Top 5 Most In-Demand Cyber Security Jobs


January 30, 2024

Cyber security offers a demanding yet rewarding career trajectory, abundant with professional possibilities. Discover the most in-demand cyber security jobs and understand the education and experience needed to excel in them.

The increasing cyber security challenges faced by organisations underline the critical need for cyber security professionals. These experts must possess a blend of skills, knowledge, best practices, and experience to safeguard company assets. According to Fortinet’s “2023 Cyber security Skills Gap” report, 56% of firms struggle to recruit cyber security talent, and 54% find it difficult to retain them, leaving many organisations vulnerable.

This gap in the cyber security workforce presents vast opportunities for qualified professionals. As noted in the same Fortinet report, 83% of company boards are advocating for an expanded security team. Consequently, there’s a soaring demand for trained, certified, and skilled cyber security specialists – especially for the five key roles described below.

1. Cyber Security Engineer

Average Salary: $101,584

A cyber security engineer is tasked with building and maintaining information security (infosec) systems and IT frameworks, safeguarding them from unauthorised intrusions and cyber threats. Key responsibilities include formulating and implementing security strategies, protocols, and best practices, as well as devising contingency plans for rapid recovery in the event of a disaster.

Being proactive in identifying system vulnerabilities, often through penetration testing, and addressing them before they escalate into major security concerns is a crucial aspect of this role. Cyber security engineers also assess and potentially modify an organisation’s legal, technical, and regulatory aspects impacting IT security.

Additional duties entail:

  • Installing and managing firewalls and intrusion detection systems.
  • Updating or evaluating new security software, hardware, and facilities.
  • Implementing encryption programs.

When a security breach occurs, cyber security engineers are responsible for mitigating the issue, which may involve data relocation or collaborating with external teams for recovery.

Effective communication skills are essential for cyber security engineers to articulate complex problems to management and to guide the implementation of updated security measures. Collaboration with law enforcement may be necessary following an attack.

Educational and Skill Requirements:

  • A Bachelor’s degree or higher in computer engineering, cyber security, infosec, or a related field.
  • Proficiency in secure coding practices and vulnerability detection.
  • Risk assessment capabilities.
  • Knowledge of secure network design and architecture.
  • Firewall architecture expertise.
  • Computer forensics skills.
  • Identity and access management understanding.
  • Familiarity with virtualisation technologies.
  • Skills in defending against advanced persistent threats, malware, phishing, and social engineering.
  • Expertise in encryption technologies.

Relevant Certifications:

  • CompTIA Cyber security Analyst (CySA+).
  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+).
  • Cisco Certified Network Professional Security (CCNP).
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

2. Infosec analyst/cyber security analyst

Average Salary: $80,967

The job of a security analyst is multifaceted and involves a range of responsibilities. Key tasks include overseeing and enforcing security protocols and procedures, using the right tools to ensure these practices are correctly implemented and adhered to. Security analysts scrutinise reports from these tools to proactively spot unusual or suspicious network activities. Their duties may also cover managing file access and credentials, updating networks, and maintaining firewalls.

A proficient security analyst possesses a thorough understanding of data storage and management, as well as various types of cyber security threats, such as ransomware attacks, social engineering, and data breaches. They are often involved in conducting penetration tests and vulnerability scans, advising on modifications to bolster security measures.

In larger companies, security analysts may operate within a security operations centre, focusing specifically on the monitoring, detection, containment, and resolution of threats. In contrast, in medium to small organisations, they might undertake a broader spectrum of responsibilities, ranging from security analysis and intrusion detection to the upkeep of firewalls, antivirus systems, and software patches. Given their expertise in security risks and best practices, security analysts are frequently tasked with training staff on cyber security best practices.

Educational and Skill Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, cyber security, infosec, or a related field.
  • Knowledge of proprietary network management.
  • Experience in penetration testing.
  • Proficiency in security incident response and triaging.
  • Conducting risk assessments.
  • Understanding data encryption.
  • Expertise in firewall design, configuration, deployment, and maintenance.

Relevant Certifications:

  • CompTIA Network+.
  • CompTIA Security+.
  • CompTIA PenTest+.
  • CySA+.
  • CISSP.

3. Network Security Architect

Average Salary: $126,166

The role of a network security architect is crucial in fortifying the security framework of enterprise architecture, while simultaneously ensuring network productivity, efficiency, availability, and performance. These professionals play a key part in aligning business requirements with functional systems, setting suitable policies and procedures, and even in training users and administrators. Their responsibilities also extend to managing budgetary and operational limits, making people and managerial skills essential in this position.

