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Highest Paying Cybersecurity Jobs in 2022

Highest-Paying Cybersecurity Jobs in 2024

16 minute read | February 16, 2024

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The cybersecurity landscape has evolved, shifting from generalists to specialists amid rising cyber threats and industry growth. This transformation has opened doors to lucrative opportunities for professionals with niche expertise.

If you’re curious about the highest-paying roles in cybersecurity, our guide is your essential resource. We’ve distilled the key details of top-tier positions, from responsibilities to requirements, offering insights into the most rewarding paths. Whether you’re entering the field or seeking advancement, dive into our comprehensive overview to uncover where the greatest financial and professional growth prospects lie.

Do Cyber Security Jobs Pay Well?

Yes. Cybersecurity is a lucrative field. Entry-level jobs begin at $50K, and as you gain experience, you can reach six figures quickly. You don’t need a degree, and some knowledge in IT and other transferable organizational skills can help you land a well-paying cybersecurity job.

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Highest Paying Cybersecurity Jobs

Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)

A Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is a senior-level executive within an organization, tasked with establishing and maintaining the enterprise vision, strategy, and program to ensure information assets and technologies are adequately protected. The CISO is the cornerstone of the organization’s cybersecurity efforts, requiring not only a deep knowledge of information security management systems but also exceptional soft skills such as communication and public speaking to effectively lead and advocate for cybersecurity across the organization.

Average Salary: Depending on the size and location of the organization, a CISO can earn anywhere between $200,000 – $300,000. CISOs for small companies will earn closer to $100,000.

General Requirements:

  • Experience in Security Leadership or Administration: A proven track record in security leadership roles, demonstrating the ability to develop and execute security strategies.
  • Familiarity with Industry Frameworks and Tools: In-depth knowledge of industry-standard cybersecurity frameworks and tools to guide the organization’s security posture.
  • Strong Leadership Skills: Exceptional leadership abilities to guide and motivate cybersecurity teams and to advocate for security priorities to stakeholders across the organization.
  • Technical Background: A well-rounded technical background in information security to oversee complex security infrastructures and to make informed decisions on security investments and initiatives.

Cyber Security Director

A Cyber Security Director plays a pivotal role in shaping and executing the organization’s information security strategy, as well as overseeing the day-to-day operations of the cybersecurity departments. This leadership position involves organizing threat assessments, ensuring teams are prepared to handle security incidents, managing cybersecurity initiatives, and serving as the primary liaison with other non-technical departments. The Cyber Security Director is responsible for aligning cybersecurity strategies with business objectives, fostering a culture of security awareness, and ensuring the organization’s digital assets are protected against cyber threats.

Average Salary: A cybersecurity director’s average salary range is $100,00-$200,000. In smaller companies, the salary may be closer to $75,000.

General Requirements:

  • Management Experience: Prior experience in management roles is crucial, with a strong preference for those who have led cybersecurity or IT security teams.
  • Technical Expertise in Incident Response: A solid technical background in incident response and cybersecurity operations is essential for effective leadership and strategic planning.
  • IT Security Experience: Comprehensive knowledge of IT security practices, including an understanding of information security modules, is necessary to oversee and guide the organization’s cybersecurity efforts.
  • Managerial Skills: Even managerial experience in fields unrelated to cybersecurity can be beneficial, provided the individual possesses the leadership qualities and strategic vision required for the role.

Lead Software Security Engineer

A Lead Software Security Engineer occupies a critical position at the nexus of software engineering and cybersecurity. This role is dedicated to developing and implementing technology solutions that align with business objectives while ensuring the highest standards of security are maintained. The responsibilities of a Lead Software Security Engineer include performing security reviews of all products, assisting the Director of Cybersecurity, fixing security bugs, reviewing codes, building and implementing network security solutions, performing security analysis to identify vulnerabilities, and establishing security controls. Additionally, they serve as a key liaison between the cybersecurity and engineering departments, facilitating effective communication and collaboration.

Average Salary: A lead software cybersecurity engineer’s average salary can be between $120,000 and $160,000.

General Requirements:

  • Experience in Security Architecture and Software Development: A comprehensive understanding of security architecture combined with practical experience in software development is essential for designing secure systems.
  • Risk Management Skills: The ability to assess and manage risks effectively is crucial for identifying potential security threats and implementing appropriate controls.
  • Strong Foundation in Programming Languages and Security Tools: Proficiency in various programming languages and familiarity with the latest security tools are necessary for developing secure software solutions and addressing vulnerabilities.

