The Highest-Paying Network Security Careers of 2021
Professionals who possess excellent cyber security skills go on to compete in the network security job market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), cyber security professionals such as information security analysts earn approximately $103,590 per year. This average salary is much higher than the national average.
Not only that, but cyber security jobs are growing much faster than most. If you are looking for a career path with high-paying jobs and many employment opportunities, look no further than a network security career. Below are 10 of the highest-paying network security jobs.
What Is Network Security?
Network security refers to the activities, measures, and techniques used to protect the integrity and overall usability of your network software and hardware. Network security professionals target various threats when doing so.
Simply put, network security stops unwanted users from infiltrating your network. It is mainly concerned with implementing security policies and procedures to stop unwanted programs or people from accessing your network. To learn network security, you can attend one of the best network security schools and programs.
Why You Should Pursue a Career in Network Security
Network security is constantly growing and changing. It’s a broad industry with numerous fields designed to provide solutions to businesses and other organizations. It is also more rewarding than other tech careers because it involves helping others and preventing crimes.
There are many different employment opportunities under network security. These include disaster recovery planning, troubleshooting, repairs, system testing, and system maintenance. You can choose the career that best suits your skills and preferences.
A cyber security career also means earning a high salary. According to ZipRecruiter and the BLS, the highest-paying network security careers include chief information security officer, cryptographer, network security consultant, and more. Take a look at the careers below to decide which is best for you.
Top 10 Network Security Careers at a Glance
Read below to learn more about the best network security careers. All information has been sourced from ZipRecruiter and the BLS. Job growth statistics refer to the percentage increase in the number of job opportunities between 2019 and 2029.
|Job Title||Education Requirement||Projected Job Growth||Median Pay|
|Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)||Master’s Degree||10 percent||$151,150|
|Cryptographer||Master’s Degree||31 percent*||$145,356|
|Network Security Consultant||Master’s Degree||22 percent**||$124,841|
|Ethical Hacker||Bachelor’s Degree||31 percent*||$119,289|
|Cyber Security Architect||Bachelor’s Degree||5 percent||$116,780|
|Penetration Tester||Bachelor’s Degree||31 percent*||$116,323|
|Computer Security Incident Responder||Bachelor’s Degree||31 percent*||$110,972|
|Security Software Developer||Bachelor’s Degree||22 percent**||$110,140|
|Information Security Analyst||Bachelor’s Degree||31 percent*||$103,590|
|Network Security Administrator||Bachelor’s Degree||4 percent||$84,810|
*Projected job growth is based on BLS data for Information Security Analysts.
** Projected job growth is based on BLS data for Software Developers.
The Best Network Security Careers in 2021
Network security professionals are highly sought after across many industries. As this demand grows and the field expands, new roles, responsibilities, and titles are likely to emerge. For now, the list below highlights the best network security job titles and their respective responsibilities.
These professionals are in charge of an organization’s data security. Chief information security officers (CISOs) are executives who develop strategies and methods to safeguard the network infrastructure of their organization.
If you want to become a CISO, you should have at least a Master’s Degree in Information Security or Computer Science with a focus on network security. Candidates must also have seven to ten years of work experience, including years in a management role. If you are dedicated to the field and enjoy leadership roles, this could be the career for you.
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Responsibilities
- Analyzes and implements programs or processes that mitigate cyber security threats
- Determines the cause of an attack in the event of a breach
- Oversees the activities of the cyber security department
- Plans and executes network security hardware and software
Cryptographers create and decipher codes. They use complex ciphers and algorithms to write or encrypt data. They facilitate safe and secure communication in government or other non-profit organizations.
Most professionals in this field have bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees. A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field is enough to secure entry-level employment opportunities. However, if you want to get a job as a cryptographer, it is best to have a master’s degree.
- Uses mathematical formulas to solve business problems
- Comes up with new methods for encrypting data
- Deciphers and interprets encrypted messages or codes
- Creates reports and presents findings to senior management
A network security consultant designs and maintains security systems for company networks. These professionals are in high demand due to the rise in cybercrimes. For most positions, you’ll need a master’s degree. You’ll also need a combination of technical skills and soft skills such as problem-solving.
Network Security Consultant Responsibilities
- Tests, tracks, and resolves cyber threats and attacks
- Uses security protocol skills to develop security programs
- Helps in the administration of firewalls, virtual private networks, routers, and other security tools
An ethical hacker is a tech professional who hacks into organizations and their networks to find vulnerabilities. The main aim is to prevent other types of hackers from exploiting such vulnerabilities.
