Who doesn’t secretly harbor a desire to act like a hero? For computer-savvy individuals who want to make a real difference in the world, becoming proficient in cybersecurity means obtaining the skills, knowledge, and experience to “save the day” and be a hero for the companies that hire them.
Indeed, cybersecurity is a booming field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that cybersecurity professionals, also known as information security analysts, earn approximately $48.80 per hour or $103,590 per year (median pay). The current number of jobs is estimated at 141,200.
Between 2020-2030, the BLS projects there will be an additional 47,100 information security analyst positions, representing an increase of 33%, which is higher than average job growth for this period.
Information security analysts oversee the planning, creating, and implementation of security protocols to keep a company’s computer systems safe against malicious actors. They typically find work at financial or business companies, computer companies, and consulting agencies. Any business that relies on networked computers may find itself needing cybersecurity professionals either on staff full time or available on a consulting basis, meaning that this kind of work can be pretty flexible.
Why is the cybersecurity field booming? The more people use devices, from smartphones and laptops to tablets and desktops, the more opportunities for criminal hackers to break in. Accordingly, society needs more cybersecurity professionals in place.
Is cybersecurity right for you? Here are seven good reasons why you should consider earning a relevant graduate degree to pursue a career in the field:
1. Cyber and Ransomware Attacks Are at an All-Time High
If you’ve been wondering if cybersecurity is a good career, keep in mind that demand for cybersecurity professionals is only increasing, especially with cyberattacks and ransomware attacks being at an all-time high. As ComputerWeekly noted, the amount of ransomware attacks has risen by 93% from last year.
One explanation for this recent rise in threats is that criminals have stepped up their game with what’s referred to as the “triple extortion” technique. Hackers steal sensitive information from an organization and then threaten the company that they will release the data to the public unless they make a ransom payment.
So, not only do they hold the data hostage, refusing to unlock it until they receive a cryptocurrency payment, the hackers can make more money by threatening to make public their sensitive information about customers or the company’s intellectual property.
All kinds of companies have seen ransomware attacks, from hospitals finding themselves unable to access patient records in the emergency room to fuel pipelines unable to pump oil to customers and all types of businesses in between.
Not only can a person with a master’s in cybersecurity help companies recover from such an attack, he or she can also help a company protect itself, so its data stays safe and secure and operations continue as normal.
2. The Number of People and Devices Online That Can Be Hacked Is Growing at Extreme Rates
It is difficult to find people walking around without a smartphone these days. Individuals even take their tablets and phones to bed with them, reading social media posts, and entertaining themselves until they fall asleep.
Some people use multiple devices, such as one smartphone for work and one for home, and their jobs may also require them to use a dedicated desktop or laptop computer in addition to their personal equipment. And when people pair their smartphones with their computers, there are additional weaknesses for criminal hackers to exploit.
With so many people having such an intimate relationship with technology, criminal hackers seek to exploit weaknesses in software and hardware to take over devices.
3. Our Reliance on Technology Is at an All-Time High
People think nothing of using their smartphone to make touch-free payments at cash registers or arranging banking transfers from a laptop. They also ignore warnings about using a public Wi-Fi network that could be teeming with hackers waiting to steal their login credentials.
Individuals who do not take security seriously will use easy-to-guess passwords that can be found in a dictionary. And even people who pay attention to security can be tricked by hackers.
A criminal will send a person a text message or email with a link, posing as a legitimate service. But once the victim opens that link, it causes malware to download to the phone or computer, allowing criminals to steal information. Doing so allows them to commit identity theft, draining bank accounts and locking people out of their various online services.
It’s often challenging for ordinary people to keep track of all the potential hazards of online computing. That’s one reason why we need more individuals to earn a master’s in cybersecurity, to help protect innocent folks against criminal intruders and thieves.
4. Nearly All Transactions Are Done Online
The growing threat of cybercrime is spurred by the fact that practically all transactions today are conducted online. Statista points out that more than two billion people ordered services or goods online in 2020. In the same year, the number of e-retail sales climbed above $4.2 trillion globally.
With more people than ever before working from home to practice social distancing, individuals have been spending more time online, in video conferences, and connected to their companies’ databases and other online information systems.
Furthermore, with people staying home, deliveries of all types have soared, increasing the potential for cybercriminals to attack and steal as they access online transactions.
5. The Government Is Pushing Companies to Increase Data Protection
Naturally, the federal government has a vested interest in keeping America’s computational infrastructure safe and secure. It’s vital from a national security standpoint as well as for economic reasons. For example, the U.S. Defense Department has created a process to make sure defense industrial base contractors are able to meet all cybersecurity requirements involved when dealing with controlled, unclassified information.
As FedTech put it, “That process, known as the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, has undergone many evolutions since it was formally introduced in early 2020 and is, in fact, still evolving.” FedTech explains that “CMMC is designed to ensure that defense contractors are all meeting at least a basic level of cybersecurity hygiene for protecting sensitive defense information.”
An expert with a degree in cybersecurity will be invaluable to any company that works in the defense contracting space since there is so much at stake that needs protection.
And providing services for CMMC compliance will make you attractive to other companies that need help in shoring up their defenses, even if they have no direct connection to the military. Organizations large and small recognize the crucial role of protecting military technology against criminals and malicious nations. They will understand the value of hiring a professional with a master’s in cybersecurity.
6. Make the World a Safer Place! Now is the Time to Apply
Anyone with a strong interest in computers, software, and networking should know that cybersecurity is a good career to pursue. As seen from the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 47,100 new jobs between now and 2030, you can anticipate joining their ranks.
With more and more people’s devices becoming vulnerable to threats from cybercriminals, there will be plenty of jobs to keep them safe.
Once you earn your degree, you can play a role in protecting individuals and entire companies against the growing menace of ransomware and other malware attacks. There’s no time like the present to apply to work toward a Cybersecurity MS at Lewis University today.