Network security architects are tasked with implementing both defensive strategies, like firewall and antivirus configurations, and offensive measures, such as penetration testing, to maintain robust security throughout the network’s lifecycle. They also supervise network modifications to minimise organisational risks. Advanced knowledge in various security tools and techniques, including firewalls, penetration testing, and incident response, is crucial. They need a deep understanding of networking requirements for computer systems, encompassing aspects like routing, switching, trust domains, security best practices, technologies, and standard industry frameworks.

Their work includes conducting network and system analyses to identify the most effective security controls. Familiarity with different access control mechanisms, such as role-based, mandatory, and discretionary access control, is also required.

Educational and Skill Requirements:

  • Essential: Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.
  • Preferred: Master’s degree in cyber security.
  • Strategic planning capabilities.
  • Proficiency in ITIL and COBIT IT process models.
  • Understanding of TCP/IP networking and network security.
  • Knowledge of the Open Systems Interconnection 7-layer model.
  • Experience with intrusion detection systems.
  • Risk management expertise.
  • Familiarity with single sign-on identity management systems.
  • VPN layers and connections.
  • Protocol encryption.

Relevant Certifications:

  • CompTIA Network+.
  • ISC2 Information Systems Security Architecture Professional.
  • GIAC Defensible Security Architecture.
  • NSE 7 Network Security Architect.
  • Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE).

4. Security Software Developer

Average Salary: $75,776

The role of a security software developer is well-suited for individuals passionate about software coding and interested in information security (infosec). This position involves the integration of technical programming expertise with product development and security analysis to create robust software resistant to attacks. Staying current with the evolving threat landscape is essential, making entry-level positions in this field rare.

Security software developers need to proactively anticipate and mitigate potential future threats. They are responsible for striking a balance between the speed, functionality, user experience, and security of the product, ensuring optimal performance without compromising security. Collaborating with other professionals like designers, engineers, and testers is a key aspect of this role, requiring not only technical expertise in software architecture, design, and coding but also strong communication and teamwork skills.

Security software developers, especially those working in Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging tech sectors, are in high demand and have numerous career opportunities.

Education and Skills for Mid-level Roles:

  • Bachelor’s degree in software development or engineering.
  • Knowledge of secure coding practices.
  • Familiarity with security controls.
  • Experience in penetration testing (preferred but not always required).

Advanced Role Requirements:

  • In-depth understanding of infosec.
  • Proficiency in cryptography.
  • Project management skills.
  • Network security expertise.

Relevant Certifications:

  • CompTIA Security+.
  • CySA+.
  • CompTIA PenTest+.
  • CASP+.
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).
  • CISSP.
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).
  • Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE).
  • Microsoft Azure Security Engineer Associate.

5. Penetration Tester/Ethical Hacker

Average Salary: $92,759

Ethical hackers serve as the cyber security world’s detectives, emulating the mindset and tactics of malicious actors to understand their motives, strategies, and potential threats. They perform penetration tests to identify weaknesses in security protocols across networks, operating systems, devices, and web applications. Additionally, they propose solutions to address these vulnerabilities before they are exploited by adversaries, playing a key role in protecting an organisation’s data and systems.

Given the sensitive and urgent nature of their work, ethical hackers must be highly trustworthy and capable of managing significant stress and uncertainty. Creativity and meticulous organisation are vital for effectively tracking and documenting their activities. Staying abreast of the latest knowledge, skills, and techniques is crucial to stay ahead of cybercriminals’ actions, contributing to incident response and forensic analysis to bolster the organisation’s security measures.

Some organisations distinguish between penetration testers and ethical hackers. In these cases, penetration testing is one aspect of the ethical hacker’s role, which also involves robust tactical cyber skills and a comprehensive understanding of the organisation’s vulnerabilities and their management. In other firms, the roles of pen testers and ethical hackers are seen as equivalent.

Educational and Skill Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in infosec or a related field.
  • Proficiency in penetration testing methods and tools, such as Network Mapper, Wireshark, and Kali.
  • Knowledge of programming languages like Python, Golang, Bash, and PowerShell.
  • Familiarity with OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities.
  • Understanding of social engineering tactics.

Relevant Certifications:

  • PEN-200 Offensive Security Certified Professional.
  • GIAC Penetration Tester.
  • GIAC Certified Enterprise Defender.
  • GIAC Exploit Researcher and Advanced Penetration Tester.
  • CompTIA Security+.
  • CySA+.
  • CompTIA PenTest+.


With the growing frequency, complexity, and magnitude of cyber attacks, there’s a corresponding rise in the need for skilled cyber security experts. This field is not only engaging and rewarding but also provides ample opportunities for professional advancement, lucrative benefits, and the possibility to make a significant impact in various organisations and sectors.

Published on 30-01-2024