Masters in Cybersecurity Salary: Is Master Degree Worth It?

Once you decide to enroll in a cybersecurity degree program, you’ll probably want some sort of assurance that when you graduate, you’ll be able to not only find a job but earn a good salary.

Salary is even more pertinent if you are supporting a family. If you’re sure cybersecurity is the right field for you to pursue, be assured you’ve chosen a career path that promises a high job growth rate and pays well too.

With appropriate cybersecurity training, you will be eligible for a variety of computer technology jobs in many industries.

Job Overview

As our reliance on data continues to expand, so does the prevalence and likelihood of more advanced, successful cyberattacks.

One look at Bloomberg News’s recent analysis of over 200 major breaches portrays the severity of what’s at risk for businesses, especially those in the Technology sector.

The weaponization of AI by hackers will only increase the effectiveness and frequency of attacks, which is why companies across all industries are hiring for high-end cybersecurity talent now.

There’s currently a 25 percent gap between demand for qualified cybersecurity experts and available talent, according to a recent Capgemini study. And it gets worse.

Cybersecurity Ventures reports a projected shortfall of 3.5 million cybersecurity experts as soon as 2021.

Today, businesses will do anything to secure their most vulnerable assets from cyberattacks, which means salaries for top talent continue to rise.

Find out the highest-paid cybersecurity roles for 2019 and the rates you’ll need to offer if you plan to hire for these skill sets in the future.

Different roles under cybersecurity and salaries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for all information security analysts was $90,120 as of May 2015.

PayScale estimates the average salary for cybersecurity analysts, specifically at $75,118 as of January 2017.

The BLS also states that employment opportunities for this field should increase by 18% or more between 2014 and 2024.

This growth in jobs is tremendous than the average for other industries.

Further, according to the BLS, the computer systems design industry is the top employer for this profession, based on the number of individuals employed.

Average annual salaries for typical cybersecurity roles come from Cyberseek.

Besides the type of organization, average salaries also tend to vary based on geography, years of working experience, and size of the organization.

There also are specific types of cybersecurity roles with different salaries:

  • Application security engineer: As more companies are using third-party products to build their applications, it is becoming clear that it is vital to ensure these solutions are secure from hackers. This role is specialized in securing software used by the organization, and providing that compliance and privacy rules are followed: $100,000 to $210,000.
  • Network security analyst: The responsibilities in this role are to manage the security of the company’s networks and information systems: $90,000 to $150,000.
  • IS security manager: As data is becoming more vulnerable to different types of attacks, it is more important than ever to have a manager who is highly qualified to secure the most sensitive data from attack: $120,000 to $180,000. Additional data jobs include Data Analyst Salary, Data Manager Salary, and Data Scientist Salary. Learn more about How to Score a Career in Big Data.
  • Penetration tester: Companies hire these workers so that they can regularly test the effectiveness of their cybersecurity efforts, and ID any potential vulnerability. This specialty of cybersecurity should rise in demand as the years go by $80,000 to $130,000.
  • Malware Analyst: A Malware Analyst is responsible for helping an organization understand the viruses, worms, bots, Trojans, and other malicious software that threaten its network daily. In this capacity, Malware Analysts commonly work with Computer Forensics Experts and Incident Responders in the event of an intrusion or suspicious computer behavior. They help to identify malicious programs that may have infiltrated an organization’s computer systems. This involves conducting a static and dynamic analysis of the suspect code. Hence, establishing signatures of the malware’s presence, as well as developing tools that can help protect the organization’s networks against future intrusions. Malware Analysts make a median salary of $84,739, says PayScale. They can expect to earn at least $52,156, but some can take home as much as $123,291 a year.
  • IS security engineer: Typically, at work under the IS manager, the security engineer is in charge of keeping a network that is free of viruses. Also responsible for doing regular security testing and properly communicating security systems protocols to the other employees in the company: $90,000 to $150,000.
  • Incident Responder: An Incident Responder is one who is responsible for addressing security incidents, threats, and vulnerabilities that arise in an organization. Individuals who aspire to become Incident Responders must be prepared to monitor organization networks for intrusions, perform security audits actively. Also, conduct penetration testing, malware analysis, reverse engineering, and design measures. That way, they not only minimize the damage of a given incident but that also prevent a similar intrusion from ever happening again. Incident Responders make a median salary between $70,217. Overall, they can expect to earn between $48,557 and $105,171, reveals PayScale.
    Other related computer and technical careers that often involve cybersecurity include the following, with median salaries noted:
  • The computer and information research scientist: Inventing and designing new ways to approach computer technology, and find innovative ways to use current technology. Also, study and solve complex security-related issues that affect business, medicine, science, and other related fields: $111,840.
  • Computer and information systems manager: May be referred to as information technology (IT) managers. Responsible for planning, coordinating, and directing all computer and security-related activities in the company. Help to determine what the IT and security goals are for the company and how to implement them.: $135,800.
  • Computer network architect: Design and build complex data communication networks, such as LANs, WANs, and intranets. Networks can range from small ones between two offices to huge ones that serve many clients across the world. These systems must be secure from cybercriminals, so cybersecurity skills are paramount: $101,200.
  • Computer Forensics Expert: A Computer Forensics Expert is responsible for analyzing evidence gathered from computers, networks, and other data storage devices to investigate incidents of computer crime. These individuals commonly work closely with law enforcement agencies. They compile evidence for legal cases, draft technical reports or offer expert testimony in a trial, and train law enforcement in computer evidence tactics. Those who wish to pursue this particular career path must be familiar with several programming languages and operating systems, as well as with cryptography principles, eDiscovery tools, and forensic software. Computer Forensics Experts make a median salary of $82,231. They can expect to earn at least $57,037, according to PayScale. However, given the possibility of commissions, tips, and over time, they can make as much as $119,337.
  • Computer programmer: Write and test computer code that is secure and allows various computer applications and software programs to function properly. They transform designs that are created by developers into clear instructions that computers and devices can follow: $79,800.
  • Computer systems analyst: Sometimes referred to as systems architects. They are responsible for studying computer systems and procedures for a company and designing security solutions. As a result, they help them to operate more efficiently, bringing IT and business together by having a complete understanding of the needs and limits of each: $87,200.
  • Software developer: Creative minds that devise all types of computer programs; cybersecurity skills are also needed to ensure that the software is safe from malware and cyberattacks. Some software developers create apps that let people do specific tasks, and others will create the systems underneath that run the electronic devices: $102,300.
  • Web developer: is responsible for designing and creating websites. Developers need to have and work with professionals with cybersecurity skills to create sites that are as secure as possible. They are in charge of the technical aspects of the site, including capacity and performance, which are essential for allowing the maximum amount of traffic on the website: $66,100.
  • Computer systems analyst: May be referred to as systems architects. They study the current computer systems and procedures and devise solutions to assist the company to operate more efficiently: $87,200.

Final words

If you wanted to know where the money is flowing, it’s clear that a lot of it is going to cybersecurity professionals.

With the increase and prevalence of cyberattacks across industries, companies of all sizes must adjust budgets to allow for new cybersecurity hires. Failing to improve your cybersecurity before the end of 2019 could result in a cyberattack.

That might cause irreversible damage to your brand.

Eliminate stress over your company’s cybersecurity effectiveness by hiring for one of these specialized roles today.


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