Cyber Security Career Roadmap: Building a Secure Future

Article reading time: 10 min. | 01. Sep 2023, written by Margherita Seppi
Tags IUKnowledgeBase TechCareers CareerPath TechEducation

In the era of digitization where data reigns supreme, cybersecurity professionals are the unsung heroes preserving the integrity of our digital universe. The 2021 official annual Cybersecurity Ventures report estimates that by 2025, cybercrimes will cost the world $10.5 trillion annually. As cyber threats pile up and the digital landscape expands, the demand for skilled and competent cybersecurity professionals is skyrocketing.

At the IU International University of Applied Science, we are dedicated to nurturing future leaders in cybersecurity. Our cutting-edge curriculum blends technical expertise with industry-driven teaching methods, empowering students to seize a multitude of opportunities in this dynamic field. Whether you are an English-speaking international student or a working professional, our flexible learning modules allow you to earn a cybersecurity degree while balancing other commitments. Choose between the immersive on-campus experience amidst Germany's stunning landscapes or the convenience of a 100% online program – we have the perfect pathway for your cybersecurity journey.

But first, let´s start with exploring your cyber security career outlook:

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What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity, at its core, is the practice of safeguarding internet-connected systems, networks, and data from digital threats. It is the armour that protects vast amounts of critical and sensitive data, maintaining information integrity and ensuring privacy.

Today, cybersecurity isn't just an IT issue. It's a global imperative Cybercrime is predicted to cost the world $8 trillion in 2023, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

Key aspects of cybersecurity include:

  • Ensuring data confidentiality
  • Maintaining data integrity
  • Providing access to authorized users (availability)
  • Protecting networks and systems against threats
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Exploring the Cybersecurity career landscape

A career in cybersecurity can be as diverse as the threats you counteract. With an ever-evolving cyberspace, the cybersecurity career path offers ample opportunities ranging from being a Cyber Security Analyst to an Information Security Manager, a Penetration Tester, and even a Security Consultant.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • In the 10 years between 2019 and 2029, employment of information security analysts will grow by 31% much faster than the average for all occupations.[1]
  • The median salary for cybersecurity analysts in the US in 2021 was $102,600 [2]

This translates into a level of job security not seen in other fields, accompanied by competitive salaries and abundant opportunities for progression.

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Navigating the Cybersecurity career path

Building a career in cybersecurity is rather intriguing, isn´t it? It's not simply a straight course, but more like ascending the stepping stones of a well-structured pyramid. Each leap comes with its share of obligations and calls on you to hone new skills continually.

Curious about the different roles in cybersecurity? Here's a general roadmap to a cybersecurity career journey showcasing some of the key roles:

Career stage


Key tasks

Essential skills

Entry Level (0-2 Years)

Security Technician

Configuring and installing security systems, assisting in risk assessments, monitoring systems for breaches

Basic understanding of network security, proficient IT skills

Junior Security Analyst

Analyzing the network for vulnerabilities, recommending enhancements, assisting in security breach investigations

Problem-solving skills, ability to work under pressure, knowledge of firewalls and encryption

Intermediate Level (2-5 Years)

Cybersecurity Analyst

Monitoring networks for security breaches, implementing cybersecurity software, staying updated with the latest cybersecurity trends

Skills to identify vulnerabilities, understanding of cybersecurity frameworks, competent communication skills

Security Administrator

Maintaining security protocols, ensuring the security of data and network access, regularly reviewing systems for potential attacks

Strong technical skills, understanding protocols such as SSL and HTTP, swift reaction ability under threats

Mid Level (5-10 Years)

Information Security Manager

Developing security strategies, educating workers on security protocols, responding to security breaches

Leadership skills, deep understanding of IT security and risk management, ability to develop training programs

Cybersecurity Manager

Protecting sensitive information, ensuring the implementation of security strategies, managing a cybersecurity team

Comprehensive understanding of cybersecurity, strategic planning, competent management skills

Senior Level (10+ Years)

Chief Information Security Officer

Developing security strategies, managing IT security professionals, ensuring compliance with data privacy laws

Advanced management and leadership skills, robust understanding of IT security, ability to design strategic plans

Director of Security

Managing the security team, developing security policies, liaising with law enforcement in case of a breach

Advanced knowledge of cybersecurity practices, crisis management skills, and ability to communicate within the organization

And this is only the tip of the iceberg! If you're considering a dive into the world of cybersecurity, get ready for a dynamic and diverse career path brimming with opportunities.

