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Top 5 Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs and How to Get Started

Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs
Career Tips / Cyber Security

Top 5 Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs and How to Get Started

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that information security analyst employment is likely to increase between 2020 and 2030 by at least 33%— an average higher not matched by any other job.

With the increasing level of cyber security threats, cybersecurity jobs are increasingly going to be in high demand, especially those with top-notch cybersecurity skills. If you have the right skills and are looking to join the cybersecurity ecosystem, here are five top entry-level cybersecurity jobs to get you started.

What Does a Cybersecurity Expert Do?

The main role of a cybersecurity expert or specialist is to audit computer hardware and ensure that all the IT infrastructure within an organization is safe from external threats. The exact duty of a cybersecurity expert could vary depending on the cybersecurity job title and company.

However, the core responsibility of a cybersecurity expert job is to ensure that everything in the organization, IT-wise, is running smoothly and that all the organization’s systems and data are safely protected.

Cybersecurity experts do a lot of monitoring, analysis and inspection of systems. At most senior levels of the cybersecurity role, there are also leadership positions, which often include training other employees, delegating tasks, advising on security architecture, ensuring compliance to network standards, and enforcing bests practices to safeguard an organization’s assets from both internal and external attacks.

5 Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs To Kickstart Your Cybersecurity Career

Interestingly, you can join the cyber security industry even if your first degree is not in cybersecurity. At the same time, you don’t need a master’s degree to begin in this entry-level cybersecurity role.

Information Security Analyst

The first entry into our list of the top five entry-level cybersecurity jobs is the Information Security Analyst (ISA). The main role of the information security analyst is to protect the business data which can be done through risk assessment, security planning, and network monitoring. In most cases, this can be achieved through placing firewalls throughout the network and ensuring that data transfer is encrypted.

Salary, qualifications and career prospects

A typical ISA would earn about $103,590 per year going by the U.S. BLS findings. To be an information security analyst, your most likely qualification is a background in computer science with knowledge of networks and IT systems. other skills in this field may include patch management, antivirus, vulnerability scanning tools, knowledge of control frameworks (ISO 27001, etc.) as well as Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS).

To be successful as an information security analyst, a good knowledge of cyber security industry policies and information security standards are mandatory.

The career prospects of ISA are looking promising. Job opportunities in this position are expected to grow by 37% annually over the next decade which means it’s a lucrative entry-level cybersecurity job. Once you have amassed enough expertise in cybersecurity, including leadership skills, you have a chance to become the next information security manager. This position would put you at the helm of the Cyber Security Department, where you are likely to be overseeing information security architecture and infrastructure.

System Administrator

If you’re a System Administrator, you are likely to be responsible for maintaining and securing user records and accounts on a network. Other responsibilities in this position include keeping the organization’s IT infrastructure—both hardware and software, running properly, creating backups, installing new applications, and assigning different users authorized levels of access.

Salary, qualifications, and career prospects

System admins take home an average of $84,810 per year according to the U.S. BLS. A system admin could have different qualifications, but a basic bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, which may include computer science, web technology, or network administration, would be appropriate.

If you have your first degree in a different field, certifications may boost your chances of becoming a System Administrator. These may include a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification or Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification.

The skills needed to successfully deliver in a System Administrator position include a strong foundation in Oracle operating Systems, Linux, Unix, and Microsoft.

System administrators have a chance to become either security architects or system engineers later in their career lives after amassing considerable experience in programming.

IT Support Specialist

If you like more customer-facing roles, then an IT support specialist role would be your best bargain. While working as an IT support specialist, your likely daily responsibilities will include troubleshooting issues and providing support for users, either within the company or the company’s clients.

You will likely find yourself upgrading systems and applications, fixing Internet connectivity, and backing up data among other activities.

Salary, qualifications, and career prospects

A typical IT Support specialist would be about $55,510 per year according to the U.S. BLS. This role requires you to have a background in customer support and some level of IT education. Some organizations may require you to have some skills in project management, communication skills, and knowledge of common IT problems.

