Career Paths For Individuals With A Cybersecurity Degree

By | February 7, 2024

Today, data is essential for the success and functionality of all organizations. As a result, companies have developed and adopted systems, programs, and applications that use the latest technology to collect, store, and share information. 

Cybersecurity aims to protect personal and company information from unauthorized access, theft, attacks, and damage. Therefore, it defends servers, systems, computers, and other electronic devices that store and disseminate information from leaks, breaches, and attacks.

This article will look at cybersecurity and explore its role in data protection. We will also examine different career options for a professional in this field. These cybersecurity career opportunities include ethical hacking, digital forensics, and security consulting. 

Why cybersecurity?

With the constant advancement and evolution of technology, cyber-attacks have become rampant, and big companies worldwide have been affected. Companies, therefore, leverage sophisticated technology to secure and protect their systems against cyber-attacks. The global cyber threat to companies is increasing. Cybercriminals often hack into an organization’s network and collect important information such as financial data, customer information and other vital corporate details. With such information, the criminals can damage the company’s reputation, hinder productivity, and affect data management.

According to a study conducted by Risk Based Security, nearly 8 billion records were stolen and exposed from different organizations in 2019 alone. Additionally, the study showed that public institutions, medical facilities, and retail companies experienced the most data breaches. 

Note that any business or organization that has a network system can be a target for cyber-attacks. However, with proper cybersecurity measures and protocols in place, it is easy for these organizations to protect their data and implement systems that complement the company’s objectives. Also, cybersecurity allows companies to identify potential breaches and develop frameworks to mitigate unnecessary attacks.  

Companies have invested heavily in cybersecurity solutions to curb the effects of cyber attacks. They aim to implement the best cybersecurity practices to respond to the rapid growth of attacks. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the cybersecurity industry is estimated to surpass the $250bn mark by 2025. Governments have also been intensely crippled and affected by regular attacks on their networks and systems. As a result, governments constantly update their security systems to prevent data loss. Advanced multi-layer network security systems and other cybersecurity practices have been implemented to curb and reduce cyber-attacks. 

How to become a cybersecurity professional

If you want to learn or enhance your cybersecurity knowledge, consider a Cybersecurity Online Master’s course at St. Bonaventure University. The online Master of Science in Cybersecurity program will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to protect businesses and individuals from malicious data theft and cyber-attacks. Thanks to its cutting-edge curriculum, you can master machine learning and AI skills, data mining, secure software design and more. The program will enable you to improve your technical and soft skills to help you succeed in cybersecurity.

Career opportunities for cybersecurity experts

Cybersecurity interruptions and threats have become a massive concern for individuals, companies, and governments as we rely heavily on technology. Cyber-attacks have significantly affected the education, health, manufacturing, and financial sectors. Therefore, cybersecurity experts are needed to improve and maximize the defenses in different network systems. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the employment rate for cybersecurity analysts will grow by 32% from 2022 to 2032. 

Cybersecurity is essential for foreseeing, analyzing, and stopping attacks. There are several career paths that a cybersecurity expert can take to make a positive impact on society at large. These career options include the following.

Ethical hacking

In cybersecurity, ethical hacking is used for user authentication, privacy protection and online information. Ethical hacking is an authorized practice that requires cybersecurity experts to bypass a system’s security protocols using a backdoor. Carrying out ethical hacking requires one to replicate the strategies and actions of an attacker. 

The essence of conducting an ethical hacking exercise is to identify the vulnerabilities within a computer system, an application, or a network that unethical hackers can exploit. Ethical hacking aims to propose and implement better security measures that will protect the company’s system from criminal attackers. 

As an ethical hacker, you must comply with specific laws, guidelines, standards, and regulations. The Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) is a regulatory framework that requires all institutions and firms to ensure that they can resist, respond to, and recover from all types of cyber threats and attacks. DORA ensures that companies only outsource ethical hacking services from specialists and penetration testing companies. Therefore, an ethical hacker needs to be conversant with the DORA framework. 

These professionals are responsible for conducting frequent hacking assessments, implementing risk management measures, and providing better security procedures to stay ahead of the constantly changing cyber dangers and attacks. Ethical hacking involves reconnaissance, scanning, gaining access, maintaining access, and covering tracks. Ethical hackers also need to conduct multiple penetration tests on company systems to identify potential security vulnerabilities. 

How to become an ethical hacker

As an ethical hacker, you will be required to master a variety of programming languages. JavaScript is the most common language used by ethical hackers. Java is suitable for software development, application development, and designing and developing systems and applications. Other programming languages needed for ethical hacking include SQL, Python, BASH, Perl, R and PHP. Also, as an ethical hacker, you should have a clear understanding of different operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Mac, and UNIX. 

Ethical hacking is an excellent career, but only if you find computer security, machine learning, AI, telecommunication, and network systems intriguing. It is vital to enroll under the EC-Council (International Council of E-Commerce Consultants) and be registered as a certified ethical hacker. As an ethical hacker, it is easy to attract the attention of prominent employers who are in dire need of your skills. 

Digital forensics

Computers and other digital devices are often used to commit all kinds of cybercrimes. In these cases, a computer specialist is required to access, retrieve, decode and report the binary information used to commit the crimes in question. Therefore, as an ethical hacker, this is a field that often requires your skills. Digital forensics is a branch of cybersecurity that mainly deals with recovering, investigating, and evaluating different materials in electronic devices used in cybercrime activities such as fraud, theft, and cyber-attacks. 

