Super hero with computer circuit showing that a cyber security career starts with taking cyber security courses online
Want a Cyber Security Career? Start With Cyber Security Courses Online

Want a Cyber Security Career? Start With Cyber Security Courses Online

Ever wondered why there’s a rise in demand for cyber security professionals? The major reason for the rise in demand for cyber security experts is the rise in the number of online attacks and data breaches that frequently affect various organizations. As a result, there has never been a better time in history than now to consider joining this profession.

But before you do so, take some time to determine what area in cyber security you would be interested to specialize in. Yes, there are many different jobs leading to different career paths. Besides just reading about the different options, one of the best approach is to take a couple of cyber security courses online to see what fits your career goals and find your calling.

Why are cyber security careers lucrative?

Although a career in cyber security might be demanding, it is also highly rewarding. According to employment statistics, cyber security jobs have increased threefold compared to other IT-related jobs. In addition, cyber security professionals earn 9% more than other information technology professionals. Cyber security professionals have an average salary of $166,000 per year and an hourly rate of $55.77. In comparison to the figures posted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this rate is three times the national average.

It is impossible not to wonder why cyber security careers are so lucrative. Answering this question requires a closer look at the genesis of this occupation. Cyber security vocations were once reserved for highly specialized industries such as government agencies, for example the FBI, and defense contractors working with the military. However, the careers have now become mainstream and many industries require professionals to keep their systems and data secure. The high demand for cyber security experts has led to the high salaries reported by cyber security professionals. Currently, there are many opportunities to pursue your cyber security career by working with government agencies, aerospace firms, the financial industry, the health industry, as well as many other private organizations that need to keep their data safe. The growth in demand for these professionals has outpaced the supply of such trained individuals. Estimates predict that by 2021, there will be over 3.5 million vacant positions for cyber security professionals.

What are the potential career paths and jobs?

Although pursuing a cyber security career is rewarding, finding the right path can be a difficult task for a beginner. However, we have gathered useful advice that will get you started in this line of work.

Before you choose which online course you’ll take, you need to understand various cyber security career opportunities available for you depending on your experience level.

Entry-level careers

Entry-level careers in cyber security are largely technical in nature and include roles such as systems engineer, system administration, web developer, IT technician, network engineer, and security specialist.

Mid-level roles

Mid-level roles have both technical and management responsibilities and include titles such as security technician, security analyst, incident responder, IT auditor, cyber security consultant, and penetration tester.

Typical career paths for security consultants

A security consultant analyzes security threats and offers solutions for protecting IT infrastructure. This role requires you to assess a wide range of variables and situations that might compromise the system. The average salary for this role is about $106,190 per year. This job may require 3-5 years of experience working in the IT field. Below is an example pathway to becoming a security consultant.

  • Earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field. Conversely, you could gain relevant experience on the job with relevant certifications that you can pursue online.
  • Secure an entry-level post as a general IT professional.
  • Gain promotion to a mid-level position an IT security administrator, analyst, engineer or auditor.
  • Horne your skills with additional cyber security training courses and certifications.
  • Earn a security consultant position.

Typical career path for penetration testers or ethical hackers

Penetration testers are also known as ethical hackers. Their job is to find weaknesses in computer systems, networks, and applications by applying the same skills and tools that criminal hackers use to penetrate information systems. Ethical hackers mimic real-life cyber attacks to expose the weaknesses of the systems in case of a real cyber attack. The roadmap to becoming an ethical hacking or penetration testing career is as follows:

  • Attain a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, cyber security or related field. Alternatively, one can gain relevant industry experience by earning various certifications related to ethical hacking.
  • Land an entry-level post working as a security or system administrator or a network engineer.
  • Pursue various ethical hacking certifications. You can achieve this by taking various cyber security courses online that specialize in ethical hacking.
  • Land a position as an ethical hacker or pentester.
  • Advance to senior roles as either a senior penetration tester, a security architect or consultant.

Advanced-level roles

Advanced roles mostly include management aspects of cyber security with titles such as cyber security manager, cyber security architect, cyber security engineer, and chief information security officer.

If you are passionate about problem-solving and creating overall strategies, a cyber security architect career might be suitable for you. You will be working on designing and implementing security strategies for your organization. This career path is rewarding with a yearly average salary of $118, 681. The educational requirements for this job include earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. You could also attain similar qualifications by gaining experience through working after earning relevant certifications. Various cyber security courses online offer professional certifications that could help you get started. Since this is an advanced level role, you might need some years of experience working as a mid-level security analyst or engineer.

Typical career path for a cyber security architect

  • Acquire a bachelor’s degree in computer science, cyber security, information technology or a related field. You could also gain working experience through working after acquiring relevant certifications without necessarily having a college degree. You can find various cyber security courses online that offer professional certification.
  • Join the IT field like security, systems, or network administrator.
  • Earn promotion to a mid-level role as a security engineer or analyst.
  • Land yourself a cyber security architect role.

Typical career path for Chief Information Security Officer

A chief information security officer is a senior-level reporting to the chief information officer or the CEO. The job is very lucrative and comes with a lot of freedom and responsibilities. CISO earns an average salary of $156,000 per year. It takes about 7-12 years to earn this position. Out of the years required for this position, 5 should be spent managing cyber security teams and operations. A typical career path for this position might be as follows:

  • As with other cyber security career positions, acquiring a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, cyber security or a related field is a bonus. Alternatively, you could gain real life experience working in an IT industry after earning relevant certifications. There are many options in which you can find appropriate online cyber security courses online suitable for this career path.
  • The second step is to join the information technology field as either a computer programmer or an analyst.
  • Acquiring more cyber security certifications and training will be important for moving to the next level.
  • Earning a promotion as a security engineer, analyst, consultant or auditor will propel you closer to attaining the role of a CISO.
  • Taking a managerial position in managing cyber security employees and teams will be the next step in climbing the career ladder.
  • Taking a management course such as an MBA with a focus on IT security will be the next step in your quest for a senior CISO role.
  • The last step will be getting a promotion as a chief information security officer.

Cyber security courses online

While some courses may require a degree in computer science or related field, it is not necessarily required. In fact, most of the well-respected cyber security certifications do not require any college degree at all. Most of the cyber security skills are a result of many years of experience from people working in the IT industry, some of who had no college degrees. The best place to start is by taking cyber security courses online offered by various learning platforms. Most of these high quality online courses will give you an opportunity to increase your knowledge of cyber security and test which cyber security career path is suitable for you. Some of these cyber security classes are cheaper than undergraduate programs and offer important industry connections and hands on project experience in real the world. Many IT professionals get their cyber security career break after taking an online course in cyber security where they meet industry experts and take part in important projects.

If you are a total beginner with no IT skills, the best way to start is by learning some IT basics. You can take a free online course that will furnish you with basic IT skills preparing you to pursue a cyber security career. After gaining the basic computer skills necessary for learning, you can take the more specialized cyber security courses online starting with introductory courses for beginners and progressing to more advanced courses.

The field of cyber security is constantly changing as attackers develop new techniques and defenders have to continuously keep up. To advance your career, you cannot afford to stay stagnant and must always be picking up new knowledge including securing new operating systems, data science, etc.

Whichever career path you wish to pursue, there is always an online cyber security course that will suit your needs. Various online learning platforms offer you a selection to choose from.

StationX offers a wide range of almost 100 cyber security courses online, covering many areas including ethical hacking, penetration testing, networking security, security coding, digital forensics, and incident response. It also provides courses for individuals pursuing top security certifications and preparing for examinations. Cyber security courses online allow you to learn at your own speed and receive professional certificates after completion.


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