Information Security Managers

An Information Systems Security Manager (ISSM), also known as an Information Security Manager or cybersecurity administrator, serves as the organization’s security systems architect. This role is pivotal in supervising security violations and overseeing data recovery investigations to ensure the integrity and security of information systems. ISSMs are tasked with drafting and implementing information security policies and procedures, conducting investigations related to breaches and violations within the information security framework, and providing procedural security system advice to other teams.

Average Salary: Their annual salary falls in the $125,000-$155,000 range. Smaller companies pay around $80,000. 

General Requirements:

  • In-depth Knowledge of Data Loss Protocols: Understanding the mechanisms and protocols to prevent, detect, and respond to data loss incidents is crucial.
  • Security Certifications: Certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) are essential for demonstrating expertise in the field.
  • Experience with Server Systems and Operating Systems: Advanced experience with various server systems and operating systems is necessary to manage and secure the organization’s IT infrastructure effectively.

Security Architect

A Security Architect plays a vital role in maintaining and enhancing the cybersecurity architectures within an organization. This position involves performing security assessments, defining best security practices, and providing technical advice on security design and configurations. By doing so, Security Architects ensure that the organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure is robust, resilient, and capable of defending against current and emerging threats.

Average Salary: A security architect earns around $125,000-$155,000

General Requirements:

  • Advanced Understanding of Programming Languages: Proficiency in programming is essential for developing and implementing secure software solutions.
  • Knowledge of Relevant Technology: Familiarity with AI tools, cloud platforms, and other relevant technologies used by the organization is crucial for tailoring security measures to specific needs.
  • Experience: A deep understanding of cybersecurity principles and experience in designing and managing security architectures are required to effectively protect organizational assets.

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Cloud Engineer

A Cloud Engineer, especially one specializing in software development, is instrumental in crafting secure cloud-based applications and recommending cloud-specific security measures. This role encompasses handling all security tasks related to cloud environments, building software and databases optimized for cloud technologies, and managing both software and hardware components related to cloud-based services. Cloud Engineers ensure the development, deployment, and maintenance of scalable, secure, and efficient cloud solutions, addressing the comprehensive needs of cloud security and application development.

Average Salary: Like a security architect, a cloud engineer earns within the $60,000-$125,000 range. This depends on their level of experience with various cloud platforms like AWS (Amazon) and GCP (Google). 

General Requirements:

  • Programming Skills: Deep knowledge of programming languages such as Java, Python, and Ruby, essential for creating and managing cloud applications.
  • Operating System Knowledge: Proficiency with operating systems, especially Linux, is crucial for the effective deployment and operation of cloud services.
  • Cloud Platform Expertise: A thorough understanding of cloud service providers, such as AWS (Amazon Web Services) and GCP (Google Cloud Platform), is required to navigate and utilize their services effectively.

Cybersecurity Sales Engineer

A Cybersecurity Sales Engineer is essential in the intersection of cybersecurity product sales and technical advisory, ensuring that the sales team is equipped with a comprehensive understanding of the technical aspects of the products they are selling. This role is crucial for addressing and resolving any technical queries or concerns potential customers may have, thereby facilitating informed and confident sales interactions. Cybersecurity Sales Engineers are responsible for conducting technical presentations, creating product demos, and managing the technical aspects of the sales cycle, such as formulating proofs of concept to demonstrate the product’s effectiveness.

Average Salary: A cybersecurity sales engineer can earn around $50,000-$165,000. Depending on their sales background, the average salary will be higher due to commissions. Do you have a knack for sales and plenty of coding experience? Then this particular career in cybersecurity will be the perfect fit. 

General Requirements:

  • Technical Knowledge: Profound knowledge of security technologies and solutions, enabling effective sales presentations and customer guidance on product suitability.
  • Experience: Prior experience in working with cybersecurity technologies is vital, providing the foundation for credible and authoritative customer interactions.
  • Sales Acumen: A strong sales background, complemented by technical expertise, enhances the ability to engage with customers and successfully navigate the sales process.
  • Communication Skills: Exceptional communication skills are required to articulate technical information clearly and persuasively to both the sales team and potential customers.

