Career Opportunities: Top 10 Cyber Security Jobs & Salaries

Few industries are growing as fast as the cyber security industry. With an expected 12 per cent growth rate through 2027, according to Fortune Business Insights, the industry offers new graduates and seasoned professionals alike the opportunity to enjoy prosperous, diverse, fulfilling careers in the years to come.

However, while many opportunities exist, to make the most of them cyber security professionals need to have both a broad and a deep skill set. They need to obtain relevant, up-to-date qualifications, especially if they are aspiring to leadership roles.

For anyone looking to succeed in the industry, this article from Edith Cowan University  in Perth, Western Australia details the top 10 cyber security jobs in Australia. It will also explore the roles and responsibilities of those jobs, the skills required, and the career outlook and salary range for each.

No matter what kind of cyber security role you are interested in, a Master of Cyber Security from ECU will help you reach your goals. Recognised by the Australian Federal Government as an Academic Centre of Cyber Security Excellence, you will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to thrive in this booming industry. 

Starting Your Career in Cyber Security: Cyber Security Graduate Jobs

Unlike other jobs in the information technology (IT) field, cyber security roles mostly require formal education, including a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, after completing formal education, a graduate can undertake many different types of roles in the field. Examples of cyber security graduate jobs are:

Cyber analyst: In this role, graduates conduct cyber and cyber activities using advanced communication systems, with the ultimate goal of defending systems and networks. These activities include assessing systems, conducting testing (including penetration testing), and creating systems and processes to protect valuable data and information.

Business analyst: In this role, graduates develop strategies to help a business gain and maintain a competitive advantage by analysing data and creating predictive models for how the business might work.

Cyber defence security architect: In this role, graduates analyse proposed solutions for threats, vulnerabilities and risks and proactively contribute to building security controls.

This is just a snapshot of the types of cyber security graduate jobs that are available. As the industry is changing fast, businesses are increasingly looking for advanced cyber security pros who can keep up with technology, adapt, fill new positions and lead innovative teams. To do so, graduates need to be highly qualified; a master's degree is recommended in order to obtain a diverse and comprehensive skill set.

A List of Ten Top Jobs In Cyber Security

Cyber Security Career Option 1: Cyber Security Analyst
A popular cyber security career is cyber security analyst. Here’s what is involved in the role, as well as the job prospects and average salary.

Cyber Security Analyst Roles and Responsibilities
A cyber security analyst is responsible for detecting threats to an organisation’s networks, and then protecting the business from them. Typical tasks that a cyber security analyst undertakes include the following:

Configuring tools and monitoring network activity.

  • Analysing reports and data to identify threats.
  • Proactively identifying vulnerabilities through testing, scanning and assessment reports.
  • Planning and recommending changes in security measures.
  • Applying security patches.

Cyber security analysts may perform different tasks, depending on the size of the company they work for. For example, at a small company, a cyber security analyst may take care of all information security analysis as well as detection. At a larger company, a cyber security analyst may be part of a larger team, in which many analysts take care of different parts of the security and protection program.

Cyber Security Analyst Skills, Job Outlook and Salary
Cyber security analysts require the following skills to be successful:

  • Critical thinking: They must be able to think about the pros and cons of a problem and find a solution.
  • Monitoring: They must keep track of how the security protocols are performing.
  • Complex problem-solving: They must be able to analyse complicated issues and propose solutions.

While the profession is small, it does have a favourable outlook: According to Job Outlook, the job prospects in the broader information and communication technology (ICT) industry are very good. 

According to January 2021 data from PayScale, the average cyber security analyst’s salary is about A$76,500.

Cyber Security Career Option 2: Cyber Security Specialist
A cyber security specialist is responsible for providing security during the building of software systems, networks and data centres. Here’s what is involved in the role, as well as the prospects and average salary.

Cyber Security Specialist Roles and Responsibilities
A cyber security specialist is responsible for:

  • Searching for vulnerabilities and risks in hardware and software.
  • Managing and monitoring attacks.
  • Building firewalls and other infrastructure.
  • Suggesting security measures.
  • Designing strategies and defence systems.

Security threats change quickly, so cyber security specialists must always stay current with the latest trends and developments in the industry, as well as information security protocols, guidelines and procedures.

