If you're looking for a future-friendly career, becoming an information security analyst may be your best bet.
Over the next decade, 53,200 new jobs for information security analysts are in the forecast, courtesy of emerging technology and increased cybersecurity attacks.
Revelo, an online platform for companies to recruit software developers, identified the five highest-paying industries for cybersecurity experts using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the study, industries are ranked by the average salary for information security analysts in May 2022.
Cybersecurity is even more necessary as humans become more dependent on digital devices. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud computing are all growing technologies that require cybersecurity professionals to maintain their integrity.
In the first half of 2023, victims of data breaches and exposures spiked 152.5% compared to the same period of the previous year. Health care and financial services are often the targets because they house a wealth of data that criminals can use in financial crimes. Ransomware is a popular method for hackers to breach and debilitate systems for financial gain.
Various entry points, levels, and specializations exist in the cybersecurity industry. Information security analysts earn a median income of $112,000 as of 2022, according to the BLS. These workers develop and maintain efforts to protect computer systems and information while assessing and implementing strategies to avert risk.
Cybersecurity workers should know how to code, use tools such as firewalls, and be familiar with computer networks. They should know how to perform ethical hacking, which is the authorized attempt to break into applications and computer systems to check for safety. They can major in the discipline (or computer science) in college or be self-taught; however, they must be prepared to be a lifelong learner. Technology will continuously evolve, as will the ways scammers infiltrate computer networks. Regularly earning certifications is nonnegotiable in this career.
- Annual salary: $143,770 ($69.12 hourly)
- Employment: 210 jobs (0.08% of total industry employment)
Information security is essential in motor vehicle manufacturing, not only for auto companies but also for its customers. As vehicles become more advanced, manufacturers have incorporated an increasing number of computers in their design. These computers have influence over everything from automatic lane control features to keyless ignition, making them vulnerable to being tampered with over the internet like any other connected device.
In 2022, a vulnerability in the Honda key fob allowed hackers to unlock and start cars remotely. Over the last two years, the "Kia Boyz" began a social media phenomenon of young people stealing cars using USBs. As a result, major insurance agencies blacklisted some Kia and Hyundai models. Victims filed a class action suit, which could bring an estimated $200 million in relief.
Cybersecurity protocols can make it more difficult for bad actors to access or control a vehicle whether physically, like the USB stick method, or remotely. In 2022, 84% of attacks targeting the auto industry were conducted remotely, according to a report from security provider Upstream.
- Annual salary: $151,380 ($72.78 hourly)
- Employment: 110 jobs (0.03% of total industry employment)
The motion picture industry is often under attack by cybercriminals. The high-profile actors, multimillion-dollar budgets, and intellectual property of major productions put it at high risk. The film industry is not as highly regulated as other markets, such as health care or finance, so there is a need for cybersecurity professionals to develop best practices. In addition, the explosive growth of streaming can leave customers vulnerable to password hacking.
The Sony Pictures hack in 2014 was a watershed moment for the industry, revealing the need for better protections against the unauthorized release of sensitive employee and company information. To fend off such attacks, cybersecurity experts may train employees or put in place encrypted communication practices.
- Annual salary: $152,450 ($73.29 hourly)
- Employment: 120 jobs (0.05% of total industry employment)
Working for social advocacy organizations can offer personally fulfilling careers for cybersecurity professionals—and there's a clear need for cybersecurity experts in this industry. To help cash-strapped nonprofits, Microsoft launched a "Security Program for Nonprofits" to aid them in securing their digital properties.
The critical nature of cybersecurity in the nonprofit realm was thrust into the spotlight over the pandemic when bad actors stole millions in COVID-19 financial aid, which nonprofits were tasked with helping to distribute. Enhanced cybersecurity measures can prevent bad actors from stealing data and funding from sensitive populations that require aid and advocacy.
- Annual salary: $161,240 ($77.52 hourly)
- Employment: 360 jobs (0.23% of total industry employment)
While working as a cybersecurity expert in the computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing sectors pays exceptionally well, the industry isn't in high-growth mode. The demand for computers fell dramatically in 2023. Some of the top companies in this industry are Apple, HP, and Dell.
In the computer-part manufacturing industry, cybersecurity experts aim to lock down the software that controls motherboards, memory chips and other pieces of hardware on the consumer end as well as at manufacturing sites.
- Annual salary: $165,110 ($79.38 hourly)
- Employment: 2,740 jobs (1.56% of total industry employment)
The tech industry has suffered a recent uptick in layoffs, but there will always be a need to have someone protect the vast data and cutting-edge innovations of search engine companies. It's essential to have top-notch experience and a resume that hiring managers will notice to get a job at one of the top web search companies.
Search engines have a massive influence over our lives as some of the most trafficked websites on the internet, with the ability to make or break online businesses and reputations. They represent a high-reward target for bad actors looking to steal details of the inner-workings of valuable commercial algorithms like those engineered by Google.
Additional writing by Dom DiFurio. Story editing by Ashleigh Graf. Copy editing by Kristen Wegrzyn. Photo selection by Ania Antecka.
This story originally appeared on Revelo and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.