How Much Does a Cyber Security Specialist Make? (With Roles)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 March 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Cyber security is an important component of digital communication and the Internet. Protecting digital assets, including customer information, is often a priority for businesses and an expectation of their customers. Understanding cyber security roles and what they do may help you decide on a career path in the cyber security industry. In this article, we explore different cyber security roles, duties and skills and answer the question, 'How much does a cyber security specialist make?' with a definitive guide on different cyber security roles you may pursue.

How much does a cyber security specialist make?

To answer the question, 'How much does a cyber security specialist make?', it's important to know what roles exist in the cyber security field. Cyber security is a broad field that comprises thousands of potential career paths, each with its own required skills, education and knowledge, and there are different types of specialists within this field. For example, a cyber security analyst might require more advanced training than a general cyber security professional. Depending on the role you choose, you might be subject to additional certification or education requirements, which can also affect your annual salary.

Typically, with more certifications, cyber security professionals earn higher wages. Cyber security specialists can earn around $113,842 per year with no specialisations or extra certifications. Each employer likely has different qualifications for their cyber security specialists, who typically fulfil a more generalised cyber security role in the company. They might analyse company software and protection, offer consultations and advice or instal and maintain security systems. Cyber security specialists are just one of many potential cyber security career paths.

7 cyber security roles

While cyber security specialists are important to the industry, there are many other roles you can consider for your career path. Here are seven cyber security roles to consider if you're entering the industry:

1. Data analyst

Average salary: $5,165 per month

Primary duties: A data analyst is an IT specialist who studies, interprets and uses data to improve the operations, security and efficiency of a business. This can include analysing complex data sets for the company's servers, digital assets and security protocols. Data analysts typically work as part of a team of IT experts, providing expert analysis of data and consultations on how to improve overall security for a company's data, including how to prevent data breaches, how to respond to a data breach and what expected effects of a data breach the company might address.

Read more: What Does a Data Analyst Do? Definition and Job Duties

2. Security engineer

Average salary: $5,284 per month

Primary duties: A security engineer is an IT specialist who designs, tests and implements a company's cyber security measures, including proprietary software, computer hardware and other protective measures. Security engineers typically have a strong background in software engineering, programming and cyber security. Security engineers typically work alongside the company's network engineers, cyber security consultants and analysts or data analysts. They can also help a company identify weak points in its security infrastructure and provide solutions to unique security threats. They often develop software like antivirus programmes and anti-malware software.

Read more: Examples of Cyber Security Roles (With Salaries and Skills)

3. Network security engineer

Average salary: $5,774 per month

Primary duties: A network security engineer is a cyber security professional who specialises in the security of computer networks for businesses and public web connections. Network security engineers design, implement and troubleshoot security solutions for computer networks and help secure the web and minimise cyber security threats. Engineers often work as part of a team of professionals, alongside security engineers, software engineers and consultants to consider the best options for the company or network. They typically have a strong background in software programming, computer engineering and network administration.

Read more: How to Become a Network Engineer

4. Cyber security analyst

Average salary: $6,032 per month

Primary duties: A cyber security analyst is a cyber security expert who analyses, interprets and translates complex cyber security data for clients. This can include information regarding data breaches, potential threats or the company's response to a current or previous threat. The analyst typically has a strong background in cyber security management, threat management and software programming. Analysts can work as part of a team or as freelancers, providing expert analysis and advice. Analysts may also work with cyber security consultants or perform both jobs as a single entity.

Read more: How to Become a Cyber Security Analyst (Duties and Skills)

5. Intelligence analyst

Average salary: $6,504 per month

Primary duties: An intelligence analyst is an IT professional who specialises in analysing and interpreting business and web intelligence. Similar to a data analyst, intelligence analysts translate complex sets of data for clients so they can better understand their security and network needs. Intelligence analysts typically have a strong background in cyber security, business management and analysis and network administration. They also possess strong analytical skills.

6. Cyber security consultant

Average salary: $6,545 per month

Primary duties: A cyber security consultant is an IT professional that specialises in cyber security and provides expert advice to businesses and clients. This advice can help clients build better cyber security systems to protect sensitive data, manage their security budgets, more effectively respond to cyber threats and plan their response to any cyber attacks they might experience. Consultants typically work alone or with a small team and have a strong background in cyber security, network administration, computer science and threat management. Consultants typically earn experience in the field, working as security analysts, IT specialists or other jobs to gain experience.

Read more: How to Become a Security Consultant (With Career Steps)

7. Cloud engineer

Average salary: $7,094 per month

Primary duties: A cloud engineer is an IT professional who specialises in designing, building and implementing software solutions in the "cloud." The cloud is a collection of servers accessible through the Internet that store, manage and secure large amounts of data. A cloud engineer builds the software for the cloud and can help businesses identify and design their own proprietary cloud solutions. They also help the client decide on how to secure their cloud solution, identify potential weaknesses and refer clients to cyber security specialists in the event of a data breach or other cyber attack.

Read more: What Does a Cloud Engineer Do? Duties and Requirements

Cyber security skills

While each cyber security role requires its own set of proprietary skills, there are some general skills that most cyber security professionals possess. These skills are often transferrable across the cyber security industry or employers. Here are some common cyber security skills:

  • Programming: Most cyber security professionals are familiar with one or more programming languages. Programming languages help build and command software and hardware to perform specific tasks.

  • Interpersonal skills: As cyber security experts typically work as part of a team, they require excellent interpersonal skills to communicate expectations and collaborate on projects. This can include good written and verbal communication, empathy and respect and active listening skills.

  • Computer skills: All cyber security career paths require at least basic computer skills. This can include the ability to troubleshoot common computer problems, type quickly and navigate basic computer software and operating systems.

  • Cybersecurity skills: A career path in cyber security requires at least a basic understanding of cyber security practices, standards and requirements. Cybersecurity professionals typically possess at least a basic understanding of how cyber security systems work, how threats operate and why cyber security is so important.

  • Analytical skills: A career in cyber security often requires excellent analytical skills, since many jobs require employees to study, interpret and even translate complex data sets. Analytical skills can help cyber security professionals solve unique problems by analysing the problem and applying their cyber security knowledge to create a solution.

Related: What Are the 25 In-Demand Skills to Elevate Your Career?

Benefits of a cyber security career path

Pursuing a career path in cyber security can offer many benefits, including:

  • Competitive wages: Many cyber security positions offer competitive wages and benefits packages, which can increase based on experience, education and technical certifications.

  • Job security: Cyber security is a growing field, and potentially necessary for many years to come as more and more advanced digital environments arise and security needs to evolve.

  • Collaboration: Working with others is a core component of working in cyber security, offering unique opportunities to collaborate with other IT professionals and create new solutions.

  • Greater awareness: Working in cyber security can provide you with a greater awareness of the dangers of cyber threats, which may help you protect your personal data and minimise the potential for identity theft and other cybercrimes.

  • Working from home: Many cyber security roles allow you to work from home, which can help you feel more comfortable and less stressed in your work environment and create a better work-life balance.

Related: How To Become a Penetration Tester: Role, Skills and FAQs

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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