1. The Education Recommendations

Specialized education in cyber security can set you apart from other candidates, and can and show potential employers that you’re serious about excelling in a cyber security manager role.

Many graduate-level programs offer specific cyber security management degrees. Another option is to enroll in a Master of Business Administration course with a cyber security concentration.

If you’re not ready to pursue a master’s-level education yet, aim for a bachelor’s degree at a minimum. Although going to graduate school offers the possibility for higher salaries and more competitiveness in the job market, you may find it’s too big a commitment to make at this time.

Note that according to people working in the field, college degrees are not always required for cyber security roles. But by earning one, cyber security candidates get accustomed to the diligence required for lifelong learning in this role.

After you have a job, continuing your education by earning certifications shows potential employers that you’re eager to keep your skills sharp. It could also make you stand out when your boss wants to promote deserving employees.

One of the essential things to know about the cyber security industry is that there is no one well-defined path that people follow to land work. Unlike a career such as doctor or lawyer that requires a standardized type and amount of education, a cyber security job is not so clear-cut.

Think of that as a plus, in that it opens up more opportunities for you. It also allows for more flexibility if you are already pursuing a different career path and want to focus on cybersecurity instead.

2. Ways to Get the Knowledge You Need

As stated above, getting educated for your future cyber security manager job offers options. For example, many campuses in the United States and other countries have relevant degree programs for interested individuals.

If your schedule and lifestyle are better suited to taking classes online, those courses exist, too. If you’re pondering the online option, research the specifics carefully and ensure that you’re prioritizing accredited and recognized programs.

Consider, too, that numerous online learning companies that are not affiliated with universities offer content about cybersecurity. You could potentially earn a certificate from one such company, and learn enough to know for sure that a cybersecurity management career is right for you.

The cybersecurity industry is fast-paced, and it’s your responsibility to keep abreast of the latest online threats, attack attempts, and successful digital infiltrations.

Becoming a regular reader of cybersecurity news sources can help. YouTube videos are also excellent for giving more insight about emerging topics in the field.

A membership in a professional organization can also afford access to valuable networking opportunities. By conversing with others, you may discover things about the cybersecurity sector that wouldn’t otherwise be evident.

3. The Typical Pay

The amount of money you could earn as a cybersecurity manager depends on such factors as your level of experience and the amount of need in the job market. Salary data for information security managers shows how that career path could earn you a six-figure annual salary, ranging from $106,686 to $130,359.

The work information security managers and cyber security managers perform often features substantial overlap. In addition, though cyber security managers primarily address data stored on the Internet, companies frequently decide to only hire either a cybersecurity manager or an information security manager, not both.

Some of the recent high-profile data breaches have highlighted how crucial it is for companies to have people on their teams who understand how to detect and prevent hackers from breaking into networks and causing stressful, costly damage.

If you can demonstrate knowledge of how to curb criminal activities online, and can also competently perform some of the duties usually carried out by information security managers, the income you earn may surpass the range mentioned above.

4. The Areas of Highest Demand

Pursuing your dream job may involve moving to another state or country. Instead of assuming you’ll stay in your current location when you eventually emerge as a candidate in the cybersecurity job market, research job listings to determine the states or regions where HR professionals are most likely to hire cybersecurity specialists.

When considering moving to another area, remember that the cost of living factors into things, too. Relocating to take a job that offers a few thousand dollars more than what you had hoped to earn may not be worth it if the geographic area has extra-high rent costs, transportation costs, and food costs.

5. The Cybersecurity Manager Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a trustworthy and collective source for career outlook information. In fact, you may have visited the BLS website already while exploring possible jobs.

The BLS does not have a specific category for cyber security managers, but it does provide information related to computer and information systems management careers. This is a broad category, but a cybersecurity manager role could fall under that umbrella.

Information about the job market outlook for computer and information systems managers from 2016 to 2026 indicates an expected job growth rate of 12 percent, which is faster than average.

