Are you looking to break into the highly lucrative field of cyber security, but don’t necessarily have a degree? Don’t worry, there are plenty of opportunities out there for you! This article will discuss 12 of the most lucrative cyber security jobs that don’t require a degree.
Whether you are looking to start a career in the cyber security field or are just looking to supplement your current income, these jobs can provide you with the financial rewards you seek. Read on to learn more about these jobs and how you can get started.
What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber security is a branch of information technology that deals with protecting computer systems, networks, and data from cyber threats. Cyber security professionals use various tools and techniques to protect against cyber-attacks such as malware, phishing, and cyber espionage.
In addition to protecting against threats, cyber security experts must also be skilled in risk management and disaster recovery. They should be able to identify potential threats and take proactive steps to prevent them from occurring. They must also be able to quickly recover any data that is lost in the event of an attack or security breach. On top of all that, cyber security specialists should be knowledgeable in the latest technologies and trends in order to stay ahead of potential threats.
Do You Need a Degree for Cyber Security?
This article attempts to answer your concerns and questions related to whether and how it is possible to get into the cyber security field without a university degree. For that, we will strive to be fully honest and objective when assessing the probabilities and struggles of doing so.
That said, let’s be perfectly clear that it is much easier to get into cyber security with a university degree in IT, computer science, or cyber security. In fact, recent research shows that 80% of cybersecurity-related job postings require a relevant bachelor’s level cyber security degree or another related degree.
Nevertheless, as we will establish further in this article, the current market conditions are extremely favorable for cyber security enthusiasts which has lowered the bar for job acceptance criteria in the field.
Indeed, it is now much easier to become a cyber security specialist without a formal IT education. As per a recent report by US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 32% of information security specialists do not possess a bachelor’s degree.
Thus, the need for a degree is becoming less and less prevalent in today’s market, giving applicants from all backgrounds a fair chance at obtaining a cyber security job.
It should still be noted, however, that while you may not need a university degree to get a cyber security job, you must still be able to prove your technical abilities by acquiring all the required knowledge and skills in the field. This can usually be done by studying for and passing various cyber security certifications which are particularly popular in this industry.
Top 12 Lucrative Cyber Security Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree
So what are the jobs that you can get in cyber security without a college degree? And where can you find them? Let’s look at the list of the most no-degree-friendly cyber security jobs and recommended certifications for applying to these positions. We are also linking each title to job search engine with a filter for “no college degree” attribute for your convenience.
Cyber security specialist is one of the most common cyber security jobs. It involves protecting organizations from cyber-attacks by identifying vulnerabilities and implementing cyber security measures. Cyber security specialists can work as IT security engineers, security analysts, cyber-security researchers, cyber-security consultants and cyber-crime investigators.
Systems administrators are responsible for the stability, integrity and efficient operation of an organization’s IT systems. They install, configure and maintain hardware and software, monitor networks and troubleshoot technical issues. Having cyber security experience and certifications can help you land a systems administrator job without a degree.
Network administrators are tasked with designing, installing, and maintaining the computer networks of an organization. These professionals help organizations in identifying cyber security risks and implementing cyber security measures. To apply for a network administrator job, you should have cyber security certifications such as the Network+ and Security+.
Penetration testers are cyber security experts who specialize in simulating cyber-attacks to identify cyber security vulnerabilities. These professionals evaluate cyber security of organizations and recommend cyber security measures. Penetration testers typically need cyber security certifications such as the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) and Offensive Security Wireless Professional (OSWP).
Digital forensics is an investigative field that involves identifying cyber security threats and collecting evidence from cybercrime investigations. To become a digital forensic investigator, you will need cyber security certifications such as the Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) and EnCase Certified Examiner (EnCE).
Security risk analysts assess cyber security risks of an organization and develop cyber security strategies to mitigate these risks. Security risk analysts need cyber security certifications such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information System Auditor (CISA), and CompTIA Security+.
Identity and access management analysts are cyber security professionals who manage user accounts, access privileges, and cyber security policies. To become an identity and access management analyst, cyber security certifications such as the Certified Identity and Access Management Professional (CIAMP) and CompTIA Security+ are recommended.