How to become a Cybersecurity Analyst

Step into the crucial role of a Cyber Security Analyst, where you hold the key to safeguarding computer systems, networks, and precious data. As a cybersecurity analyst, you hold the key to protecting against unauthorized access, breaches, and security risks. Your mission is to meticulously analyze security systems, uncover vulnerabilities, and develop strong strategies to counter security threats. In times of security incidents, you'll be at the forefront, swiftly and effectively responding to mitigate any harm.

Do you have an eagle eye for potential risks? You're expected, as a Cybersecurity Analyst, to constantly monitor network traffic, conducting comprehensive network security assessments to proactively identify potential threats. By implementing state-of-the-art security measures, you will ensure the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information, fortifying the defences of organizations against evolving cyber risks.

A step-by-step guide to becoming a Cybersecurity Analyst:

A Bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, computer science, or a similar field is a must. IU's Bachelor of Cybersecurity program offers a comprehensive learning experience. Each course includes live teaching sessions, allowing for interactive instruction and Q&A. These sessions are recorded for flexible access. Additionally, our AI teaching assistant, Syntea, provides 24/7 support, instant answers, and skill assessment. Graduating from IU means gaining the practical experience needed to succeed in the field.

2. Hands-on Experience:

Our courses in Cybersecurity focus on practical, hands-on studies to prepare you for your future career. You can gain real-world experience through internships, part-time jobs, or entry-level positions. We offer a variety of electives for specialization, allowing you to tailor your studies to match your personal goals.

3. Certifications:

Certifications can greatly enhance your credibility and marketability as a cybersecurity analyst. Some popular certifications in the field include:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • CompTIA Security+
  • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)

A master's degree might give you an edge during recruitment or promotions. IU's Master of Cybersecurity program offers flexible, 100% online learning, allowing you to study and take exams from home. We are accredited and globally recognized, providing high-quality education reviewed by the German Accreditation Council. You receive comprehensive support, including innovative learning tools, tutorial videos, live teaching sessions, and 24/7 access to our online library. Our program offers a perfect balance of theory and practice, allowing you to specialize in areas aligned with your career goals.

5. Keep Learning:

As a cybersecurity professional, your learning curve never plateaus. Stay up-to-date with trends, technologies, and certifications.

At IU, we are committed to guiding you through every step of your educational journey and providing you with the necessary tools and knowledge for success. We create an environment where ambition and opportunity intersect empowering you to seamlessly transition from learning in the classroom to thriving in the professional world.

Want to have an expert opinion? In this video, we delve into what Cyber Security truly is, its main topics, the role it plays in Artificial Intelligence (AI), and exciting Cyber Security career opportunities. Our featured expert Prof. Dr. Alexander Lawall shares exclusive tips to protect your digital environment and practical advice for achieving success in a Cyber Security career.

Is a cyber security career a good option?

In a world of advancing technology, the complexity and frequency of cyber threats are on the rise. Amidst this digital landscape, cybersecurity professionals take on a vital role in protecting sensitive data, fortifying networks, and thwarting cyber attacks. Now, let's explore the reasons why a career in cybersecurity can be both rewarding and promising.

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Growing demand for Cyber security professional

As per the 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study by (ISC)², the largest nonprofit association of certified cyber security professionals, there's a global cyber security workforce shortage of 3.4 million. [3] Furthermore, according to a recent report by TeamLease Digital, India’s cyber security industry has around 40,000 open job opportunities as of May 2023. highlighting the ocean of opportunities that lies ahead for you. [4]

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Lucrative salary potential

A good salary is important for you? Look no further. A career in cybersecurity offers enticing financial rewards. The demand for skilled professionals, combined with the critical nature of the job, translates into attractive salaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analysts enjoy a median annual salary of $102,600, surpassing the national median earnings across all industries. [1] Moreover, certain industries and positions within cybersecurity present even greater earning potential, as we'll explore next.

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Diverse industries and job roles

Cybersecurity is a field that opens doors to a multitude of industries. From finance to healthcare, government to manufacturing, every sector depends on skilled professionals to protect their digital assets. Among the industries that offer top-paying positions in cybersecurity, several stand out. These include remediation and waste management services, information services, computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing, securities and financial investment sectors, and motion picture and video industries. The wide range of industries ensures that cybersecurity experts can find thrilling and highly rewarding roles in diverse sectors.

Working in Cybersecurity: Real-world insights

Working in cyber security requires staying ahead of the evolving threat landscape. As technology advances, hackers become more capable, and every company is a potential target.

Growing attack surface and hacker capabilities

Get ready for a thrilling dive into the world of cybersecurity in 2023, where the battleground is ever-evolving, and hackers are more powerful than ever. No company, regardless of size, is safe from the relentless attacks of cybercriminals. The digital ecosystem presents a host of security threats, with the Metaverse becoming a breeding ground for exploitation, deep fakes blurring the line between truth and fiction, and bots wreaking havoc across the internet.