Similarly, there’s a growing cybersecurity skills shortage, with organizational leaders consistently remarking that cybersecurity is the most significant area of lack. That means that you can feel confident in a career as a cybersecurity manager, knowing that this field should offer you a solid future with plenty of job prospects.

Once you can get your foot in the door and prove your worth in this role, you’ll be poised to help ease demand levels in your company and in the industry overall.

6. Which Companies or Industries Hire the Most Cybersecurity Specialists?

One of the advantages of working as a cybersecurity manager is that you have opportunities to work in almost any sector, from the nonprofit world to the world of marketing or finance. That’s because the vast majority of companies use the Internet in their operations, which necessitates keeping their networks secure.

While learning about what it means to work as a cybersecurity manager, it’s smart to find out which companies or sectors are most open to hiring people with cybersecurity skills.

In January 2017, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management launched a portal for people interested in government-related cybersecurity roles. That online destination is part of a concentrated hiring and retention effort meant to fill the federal government’s cybersecurity talent needs.

Note that being in the running for one of those roles likely requires getting a security clearance. In addition, you may need to pass several background checks.

Data from 2017 indicates General Motors, Patient First and Apple were among the top companies hiring cybersecurity employees, so you could start at those brands’ homepages when searching for career openings, as well.

Finally, the financial industry as a whole is trying to ramp up its cybersecurity awareness, which should result in an increasing amount of job opportunities.

When thinking about the sectors that are most in need of skilled cyber security managers, remember that hackers don’t mind taking risks if those risks might result in huge rewards. For this reason, valuable data such as health information, Social Security numbers, credit card details, and similar tidbits are at an elevated risk of being snatched by cybercriminals.

7. How You Can Gain a Competitive Edge

People who want to build their cybersecurity careers know formal education is one important element of landing a job — but it’s not the only factor employers gauge when choosing candidates.

HR representatives may want their cybersecurity managers to have basic understandings of certain programming languages, and to be able to show real-life examples of how they successfully led a team to accomplish a shared goal.

Additionally, most of the work in this field requires you to have at least a few years of experience, which can be difficult to gain. You might need to be proactive and look for activities that help you build your experience. Maybe your community has a coding club, or there’s a lecture series about cyberthreats happening on the campus of a nearby college. Look for ways to go above and beyond, to prove that your desire to become a cybersecurity manager is not just a phase — it’s a goal you’ll stay committed to, no matter how long it takes.

Find out if you can volunteer for roles that even loosely relate to the field of cybersecurity. Also, search for unpaid internships. If you get the chance to progress past submitting applications by getting invited to interviews, take those meetings as seriously as if they were for paying jobs.

8. Characteristics of the Work Environment

A company’s culture is individualized, but most work environments share some standard characteristics.

For starters, you’ll probably be sedentary and indoors for most or all of the workday as a cyber security manager. If either of those things pose problems for you, you could potentially address them by investing in a treadmill desk, taking lots of short walks, or taking your lunch break outdoors.

Additionally, you will be in a managerial role and trying to resolve or protect against threats that often crop up without warning. This means that the work environment may become stressful and unpredictable.

People will look to you for guidance on how to conduct themselves in crises, so it’s essential to know how to stay cool and keep things moving forward, even when cyberattacks threaten to stifle operations.

9. What Attracts You to the Field and Role?

No matter how many job interviews you attend, one question you’ll hear without fail is, "Why do you want this position?"

Before settling on a cybersecurity manager position, spend time figuring out what made you pick that job over others in the same industry. There are many possibilities for cybersecurity careers, and you should expect to work in non-leadership positions before assuming your preferred role. However, there’s no harm in knowing that you want to work as a cybersecurity manager someday.

You might have watched a thrilling film years ago that introduced you to the concept of keeping networks protected from hackers. Or, perhaps someone in your family works in cybersecurity, and you think the field sounds like a perfect fit for you as well.

On the managerial side of things, you may view a high-profile cyber security position as an outlet that fulfills your desire to play a role in a company’s brand growth, profits and reputation. After all, one well-orchestrated cyberattack could make all of those things plummet.

