science in Information Assurance & Cybersecurity. An advanced degree typically takes an additional one to two years beyond the bachelor’s level.
Often, military and government agency employers require cybersecurity managers to hold security clearances and industry certifications. Prospective employers may offer tuition assistance to help you obtain a master’s degree.
Other Qualifications and Advancement
Along with the education and experience required to launch a cybersecurity management career, you’ll need excellent communication and leadership ability, as well. Employers will typically look for a well-rounded set of attributes, including:
- Strong interpersonal and persuasion ability.
- The ability to understand how a business functions and to balance security needs with organizational goals.
- Problem-solving and analytical ability.
- A collaborative work style.
- Commitment to continuous development and continuing education, to stay on top of IT and cybersecurity trends.
Cybersecurity Manager Potential Salary
According to a 2010 national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual salary for the category that includes cybersecurity managers was $75,660. Because salary potential may vary depending on location, education, experience and other factors, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual earning potential.
Can You See Yourself as a Cybersecurity Manager?
Cybersecurity management is a quickly growing field with tremendous opportunity. You’ll need the right combination of expertise, knowledge and drive to pursue a career as a cybersecurity manager, but once gained, the payoff can be very rewarding. If you have a knack for computers, analysis and problem solving, you could be a great fit for a cyber-crime fighting career as a cybersecurity manger.
* Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research regarding actual job growth rates, which vary according to location, education, experience and other factors.