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Discovering Cybersecurity Careers

Discovering Cybersecurity CareersWork RolesCareer Briefs, Resources, and Tools | VisualsDemand DataOther Resources |

NICE Framework Group Photo
Credit: Shutterstock

Discovering Cybersecurity Careers

NCCAW Talking Points

Most people, young and old, don’t understand what a cybersecurity practitioner does or the multiple career pathways to get into the cybersecurity field. National Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week inspires and promotes awareness and exploration of cybersecurity careers. Why consider a career in cybersecurity? 

  • Cybersecurity has something for everyone 
    • Whatever your interests and skills, there’s an exciting job for you.
    • This variety has an interesting offshoot: Because of the broad skill set required to properly understand modern security challenges, cybersecurity professionals come from a diverse set of backgrounds. In fact, the more variety you have in your background, the better a security professional you'll be! 
  • There is a high need for skilled cybersecurity professionals
    • Currently there is a high demand for cybersecurity skills, and the field is growing in leaps and bounds. 
  • Cybersecurity workers are part of a dynamic industry
    • Cybersecurity evolves quickly, so you will always be learning and developing new skills. 
  • Cybersecurity has practically unlimited growth 
    • With an ever-expanding scope, cybersecurity presents the ultimate growth potential—both in your career path and for learning opportunities.
  • You will never be bored in the field of cybersecurity 
    • Creative problem solving will take you into uncharted territory, and the ideas of your colleagues will expose you to different ways of thinking. Be prepared to be fascinated and to have your talents stretched in ways you never expected. 
  • You get to solve problems and develop unique solutions
    • You will be able to come up with solutions no one else has thought of---- allowing you to make your mark on the world.
    • With each new wave of technology, new risks are created. It's the job of cybersecurity professionals to identify, understand, and then help address these risks. Each situation is a unique puzzle and a new opportunity to rise to the challenge. Solving cybersecurity problems is the ultimate challenge.
  • Cybersecurity allows you to earn a great salary
    • Cybersecurity professionals not only earn respect, but they’re highly paid. Even the starting salary for an entry-level job is impressive! 
  • Careers in cybersecurity allow you to enjoy job flexibility​​​
    • The field of cybersecurity offers you lots of freedom in finding your dream job. It can be a launching pad for jobs in business, design, intelligence, defense, medicine, law, government, and much more. Your analyzing and problem-solving skills are highly transferable, enabling you to move anywhere in the world and to any industry.
  • Cybersecurity professionals make a difference in the world and make a real impact
    • Cybersecurity matters. Everywhere you look you’ll see examples of cybersecurity having a positive effect on everyday life. It has impacts that extend beyond the digital world and into the physical one. If you want to work on technology issues that have real-world impact, cybersecurity might be the discipline for you.
  • The work of cybersecurity professionals is more than the stereotypical picture most people have of a computer science major or a hacker
    • You don’t need to be an expert coder to excel in the field of cybersecurity. You can be a public speaker, a policy writer, a data analyst, a law enforcement officer, and much more. 

Work Roles

Learn more about the different types of work roles that constitute cybersecurity work by exploring the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, NIST Special Publication 800-181, a national focused resource that categorizes and describes cybersecurity work. The NICE Framework establishes a taxonomy and common lexicon that describes cybersecurity work and workers irrespective of where or for whom the work is performed.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity workforce demand or career pathways to the work roles identified in the NICE Framework? Explore CyberSeek which includes an interactive jobs heat map and career pathways aligned to the NICE Framework to answer questions such as:

  • What education levels do employers require for cybersecurity workers?
  • What credentials or knowledge, skills, and abilities do I need to enter a career in cybersecurity?
  • How large is the cybersecurity workforce in my region? How does that compare to other locations?
  • How much does a cybersecurity worker make in my region?


CyberSeek Plus Career Pathways
Credit: CyberSeek
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           CyberSeek Cybersecurity Career Pathway Tool



The NICE Framework is comprised of the following components:

  • Categories (7) – A high-level grouping of common cybersecurity functions.
  • Specialty Areas (33) – Distinct areas of cybersecurity work.
  • Work Roles (52) – The most detailed groupings of cybersecurity work comprised of specific knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform tasks in a work role.

Career Briefs, Resources, and Tools

Are you looking for information on a cybersecurity career? These cybersecurity career brief resources provide job descriptions, salary information, employment outlooks, educational requirements, and overviews of sample cybersecurity opportunities. 

Download the Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Career Guide: Who Works in Cybersecurity, How We Got Started, and Why We Need You

This book provides information and resources for students and those who are interested in starting a career in cybersecurity. Palo Alto Networks reached out to some of the best cybersecurity practitioners in the industry and asked them to share their insights. The result is a compilation of amazing stories of how these cybersecurity practitioners got started—and the tools they continue to use to learn and grow in their careers.

College Board BigFuture allows you to browse majors and career profiles and provides career guidance. For example, explore a career in network security.


Explore interviews from leaders in the field through the RoadTrip Nation or delve into the possibilities of cybersecurity through the eyes of three aspiring cybersecurity workers who are exploring what's possible in the wide‐open world of data, security, and more. As they talk to all kinds of innovators who are leading the charge to protect our online lives—hackers, engineers, executives, and more—they learn that cybersecurity is a place to experiment, explore, and create your own way forward. 


Learn about careers, find career information, and locate career resources and advice with CareerOneStop. A career profile is a great place to start your career research. Visit the Occupation Profile to see details for any one of more than 950 careers. Search for cybersecurity job roles. For example, Information Security Analysts.

O*NET OnLine is another tool for career exploration and job analysis!
The O*NET OnLine tool has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more! You can search by Keyword or O*NET-SOC Code.
It also includes a list of technologies frequently included in employer job postings and a MyNextMove for veterans.

Explore Cybersecurity Career Paths and Salary Predictors with the DICE Tool. You can also explore the DICE Skills portal.  



Explore ClearanceJobs Cybersecurity Resource Center for career advice and job search tips.




Posters and Infographics

Cybersecurity career posters and infographics provide stimulating visuals.

CISA and NICERC Cybersecurity Career Profiles


Why Consider a Career in Cybersecurity?

Learn why starting a career in cybersecurity is a good idea for students or individuals looking for a career change by viewing the infographic from the Center for Internet Security.

Workforce Demand Data 

NICE Workforce Demand One Pager.

Explore industries included in Industries at a Glance arranged in North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code.

Credit: ISACA

Explore the ISACA State of Cybersecurity 2020 report and infographic

Other Resources

Created September 11, 2019, Updated April 24, 2020