If you’re highly organized and able to juggle many responsibilities at once, you possess what are arguably some of the most useful qualities for managers and other people in positions of authority. Being detail-oriented, curious and able to identify what might go wrong are also some of the key characteristics of cybersecurity professionals. Working as a cybersecurity manager, therefore, would let you tap into your strengths.

10. Level of Ease When Working Around Others

As a cybersecurity manager, you must feel comfortable directing others and outlining expectations. You are also expected to thrive in uncertain circumstances that might make others feel anxious or inept.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a natural-born leader, you should at least have enough self-confidence to assert yourself as a person who is capable of boosting morale, providing clarification, and giving feedback to your team.

If you’re not sure you have what it takes to lead people skillfully, or if you get nervous at the thought of working as part of a team and setting good examples for others, a career as a cybersecurity manager may not be ideal.

Fortunately, there are professional development techniques that you can pursue on your own as part of your training. Sites like Lynda.com offer leadership training courses and, if you’ve never used Lynda before, you’ll be eligible for a free month of access to the site. Additionally, materials like TED Talks are always free and a known for always offering helpful and actionable material.

Do You Have What It Takes?

This list provides some of the things you must know — whether concerning education or self-awareness — before planning on working toward a cyber security manager career.

Use this list as a roadmap, no matter where you are on the path to your future career.

Works Cited

Bureau of Labor Statistics | Interview with a Cybersecurity consultant (January 2018). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2018/interview/cybersecurity-consultant.htm?view_full

Rasmussen College | 5 Things You Should Know About a Career in Cybersecurity (April 6, 2017). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/technology/blog/things-you-should-know-about-career-in-cybersecurity/

Salary.com | Information Security Manager Salaries (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from https://www1.salary.com/Information-Security-Manager-Salary.html

George Mason University | Cyber Security vs IT Security: Is There a Difference? (June 30, 2016). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from http://business.gmu.edu/blog/tech/2016/06/30/cyber-securit-it-security-difference/

Indeed Blog | Where Are the Highest Paying Cyber Security Jobs? (July 28,2016). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from http://blog.indeed.com/2016/07/28/where-are-highest-paying-cyber-security-jobs/

Bureau of Labor Statistics | Computer and Information Systems Managers (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm

CSO Online | Research suggests cybersecurity skills shortage is getting worse (January 11, 2018). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from https://www.csoonline.com/article/3247708/security/research-suggests-cybersecurity-skills-shortage-is-getting-worse.html

U.S. Office of Personnel Management | OPM Launches New Cyber Careers Website (January 10, 2017). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from https://www.opm.gov/news/releases/2017/01/opm-launches-new-cyber-careers-website/

TechRepublic | Top 10 companies hiring cybersecurity professionals (January 26, 2017). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from https://www.techrepublic.com/article/top-10-companies-hiring-cybersecurity-professionals/

ComputerWeekly.com | Cyber security awareness top priority in financial sector (February 13, 2018). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252434929/Cyber-security-awareness-top-priority-in-financial-sector

Vista College | How to Build a Career in the Cyber Security Industry (July 11, 2017). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from https://www.vistacollege.edu/blog/careers/it/how-to-build-a-career-in-the-cyber-security-industry/

University of San Diego | How to Land the Best Jobs in Cyber Security [Includes Salary Data] (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from https://onlinedegrees.sandiego.edu/best-jobs-in-cyber-security/

Rasmussen College | 8 Signs You’re Wired for Working in a Cyber Security Career (October 23, 2017). Retrieved May 14, 2018 from http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/technology/blog/wired-for-working-cyber-security-career/

Lynda.com search | Leadership (n.d.). Retrieved May 23, 2018 from https://www.lynda.com/search?q=leadership

TED | How to be a great leader playlist (n.d.). Retrieved May 23, 2018 from https://www.ted.com/playlists/140/how_leaders_inspire

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews is a tech journalist and writer whose work has appeared on WIRED, Digital Trends, CloudTweaks and Security Magazine. To read more from Kayla, check out her blog ProductivityBytes.com.