Cyber Security Specialist Skills, Job Outlook and Salary
Cyber security analysts require the following skills to be successful:

  • IT knowledge: They must have strong hardware, software and network skills.
  • Logic and reasoning: They must be able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of IT systems.
  • Attention to detail: They must always see the details and not miss important information.

Cyber security specialists are in demand, and the profession is growing: Although it doesn’t single out cyber security specialists specifically, Job Outlook indicates that the job prospects for cyber security professionals are very good. 

According to January 2021 data from PayScale, the average cyber security specialist’s salary is about A$90,000.

Cyber Security Career Option 3: Cryptographer
A highly specialised job in the cyber security industry is cryptographer. A cryptographer is responsible for developing cryptographically sound security systems. Typically, a cryptographer needs to keep data safe by encrypting it with ciphers and algorithms. Here’s what is involved in the role, as well as the job prospects and average salary.

Cryptographer Roles and Responsibilities
A cryptographer is responsible for:

  • Designing robust systems that protect against hacking.
  • Using mathematical or statistical models to analyse threats.
  • Developing computational modelling.
  • Identifying weaknesses in cryptographic systems.
  • Testing cryptographic systems.
  • Implementing encryption solutions.

Cryptographers need strong mathematical capabilities and to be highly skilled in coding and software tools to perform their duties.

Cryptographer Skills, Job Outlook and Salary
Cryptographers require the following skills to be successful:

  • Coding: They must be able to understand programming languages, such as C#, C++, .NET, Java, Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby on Rails.
  • IT systems knowledge: They must be able to effectively work with IT security hardware, software and other solutions.
  • Logic and reasoning: They must be able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of IT systems, even novel systems.

Cryptographers are increasingly in demand and earn an above-average salary: According to SalaryExpert, the job prospects for cryptographers are good, as a 10 per cent increase in salary is expected over the next five years.

According to January 2021 data from SalaryExpert, the average cryptographer’s salary is A$153,800. 

Cyber Security Career Option 4: Cyber Security Engineer
A cyber security engineer helps design and implement programs to keep an organisation’s cyber space safe. Here’s what is involved in the role, as well as the job prospects and average salary.

Cyber Security Engineer Roles and Responsibilities
Typical tasks as a cyber security engineer include the following:

  • Planning and implementing security measures that ensure the safety of data, systems and networks.
  • Troubleshooting security issues.
  • Responding to security breaches.
  • Testing and identifying network and system vulnerabilities.
  • Evaluating the organisation’s security needs and establishing best practices.
  • Conducting penetration testing.

Regular reporting and communication with relevant departments in the organisation.

Cyber Security Engineer Job Outlook and Salary
Cyber security engineers require the following skills to be successful:

  • Security knowledge: They must understand various technology platforms.
  • Computer forensics: They must understand how to identify and retrieve data from digital and other devices.
  • Problem-solving: They must be able to analyse a complex problem and devise a working solution.
  • Ethical hacking: They must be able to look for weaknesses in a system, including through specialised penetration tests.

Given the global shortage of cyber security engineers, these security professionals are in high demand: Although it doesn’t specifically highlight cyber security engineers, the Institute of Data reports that statistics show a shortage of 3.5 million cyber security professionals by 2021, meaning there’ll be a host of opportunities for job seekers in this field. 

According to December 2020 data from PayScale, the average cyber security engineer’s salary was about A$98,500.

Cyber Security Career Option 5: Security Administrator
A security administrator, also known as a security systems administrator, gives companies advice regarding their internal security procedures. Here’s what is involved in the role, as well as the job prospects and average salary.

Security Administrator Roles and Responsibilities
Responsibilities of a security administrator include the following:

  • Defending systems against access from unauthorised users.
  • Performing vulnerability and penetration tests.
  • Monitoring for suspicious activity.
  • Configuring and supporting security tools, such as firewalls and antivirus software.
  • Identifying threats and defending against them.
  • Developing security awareness and protocols.
  • Security Administrator Job Outlook and Salary

Security administrators require skills in the following areas to be successful:

  • IT and technical expertise: They must be able to troubleshoot hardware and software.
  • Problem-solving: They must be able to analyse a complex problem and devise a solution.
  • Documentation: They must be able to understand processes and effectively document them.
  • Communication: They must have strong communication skills, particularly the ability to professionally communicate with various stakeholders.