Most top organizations prefer hiring individuals with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. However, extensive experience combined with excellent problem-solving skills are factors that could improve your marketability.
Ethical Hacker Responsibilities
- Exploits an organization’s vulnerabilities by hacking its networks
- Creates reports based on the findings
- Makes recommendations on how to improve network security
- Works with others in the same department to implement security enhancements
Cyber security architects are seniors in an organization. Their primary responsibility is to oversee the planning and development of an organization’s network security infrastructure. A bachelor’s degree will be good enough for most entry-level positions. However, you should consider adding extra certifications to qualify for senior positions.
Cyber Security Architect Responsibilities
- Understands a company’s computer and network security infrastructure
- Designs and builds quality security systems according to the organization’s goals
- Trains other users to design and implement systems
- Responds to other network security issues
A penetration tester uses knowledge of network security and coding to infiltrate any system to find loopholes and secure a given system. Penetration testers are usually outside contractors who uncover potential blind spots in a given network.
To become one, you must earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, or a related topic. Penetration testers are similar to ethical hackers, so you can find jobs in both positions.
Penetration Tester Responsibilities
- Performs penetration tests on an organization’s computer systems and networks
- Develops new ways to test and identify threats
- Makes improvements to existing network infrastructure
- Stays updated on the latest information and security threats
As the name suggests, these professionals act as first responders in the event of a cyber security breach. However, their main goal is to stop such incidents from occurring in the first place. If you would like to become one, you should consider a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, which will enable you to work in an entry-level position.
Computer Security Incident Responder Responsibilities
- Monitors and analyzes an organization’s networks
- Discovers loopholes or vulnerabilities in the networks to improve security
- Creates a course of action in the event of a breach
Security software developers are known for their attention to detail. This helps them develop programs to safeguard computer networks and sensitive data. Entry-level positions typically require a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. You can also start your career as a software developer and specialize in network security later on.
Security Software Developer Responsibilities
- Designs, implements, and maintains an organization’s security software solutions
- Trains and educates stakeholders to help with security enhancements
- Develops specialized security software in accordance with project specifications
- Tests and troubleshoots security solutions for vulnerabilities and design flaws
Information security analysts plan and execute security measures to ensure the safety of an organization’s networks. Many analysts have experience working in other network security or information systems careers. With that said, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree to become an information security analyst.
Information Security Analyst Responsibilities
- Develops and executes protection measures, including security software such as data encryption programs and firewalls
- Monitors networks for possible cyber attacks and security breaches
- Makes recommendations regarding security standards and practices
- Helps other staff learn about security features and related information
Network security administrators design and analyze the use of an organization’s servers and networks. They ensure that all network-related infrastructure is working correctly. This job is a good place to start in the field. To become a network security administrator, you’ll need a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Information Science.
Network Security Administrator Responsibilities
- Identifies organizational needs concerning network hardware and software
- Trains other staff members on the proper use of network infrastructure
- Maintains network security
- Responds quickly in the event of a cyber attack to prevent data loss
What Education Is Required for a Career in Network Security?
To become a successful network security professional, you need at least a bachelor’s degree. There are good cyber security associate degree programs out there, but it’s hard to find entry-level positions with associate degrees as the minimum education threshold. You should also have a thorough knowledge of network security techniques and technologies.
Once you have built a solid education base with a bachelor’s degree, you should consider acquiring professional certifications. Certifications come in handy when applying for senior positions that require a high skill level.
Can I Study Network Security Online?
Just like most tech topics at a university or college, you can study network security online. Most institutions are offering such courses online as part of the measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Studying online gives you the freedom to attend other engagements such as a full-time job. It is also cheaper than attending in-person classes. For such reasons, it would be in your best interest to consider online colleges to study network security.
Personality Traits Necessary for a Network Security Career
Network security professionals work in high-pressure environments. For this reason, you need to work diligently with attention to detail. You should also be responsive when handling sensitive information. In challenging situations, you need to step up and be responsive as any hesitation might lead to huge losses.
Other essential personality traits for network security professionals include composure and communication. These are the skills that you must have if you wish to impress the hiring manager in your next job interview.
Is a Network Security Job Good for Me?
Yes, a network security job is good for you, especially if you have a knack for working with computers. Even though a career in network security is highly rewarding with numerous employment opportunities, the jobs tend to be stressful and challenging.
A deeper understanding of some of these jobs and their responsibilities can help you decide if a career in this field is right for you. If you have the skills and confidence, you should get a job in network security.