Cyber Security affects everyone. From the government to businesses, to individuals - nobody is exempt from cyber threats and crimes. While technology has undoubtedly advanced and made our lives much more digitally enriched, it has also made us prone to cyber-attacks and data breaches. More importantly, cyber-attacks have now become highly complex and sophisticated, thanks to the availability of advanced tools (exploit kits). Even the slightest system vulnerability or human weakness could become an entry point for cybercriminals to exploit.

With the incidents of cyber hacks and security breaches rising as we speak, the global cost of cybercrime has increased from $445 billion in 2014 to $600 billion in 2017. And according to Jupiter Research, this cost may reach $2 trillion in 2019.

This is why cyber security is gaining traction across industries today and has become utterly necessary, encouraging professionals to take up cyber security as a career.

Career prospects in Cyber Security

Owing to the ever-increasing demand for trained professionals in this domain, the career outlook for cyber security jobs is highly promising. Here are the six most lucrative career prospects in cyber security :

1. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

CISOs are responsible for overseeing and managing the general operations of an organization's IT security division. They plan, coordinate, and supervise computer, network, and data security needs of the company. Usually, CISOs work in close collaboration with the upper-level management to identify the unique cyber security needs of the company.

2. Information Security Analyst

Information Security Analysts plan, design, and execute programs and other necessary security measures to protect computer and network systems of a company. They also build and implement strategies for data recovery in the event of a cyberattack.

3. Forensic Computer Analyst

Forensic Computer Analysts are like detectives of the Cyber Security world. After a security breach has occurred, they review and evaluate all computer-based information for any evidence that may point to the cause of attack (vulnerabilities in the system, internal employee errors, external hack/attack, etc.) and respond to the situation accordingly. They use specialized software programs to identify system vulnerabilities and recover data from damaged/destroyed devices.

4. Security Architect

Security Architects work in various sectors, including government agencies, private corporations, or non-profit organizations. They are responsible for establishing, protecting, and maintaining the network security of an organization. Security Architects also fix issues in the security systems (if any) as well as those depicted in analysis reports of security breach incidents.

5. IT Security Engineer

IT Security Engineers are responsible for creating unique and robust designs for security systems that can efficiently handle and counter cyberthreats, hacks, and attacks. They also conduct timely security checks to detect potential system vulnerabilities, write automation scripts for tracking security incidents, and perform other system maintenance tasks.

6. Security Systems Administrator

Security Systems Administrators perform a host of functions related to computer, network, and data security systems, including installing, administering, maintaining, and troubleshooting. Apart from supervising the daily operations of security systems, they also help develop the security processes of a company.

5 Cyber Security Certifications to Help you Become a Cyber Security Expert

1. CompTIA Network+ Certification

The CompTIA Network+ Certification is a beginner-level course. It offers the perfect foundational platform for aspirants to learn how computers and networks communicate and interact with each other. To obtain this certification, you must prove your efficiency in networking concepts, networking operations, network security & infrastructure, and network troubleshooting. This certification can help you land entry-level job roles in IT.

2. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) Certification

The Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is offered by the EC-Council (International Council of E-Commerce Consultants). Candidates must possess two years of working experience in IT. A CEH certified professional possesses extensive knowledge of ethical hacking practices including reconnaissance, enumeration, footprinting, system hacking, viruses, sniffers, denial-of-service attacks, session hijacking, and much more.

3. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Certification

The CISSP certification is an advanced-level credential offered by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, better known as (ISC)2. Designed for experienced security professionals, this certification requires the individual to be a graduate/equivalent degree holder and have either five years of experience in at least two of (ISC)2's eight Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) domains or four years of experience in at least two of the CBK domains.

4. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) Certification

CISM is an ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) certification designed for IT professionals engaged in the development, management, and administration of information security systems in enterprise-level applications. To obtain this certification, you must have a minimum of five years of experience in enterprise security.

5. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) Certification

Another certification offered by ISACA, the CRISC certification aims to train IT professionals to better understand, manage, and mitigate IT risks. It focuses on four core grounds of security job-related practices - risk identification, risk assessment, risk response, and reporting and monitoring. It requires one to have three years of experience of working with IT risks and information security controls.

What skills must a Cyber Security Expert possess?

Every Cyber Security Expert must possess the following skills:

- Solid foundational knowledge of IT fundamentals (web application, system administration, information security controls)
- Proficiency in programming in more than one language (Python, Java, Ruby, C, C++, PHP, Perl)
- Any of the certifications mentioned above
- Proficiency in database management and administration
- Competency in working with a range of intrusion detection software to detect potential threats and malware
- Expertise in malware analysis and disaster recovery planning
- Expertise in risk analysis and mitigation
- Expertise in cloud security
- Excellent oral/written communication skills, analytical thinking skills, and leadership skills

The best and proven way to acquire these skills and gain mastery in the domain of cyber security is to enroll in an online professional certification course. These courses range from beginner-friendly to advanced-level, covering a wide range of areas in cyber security. Taught by expert mentors, these certification courses employ a strategic approach to cyber security, and if used correctly, they can take your career to new heights.