The Highest-Paying Cybersecurity Jobs and Salaries

The Highest-Paying Cybersecurity Jobs and Salaries

Companies implement cybersecurity tools and standards in order to safeguard the storage and exchange of sensitive information. Without strong cybersecurity strategies and actions, businesses would be highly vulnerable to cyberattacks on their hardware, software, and computer systems.

As organizations begin using cloud-based technologies for more of their day-to-day work, employing the services of talented professionals to support their cybersecurity efforts becomes even more important. Since cybersecurity professionals can protect sensitive information and online business systems from a wide range of cyber threats, they should continue to be in high demand.  

In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the highest-paying jobs in the IT security industry. We’ll explore the specific education and technical skills each job requires, as well as what annual salary you can expect to make in each position. You’ll quickly see that you can make a great income in the cybersecurity field, depending on your years of experience and your cybersecurity certifications.

Table of contents:

  1. Chief information security officer (CISO)
  2. Information security manager
  3. Cybersecurity engineer
  4. Cybersecurity analyst
  5. Cybersecurity architect
  6. Application security engineer
  7. Certified ethical hacker
  8. Security consultant
  9. Network security engineer
  10. Penetration tester

1. Chief information security officer (CISO)

A CISO manages security policies and oversees security measures for an organization. Their day-to-day responsibilities may include planning, implementing, and leading various computer-related activities. They regularly learn about new forms of technology and assess the costs and benefits of making upgrades to preexisting systems and processes.

Average salary: $242,481

Skills needed:

  • Analysis. CISOs are often tasked with identifying the best solutions to potential and existing problems.
  • Communication. Information security officers must explain decisions across the organizations and provide clear instructions to members of their teams.
  • Decision-making and leadership. CISOs have to decide how to respond to various issues and challenges and motivate their team to pursue the same shared goals.

Qualifications:

2. Information security manager

Information security managers must implement security measures and manage the security teams that oversee the entire operation. They work with organizational leaders to build security policies and promote best practices for informational security across the organization. After they get buy-in from leadership, they’re the ones to communicate the plans and their value to other stakeholders across the organization.

Find open positions in information security management online at Upwork.

Average salary: $168,681

Skills needed:

  • Knowledge of security architecture. Information security analysts must understand how to design and implement systems that protect sensitive company information.
  • Experience with network configuration. Since information security managers will be in charge of deploying systems like VPNs and DDOS mitigation systems, previous experience can be quite helpful.
  • Leadership and management skills. Information security managers often have multiple tasks and team members to oversee, so possessing a strong leadership skill set is essential.

Qualifications:

3. Cybersecurity engineer

Cybersecurity engineers play important roles in the implementation of security measures. These cybersecurity professionals conduct activities in the implementation of systems that protect and safeguard data. In addition to solving problems created by preexisting security issues, they also perform penetration testing and network maintenance to guard against future threats.

Head to Upwork to see who’s currently looking for cybersecurity talent to fill open security engineering positions.

Average salary: $134,245

Skills needed:

  • Computer systems expertise. Cybersecurity engineers should have relevant knowledge about networks and firewalls.
  • Familiarity with programming languages. Cybersecurity engineers will benefit from having prior knowledge of programming languages like Python and Java.
  • Understanding of network protocols. This includes prior knowledge about topics such as firewalls, routers, and switches.

Qualifications:

4. Cybersecurity analyst

Cybersecurity analysts protect computer networks and systems by planning for possible threats and executing various security measures. Regular responsibilities may include checking for security data breaches, instituting firewalls and data encryption programs, and researching emerging security trends within information technology (IT). One of their most important responsibilities involves helping their organization build a disaster recovery plan to follow in the event of an emergency.

You’ll find many open jobs in security and risk analysis on Upwork if you’re looking to put your cybersecurity skills to good use.

Average salary: $119,541

Skills needed:

  • Problem-solving. Cybersecurity analysts need to be ready to respond to security threats and fix any issues that come up.
  • Knowledge of security threats. In order to resolve problems, cybersecurity analysts should understand what the most common issues are so they can anticipate potential outcomes and properly respond.
  • Risk management. Cybersecurity analysts spend time assessing systems and networks to identify potential improvements and develop safety protocols.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology (or a related field)
  • Certification in information security, such as Security+ or Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Work experience in a related occupation, such as experience as a network and computer systems administrator or another role in an IT department, can be helpful.

5. Cybersecurity architect

Cybersecurity architects lead the charge in designing and implementing security solutions. They develop and institute data communication networks like intranets and LANs. They may also communicate plans to other stakeholders and plan strategic upgrades to hardware. However, since all organizational and company needs are different, the exact role of a cybersecurity architect can vary based on their context.

Average salary: $113,539

Skills needed:

  • Expertise in cybersecurity frameworks. To properly implement cybersecurity frameworks, cybersecurity architects must understand what they are and know how to put them into place.
  • Knowledge of emerging threats. To protect networks from possible future threats, cybersecurity architects should know how to identify potential emerging threats.
  • Proficiency in risk management. Understanding how to use risk management assessments and develop strategies to lessen or mitigate risk is important in this role.