Most IT support specialists end up becoming database, network, or system administrators later in their career lives.

Crime Investigator (majorly IT-related roles)

The crime investigator position is more of an umbrella term with several job titles within it. You may find yourself working as a digital forensics expert, digital forensics technician, information security crime investigator, cyber security forensic analyst, Digital forensics analyst, cyber IT/forensic/security incident responder, or cyber forensics analyst.

If you find yourself in any of these job titles, your main responsibility will be to investigate cybercrimes such as identity theft, ransomware, and data hacks. Cybercrime experts are a huge attraction to law enforcement agencies where there are tasked with collecting evidence and speaking to victims. They may also find themselves doing a lot of paperwork and even appearing in court.

Salary, qualifications and career prospects

Opposition within the cybercrime space would attract about $89,300 per year according to the U.S. BLS. Qualifications for positions within the cybercrime investigator positions may vary from one agency to another. You need at least a certification for an entry-level position and may have to pass physical level examinations as well as some drug tests.

As your advance in your cybercrime investigator career, you may end up working for a federal agency that may pay you more ($40,000 or more). You may also advance to become a cybercrime consultant, or even be a lecturer at a college.

Cryptanalyst

Another lucrative though highly demanding entry-level cybersecurity job is cryptanalyst. Cryptanalysts often find themselves working for government agencies, the military, or law enforcement.

A day in the life of a cryptanalyst involves using algorithms and mathematics to crack criminal codes as well as help encrypt sensitive data.

Salary, qualifications and career prospects

Cryptanalysts earn about 76,774 per year. To excel as a cryptanalyst, you need to have a good background in quantitative analysis, which means mathematics, especially calculus and algebra must be your cup of coffee.

In terms of programming abilities, you should be able to program in common languages such as Java, C++ C, Python and JavaScript. Furthermore, you need to have a good grasp of cryptanalysis tools such as CryptTool, Cryptol, and CryptoBench.

In terms of career prospects, a cryptanalyst can go on to become a cryptologist. Cryptologists are responsible for writing security protocols, algorithms and ciphers.

More Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs

If the above doesn’t appeal to you, you may want also to consider positions such as Junior penetration testers, source code auditors, security auditors or a junior security analyst.

How To Land An Entry-Level Cybersecurity Job in 3 Steps

From the foregoing, it’s no doubt that cybersecurity jobs are lucrative and have a promising future given the evolving nature of cyber threats we have today. If you wish to join this profession, get ready to:

  • Get a Certification
  • Pursue Junior Roles
  • Consider Lateral Moves

Can You Learn Cybersecurity on Your Own?

You can learn cyber security on your own by using available courses and learning material over the Internet. You may also sign up for free bootcamps online, which will help you to learn the basic concepts of cybersecurity and then register for certifications to solidify your knowledge in most topics.

Can You Get a Cybersecurity Job With No Experience?

For most entry-level cybersecurity jobs, work experience may not be a requirement, but some experience is beneficial. Most companies opt to train their team of cybersecurity professionals, which means you can land a job and get to have fieldwork experience very fast. For more senior positions in the cybersecurity industry, job experience is very necessary as well as certifications.

Is Cybersecurity a Good Career?

Yes. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected growth in the cyber security career by double digits every year for the next decade. Throughout the first half of 2021, the US had more than 465,000 cybersecurity job openings that were up for grabs.

Do Cybersecurity Experts Get Paid Well?

As cybercrimes evolve and include the use of AI, cybersecurity experts have become increasingly in high demand. On average, a top senior level position in cybersecurity attracts more than $100,000 per year in salaries. Their entry-level counterparts attract nearly $50,000 every year.

Is cybersecurity right for you? Are you ready to dive in?

Sign up for our Cyber Security Bootcamp and get in-demand skills for a guaranteed cyber security job. Besides, you stand a chance to earn one of the most competitive credentials in cyber security by signing up for this career-changing Bootcamp and win your first cyber security job in less than 6 months, guaranteed.