The Highest-Paying
Network Security Careers: 2021 List

In 2021, network security professionals are in high demand, making the career path highly lucrative. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced professional, now is the time to pursue your career in network security. You’ll find that both network security and cyber security careers in the tech field have high salaries.

If you are struggling to decide what career to pursue, look no further. This guide contains information on all of the best network and cyber security jobs, including average annual salaries, job growth predictions, and the minimum education required to pursue your career in cyber security.

What Is Network Security?

Network security is a field involving the protection of various computer networks. Network and cyber security professionals analyze, monitor, and protect security systems that keep data safe. You will find network security professionals working in almost every industry, but some common examples include tech, business, medical, and government.

Network Security Job Outlook and Salary Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of information security analysts is expected to grow 31 percent by 2029. This is much faster than the national average growth for other occupations, which is around four percent.

In the same report, the BLS reports that information security analysts make an average salary of $103,590, which is also higher than average. PayScale reports that network security professionals earn an average annual salary of $72,771, but experts in the field can earn as much as $121,000 per year.

At a Glance: Highest-Paying Network Security Careers

The following are the top 10 highest-paying network security careers of 2021. Most of these careers can be achieved with a bachelor’s degree. All of the information below was sourced from Glassdoor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and job growth refers to the projected number of new jobs between 2019 and 2029.

Job Title Projected Job Growth Median Pay
Chief Information Security Officer 31%* $171,450
Security Director 31%* $170,746
Security Architect 31%* $151,343
Lead Software Security Engineer 5%** $137,614
Cyber Security Architect 5%** $129,470
Security Software Developer 22%*** $127,566
Senior Systems Engineer 4%**** $117,776
Network Engineer 4%**** $115,912
Blockchain Developer 22%*** $107,634
Information Systems Security Engineer 31%* $106,820

*Information retrieved from the BLS report on information security analysts.
**Information retrieved from the BLS report on computer network architects.
***Information retrieved from the BLS report on software developers.
****Information retrieved from the BLS report on network and computer systems administrators.

The Best Network Security Careers: 2021 List

The Best Network Security
Careers: 2021 List

Whether you are interested in becoming a network security manager or simply a cyber security specialist, you are sure to find the perfect career. Below you will find information about each top-paying career, including the job description and tips on how to succeed.

Min. Education Required: Master’s Degree in Information Security

Working as a chief information security officer, you would be responsible for anticipating, preventing, and managing network security breaches. Chief information security officers manage an information security department and collaborate with other security professionals.

If you pursue this career path, you will easily find work in the tech, business, and financial industries. Successful chief information security officers are natural leaders with great management skills. You will also need a strong understanding of all network and computer security systems.

Min. Education Required: Master’s Degree in Information Security

A security director, sometimes known as a director of information security, focuses on the management of a business’s security departments. Typically, security directors work with information security professionals to strategically plan security procedures and protocols.

Security directors can be found working in many industries, namely tech, business, and government industries. A good security director is both creative and logical. You will also need to be a great problem solver and able to stick to a tight budget.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Information Security

Security architects follow the directions given to them by security directors. The goal for a security architect is to take the ideas of their superiors and develop the blueprints for a business’s network security system.

As is the case with most network security positions, you can find work as a security architect in almost every industry. Some of the most common ones include the tech, medical, government, and financial industries. You will need to be a visionary and a good team player to succeed in this job.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering or Cyber Security

As a lead software security engineer, you will lead a team of software engineers. Your responsibilities will include developing various security software. Lead software security engineers typically work in tech companies.

Good lead software security engineers are fantastic leaders and have experience and skills in management. Having a solid understanding of software engineering and development is important as well. You will need to learn software engineering in a bachelor’s degree program.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Cyber Security

Similar to the position of a security architect, cyber security architects turn ideas into blueprints for cyber security systems. This involves a lot of working with superiors and various security departments within an organization.

You can find cyber security architect jobs in any high-tech environment. These positions are most commonly available in the tech, medical, and government industries. A good cyber security architect is detail-oriented and good at problem-solving.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Information Technology

Security software developers spend their workdays creating the blueprints that are followed by software security engineers. Essentially, people working in this position take ideas and turn them into plans for security software.