Information Systems Security Engineer (ISSE)

An Information Systems Security Engineer (ISSE), also known as an Information Security Analyst, is integral to an organization’s information security team, focusing on the protection of computer systems and networks. Their role extends to participating in network forensic investigations to understand and mitigate the impacts of cybersecurity threats. ISSEs are tasked with upgrading security measures on client devices, strengthening firewalls within the IT infrastructure, handling the restoration of security systems post-breach, and investigating the effects of cybersecurity incidents on network systems.

Average Salary: An ISSE earns around $125,000, depending on their credentials and experience level.

General Requirements:

  • Expertise in Data Analysis: Ability to collect and analyze data related to cybersecurity incidents, synthesizing findings into comprehensive reports and whitepapers.
  • Educational Background: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, cybersecurity, or a related field is typically required.
  • Industry Certifications: Certifications such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC), or Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) are highly valued.
  • Experience: Practical experience in information security, particularly in roles that involve security system upgrades, firewall management, and cybersecurity threat analysis.
  • Remote Work Capability: The nature of the work often allows for remote work options, provided the individual can effectively collaborate with and support the information security team.

Certified Ethical Hacker/Penetration Tester

A Certified Ethical Hacker or Penetration Tester plays a critical role in enhancing an organization’s cybersecurity posture by simulating cyber-attacks to identify vulnerabilities within security systems. These professionals, also known as bug bounty hunters, are tasked with conducting trial runs of security breaches and unauthorized access attempts. Their goal is to expose flaws in the security infrastructure, thereby preventing future attacks and strengthening the organization’s defenses. Their work involves executing breach simulations to assess the robustness of security systems, researching security protocols, creating penetration scripts and tests, and advising on risk management strategies based on the outcomes of penetration tests.

Average Salary: While Tesla had gone viral for stating that it pays freelance hackers over $500K, the average in-house salary for certified ethical hackers is closer to $100,000.

General Requirements

  • Knowledge and Skills: Proficiency in compromising security protocols is essential, allowing cybersecurity departments to fortify their defenses with a robust security strategy.
  • Educational Background: While formal education in computer science, information technology, or cybersecurity can be beneficial, the field often values skills and practical experience highly.
  • Certifications: Holding certifications such as the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) credential demonstrates a recognized level of expertise in ethical hacking and penetration testing.
  • Practical Experience: Hands-on experience with penetration testing tools and methodologies is crucial. This can be gained through practice, internships, or participation in bug bounty programs.
  • Continuous Learning: Ethical hackers must stay updated with the latest cybersecurity trends, tools, and techniques. Engaging with free and paid resources to learn ethical hacking from scratch is recommended for those entering the field.

Network Security Engineer

A Network Security Engineer is pivotal in ensuring the security and efficiency of an organization’s network systems. This role encompasses the configuration, maintenance, and troubleshooting of network issues to minimize downtime and maintain optimal performance. Network Security Engineers are also responsible for the regular updating and maintenance of network infrastructure to prevent security breaches and ensure efficient network operations. In some instances, they may be tasked with creating and implementing incident response strategies to manage and mitigate the effects of network security breaches effectively.

Average Salary: The median salary of a network security engineer is around $80,000. Their salary range is slightly lower, with most companies not paying more than $105,000.

General Requirements:

  • Educational Background: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, cybersecurity, or a related field is often required.
  • Technical Skills: Proficiency in LAN/WAN technologies, advanced network management, and security protocols.
  • Certifications: Industry certifications such as CompTIA Security+, Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), or Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) can enhance a candidate’s qualifications.
  • Experience: Hands-on experience with network security measures, troubleshooting, and risk management practices.
  • Soft Skills: Strong analytical skills, attention to detail, and the ability to communicate effectively in customer-facing situations.

What Are Some High-Paying Cybersecurity Jobs You Can Specialize In?

Cyber security is a rapidly evolving field that encompasses various specializations, each focusing on specific aspects of protecting digital systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access and cyber threats. These specializations play a crucial role in defending against the ever-growing sophistication of cyber attacks. Cyber security engineers that have a speciality earn top dollar.

Ethical Hacking

Ethical hackers, also known as penetration testers or white-hat hackers, are cyber security engineers that use their skills to identify vulnerabilities in systems and networks. This type of cybersecurity engineer helps organizations strengthen their security by proactively identifying and fixing weaknesses.

Ethical hackers often possess certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) or Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP). Their expertise is highly sought after, and they can command high salaries in the cybersecurity industry.

