Here are 5 of the highest-paying cybersecurity jobs

BY Sydney LakeSeptember 26, 2022, 1:59 PM
Graduates wait for the start of the commencement ceremony at California State University, Los Angeles, as seen in May 2022. (Photo by Brittany Murray—MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram/Getty Images)

Cyber attacks and data breaches continue to grow increasingly prevalent—and big business isn’t immune. Transportation tech giant Uber recently suffered a massive cyber attack, which shut down many of its internal communication systems and displayed lewd messages and photos, according to previous Fortune reporting

As the threat of cyber attacks becomes a more pressing issue, C-suite executives are forced to take a look at their bottom line and take these challenges more seriously. In fact, a focus on cybersecurity needs to start in the boardroom, Steve Morgan, founder of Cybersecurity Ventures, argues. CEOs at every Fortune 500 company and midsize-to-large organization should put members with cybersecurity experience on their board, he says. 

“That could be the [chief information security officer (CISO)] or an outside executive with real-world cybersecurity experience,” he previously told Fortune. “Do it now to protect your organization, not after a breach or hack to protect your reputation.”

Cybersecurity talent extends beyond the boardroom, however. Companies need more cybersecurity talent entering the pipeline for entry-and mid-level jobs, which can land six-figure salaries. While more experienced professionals are likely to earn higher salaries, many cybersecurity roles pay more than other tech jobs. An information security analyst (typically an entry-level cybersecurity role) earned a median salary of $102,600 in 2021, U.S. Department of Labor Statistics figures show.

And professionals in the field are likely to continue to bring home outsized checks. Between 2020 and 2021, some cybersecurity salaries jumped by more than 16%, to well over the six-figure mark, according to a 2021 report from Dice, a tech recruiting platform.

For professionals who earned their master’s degree in cybersecurity, took some online courses, or recently underwent upskilling at their company, Fortune compiled a list of a few of the highest-paying cybersecurity-related roles. While CISOs can bring home close to million-dollar paychecks, this list will give you a good idea of the type of baseline you can have for your earnings in the cybersecurity industry.

Cybersecurity manager

Average salary: $151,902, according to Glassdoor

Job description: Cybersecurity managers oversee channels that flow “into and out of an organization’s information network,” according to Tulane University’s School of Professional Advancement. They also oversee security systems and teams and watch for potential network vulnerabilities that would help prevent attacks.

Education: Many cybersecurity managers have earned a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, computer science, computer engineering, information assurance, or another tech-related field, according to Indeed. Some of these professionals also earn additional certifications.

Cybersecurity engineer 

Average salary: $100,303, according to Glassdoor

Job description: A cybersecurity engineer is in charge of preventing database and network attacks, according to ZipRecruiter, which means these professionals are tasked with using hardware, firewalls, and encryption to protect data. They both build security systems and protect a company’s IT infrastructure.

Education: Earning a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or a related field is often needed for this job. Some cybersecurity engineers also choose to earn a master’s degree or a Ph.D. in the field if they’re interested in mid-to-upper management roles. 

Penetration tester 

Average salary: $121,378, according to Indeed

Job description: More commonly known as a “pen tester” or “ethical hacker,” penetration testers essentially simulate cyber attacks against company computer systems to look for vulnerabilities. They often try to breach large computer systems and also research and experiment with different types of attacks.

Education: Penetration testers typically at least work on developing tech skills and then go on to earn a degree in cybersecurity, information assurance, or a related field. They also often earn certifications in cybersecurity, including PenTest+

Cybersecurity analyst 

Average salary: $113,270, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job description: Cybersecurity analysts work to protect company hardware, software, and networks from cyberattacks. These professionals have to understand the organization’s tech infrastructure in order to be successful at their job. They also have to anticipate when cyber attacks could occur.

Education: Cybersecurity analysts often have a bachelor’s degree and/or master’s degree in cybersecurity or a related field. They also will earn certifications, including CISSP, which is one of the most coveted credentials in cybersecurity. 

See how the schools you’re considering fared in Fortune’s rankings of the best master’s degree programs in data science (in-person and online), nursing, computer science, cybersecurity, psychology, public health, and business analytics, as well as the doctorate in education programs MBA programs (part-time, executive, full-time, and online).