Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

Cybersecurity salaries highest in retail sector

A recent study found cybersecurity salaries in the retail sector are among the highest in the field while those in education and telecommunication are some of the lowest.

Researchers also unsurprisingly found that salaries were lowest at smaller companies as opposed to larger firms and that while salaries don't continue to increase reliability with increased levels of education, participants with advanced degrees consistently earned more than those with only bachelor's degrees.

In larger companies salaries often range from $75,000-$100,000 a year while firms with less than 100 employees salaries range between $50,000-$75,000, according to Exabeam's 2018 Cyber Security Professionals Salary and Job Report.

Researchers also found it pays to keep learning either by getting advanced degrees and or by obtaining certifications. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification was held by 33.9 percent of respondents, CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker certification was held by 23.7 percent of respondents, and a CompTIA certification was held by 22.7 percent of respondents.

The study also found that 40 percent ore respondents with a bachelor's and master's degree were satisfied with their current pay and that participants who reported not attending school some of the most satisfied with their salaries.

The study also queried respondents about their job satisfaction and found that respondents in the Automotive, Construction, Food and Beverage, and Transportation and Delivery sectors were among the happiest with their jobs with 50 percent or more reporting they were satisfied.

The study also found cybersecurity experts are embracing the promises of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Nearly half, 46.4 percent of respondents reported that they are not currently using AI or machine learning in their jobs, but are planning to utilize them in the future and nearly 75 percent of respondents agreed that machine learning and AI can make their job better or easier.

The study also shows as a reminder the industry still has a long way to go in terms of diversity. Of the 481 security professionals surveyed, 90 percent identified as male, a statistic security researchers are calling a red flag.

“The report published by Exabeam, like many others recently, screams that the cyber industry as a whole is a zombie walking into crisis,” James Hadley, CEO and founder of U.K. start-up Immersive Labs, told SC Media. "If this were a school report, you'd find the dreaded “must do better” and “see me after class” written across the top.”

Hadley went on to say despite the lack of diversity, initiatives like NCSC's CyberFirst initiative is doing a good job of getting the next generation of cybersecurity professionals on the right path.

He added that in addition to academics for students and veterans, companies should offer more opportunities for women returning to work and opportunities that allow people from all backgrounds a chance to develop real-life cyber skills.

“These academies allow people from all backgrounds a chance to develop real-life cyber skills,” he said. “Equally, they enable organisations to adopt a skills-led hiring process, removing the barrier and over-reliance on university computer science degrees.”

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