Incident Response and Forensics

Incident response professionals or IR security engineers are responsible for handling and mitigating security incidents. This type of cyber security engineer investigates and analyzes cyber incidents, collects evidence, and develops strategies to recover from data breaches.

This type of cybersecurity engineer plays a critical role in minimizing the impact of attacks and preventing future incidents. Incident response specialists with experience in digital forensics have excellent earning potential due to their specialized knowledge and expertise in handling cyber incidents.

Security Architecture and Engineering

Security architects and engineers design, build, and implement secure systems and networks. They assess the security requirements of an organization, develop security frameworks, and ensure that systems are designed to withstand potential threats.

Their expertise in developing secure architectures and integrating security controls makes them highly valuable to organizations. Their earning potential is often high due to the complexity and critical nature of their work. This type of cybersecurity engineer is highly sought after, and may require a degree in Computer Science.

Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst

SOC analysts monitor and analyze security events and incidents in real time. They use sophisticated tools and technologies to detect and respond to cyber threats. SOC analysts play a vital role in identifying and containing security breaches and providing a timely incident response.

With the rising number of cyber attacks, organizations are investing heavily in SOC capabilities, leading to increased demand and competitive salaries for skilled SOC analysts.

Risk Management and Compliance

Professionals specializing in risk management and compliance focus on assessing and mitigating cybersecurity risks within an organization. They develop risk management frameworks, ensure compliance with industry regulations, and implement security controls.

Their role involves analyzing potential threats, evaluating the effectiveness of security measures, and establishing policies and procedures to manage risk. Their expertise in ensuring compliance and minimizing organizational risk makes them highly valued in the cybersecurity industry.

Your earning potential in cybersecurity varies based on factors such as experience, location, and industry, but some specializations, such as ethical hackers, incident response, and security architecture, tend to have higher earning potential due to the specialized skills and expertise required.

It’s worth noting that the cybersecurity field as a whole offers promising career prospects and competitive salaries. As organizations increasingly recognize the importance of cybersecurity in safeguarding their digital assets, the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals continues to rise. Keeping up with the latest trends, technologies, and certifications can significantly enhance earning potential in the dynamic and ever-expanding field of cybersecurity. This type of cyber security engineer role is very lucrative.

Application Security Engineers

An application security engineer (ASE) is responsible for identifying, assessing, and mitigating security risks in software applications. Applican security engineers work closely with developers to build security into the software development lifecycle (SDLC) and to ensure that applications are released in a secure state. You may need a degree in Computer Science to work as a cybersecurity engineer in this field.

An application security engineer may conduct security assessments of new and existing applications. The application security engineer may also develop and implement security policies and procedures and work with developers to secure the software development lifecycle. An application security engineer will also perform penetration testing to identify security vulnerabilities and will monitor security measures and applications for security threats and vulnerabilities. An application security engineer will also respond to security incidents and breaches.

Skills Needed To Be Successful in Cybersecurity

Getting the requisite cybersecurity skills can be overwhelming. Here’s a brief glimpse of some of the technical skills and soft skills you will need as a cybersecurity expert:

Technical Skills

  • Networking and system administration. You must display adequate knowledge related to daily duties such as maintaining network security and computer systems.
  • Knowledge of operating systems. An operating system is an interface between the system and the user. As a cybersecurity expert, you must know about all the major operating systems, how they work, etc. With this knowledge, you can contextualize all your other specific expertise.
  • Programming languages. Knowing programming languages like SQL, C or Python is critical. These are what hackers and threat actors use to infiltrate security systems.
  • Cloud security. Most companies and businesses have embraced the cloud for their workflows. You will be remiss if you are unaware of cloud security protocols and technologies.
  • AI. Working knowledge of artificial intelligence systems can help you rise through the ranks of jobs in cybersecurity. Knowing how to operate machine learning models for cybersecurity threats can make your work more impactful.
  • Risk analysis. As a cybersecurity expert, you will benefit from knowing how risk assessments work and all the steps involved.
  • Information and Event Management (IEM). This involves data aggregation to identify cybersecurity threats in real-time. An organization can avoid unnecessary downtime with IEM. It helps streamline the working of other cybersecurity teams. They can access a central database that tracks new and recurring threats.

