These are 10 of the hottest IT security careers today

Information technology has permeated every facet of life. From motor vehicles and refrigerators to coffee makers and printers, IT is the engine that runs many of the routine processes we take for granted. With the ubiquity of information technology has come a steady rise in demand for IT professionals. While nearly all IT jobs are expected to see healthy demand well into the foreseeable future, it’s IT security careers that show the greatest promise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), employment of information security analysts will increase by 31 percent between 2019 and 2029. And it isn’t surprising.

The growing scale and complexity of cyberattacks mean IT security can no longer be an afterthought. Given the modern organization’s dependency on technology, IT security is a mission-critical role. There’s a huge shortfall of security professionals as businesses struggle to fill available vacancies. This shortfall is unlikely to change anytime soon.

That said, certain IT security careers demonstrate great growth and remuneration prospects now and well into the future.

IT security careers

1. Application security engineer

Whether your organization builds its own applications, contracts a third-party developer to create a bespoke solution, or procures software provided or hosted by large tech firms like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, you will need an application security engineer. An application security engineer is responsible for securing all systems throughout your organization and ensure compliance and privacy considerations are integrated and adhered to at all times. Pay ranges from $81,000 to $190,000 according to ZipRecruiter.com.

2. Lead software security engineer

This is among IT security careers that are ideal for cybersecurity programmers who also demonstrate leadership skills. It’s the perfect combination of technical expertise in software development and the soft skills required for executive-level positions. The engineer tracks developments and threats in the digital environment to ensure these are properly addressed in architecture artifacts and security strategy plans.

With salaries sometimes exceeding $225,000, lead software security engineer is among the best paid IT security careers sometimes earning more than CISOs of mid-sized organizations.

3. Cybersecurity engineer

Salaries for cybersecurity engineers ordinarily range from $50,000 to $185,000 as per ZipRecruiter.com. The engineers are charged with the design, development and implementation of security solutions. These solutions are geared toward defending the organization against hacking attempts, advanced cyberattacks, and persistent threats.

4. Network security engineer

Like the cybersecurity engineer, this is a multifaceted role. However, it has a focus on the maintenance, monitoring, and protection of LANs, WANs, virtual networks, firewalls, web protocols, email security, security applications, and programs. Base salary averages $110,000 according to Indeed.com.

5. Cybersecurity architect

A cybersecurity architect discharges executive-level duties designing computer security architecture and organization-wide network. It is a big picture position that involves oversight of information security awareness programs, the creation and management of cybersecurity policies, response to and analysis of security incidents, as well as conducting risk assessments.

Salaries range between $83,000 and $210,000.

6. Information security analyst

Information security analysts are the security guards or gatekeepers of information systems. This is due to their broad scope of responsibilities covering the prevention, monitoring, and response to cyberattacks and data breaches. They work with information security managers and penetration testers to avoid and mitigate cyberattacks.

According to the BLS, information security analysts draw a median pay of $99,730.

7. Cybersecurity manager/administrator

Also referred to as information systems security managers or information security managers, these professionals have a salary range between $125,000 and $215,000.

Responsibilities include protecting confidential information, bolstering security, mitigating future attacks, identifying vulnerabilities, and overall management of the information security department.

8. Penetration tester

Penetration testers (or pentesters) are also known as ethical hackers. They allow companies to understand and test the logic that would be employed by an actual attacker.

Hacking is one of the biggest threats businesses face today. As organizations battle to stay one step ahead of increasingly sophisticated attackers, they are hiring full-time or contractor pentesters to infiltrate their systems in order to unearth vulnerabilities and gaps. Pentester salaries often range from $70,000 to $170,000.

9. Chief information security officer (CISO)

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This is the executive tasked with the highest level oversight of an organization’s information security. Salaries vary considerably, often depending on the size of the organization. The larger the employer, the bigger the paycheck.

CISOs at global multinationals earn as much as $500,000 but most will range between $100,000 and $300,000.

10. Cybersecurity sales engineer

IT security careers don’t only revolve around one’s ability to fend off hackers. There’s a steady stream of innovative and new security solutions entering the market each year. While plenty of these products are sold by persons who don’t necessarily have a background or certification in cybersecurity, there’s a clear advantage for salespersons with cybersecurity expertise.

A number of techies are ditching security coding for cybersecurity sales positions. Annual salaries for cybersecurity sales engineers are typically in the $180,000 to $220,000 range.

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Lucrative opportunities in IT security careers

The modern organization’s dependence on technology will only continue to deepen. And thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), virtually every electronic and electric device can be connected to the network and manipulated remotely. While this presents enormous opportunity, it also comes with unprecedented, complex, and evolving security risks.

With this, cybersecurity jobs will continue to be in great demand as companies strive to stay ahead of cybercriminals. This top 10 list of hot IT security careers will help IT students and those in the early phase of their cybersecurity career identify where opportunities lie. It can also help organizations see what they can expect to pay for these positions when they need to fill them.

Featured image: Shutterstock

Stephen M.W.

Stephen regularly writes about technology, business continuity, compliance and project management. He's worked with companies such as Canva.com, EnergyCentral.com, and Citibank.

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Stephen M.W.

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