Qualifications:

6. Application security engineer

Application security engineers are the ones who secure software and applications. They spend time building new data security plans and improving existing plans. They prioritize the creation of effective security plans, knowing that their job is to shore up weaknesses before hackers can exploit them.

Browse through job openings for application security engineers online at Upwork.

Average salary: $108,756

Skills needed:

  • Software development. Application security engineers design and implement software for application security.
  • Knowledge of security best practices. In this role, you will provide guidance and leadership to the rest of the security team and follow all industry best practices.
  • Experience with security assessments. Since it’s common for application security engineers to develop relevant policies and procedures, experience with security assessments is critical.

Qualifications:

7. Certified ethical hacker

Certified ethical hackers (CEHs) operate within an ethical and legal framework. They perform security assessments and model threats to create protection against future cybercrime. They think critically about the types of exploits and security breaches an organization could experience and they run tests based on their hypotheses to make sure their networks are ready to withstand these attacks.

See current open positions in ethical hacking online at Upwork.  

Average salary: $108,138

Skills needed:

  • Basic hardware knowledge. Ethical hackers should understand what systems are usually in place and what their vulnerabilities might be.
  • Programming knowledge. An understanding of programming languages like Python and C++ helps ethical hackers develop hypothetical threats.
  • Understanding of hacking techniques. If certified ethical hackers know what strategies and approaches hackers are likely to use, they can try them out on their own to ensure that they won’t be effective.

Qualifications:

8. Security consultant

Security consultants provide expertise on security measures and carry out risk assessments. Their goal is to maximize system efficiency and decrease organizational risks. While some security consultants may specialize in a specific discipline,  their work often expands across multiple domains or disciplines.

If you think this type of work would be a good fit for your experience and expertise, look at the open positions currently accepting applications on Upwork.

Average salary: $102,469

Skills needed:

  • Communication. Since consultants are sharing information and gathering facts from various stakeholders, high-level communication skills are a must.
  • Problem-solving. Security consultants are tasked with solving problems and improving systems, making problem-solving skills highly valuable.
  • Knowledge of cybersecurity threats. In order to serve the organizations they work with, security consultants should be aware of the most common threats.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity
  • Master’s degree is preferred

9. Network security engineer

Network security engineers focus on securing computer networks and protecting cloud environments.  They oversee local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs) along with data communication networks and operating systems. Their goal is to protect networks from bugs and malware in addition to potential threats and cybercriminals.

You can find open network security engineer jobs to apply for on Upwork.

Average salary: $92,443

Skills needed:

  • Network security. Network security engineers should have a high-level understanding of what it takes to keep a network secure and what common security threats exist.
  • Experience with security assessments. Prior experience administering security assessments will be helpful for network security engineers, as this is a key component of their job.
  • Awareness of security protocols and standards. Network security engineers should understand current industry standards and best practices as they relate to maintaining cloud security and protecting local networks.

Qualifications:

10. Penetration tester

Penetration testers are in charge of conducting penetration testing and assessing any vulnerabilities in the current system. Many penetration testers enjoy the fast-paced work and the opportunity to simulate different types of attacks to decrease the chance of a real attack in the future. Their goal is to think like a hacker would think so that they can spot gaps in the system before an actual hacker can find them.

If this type of cybersecurity work interests you, you’ll find numerous open positions online at Upwork.

Average salary: $88,574

Skills needed:

  • Ethical hacking. Penetration testers must understand how to carry out ethical hacking in order to identify vulnerabilities and protect systems from unauthorized access.
  • Knowledge of cybersecurity threats. Penetration testers’ understanding of the most common cybersecurity threats enables them to attack typical vulnerabilities and develop counteracting strategies.
  • Technical proficiency. Penetration testers should have a good understanding of different operating systems, networking concepts, and databases, along with various cloud computing platforms and web technologies.

Qualifications:

Find cybersecurity positions on Upwork

Opportunities for employment in cybersecurity are numerous, and prospects of future growth also look promising. As more companies turn to the cloud for data storage, the need for skilled workers who can develop standards and systems for organizational cloud security will continue to rise. Depending on your interests and skills, this could be an ideal time to pursue a career path in cybersecurity.

If you’re thinking about a cybersecurity career, earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science or IT is a great place to start. From there, you might consider pursuing additional certifications or applying for an internship to learn more about the industry. If you enjoy problem-solving and care about protecting sensitive data, you’ll likely enjoy a career in this field.

If you’re an independent professional looking for your next job in cybersecurity, or if you’re a client looking to hire a talented professional for an open cybersecurity role, you can find a match at Upwork’s talent marketplace. Many workers with  cybersecurity skills and organizations needing cybersecurity help trust Upwork to connect them with the right people and positions.

Pay ranges are current at the time of writing and may change over time based on each job and market conditions.

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The Highest-Paying Cybersecurity Jobs and Salaries
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