Cybersecurity: Exploring the Importance and Career Opportunities in 2024

Cybersecurity remains a fast-growing field in 2024 thanks to technology advancements and geo-political conflict. Find out more about top careers.
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  • Cybercrime is a growing threat to businesses, governments, and citizens.
  • Emerging cybersecurity analysts need a strong command of offensive and defensive security strategies.
  • Educated, skilled professionals can assume one of many well-paying cybersecurity careers.
  • Cybersecurity is increasingly critical, and a bachelor's degree in this subject can pay off handsomely.

A cybersecurity bachelor's degree prepares students to identify cyberthreats and take effective countermeasures against them. As people worldwide conduct more and more business online, digital security grows increasingly important to citizens, governments, and corporations alike.

Meanwhile, cybersecurity job openings consistently outstrip the qualified professionals available to fill them. Digital security threats grow more complex, geo-political conflicts increase, and today's technology professionals retire, creating more and more cybersecurity jobs for trained experts.

Emerging careers in cybersecurity include information security analysts and cybersecurity engineers. The field also needs researchers who can investigate the security ramifications of artificial intelligence, cloud storage, and the Internet of Things.

Why is Cybersecurity so Important?

By definition, cybercrime is any crime involving computers, including phishing scams, hacking, malware, ransomware, cyberbullying, and cyberterrorism.

Cybercriminals often steal sensitive information or disrupt business operations, causing financial losses and reputational damage. These criminals may sell data on the dark web or share the information with malicious actors.

Cybercrime Magazine projects that cybercrime damage will exceed $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, and cybersecurity expenses between 2021 and 2025 will reach $1.75 trillion. As a result, 2023 saw approximately 3.5 million global cybersecurity job openings worldwide.

Cybercrime issues on the rise:

  • Phishing scams
  • Online intellectual property infringements
  • Identity theft
  • Cyberstalking
  • Ransomware
  • Child pornography
  • Drug trafficking
  • Credit card fraud

Check Out These Online Cybersecurity Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Offensive vs. Defensive

Offensive cybersecurity requires looking at threats and systems through the eyes of an attacker. Professionals taking this approach emphasize threat prevention, detection, and response. They often conduct cyberattack simulations or white hat hacking.

Defensive cybersecurity approaches cyberthreats as a defender. A defensive cybersecurity professional builds prevention, detection, and response systems as threats arise. An ideal cybersecurity protocol balances offensive and defensive security.

Offensive vs. Defensive
Offensive Security Defensive Security
Purpose Actively seeks out vulnerabilities and threats within a system Builds and maintains robust systems that resist threats
Goal To prevent threats and foil hackers To reduce disruptions and secure assets
Techniques Penetration testing, phishing simulation, vulnerability assessment, and post-exploitation reviews Employee training, firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion prevention and detection
Knowledge Networking, programming languages, white hat hacking, and social engineering Data protection, endpoint security, incident response planning, and user awareness training
Skills Scripting languages, vulnerability scanning, attack recognition, and network security control Analysis, problem-solving, hacking, and computer forensics

Cybersecurity professionals should hold offensive and defensive security skills to protect computer systems and networks from cyberattacks. Talented and knowledgeable security experts can assume well-paying careers in cybersecurity.

Salary and Career Outlook for Cybersecurity Professionals

Cybersecurity professionals are among the most in-demand professionals in the world. Serving in this field requires an aptitude for hacking, problem-solving, and security development.

More specifically, top-ranked cybersecurity skills in 2023 include security compliance, cloud security, application development security, and identity and access management.

Information Security Analyst

  • Median Annual Salary: $112,500 (BLS, 2022)
  • Projected Job Growth: +32% (BLS, 2022)

Information security analysts protect and maintain their organization's security. These professionals monitor cyberprotection systems, investigate possible breaches, check for vulnerabilities, create security reports, and recommend enhancements.

To become an information security analyst, you typically need a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity or a related field. You may also benefit from experience in an information technology job. Some companies require their security analysts to hold professional certifications such as Security+ or certified information systems security professional.

Computer and Information Research Scientists

  • Median Annual Salary: $136,620 (BLS, 2022)
  • Projected Job Growth: +23% (BLS, 2022)

Computer and information research scientists design new or innovative uses for technology, and some of these professionals teach computer science at the postsecondary level. Computer scientists can specialize in one of several fields, including cybersecurity.

They often need extensive knowledge of computer languages, engineering, and threat models. Postsecondary teachers typically need a doctorate in the field, but cybersecurity researchers for the CIA, technology companies, or healthcare organizations may earn a six-figure income with a bachelor's degree.

Security Director

  • Average Annual Salary: $99,920 (Payscale, Nov. 2023)

A security director is responsible for keeping an organization's assets, employees, visitors, and physical plant safe from harm. They may educate and train employees on security protocols, oversee the security team, and create and implement crisis preparedness plans.

They may lead teams that include cybersecurity specialists, or they could engage in cyberattack prevention themselves.

Cybersecurity Engineer

  • Average Annual Salary: $101,620 (Payscale, Nov. 2023)

Cybersecurity engineers build the tools and safety mechanisms that help protect corporate data and information. Their responsibilities often include penetration testing, network maintenance, and IT system security.

To become a cybersecurity engineer, you may need a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, a professional certification in a similar field, an internship, or a master's degree. Security engineers may specialize in architecture, risk, government compliance, exploit response, or data loss.

Chief Information Security Officer

  • Average Annual Salary: $173,230 (Payscale, Nov. 2023)

A chief information security officer (CISO) is the top executive responsible for a corporation's information, technology, and data security. These professionals manage company-wide technology risks in collaboration with other corporate leaders.

They evaluate their company's risk posture and design and implement solutions to cybergovernance, risk, and compliance concerns. CISOs typically report to the CEO or the corporate board of directors, and they usually earn high six-figure salaries.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cybersecurity

Is cybersecurity a good career?

Cybersecurity experts can enjoy engaging, high-paying jobs in a fast-growing career landscape. According to the (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the worldwide cybersecurity industry needs another 3.4 million professionals, and the numbers are increasing.

Companies know their need for cyberprotection, but 43% say they cannot find enough qualified talent to meet it. This gap became particularly evident at advanced levels.

Why is cybersecurity more important than ever?

In 2023, IBM reported that the worldwide average cost of a data breach was $4.45 million — up 15% over the previous three years. Data breaches can start with employee mistakes, malicious acts by IT professionals, or criminal penetration by individuals or organizations.

With the current threat-riddled business landscape, risk assessment, data protection, and security enhancement are becoming more critical. As a result, businesses, nonprofits, healthcare companies, and government agencies all need cybersecurity specialists.

Is an online BS in cybersecurity worth it?

An online bachelor's degree in cybersecurity can provide a quick return on investment by preparing you for high-paying jobs such as information security analyst, security engineer, or information technology manager.

In Nov. 2023, Payscale projected that people with this degree earn an average of $76,000 per year, and the National Center for Education Statistics states that an undergraduate public university in the U.S. charges an average of $9,700 annually.

Will AI replace cybersecurity jobs?

Researchers at Goldman Sachs project that artificial intelligence tools will replace 7% of U.S. jobs, including writers, accountants, and even a few cybersecurity engineers. In general, however, the amount of open positions in careers that work with and complement AI far outnumber that loss.

Page last reviewed November 27, 2023. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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