Incident response analysts are cyber security professionals who investigate cyber-attacks and develop cyber security strategies to prevent future attacks. These professionals need cyber security certifications such as the Certified Incident Handler (CIH) and GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH).
Vulnerability analysts are cyber security professionals who identify cyber security vulnerabilities and recommend cyber security measures to protect the organization from cyber-attacks. These professionals need cyber security certifications such as the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and GIAC Web Application Penetration Tester (GWAPT).
Cyber security analysts are cyber security professionals who monitor cyber threats and develop cyber security strategies to protect the organization from cyber-attacks. These professionals need cyber security certifications such as the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
Information security analysts are cyber security professionals who analyze cyber threats and develop cyber security measures to protect the organization’s data. These professionals need cyber security certifications such as the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).
Security operators are cyber security professionals who monitor cyber threats and implement cyber security measures to protect their organizations from cyber-attacks. These professionals need cyber security certifications such as the CompTIA Security+ and GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC).
Do You Need to Know How to Code for Cyber Security?
While some tasks only require the knowledge of existing security software, many cyber security duties need some skills and experience with programming.
This means that for most job openings, you will be required to have programming skills and knowledge of one or more programming languages. Depending on the cyber security job you are applying to, the programming language may vary.
Therefore, if you are looking to get into cyber security without a degree, it is highly recommended that you learn the fundamentals and basic concepts of programming languages. This will help give your cyber security job application an edge over the competition.
In addition to programming languages, you should also be knowledgeable in cyber security concepts and techniques such as cyber threats, risk assessment, cyber-attack prevention, cyber security tools and technologies, cyber laws and regulations, as well as cyber security best practices.
Is Cyber Security in Demand?
In 2019, the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2) reported that there were almost 500,000 unfilled cyber security positions in America – a staggering revelation which begs us to inquire how we can meet this high demand for talent.
The solution is clear: our cybersecurity workforce must increase by an astronomical 62%.
Internationally, the space between job openings and people who are qualified to fill them is particularly vast. The top 11 nations on Earth have more than 4 million positions that need to be filled. To meet this requirement, we will need an additional 145 percent of cybersecurity specialists in total around the globe.
This is nothing but great news for those aspiring to build a career in cyber security. With cyber security jobs in such high demand, employers are now more open to hiring job applicants without a degree.
In fact, cyber security roles have a particularly low entry barrier, making cyber security jobs one of the most attractive and lucrative job options for people with no college degree.
How Much Do Cyber Security Jobs Pay?
Cyber security is a highly lucrative field, and cyber security jobs are some of the most highly paid positions in the tech industry.
According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay among information security analysts has been recorded as $102,600 annually, or $49.33 per hour.
As a range, cyber security personnel can expect to make anywhere from $50,000 to over $200,000 a year depending on their location and experience level.
As an applicant with no university degree, you may have to accept a lower salary within that range for starters. However, as you gain experience in the field, your salary should also increase quickly.
Pros and Cons of Getting Into Cyber Security Without a Degree
If you’re considering cyber security jobs without a degree, here are some of the pros and cons to take into consideration:
- High demand for cyber security professionals means more job opportunities
- Cyber security jobs pay very well, even without a degree
- Cyber security professionals have opportunities for advancement
- No degree required to apply for many cyber security jobs
- Cyber security certifications can be expensive
- Lack of formal cyber security education may mean you have to work harder to stay up-to-date on cyber security trends and developments
- Lack of cyber security degree may make it more difficult to gain access to higher-level cyber security jobs
- You may have to accept a lower starting salary than cyber security professionals with degrees
Overall, cyber security jobs without a degree are still highly accessible and can be a great starting point to gain hands-on experience and build up your cyber security skillset. With the right cyber security certifications, you can easily create a well-paying cyber security career without having to go through the traditional university route.
How to Get a Cyber Security Job Without a Degree
There are two main routes for getting the required training for cyber security employment: self-study and coding bootcamps. Each one has its own merits and drawbacks.
