"Underrated" Job Pays $100K and Has Huge Job Market Demand

Here's how to start your career in this lucrative field.

When you're choosing a career path, it pays to ask yourself a few key questions: What are you good at? What do you enjoy? What will give you the lifestyle you envision? What does the world need more of? In response to the final question, experts say there's one emerging field—cybersecurity—in which demand is drastically outpacing supply. And, paying an annual salary of over $100,000 in many instances, it can present a lucrative career path with minimal training.

Wondering whether it might be right for you and how to get started? Here's everything you need to know about this "underrated" job field, which experts say won't be slowing down any time soon.

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Cybersecurity jobs are in serious demand.

Men working at desks for cyber security jobs
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Tech is booming—and with it, so is the shadow side of the industry. In fact, according to Security Magazine, during the pandemic in 2022, global cyberattacks increased by 38 percent compared with the previous year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the number of cybersecurity jobs will increase by 32 percent over the coming decade in response to these growing threats. However, even if you're submitting your application today, there are more than enough positions to go around. According to Statista, there are over 755,000 open cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. right now.

The field pays uniquely well.

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Cybersecurity is an important job—and its compensation tends to reflect its value. In exchange for protecting computers and data from unauthorized access or digital damage, many businesses, organizations, or cybersecurity firms are willing to pay upwards of $100,000 per year.

According to the job site Indeed, certain specialties within the cybersecurity field could fetch you even more than that. For example, the average application security engineer makes over $128,000 annually, while a software architect can earn over $135,000.

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Many cybersecurity jobs don't require higher education.

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Usually, making a six-figure salary hinges on having acquired higher education—a bachelor's or even a master's degree. However, this isn't necessary in the world of cybersecurity. Instead, you'll need a high school diploma or GED and to have completed an online "boot camp" program or training in the field of cybersecurity.

"Employers are really struggling to find people who are comfortable working in cybersecurity, but there's this incredible need and demand for people with these skills," Lisa Gevelber, Google's chief marketing officer for the Americas, recently told CNBC. "Companies just can't fill these jobs fast enough."

Here's how to start your career in cybersecurity.

A close up of a person typing a password into a laptop
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Cybersecurity isn't one single job—there are many possible avenues to take within several different sectors. However, you don't need to choose your path upfront; you just need to acquire the core skills of the trade.

In particular, you'll need to master systems administration, network security, defensive security and monitoring, and offensive security, the curriculum for Columbia University's 24-week boot camp program suggests. Additionally, cybersecurity experts are typically well-versed in programming, risk management, data management and analysis, tech troubleshooting, and more.

To become certified, most people aim to pass the Security+ exam for entry-level positions, or the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) exam for more advanced positions. A good boot camp program will help you prepare for both the exam itself and your future career in the field.

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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