Digital forensics is a practice that focuses on recognizing, acquiring, classifying, processing, analyzing, and generating reports on electronically stored information. It helps in identifying and prosecuting lawbreakers who use modern technology to commit crimes. Digital forensics, also known as computer forensics, uses specialized techniques and tools to retrieve and access internet activities, deleted files, email and social media communications, and call histories from smartphones, digital storage media and computers. Therefore, digital forensics is critical in this era as it aids in law enforcement and implementing cybersecurity.  

Digital forensics is commonly used to identify the origin of a cyber-attack and present the findings to the relevant authorities. As a cyber-security expert, it is generally easy for you to manipulate computer systems and retrieve all kinds of hidden and deleted information. Just like ethical hacking, digital forensics professionals often identify weaknesses within a computer system that lead to cyber-attacks. In a fraud case, these professionals can analyze financial records and pinpoint faulty and skeptical transactions. 

How to become a digital forensics analyst

With knowledge of cybersecurity, it is easy to get into and succeed in digital forensics. However, this career path requires you to have the ability to integrate technology in fighting crime, which can be a fascinating area to be involved in. 

With technological advancements, companies are looking for individuals who will protect their digital assets at all costs. As a digital forensic professional, you can work in law enforcement agencies, private institutions, financial organizations, and government organizations. This career path offers endless career development opportunities. 

Cybersecurity consulting

Cybersecurity experts are among the most sought-after professionals as companies strive to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. Companies often hire cybersecurity consultants to analyze a computer system, software or network and point out its vulnerabilities. They are then required to develop and implement security measures and solutions that prevent further cyber-attacks. Security consulting has emerged as one of the most important careers in the ever-changing IT landscape. In the corporate world, information is power. Therefore, companies strive to protect their private information while gaining a market advantage over their competitors. 

As a consultant, it is your primary objective to maximize the efficiency of a system by implementing security measures against foreseeable attacks. Risk prevention, identification and response are critical in assessing security systems. A consultant is also responsible for delivering test findings and technical reports with attainable and working solutions to the client. 

How to become a cybersecurity consultant

Cybersecurity consultants need to understand ethical standards in coding and hacking. Additionally, they must be able to conduct penetration testing, and they need a good knowledge of operating systems, including Linus, UNIX, and Windows. Furthermore, proficiency in programming languages such as C++, C, Python, R and JavaScript is required. Also, having encryption techniques to control the risks posed by hackers is fundamental for system protection. 

You can kick-start your career as a cybersecurity consultant if you have a solid background and understanding of cybersecurity or computer systems. Also, if you like using technology to solve most of your problems, then this could be an exciting adventure for you. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), cybersecurity experts are among the most sought-after individuals in the current market. 

One advantage of this career is that you can work remotely from anywhere as long as you have access to the computer systems that need fixing. To become a cybersecurity consultant, you need a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in computer science, information security or other related fields. Also, professional certifications and job experience will make you the perfect candidate for most organizations. 

Risk analysis

Risk analysis in cybersecurity is the practice of identifying and evaluating potential cyber risks such as unauthorized access, phishing attacks, leakage of important information and software malfunction. Risk analysts are specialized in identifying areas within the system where an attack might occur. With this information, they can design solutions that will mitigate and increase system security and prevent the attack from happening. Analysts gather intel about the existing and potential cyber threats while studying the current cybersecurity trends and threats. The research conducted is then used to create frameworks and security measures that prevent further cyber-attacks. 

After conducting a system analysis, you will understand the resources required and where they are needed to prevent a potential cyber-attack. As a risk analyst, there are regulatory measures in place that guide you on the best practices to adhere to as your complete tasks. The essence of risk assessment is to pinpoint specific vulnerabilities that need urgent attention. While carrying out a system assessment, it is important to note down the map of the system. This includes the interconnection between all devices in the system, such as computers, routers, phones, tablets, projectors, servers and printers. With this map, it is easy to pinpoint vulnerable areas that need attention to prevent unnecessary attacks.

To identify potential threats, you and your team will conduct a thorough assessment of all parts of the system. Using a software-based vulnerability scanner, you will not only identify weaknesses within the system but also know the suitable tools and procedures that will mitigate the potential threat. When conducting a risk assessment procedure, it is important to use an organizational risk register. This is a list that highlights all potential risks within the system, their probability, and the impact they will have on the system. By determining the probability of occurrence and impact of a potential threat, you will design strategic measures that will improve the security of the entire system. 

A cybersecurity risk analysis acts as a detailed template for future analysis sessions. It offers long-term cost reduction, and prevents data losses, data leakages and regulatory fines, while creating organizational awareness of the importance of data protection. 

How to become a risk analyst

If you are interested in a career in cybersecurity risk analysis, it is important to have an understanding of cybersecurity and its importance in risk assessment procedures. 

Additionally, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in computer science, information technology, engineering or any other related field is essential. Also, an extra certification from APMG (NCSP-P) or ISC-2 is vital in making you a perfect candidate for potential employers. 


It is undeniable that cybersecurity is crucial for the success of any organization. All organizations strive to safeguard their sensitive data against damage, breaches, and attacks. When an organization can protect its data, it will sustain and increase its reputation, improve its productivity, comply with data and cybersecurity regulations, train and educate its employees quickly, and be better at delegating tasks to remote employees. Importantly, cybersecurity allows companies to manage their data effectively. 

Pursuing a career in cybersecurity may not be easy, but it is worth it. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in this field is quite expensive. However, once you have the skills, it is easy to gain the attention of some of the major companies. There are many career paths you can choose as a cybersecurity specialist. Before embarking on a professional cybersecurity journey, it is essential to understand the demands and requirements of each career in cybersecurity before deciding. 

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