J.D. to M.D. to Cybersecurity

How Cybersecurity is Joining the Ranks of Top Paying Professions




What do you want to be when you grow up? From a young age people are asked this question. Their answers change as they grow older, though many come to the same conclusion of a doctor or a lawyer. Understandable, as these are two of the most esteemed and highest paying jobs in the U.S. However, a new career path is joining the ranks as a high-paying, challenging option. Cybersecurity is a growing field. It has the salaries set to rival that of a doctor or lawyer, plenty of growth in employment opportunities and a far shorter timeline of success.


Traditionally if you set out to be a doctor or lawyer, you’ve committed a doctor-563428_960_720large portion of your life and your money to your schooling. That investment was made with a certain sense of job security. Once you’d earned the title, the salary was all but guaranteed. In today’s job market, and with university tuitions on the rise, that’s not always the case anymore. Completing medical school is an 11-year journey, that leaves 79% of medical students with $100,000 or more in education debt according to Association of American Medical Colleges. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate for law graduates has been increasing for years. The latest unemployment rate for lawyers was at 11.2%, according to the statistics provided by the Trading Economics and Quartz. Those unemployment rates are then attached to the burden of seven years of school debt, which for law students was averaged to be $112,000 in 2014, according to the advocacy group Law School Transparency.


Increasing debt in a narrowing job market leaves grim prospects, though the converse can be said for other career paths. The most notable field on the rise being cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is a career path that offers plenty of opportunities, with a job outlook of 18% growth rate through 2024, reports the Bureaus of Labor Statistics. To put that in perspective, the average growth rate for all occupations is 7%. With plenty of opportunities out there, National Science Foundation funded CyberWatch West is working to improve the quality and quantity of students coming through state colleges and in to the profession. There is an obvious gap between the number of positions open and those qualified enough in the market.  When you see that, and you care about your industry, it’s important you do something about it.  It’s one of the reasons I volunteer my time on advisory boards for CyberWatch West and California State University, Fullerton’s Cyber Security program.


urlNot only are there a growing number of jobs, but according to a Semper Secure survey the average salary of professionals in the industry was $116,000 a year. However, it’s not just the high paying salary that marks this field as special, it’s also the difference in time. The average entry-level education needed is a bachelor’s degree, with less than five years of work experience as a requirement, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A professional in this industry will be earning a lucrative amount while both lawyers and doctors are still raking up school debt.


Not to say that you shouldn’t be encouraging your children to be doctors and lawyers, but it’s time to look at all the options out there. Certainly a career in cybersecurity is a career with job security, and a growing future. Much like how Greys Anatomy and Law & Order influenced generations to want to be doctors and lawyers, perhaps films like Snowden and shows like Mr.Robot will influence a new generation to want to work in information security.


If you have any further questions on what a career in cybersecurity could mean for you, please contact Kris Rides via Linkedin, Peerlyst or via our contact page. Kris recently co-authored a book titled “A Beginners Guide to Information Security” published by Peerlyst and available on Amazon all profits go to a non-profit helping to battle online harassment.


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