Security administrator jobs are in high demand, and growing: According to Job Outlook, the number of security administrator jobs grew strongly over the last five years, and that trend is predicted to continue.

According to September 2020 data from PayScale, the average network administrator’s salary was about A$72,500.

Cyber Security Career Option 6: Penetration Tester
Considered an extremely desirable role within the cyber security profession, the job of a penetration tester is to infiltrate a computer system to test for vulnerabilities.  Here’s what is involved in the job, as well as the job prospects and average salary. 

Penetration Tester Roles and Responsibilities
Responsibilities of a penetration tester include the following:

  • Performing penetration tests on computer systems and applications.
  • Identifying vulnerabilities through new testing approaches.
  • Assessing systems, servers and network devices.
  • Understanding how attackers may exploit vulnerabilities.
  • Searching for weaknesses, including those presented by users.
  • Researching and documenting findings.
  • Penetration testers are considered ethical hackers.

Penetration Tester Job Outlook and Salary
Penetration testers require skills in the following areas to be successful:

  • Web communication and technologies: They must understand web communication and technologies and keep up with technological advancements.
  • Ethical hacking: As ethical hackers, they must perform specialised penetration tests as well as other tests to ensure system integrity.
  • Coding: They must be able to write code using programming languages, such as C#, C++, .NET, Java, Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby on Rails.
  • Outside-the-box thinking: They must be creative and think outside the box to come up with innovative solutions to new problems.

The job of a penetration tester is complex, and many more skills are required. Here are the top 25 skills needed and how to get them. The job prospects for this profession are quite strong:

According to the Job Outlook, the number of people working in the ICT industry has enjoyed very strong growth. 

According to September 2020 data from PayScale, the average penetration tester’s salary in Australia was about A$90,500.   

Cyber Security Career Option 7: Cyber Security Consultant
The role of a cyber security consultant is to protect an organisation’s networks. Here’s what the job involves, as well as its prospects and the average salary.

Cyber Security Consultant Roles and Responsibilities
Responsibilities of a cyber security consultant include the following:

  • Developing strategies to protect the network infrastructure, data and network systems.
  • Performing threat analysis.
  • Defining cyber security protocols.
  • Managing and maintaining security.
  • Communicating security protocols with other departments.
  • Cyber Security Consultant Job Outlook and Salary

Cyber security consultants require skills in the following areas to be successful:

  • Network security threats: They must understand the latest threats, hacks and trends in the industry.
  • Security incident handling: They must be able to manage a security incident from start to finish.
  • Encryption technologies: They must understand encryption technologies, as well as how to select and implement them.
  • Problem-solving: They must be able to analyse a complex problem and devise a solution.

Cyber security consultants are in high demand in Australia: According to the Institute of Data, by 2026 there will be an additional 17,600 cyber security jobs. Although it doesn’t single out a specific career, it does show that there should generally be growth in the overall number of roles in the field.

According to January 2021 data from PayScale, the average cyber security consultant’s salary is about A$122,700.

Cyber Security Career Option 8: Cyber Security Architect
A cyber security architect, also known as a security architect, protects an organisation’s network systems. Here’s what is involved in the role, as well as the job prospects and average salary.

Cyber Security Architect Roles and Responsibilities
Responsibilities of a cyber security architect include the following:

  • Reviewing the security system and recommending enhancements.
  • Conducting regular tests.
  • Developing project timelines for ongoing system upgrades.
  • Establishing security protocols.
  • Ensuring that all staff members have appropriate IT system access.
  • Communicating security protocols to other departments.
  • Cyber Security Architect Job Outlook and Salary

Cyber security architects require skills in the following areas to be successful:

  • Security protocols: They must understand security protocols, such as cryptography, authorisation and authentication.
  • Security incident handling: They must be able to manage a security incident from start to finish.
  • Encryption technologies: They must understand encryption technologies, as well as how to select and implement them.
  • Problem-solving: They must be able to analyse a complex problem and devise a solution.

Cyber security architects are in high demand in Australia: According to the Institute of Data, by 2026 there will be an additional 17,600 cyber security jobs. Although the Institute of Data doesn’t single out a specific career, it does show that there should generally be growth in the overall number of roles in the field.

According to December 2020 data from PayScale, the average cyber security architect’s salary was about A$149,300.