But that's not all! Recent geopolitical events, like the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have exposed the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure. Nation-state threats and distributed denial-of-service (DDS) attacks keep cybersecurity professionals on their toes, as they combat these growing risks to our online world.

The role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have made a significant impact on the cybersecurity landscape. With a projected market value of $46.3 billion in 2027, AI in cybersecurity continues to grow at a rapid pace. These technologies offer valuable tools for identifying and mitigating threats.

In the world of cybersecurity, AI and ML play a pivotal role. They offer powerful tools to combat malware, ransomware, and social engineering attacks. With their contextual reasoning capabilities, these technologies enable faster threat identification and statistical inference. This valuable insight can be shared with endpoint security platforms, enhancing overall defence.

However, it's crucial to recognize the dual nature of AI and ML. Just as defenders benefit from these technologies, so do threat actors. They exploit vulnerabilities in threat detection models, posing a challenge to cybersecurity efforts. The race between defenders and adversaries is constantly evolving, as both sides leverage AI and ML in their pursuit of advantage.

Cyber security risks for accounting and financial data

Accounting and financial data are prime targets for cyber adversaries. According to a Deloitte Center for Controllership poll, 34.5% of executives reported that their organizations' accounting and financial data were targeted by cyber adversaries in the past 12 months [5]. Furthermore, nearly half of the polled executives expect an increase in cyber events targeting their organizations' accounting and financial data in the year ahead.

To mitigate these risks, closer collaboration between accounting and finance teams and cybersecurity professionals is crucial. By working together, organizations can enhance their defences and reduce the likelihood of successful cyber-attacks.

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How IU can help you build your cyber security career

IU is your ideal partner for building a successful career in cybersecurity. With flexible online learning options and globally recognized programs, IU empowers you to study from anywhere and ensures your degree is valued worldwide. Our emphasis on practical experience and a balanced approach between theory and practice prepares you for real-world challenges.

Are you ready to take the leap into your future? Here's a special benefit for IU students: If you shift to on-campus learning six months before wrapping up your program, you get an opportunity to apply for an 18-month post-study visa. This allows you to stick around in Germany, scout for a job that aligns with your studies, and potentially land yourself a prolonged work visa or an EU Blue Card.

Does this opportunity sound like the perfect plan to kickstart your career in cybersecurity?

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How to start your cyber security career?

To start a career in cybersecurity, it's important to pursue an education in cybersecurity or a related field, gain practical experience through internships or entry-level positions, obtain relevant certifications, develop technical skills, stay updated on the latest trends, build a professional network, and actively apply for cybersecurity positions.

How to build a cyber security career?

To build a cybersecurity career, consider enrolling in a cybersecurity degree program like the one offered by IU. This program not only provides comprehensive education but also offers networking opportunities and the chance to build relationships with industry professionals. Additionally, gain practical experience through internships and cooperative education. Enhance your credentials by obtaining industry certifications, which will further solidify your expertise in the field.

Why choose to pursue a cyber security career?

Choosing a cyber security career offers high demand, competitive salaries, a dynamic work environment, the opportunity to make a positive impact, and long-term job security in a rapidly advancing field.

What are 5 cybersecurity careers?

Cybersecurity Analyst: They monitor and analyze computer systems and networks for security breaches, investigate incidents, and implement preventive measures.

Penetration Tester: Also known as an ethical hacker, they assess and identify vulnerabilities in systems, networks, or applications by conducting controlled tests to enhance security defences.

Security Architect: They design and implement secure systems, networks, and infrastructure, ensuring that security measures align with organizational goals and industry best practices.

Incident Responder: They respond to and manage cybersecurity incidents, including identifying the cause, containing the threat, and implementing measures to prevent future attacks.

Security Consultants: They provide expert advice to organizations on security strategies, risk assessments, and regulatory compliance, helping businesses enhance their overall cybersecurity posture.

Is a cyber security job hard?

Yes, cybersecurity jobs can be challenging due to constantly evolving threats and the need for technical expertise and adaptability. However, with proper education and experience, individuals can excel in this field.

Why work in cyber security?

Working in a cyber security career offers a compelling and fulfilling path. As technology advances at an unprecedented pace, the need for skilled professionals who can protect our digital infrastructure becomes increasingly critical. You'll have the opportunity to constantly learn and adapt as new technologies and attack vectors emerge. The thrill of staying one step ahead of cybercriminals and the satisfaction of securing vital information and systems provide an unparalleled sense of purpose.

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