Soft Skills

  • Creative thinking. As threat actors get more creative in their ways, so should you. There’s a reason why this penetration tester was able to find a vulnerability within a data center through a bathroom corridor. They were creative in their approach and mindful of how hackers may exploit seemingly safe systems.
  • Problem-solving. We don’t have to tell you that you will be putting out many fires as a cybersecurity expert. You will need some essential skills related to problem-solving. These include identifying the problem, developing multiple solutions, and executing the most viable one.
  • Patience. You may feel overwhelmed when your organization has undergone a significant breach. Every minute will cost the organization money, reputation, and clients. The patience to step back from the chaos to take actionable decisions is vital.
  • Learning aptitude. Cyberspace is constantly evolving. The learning curve will be steep. An aptitude for learning and unlearning will be instrumental to your growth in the industry.
  • Analytical skills. The highest paying cybersecurity jobs need you to anticipate threats and analyze lots of data or ideate strategies.
  • Good communication. It’s a myth that IT jobs like cybersecurity do not need interaction or communication skills. You may have to break down complex jargon such as these common cybersecurity terms into digestible language. You will also need excellent presentation skills (say, if you are an ethical hacker who conducted an exercise).
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Factors That Determine Your Salary in Cybersecurity

  • Experience: You can learn cybersecurity on your own with suitable courses and some experimentation. These are sufficient to break into the field as junior cybersecurity analysts. From that point onwards, your experience level with different kinds of cybersecurity projects and project management skills will determine your average salary. You don’t need a graduate degree in cybersecurity.
  • Specialization and Technical Ability: Specialists earn more than generalists in this field. Once you pick an area, keep sharpening your technical abilities within it to unlock a higher salary using these free cybersecurity resources
  • Geographical Location: Areas like Silicon Valley will have a higher demand since that’s where the tech industries are located.
  • Company Sector: Industries dealing with personal information tend to have more cybersecurity needs. The more prominent players in the finance and legal industry also have heavy cybersecurity requirements.
  • Demand for Your Skillset: Stay abreast of the evolving postings and cybersecurity roles. Upskill according to the marketability of these skills to negotiate high salaries. 
  • Certifications: Obtaining advanced certifications will help elevate your positioning during cybersecurity salary negotiations. You can choose from many cybersecurity certifications, such as HCISPP, CISM, CEH, and so on, depending on the roles you want to apply to.

How To Choose the Right Cybersecurity Job

  • Interest and Skills: Gauge your skillsets and knowledge using these cybersecurity job interview questions. Identify your areas of interest and then find the highest-paying cybersecurity in those areas rather than the other way around.
  • Industry You Want To Work In: If there are particular industries you have prior job experience in, go for those. Try to apply for jobs in cybersecurity within industries you are familiar with to ensure maximum job security through intersectional knowledge.
  • Location: As mentioned earlier, some locations have a higher demand for cybersecurity experts. The average cybersecurity salary jump cannot be done without job-switching. Consider these areas as your primary targets so that you have options.
  • Company Culture: Always research the company’s employee policies. For example – Their workplace culture, attitude towards sabbaticals, and mental health breaks. These should match your needs.

FAQs About the High-Paying Cybersecurity Jobs

Still, have questions? We’ve got you covered! 

Can You Make $200K in Cybersecurity?

Yes! There are quite a few careers in cybersecurity where you can make more than $200k. Freelancing and making your way up to a cybersecurity consultant job can help you reach this income target sooner. 

Which Cybersecurity Field Is the Best?

The cybersecurity career path that is best for you depends primarily on your skills and interests. Keep experimenting, even if it means settling for a lower salary initially.

What Are the Top-Paying Cybersecurity Companies?

In the current job market, cybersecurity companies like CrowdStrike, Splunk, Palo Alto, and ZScaler pay high salaries. Security consultancy firms like FireEye and Mandiant are top-paying companies too.

Do You Need a Computer Science Degree to Work As a Cybersecurity Engineer?

You may need a Computer Science degree to work as a cybersecurity engineer, but many companies are open to candidates with practical experience.

Do You Need a Bachelor’s Degree in Cybersecurity to Become a Cybersecurity Professional?

No, you don’t strictly need a bachelor’s degree to become a cybersecurity professional. Indeed, you can’t earn a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity at all. Most cybersecurity engineers have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or similar speciality. However, practical experience and cybersecurity certifications mean you can still have a rewarding cybersecurity career, regardless of your education.

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About Akansha Rukhaiyar

Akansha is a freelance writer for SaaS B2B brands, with a parallel interest in writing for mental health services and education websites. She has worked with globally diverse clients and loves to incorporate The Office references in her writing in the most accessible ways