Cyber Security Career Option 9: Cyber Security Technician
A cyber security technician helps to protect an organisation’s information security systems and networks. Here’s what is involved in the role, as well as the job prospects and average salary.

Cyber Security Technician Roles and Responsibilities
Responsibilities of a cyber security technician include the following:

  • Reviewing the security system and recommending enhancements.
  • Troubleshooting security issues.
  • Testing and identifying network and system vulnerabilities.
  • Conducting penetration testing.
  • Responding to security breaches.
  • Communicating security protocols to other departments.

Cyber Security Technician Job Outlook and Salary
Cyber security technicians require the following skills to be successful:

  • Ethical hacking: They must be able to perform specialised penetration tests as well as other tests to ensure system integrity.
  • IT and technical skills: They must be well versed in a broad range of hardware and software.
  • Complex problem-solving: They must be able to analyse a complex problem and devise a solution.
  • Client service: They must be able to effectively communicate with clients, internal or external, and be patient. 

Cyber security technicians are in high demand in Australia: According to the Institute of Data, by 2026 there will be an additional 17,600 cyber security jobs. Although it doesn’t single out a specific career, it does show that there should generally be growth in the overall number of roles in the field.

According to Talent.com, the average cyber security technician’s salary is A$87,500.

Cyber Security Career Option 10: Cyber Forensic Scientist
The role of a cyber forensic scientist is quite different from roles in IT. This role is based more on forensic science and criminal justice, in which the job of the scientist is to recover data that may have been deleted, damaged or manipulated. Here’s what is involved in the role, as well as the job prospects and average salary.

Cyber Forensic Scientist Roles and Responsibilities
Responsibilities of a cyber forensic scientist include the following:

  • Using forensic tools to try and recover electronic data.
  • Examining evidence for artefacts.
  • Recovering lost, hidden or deleted files.
  • Analysing and evaluating data.
  • Participating in criminal trials.
  • Giving evidence.
  • Testifying in court.

Cyber Forensic Scientist Job Outlook and Salary
Cyber forensic scientists require skills in the following areas to be successful:

  • Analysis: They must have strong analytical skills, including the ability to analyse complex problems and find solutions.
  • Logic and reasoning: They must be able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of IT systems.
  • Tools and technologies: They must have a familiarity with various operating systems, file systems and applications.
  • Complex problem-solving: They must be able to analyse a problem and propose a solution.
  • Client service: They must be able to effectively communicate with clients, internal or external, and be patient.

Many other skills are required to be a cyber forensic specialist. Here’s more detailed information on what skills are required, what the job involves and potential employers.

Cyber forensic scientists are in high demand in Australia: According to the Institute of Data, by 2026 there will be an additional 17,600 cyber security jobs. Although it doesn’t single out a specific career, it does show that there should generally be growth in the overall number of roles in the field.

According to January 2021 data from SalaryExpert, the average salary for cyber forensic scientists is A$78,091.

How to Land a Cyber Security Job

With job prospects in the cyber security industry projected to be strong or very strong in the coming years, never has there been a better time to start or advance a career in the industry. Beyond becoming qualified in the area, which is essential to obtaining a job, cyber security professionals should do the following to maximize their chances of obtaining a job in the industry:

Maintain a professional social media presence: Employers will often check a candidate’s social media profiles before hiring them, so always keep social media profiles professional.

Do research: Before applying for a job, thoroughly research the company and its employees (including on LinkedIn).

Tailor every application: There can be many similarities between roles in cyber security, and companies may seem similar too. Always tailor your application, as the employer and hiring manager will notice.

Network: Taking the time to network with professionals in the cyber security profession is important. In Australia, individuals can join professional networking bodies for cyber security professionals, such as the Australian Information Security Association.

Broaden the options: The number of opportunities in cyber security is growing, so even if a dream job isn’t available, broaden your options and apply for jobs other than the first choice.

Summary

One hundred years ago, the term “cyber security” wasn’t even invented. Today, the cyber security profession employs hundreds of thousands of people in what’s largely considered a truly interesting, unique and fulfilling profession. Over the next decade and beyond, the number of career opportunities in the cyber security industry will grow. Graduates and others in the industry will benefit from this growth and have every opportunity to build meaningful, prosperous careers.

To pursue an expert career in cyber security with a Master of Cyber Security from Edith Cowan University  > Click Here

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