Here are 5 of the highest-paying cybersecurity jobs

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The field of cybersecurity is seeing incredible demand. Cybersecurity Ventures, a researcher and publisher that covers the international cyber economy, estimates that there are currently 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally, and that “the disparity between demand and supply will remain through at least 2025.”

With many cybersecurity jobs paying six-figure salaries—and some roles offering pay packages of nearly $1 million for top C-suite cyber talent—cybersecurity is an in-demand and well-paying field. Here are six of the highest-paying cybersecurity jobs.

1. Chief Information Security Officer

Average salary: $243,096 per year, according to Salary.com

Salary range: $192,085 to $304,391, according to Salary.com

Highest-paying cities for cybersecurity managers: Menlo Park, California ($188,788), Sunnyvale, California ($186,068), Livermore, California ($185,972), according to ZipRecruiter

Job description: A chief information security officer (CISO) is a C-suite executive who oversees the entirety of a company’s security operation. A CISO works to avoid security threats and reduce data breach risks by developing, implementing, and enforcing policies and procedures to protect an organization’s data. 

Jerry Perullo, a professor of the practice in Georgia Tech’s School of Cybersecurity and Privacy and a former CISO, says the role “really sets the priorities for cybersecurity risk management at a company. They build a program. They hire and manage talent. And they assess different cyber threats that are out there and figure out which ones are important to the company.”

Education: Earning a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline is a good starter, and additional education is often expected. Master’s and sometimes doctorate degrees in more focused fields are sometimes necessary for this role, according to Cybersecurity Guide. 

2. Director of Information Security 

Average salary: $189,692, according to Salary.com

Salary range: $154,082 to $229,357, according to Salary.com

Highest-paying cities for directors of information security: San Francisco, California ($221,043), Phoenix, Arizona ($214,014), San Antonio, Texas ($205,255), according to Indeed

Job description: Like a CISO, the director of information security is a top-level role at an organization that works to ensure the safety of its information assets. A director of information security oversees the day-to-day operations of an organization’s security apparatus, including responding to cybersecurity attacks, performing risk assessments and maintaining security controls. “They’re looking for signs of potential attacks,” explains Perullo. “They’re reacting to those and investigating. And if they find that there’s some kind of incident, then they’re figuring out what needs to be done to contain the incident. And then, they might be learning from that and engineering new processes to detect similar activity in the future.”

Education: ZipRecruiter recommends a bachelor’s degree in computer science, database administration, or IT security, and states that larger firms seek candidates with more advanced degrees in IT or computer-related subjects.

3. Cybersecurity Architect

Average salary: $147,785 per year, according to Indeed

Salary range: $94,555 to $230,982, according to Indeed

Highest-paying cities for cybersecurity architects: San Francisco, California ($192,146), Denver, Colorado ($191,451), New York City, New York ($179,122), according to Indeed

Job description: A cybersecurity architect works to plan, design, test, implement, and maintain an organization’s computer and network security infrastructures. This role must anticipate an organization’s weaknesses, thinking like a hacker while conducting ethical hacks, vulnerability assessments, and penetration tests.

Education: In addition to a bachelor’s in cybersecurity or computer science, Cybersecurity Guide recommends a master’s degree in cybersecurity or a related field as this is a management-level role.

4. Cybersecurity Engineer

Average salary: $150,000 per year, according to Glassdoor

Salary range: $122,000 to $188,000, according to Glassdoor

High demand cities for cybersecurity engineers: Washington, D.C. ($111,676), New York, N.Y. ($115,836), and Dallas, Texas ($112,714), according to Monster

Job description: A cybersecurity engineer works to identify and nullify threats to an organization’s network and computer systems. In the event of a cyberattack, a cybersecurity engineer will enact security procedures to safeguard data. “The cybersecurity engineer usually collaborates with other teams, like the infrastructure teams architecture team. to make sure that we engineer and develop security,” says Dalal Alharthi, an assistant professor of cybersecurity at the University of Arizona’s College of Applied Science & Technology.

Education: According to Cybersecurity Guide, these roles usually require a bachelor’s in cybersecurity or a closely related field like mathematics or computer science. More senior or management-oriented roles may require a master’s.

5. Application Security Engineer

Average salary: $138,180 per year, according to Indeed

Salary range: $92,456 to $206,498, according to Indeed

Highest-paying cities for application security engineers: San Francisco, California ($208,826), Los Angeles, California ($167,610), Dallas, Texas ($164,938), according to Indeed

Job description: Application security engineers make sure that an organization’s applications run correctly and securely. Working alongside development teams, application security engineers create security control measures through the software development lifestyle and endeavor to pinpoint and mitigate security vulnerabilities. “It’s a security assurance function, meaning it’s proactive, it’s trying to find a response to the problem,” Perullo says. “They’re checking behind [app developers], checking up on their code, and seeing if there were any mistakes made that can lead to a security vulnerability.”

Education: Employers may require a bachelor’s degree in a related field for this role, such as computer science or information systems. According to ZipRecruiter, many employers require a master’s degree for their application security engineers. Proficiency in several programming languages is needed for this role.

Is a cybersecurity job worth it?

Despite the recent major layoffs in the tech field over the past two years, cybersecurity jobs remain in high demand. Workers with extensive cybersecurity backgrounds are seeing “near-zero” unemployment, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. The shortage in cybersecurity workers means that IT workers are having to “shoulder a security burden.”

Still, cybersecurity jobs can be stressful. In a recent survey conducted by cybersecurity company Deep Instinct, 55% of security professionals said that their stress level had increased over the previous year, with limited staffing and resources being the main cause. Some 51% reported that they may leave their jobs over the next year because of the threats and stress caused by generative AI.

The takeaway 

Cybersecurity is an in-demand and well-paying field with roughly 3.5 million unfilled jobs globally. Many jobs pay six-figures, and some top talent receive nearly $1 million in compensation. Still, cybersecurity jobs can be stressful, and generative AI has only increased that stress. To ascend to higher positions in this field, a bachelor’s and a master’s in cybersecurity or a related field is generally recommended.

Perullo recommends that those looking to increase their job prospects create virtual environments online through Amazon Web Services and experiment with different types of cybersecurity attacks.

“People really look for signs of self-education, of scrappiness,” Perullo says. with the advent of so much open-source software, cloud computing, there’s really no excuse why a career candidate can’t, for free, online, pick up a lot of skills.”

See how the schools you’re considering fared in Fortune’s rankings of the best master’s degree programs in data science (in-person and online), nursing, computer science, cybersecurity, psychology, public health, and business analytics, as well as the doctorate in education programs MBA programs (part-time, executive, full-time, and online).

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