Securing the Internet: Careers in Cybersecurity
A degree in cybersecurity will prepare you for one of the fastest-growing industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 32% job growth rate for information security analysts between 2018-2028. A 2016 Forbes report identified industries particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks, including healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, government, transportation and growing threats to the energy industry.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is a lucrative, growing field that focuses on protecting organizations from digital attacks and keeping their information and networks safe. Cybersecurity experts provide a wide range of services, including detecting vulnerabilities, recommending software and hardware programs to mitigate risks, and developing policies and procedures for maintaining security.
Black Professionals Are Underrepresented in the Cybersecurity Field
Data from BLS reports that only 3% of the information security analysts in the United States are Black or African American. The International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP) focuses on promoting career opportunities for African Americans and other minorities in cybersecurity. They provide various resources, including technical training, scholarship opportunities, community outreach, mentoring programs and job listings.
What Career Opportunities are Available in the Cybersecurity Industry?
The field offers diverse career opportunities. Potential jobs include information security analyst, security architect, chief information security officer and security engineer. The most popular industries that employ cybersecurity professionals include computer systems design and related services; management of companies and enterprises; credit intermediation and related activities; and management, scientific and technical consulting services.
A career in the cybersecurity field encompasses a large variety of exciting, rewarding career paths. High-level roles, such as a chief information officer, require a bachelor’s degree (although a master’s degree is recommended) and provide an average annual salary of more than $160,000. All types of organizations increasingly rely on computer networks and systems for their everyday operations, making cybersecurity a viable career in nearly any industry. However, some industries employ larger numbers of cybersecurity professionals and offer better compensation than others.
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How to Prepare for Success
Sharpen your computer proficiency and fine-tune your investigative skills. You should also polish your communication and presentation skills, which will be useful in any workplace. Talk to your high school counselor to help you navigate the college selection process.
In 2016, President Obama announced the Computer Science For All Initiative to increase tech skills training in K-12 schools throughout the nation.
UNCF Schools to Consider
These UNCF-member HBCUs have high-quality programs in cybersecurity that you can consider:
Scholarships and Programs
The International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP) offers several scholarships to students pursuing cybersecurity education. The Target Scholars Program also offers enrolling freshmen interested in the tech industry who are planning to attend an HBCU support. And, of course, the UNCF General Scholarship Awards are a can’t-miss opportunity for any student going to a UNCF-member college, regardless of their major.
As you explore all the different options a cybersecurity degree can lead to, you may want to reach out for some guidance. You’re not alone! Submit a major interest form on our website to get started. And to keep the updates coming, make sure to follow us on UNCF social media channels, so you receive notification about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!