A six-figure salary is a dream for many workers, but these lucrative jobs are not easy to come by. Cybersecurity is one of the few industries with a plethora of high-paying jobs. With so many high-profile data breaches making headlines, companies are willing to pay top dollar for talented people who can keep their systems and data safe.
The average salary for a cybersecurity professional is over $100,000, and there are plenty of six-figure jobs to be had. But what does it take to earn a six-figure salary in cybersecurity?
What Skills Are Required for a Cybersecurity Job?
Most people think that in order to earn a six-figure salary in cybersecurity, you need to be some kind of genius hacker who can break into any system.
While it certainly doesn’t hurt to be a talented hacker, there are other skills that are just as important, if not more so.
We’ve discussed the basic technical skills and qualifications needed for a cybersecurity job in our post, “A Career In Cybersecurity: Tips From The Global Leaders In Cybersecurity.”
In addition to strong technical skills, cybersecurity professionals also need to be able to think strategically. You need to be able to identify risks and devise plans to mitigate those risks. You also need to be able to stay ahead of the curve by keeping up with the latest trends in the field.
What Six-Figure Cybersecurity Jobs Are Available?
There are a variety of six-figure jobs available in cybersecurity. Some of the most common six-figure jobs in cybersecurity include security analysts, security engineers, and information security managers.
As we’ve mentioned in our previous blog post: Cybersecurity is Not an Entry-Level Job. These positions typically require several years of experience in the field, as well as a strong understanding of computer science and networking concepts.
In addition, many employers prefer candidates who have earned professional certifications, such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) designation.
Do You Need a Master’s Degree for a Six-Figure Cybersecurity Job?
According to ISC2, a company specializing in cybersecurity professional training and certifications, 40% of cybersecurity employees had a master’s degree in cybersecurity in 2021.
It’s crucial to understand, however, that ISC2 supports and represents extremely accomplished individuals who frequently pursue the industry’s most sought-after credentials.
Steve Morgan, the founder of cybersecurity Ventures, assures that the cybersecurity field is more available than some think. He says that while some cyber employees in highly technical or executive positions may have a master’s degree, this is not true for the majority of people working in cybersecurity.
In fact, the job website Zippia estimates only 15% of entry and mid-level cybersecurity professionals in the United States have a master’s degree.
Even though a master’s degree in cybersecurity isn’t required to make a six-figure salary, experts concur that attending graduate school will increase your earnings beyond those of a bachelor’s degree or other credentials alone.
While having a master’s degree will undoubtedly boost the trajectory of your cybersecurity career, not everyone should chase a graduate degree just to bump up their salary potential.
Firstly, master’s degrees are notoriously difficult and time-consuming. People with already busy lives and juggling multiple responsibilities might not have the time or energy for classwork.
Graduate studies can also come at a steep price- an average of around $40,000 per year at top-ranked universities.
No matter how appealing a master’s degree is, don’t shell out money you currently don’t have. It’d be foolish to drown yourself in more student loan debt.
Are There Other Ways to Get a Six-Figure Cybersecurity Job?
Thankfully, there are alternative ways to get a high-paying cybersecurity job without needing a master’s degree.
Completing cybersecurity certifications is another way towards a six-figure salary.
Kayne McGladrey, an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) senior member and cybersecurity strategist, claims that getting certificates leads to an average $33,000 increase in yearly compensation for people with at least a two-year degree.
Aside from hard technical skills, getting a six-figure cybersecurity job requires a number of soft skills.
Employers will most likely want a candidate with leadership skills who can lead and communicate clearly in front of management, a team, or even customers.
They’ll also likely want someone who can think creatively in response to a challenging situation, is a strong team player, and has project management skills.
Another thing employers want to see is a desire to succeed. Many high-level cybersecurity professionals are self-motivated people. Cybersecurity isn’t a typical 9-to-5 job. It requires a “mission-oriented attitude” and appeals to those who aren’t afraid to push beyond their comfort zone.
Cybersecurity is an industry that’s constantly evolving, and you’ll be mitigating cyber threats and risks for hours on end. Yet, extraordinarily motivated people face these challenges head-on and push themselves to do their best under hectic conditions.
A six-figure job is not out of reach. With the right skill set and experience, anyone can earn a high salary in this field. With the right combination of hard work and dedication, you can achieve your dream career in cybersecurity.
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