Find Your Role – Explore Industries, Roles, and Salaries

  1. Envision your future career and role – Search LinkedIn for employee profiles and related skill tags/job descriptions. Browse job boards to see which tasks and technologies are required. Reach out to potential advisors and to learn more about industries, roles, and required skills.
  2. Focus on an industry – Every organization requires cyber security professional, including consulting firms of all sizes, banks, governments, hospitals and insurers, technology providers, universities and more. Many industries subject to regulation, which determines the compliance activities and cybersecurity frameworks used. Common industry frameworks include PCI (payment cards), HIPAA (health), FFIEC (banking), and NERC (energy).
  3. Perform in your role – Cyber security roles often require a different, highly specialized body of knowledge. Major areas include network security, product/application security, forensics/incident response, and consulting. Which area excites you? Learn about different roles and experiment to see which roles suits your individual strengths and interests. A list of common roles, industries, and salary information is provided below for reference.

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Veterans should read our course descriptions for a better understanding of the training provider, course description, required proficiency level, and related work role and specialty area.

(Scroll left/right)

RolesIndustriesSalary from
Application Security Engineer
(code audits/ assessments)
Every big company - Technology, Consulting, Fortune 500, Government$95k base
$8k bonus
$8k profit sharing
(Source: PayScale)

Note 1: There is massive demand for code audits and assessments. Market is large.
Offensive Security
Intelligence, Military, and Law Enforcement$120k-$300k (est.)

Note 1: Talent typically starts in defensive engineering, not offensive.
Note 2: Offense is more common in US government due to liability concerns.
Note 3: Enjoy stability - network attack is not easily outsourced or offshored.
ComplianceEvery big company - especially heavily regulated industries such as finance.

Also consulting firms (big or specialty) also have compliance-related roles.
Varies widely depending on industry

Note 1: Compliance may sound boring but is is an important function, especially in industries such as banking and finance.
Data ScientistAny big company (technology)$91k base
$8k bonus
$5 profit sharing
(Source: PayScale)

Note 1: Data scientist skills are applicable across business and cyber functions, making it a great entry-level field today.
Forensics EngineerEvery big company$82k base
$5k bonus
$8k profit sharing
(Source: PayScale)

Note 1: Forensic memory analysis is highly detailed, technical work required by law firms, big companies, and more.
Incident Response
(e.g. SIEM)
Every big company$68k base
(Source: PayScale)

Note 1: Incident Response (IR) can be a very lucrative field in this era of data breaches, however IR actions may be increasingly automated over time.
Security ManagerEvery big company$109k base
$10k bonus
$5k profit sharing
(Source: PayScale)

Note 1: Large organization needs security managers with knowledge, leadership, and project management skills.
Network Security EngineerEvery big company$84k
$5k bonus
$2k profit sharing
(Source: PayScale)

Note 1: The network layer is critically important and undergoing tremendous change due to trends in cloud and software-defined networking.
Penetration TesterConsulting (big or specialty)$82k base
$5k bonus
$12k commission
(Source: PayScale)

Note 1: Penetration Testers or “red teams” test networks and applications for weaknesses as part of compliance activities or vulnerability assessments.
Security PolicyEvery big organization$56k base
$2k bonus
$6k profit sharing
(Source: PayScale)

Note 1: Large organizations need policy to ensure the adequacy of security controls and account for new changes (e.g. mobile devices, remote access, data handling).
Security ResearcherEvery big company and specialty cybersecurity companyVaries widely-likely very high

Note 1: Security researches may work for security companies, large companies, or the government and they may research adversaries, malware, or vulnerabilities. The field is wide open right now.
Reverse Engineer
(e.g. malware analysis)
Every big company and specialty cybersecurity company$99k base
(Source: PayScale)

Note 1: Reverse engineers analyze malware (software) for a variety of purposes (e.g. future detection, adversary attribution, impact analysis.) and this work requires extra special skills and abilities.
Security ArchitectEvery big company (finance, technology, and more)$120k base
$10k bonus
$5k profit sharing
$18k commission

Note 1: Large organizations needs security architects to ensure their security model is adequate, while implementing common concepts and principles such as defense-in-depth, zero-trust environment, data protection, least privilege, access controls, logging and monitoring, etc.