You’ll find employment as a security software developer in all of the same industries as a software security engineer. To succeed in this job, you will need to be good at designing and modifying security software. You will also need to be innovative and able to take criticism.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering

Senior systems engineers direct a team of systems engineers and are responsible for designing and developing a variety of security systems. Systems engineering teams are often tasked with working on computer and network systems unrelated to security as well.

A great senior systems engineer is a natural leader with experience in the field. They are typically detail-oriented with creative minds. You will easily find work in this position in the business, tech, and government industries.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering

Senior network engineers set up, maintain, and troubleshoot computer and security networks. If you pursue this career, you will work with a team of network engineers. The goal of this position is to ensure an organization has the ideal networks in place and that they are functioning adequately.

You can find senior network engineers working in various fields, often including financial and government industries. To succeed in this position, you will need to have an in-depth understanding of most computer systems. You will also need good customer service skills and the ability to build rapport with clients.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Information Security

Blockchain developers are experts in using blockchain technology for various projects. As a blockchain developer, you would likely focus on security-related projects. Many blockchain developers are self-employed and work as contractors.

You will find the most blockchain developer positions available in the banking, finance, tech, and insurance industries. Good blockchain developers are independent and work well alone. You will need to be focused, driven, and up-to-date with current blockchain technologies.

Min. Education Required: Bachelor’s Degree in Information Security

Information systems security engineers use other security measures within an organization to protect sensitive data. These professionals organize procedures and systems already in place to create a perfect security plan.

Most information systems security engineers are team players. To succeed in this position, you will need to know all about various anti-viral software, firewalls, and the latest security technologies.

What Education Do I Need to Pursue a Career in Network Security?

For most network security careers, a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Security, Cyber Security, or Computer Science will suffice. Many employers won’t even require you to have received a formal education.

Many network security and cyber security professionals are self-taught. This typically means they have studied via online courses offered by sites such as Udemy. You can earn various online certificates with these courses to add to your resume.

You can also enroll in a coding bootcamp. These are intensive job training camps offered both online and on campuses around the country. You will typically spend less time and money on a bootcamp than a college degree, and you can pick a coding bootcamp that is more tailored to specific careers than college degrees usually are.

Common Entry-Level
Network Security Jobs

One of the best parts of network security is how easy it is to start your career once you have the necessary skills. You can begin work in network security with little to no formal education. Even entry-level network security jobs tend to pay well. Take a look at the best entry-level network security jobs below.

Penetration Tester

Entry-Level Pay: $67,947

A fun entry-level career to try is penetration testing. With just an associate or bachelor’s degree, you can begin ethical hacking. This allows organizations, often government-related, to see where their security systems are weak and need improvement. In a junior position, you will have to work under a senior tester.

Software Developer

Entry-Level Pay: $63,460

Software developers come up with new software ideas and improvements. They often need a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science but are just as commonly employed with bootcamp education. Software development is one of the most common tech careers, which makes it a great place to start.

Computer Programmer

Entry-Level Pay: $56,766

You can get a programming job with little to no experience, and if you want to enter network security, programming is a great choice. Your work would include writing and testing code in different programming languages to determine functionality. Programming languages include Python, JavaScript, Ruby, and HTML.

Systems Administrator

Entry-Level Pay: $51,319

Systems administrators only need a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer and Information technology. They are tasked with managing computer and network systems, as well as meeting an organization’s security needs. Systems administrators are vital to network security because they help maintain the systems it uses to thrive.

Computer Support Specialist

Entry-Level Pay: $43,674

Computer support specialists only need a high school diploma or equivalent to get started. This makes it one of the best entry-level jobs in tech in 2021. You can work at a computer support firm or within different types of companies. If you want to learn more about the tech industry before entering network security, you should become a support specialist.

Can I Study Network Security Online?

Yes, many colleges and universities offer cyber security, information security, and computer science programs online. You can often earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees online. There are also a number of certificate programs, online courses, and plenty of helpful coding bootcamps for you to use as resources.

Should I Pursue a Network Security Job?

Yes, you should pursue a network security job. With employment in this field expected to grow up to 31 percent by 2029, now is the time to pursue this career. These jobs pay well, offer high job satisfaction rates, and are in high demand.

If you enjoy computer and network security, this is the field for you. You need very little formal education for most positions, and what education you do need is available online. Pursuing a job in network security has never been easier.

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