If you’re looking for cyber security jobs without a degree, self-study is a great option. Self-study cyber security courses are available online and cover the basics of cyber security. These courses can help you build a solid foundation in cyber security concepts and best practices so that you can start applying for cyber security jobs.
This route is the cheapest compared to a coding bootcamp or university education as many resources for learning cyber security online are available for free or only a fraction of the price you would pay for formal education.
However, learning something so vast as cyber security on your own is also very difficult and takes a lot of dedication and hard work. Many people get overwhelmed by the amount of material they need to study when a structured content plan is absent.
In order to start learning cyber security, you may want to utilize some of the following online tools:
- FreeCodeCamp — A comprehensive learning platform designed to equip aspiring cybersecurity professionals with the foundational coding skills needed to excel in this career path.
- Udemy — With hundreds of courses in cybersecurity, technology, business and more–you can’t go wrong with this platform. Although primarily paid content, it often offers sales to keep things affordable for everyone.
- Cybrary — Enjoy access to an extensive library of resources, plus a variety of cybersecurity and tech-related courses. This site is not entirely free, but you can still experience many amazing offerings with your complimentary account!
For those who are willing to invest both time and money into preparing for cyber security jobs without a degree, cyber security bootcamps can be a great option.
Cyber security coding bootcamps provide an intensive, immersive cyber security curriculum with hands-on experience and guidance from experienced cyber security professionals. They can usually be completed in just 2-3 months and prepare you for immediate employment after graduation.
These bootcamps are often more expensive than self-study cyber security courses with an average cost of $13,500, but they provide a much more comprehensive cyber security education.
They also have the advantage of being taught by cyber security professionals with real-world experience and a solid curriculum that is designed to help you acquire the cyber security skills needed to excel in any cyber security job.
Whether you decide to study on your own or attend a cyber security bootcamp, obtaining cyber security certifications can be an essential part of landing cyber security jobs without a degree.
Cyber security certifications demonstrate your knowledge and competency in the cyber security field and can make your cyber security resume stand out from the rest.
Having cyber security certifications shows that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful in cyber security jobs without having a degree. Many cyber security companies also prefer certified applicants when it comes to hiring for cyber security positions.
Popular cyber security certifications include:
- Certified Ethical Hacker Certificate (CEH)
- CompTIA Security+
- IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certification
- GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)
- GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC)
- Google IT Support Professional Certificate
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
- GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)
- Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)
- GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN)
How Hard Is It to Get a Cyber Security Job without a Degree?
Getting a cyber security job with no university degree is definitely no easy feat. You will need to obtain all of the required technical and soft skills needed for the job and present yourself as a worthy applicant.
As we mentioned earlier, obtaining certifications can also go a long way in getting your foot in the door when it comes to your first job in cyber security.
You should make sure to work hard on your personal portfolio and resume to showcase your technical abilities and expertise required for the job.
You will likely have to send dozens, if not hundreds of applications, to get a few interview invites and land your first job. It is important to work hard, be patient, and keep applying.
Depending on whether you decide to self-study or attend a coding bootcamp, the time it will take you to get your first job since the start of your studies may range from 3 months to a couple of years.
In any case, getting cyber security jobs without a degree is achievable and there are plenty of resources available to help you get started. With the right skills and attitude, a successful cyber security career without a degree is definitely within reach.
In conclusion, cyber security jobs without a degree are plentiful. Employment opportunities range from entry-level positions such as cyber security analyst to more specialized roles like malware analyst or cyber security engineer.
People in these roles can be well compensated, depending on the company and role they take on. With the right skillset and/or experience, you could see yourself advancing in cyber security without a degree.
If you are looking for cyber security job opportunities, it is worth exploring the many cyber security jobs without degree that might fit your skillset or experience. With careful research and some luck, this could be a great way to break into cyber security and jumpstart your career!
Elmar Mammadov is a software developer, tech startup founder, and computer science career specialist. He is the founder of CS Careerline and a true career changer who has previously pursued careers in medicine and neuroscience.
Due to his interest in programming and years of past personal experience in coding, he decided to break into the tech industry by attending a Master’s in Computer Science for career changers at University of Pennsylvania. Elmar passionately writes and coaches about breaking into the tech industry and computer science in general.