Cybersecurity degrees will allow you to work in a wide variety of enterprise businesses and public organizations that rely on complex information systems and networks. If you're curious about what you can do with a cybersecurity degree, take a look at all the opportunities you'll have to join different sectors of the IT workforce:
The public sector is a popular choice for many cybersecurity graduates. This includes government agencies, nonprofits, and law enforcement. In May of 2021, the White House released a jobs plan fact sheet that outlined increased spending for cybersecurity roles. Graduates will be in high demand for positions at the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Cyber Security and Information Security Agency. Positions in law enforcement specifically focus on criminal threats. As such, hackers who penetrate private and public information systems are treated as criminals. With a cybersecurity degree focused on forensic investigation, you'll be in high demand for a role with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or Department of Homeland Security.
Although the federal government is putting an emphasis on public service roles in cybersecurity, many graduates also turn to the private sector. Finance, for example, receives one of the highest rates of cyberattacks each year. It's no surprise that hackers are interested in infiltrating this industry. With millions of transactions happening every day around the world, there is a strong need for trained experts with a degree in cybersecurity.
There's also the manufacturing, infrastructure, and energy industries which rely on IT security professionals to protect sensitive data and important logistics systems. Transportation alone consists of a large number of individual systems — such as freight, postal, rail, shipping, and public transit. These systems are what keep society functioning properly. Security threats to energy utilities systems, for example, can disrupt daily life for citizens around the world. Hackers can stall freight lines, shut off electrical grids or gas lines, and steal information from postal and shipping companies. These threats make cybersecurity jobs in infrastructure and energy an important line of defense.
For manufacturing, hackers often use phishing and malware attacks to disrupt supply chains and other tricky tactics involving cloud-based messaging and storage services. Cybersecurity degrees help prepare you to analyze and prevent the increasing network and information threats in the manufacturing sector.
Cybersecurity careers are often located in areas that are rife with commerce. States like California and Texas are among the biggest providers of cybersecurity jobs due to the sheer amount of private technology and manufacturing companies located within their borders. California, in particular, boasted over 63,000 cybersecurity job postings between October 2020 and September 2021, while Texas offered over 67,000. Coastal states — such as Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and New York — also make up a large portion of the cybersecurity job market.
Washington, D.C. has a very high concentration of cybersecurity jobs. This is due to government organizations' growing need for data and network security. For every 1,000 jobs in the D.C. area, nearly 125 of them are in the cybersecurity field. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are prioritizing cybersecurity hiring. These organizations are located in Washington, D.C. or in nearby Arlington, VA. They offer various roles in preventative analysis and hacking response. You can apply for roles directly on their websites. DHS also offers information for students to participate in internships.
Before deciding on the location where you want to land a new role, it's important to consider the cost of living. Working in a city like Arlington, VA will allow you to net more of your yearly cybersecurity salary as compared to a city like San Francisco, CA, which has a much higher cost of living.