Cyber Security Careers

Develop your career in cyber security.

The global cyber security market was valued at $167 billion in 2020, with a projected growth rate of nearly 11% between 2021 and 2028.* As the threat from cybercrime continues to rise, businesses and organizations of all types need cyber security professionals with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenge head-on and help protect critical infrastructure.

That’s why the University of North Dakota is dedicated to helping you successfully transition into or advance in this growing field. To support you, we offer an online Master of Science in Cyber Security program with stackable certificates that combine and build your master’s degree. These include:

  • Cyber Security Analyst (required)
  • Ethical Hacking
  • Computer Forensics
  • Secure Networks

All students take the required Cyber Security Analyst certificate track and choose two of the remaining three certificate tracks to help diversify and expand their knowledge of best practices and cutting-edge techniques used by experts in the field.

Each track serves as both part of your master’s degree and an individual graduate certificate.

*GrandView Research

Prepare for key industry certifications.

Regardless of which path you take, our online cyber security master’s can position you to take the next step in your career and gain a professional edge. Coursework provides you with the knowledge and skills to sit for the following industry certification exams:

  • EC-Council Certified Threat Intelligence Analyst (CTIA) certification
  • EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification
  • EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) certification
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification

Cyber Security Career Opportunities

Although the benefits of a career in cyber security go beyond a paycheck, it’s helpful to know the financial stability you may anticipate. Cyber security professionals report a median wage of $103,590, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s nearly three times the national median income for full-time wage and salary workers.

Here is a sample of jobs in the cyber security field, along with median wage according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, recommended skills and position responsibilities.

Security Software Developer

Median salary: $110,140

In-demand skills:

  • Analytical
  • Communication
  • Creative
  • Collaborative
  • Problem-solving

Cyber attacks are intense, and the automated threat response may have only milliseconds to respond. Ensuring that systems are capable of fending off attacks is why security software developers are increasingly in demand. They are primarily responsible for designing security protections against viruses, malware and other threats. This involves incorporating threat-detecting protocols directly into the code of software applications.

This growing sector of the IT industry relies heavily on individuals who can strategically analyze threats in advance. They must also possess the knowledge to design the appropriate countermeasures that can be deployed during an attack.

Duties and responsibilities required for this position include:

  • Analyze software to identify and resolve potential security issues
  • Understand the threats posed to connected devices
  • Anticipate threats to connected devices prior to release of software
  • Perform testing and assessment to ensure results are as anticipated
  • Integrate security protocols into existing software and applications

Data Scientist

Median salary: $126,830

In-demand skills:

  • Detail-oriented
  • Mathematical
  • Data visualization
  • Logic-minded
  • Intellectual curiosity

E-commerce. Social media. News and entertainment. No matter the online experience, it always leaves a digital footprint behind. Data scientists turn that treasure trove of information into actionable data that can be used for business strategy.

Their primary job is to analyze large sets of unstructured data to look for trends, create statistical models, find patterns and uncover key insights based on that information. This information is later used to create algorithms and data modeling to forecast human behavior.

The information gained can be used for:

  • Marketing/advertising
  • Predictive technology and AI
  • Automated processes and decision-making (such as credit worthiness)
  • Fraud detection and prevention
  • Sales forecasts

Penetration Tester

Median salary: $103,590

In-demand skills:

  • Ingenuity
  • Code scripting
  • Strategic thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Investigative

A penetration tester proves that the best defense is a good offense. In this role, their primary function is to engage in simulated cyber attacks to test for security weaknesses and vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.

This position requires you to “think like a hacker,” with forensic and investigative skills that are critical toward deconstructing code and developing techniques that can bypass firewalls and other infrastructure.

Writing reports and communicating their findings in everyday language — often to C-suite members who are not familiar with technical language — is another aspect of the position.

As a penetration tester, you can apply your expertise to a variety of settings that include:

  • In-house for a company or other organization
  • Security firm
  • Freelance/independent

Information Systems Manager

Median salary: $151,150

In-demand skills:

  • Leadership
  • Decision-making
  • Organization
  • Management
  • Articulate


A team of cyber security analysts and other IT professionals manage the integrity of system networks and important infrastructure. But running a team of talented individuals is often the responsibility of an information systems manager.

In this leadership position, their primary role is to design and establish a series of safeguards and protocols that monitor information systems, protect them from outside intrusion and ensure their maintenance through frequent upgrades.

These individuals most often work for larger organizations, where a data breach could lead to catastrophic losses — and thus have a higher need for information systems managers. Potential employers include:

  • Corporations
  • Government and military
  • Financial institutions
  • Hospitals and health care
  • Not-for-profit organizations

Our program fits any career path.

Whether you’re ready for a career shift or a step up, you can take your skills to any industry when you specialize in cyber security.

“If any college student asked me what career would most assure 30 years of steady, well-paying employment, I would respond, ‘cyber security.’ ”

— Alec Ross, Author of The Industries of the Future

Career advancers.

The United States has a shortage of qualified cyber security experts. But for professionals like you who are already in the industry, this is your opportunity to specialize your expertise and prepare to advance in your career.

Whether you’ve been in the cyber security industry for one year or a decade, you know the landscape is always evolving. The pressure is high for firms to hire quality talent who are prepared to lead the fight against cybercrime. That talent is you.

Career changers.

Transitioning from one career to another is a big decision, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a tough one. Consider our online Master of Science in Cyber Security program and join a field with opportunities in every industry — from retail and finance to manufacturing and health care.

You don’t need to be an expert in technology, math or science. You don’t even need a background in cyber security. All you really need is the desire to impact your community and the degree to help you do it.