In today’s digital world, cyber security has become a top priority for companies and organizations. With data breaches and hacking attacks on the rise, there is a huge demand for cyber security professionals to help protect sensitive information.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: the average salary for entry level cyber security jobs ranges from $55,000 to $95,000 per year.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about entry level cyber security salaries, including the key factors that impact pay, salary ranges for common roles, top paying industries and locations, and tips for securing a top salary as a new grad or career changer.
Key Factors That Impact Entry Level Cyber Security Salaries
Job title and responsibilities
One of the key factors that determine the salary of an entry level cyber security job is the specific job title and the responsibilities that come with it. Different job titles within the field of cyber security may have varying salary ranges.
For example, a junior security analyst may earn a different salary compared to a cyber security engineer or a security consultant. The level of responsibility, expertise required, and the complexity of the tasks assigned to the role can all influence the salary offered.
Education and certifications
Education and certifications play a crucial role in determining the salary of an entry level cyber security professional. A degree in a related field such as computer science, information technology, or cyber security can provide a strong foundation for a career in this field.
Additionally, obtaining industry-recognized certifications such as CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) can significantly boost earning potential.
Employers often value these qualifications and are willing to offer higher salaries to candidates who possess them.
Industry and company size
The industry in which a cyber security professional works can also have a significant impact on their salary. Some industries, such as finance, healthcare, and government, place a higher value on cyber security and are willing to offer higher salaries to attract top talent.
Additionally, the size and reputation of the company can influence salary levels. Larger companies with more resources may be able to offer higher salaries compared to smaller organizations.
The geographic location of the job can have a substantial effect on entry level cyber security salaries. Salaries can vary significantly from one city or region to another due to factors such as cost of living, demand for cyber security professionals, and local market conditions.
For example, cyber security professionals working in major tech hubs like San Francisco, New York City, or London may earn higher salaries compared to those working in smaller towns or less-populated areas.
Prior experience and skills
Prior experience and skills are additional factors that can influence entry level cyber security salaries. Candidates with relevant work experience or transferable skills from related fields may command higher salaries compared to those without any prior experience.
Additionally, possessing specialized skills such as knowledge of specific programming languages, expertise in network security, or experience with penetration testing can make a candidate more valuable and can result in higher salary offers.
Salary Ranges for Common Entry Level Cyber Security Roles
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts play a crucial role in protecting an organization’s computer systems and networks from potential threats. They are responsible for monitoring and analyzing security breaches, implementing security measures, and conducting regular audits to ensure data protection.
In 2023, the average salary for an entry-level information security analyst is expected to be around $65,000 to $75,000 per year. However, it’s important to note that salaries may vary depending on factors such as location, industry, and level of experience.
Security engineers are responsible for designing and implementing security systems to protect an organization’s infrastructure. They work closely with other IT professionals to identify vulnerabilities, develop solutions, and manage security tools and technologies.
Entry-level security engineers can expect to earn an average salary ranging from $70,000 to $80,000 per year in 2023. This position offers great opportunities for growth and advancement in the field of cybersecurity.
Security analysts are responsible for monitoring and analyzing security threats and incidents, as well as implementing appropriate measures to mitigate risks. They work closely with the security team to identify vulnerabilities, investigate security breaches, and develop incident response plans.
In 2023, entry-level security analysts can expect to earn an average salary ranging from $60,000 to $70,000 per year. This role is in high demand as organizations are increasingly prioritizing cybersecurity.
Network Security Engineer
Network security engineers focus on securing an organization’s network infrastructure by implementing and maintaining security measures. They are responsible for monitoring network traffic, identifying potential threats, and implementing appropriate security solutions.
Entry-level network security engineers can expect to earn an average salary ranging from $65,000 to $75,000 per year in 2023. As businesses continue to rely on technology, the demand for network security professionals is expected to grow.
Security specialists are responsible for protecting an organization’s assets, including data, hardware, and software, from potential threats. They evaluate security risks, develop security policies and procedures, and implement security measures to safeguard sensitive information.
Entry-level security specialists can expect to earn an average salary ranging from $55,000 to $65,000 per year in 2023. As cybersecurity becomes a top priority for organizations, the demand for security specialists is expected to increase.
Information Security Specialist
Information security specialists focus on protecting an organization’s information systems from potential threats. They develop and implement security measures, conduct risk assessments, and monitor security incidents.
In 2023, entry-level information security specialists can expect to earn an average salary ranging from $60,000 to $70,000 per year. This role offers great opportunities for career growth and advancement in the cybersecurity field.
Top Paying Industries for Entry Level Cyber Security Jobs
When it comes to entry level cyber security jobs, the salary you can expect to earn can vary depending on the industry you work in. Here are some of the top paying industries for entry level cyber security professionals in 2023:
The technology industry continues to be one of the highest paying industries for entry level cyber security jobs. With the increasing demand for cyber security professionals, companies in the technology sector are willing to offer competitive salaries to attract top talent.
From software development companies to cybersecurity consulting firms, there are plenty of opportunities to kickstart your cyber security career in this industry.
Finance and insurance
The finance and insurance sector is another industry that offers lucrative opportunities for entry level cyber security professionals. With the rise in cyber threats targeting financial institutions, banks, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are investing heavily in their cyber security defenses.
This has led to a high demand for skilled cyber security professionals and competitive salaries being offered to attract talent.
The manufacturing industry may not be the first sector that comes to mind when thinking about cyber security jobs, but it is an industry that is increasingly recognizing the importance of protecting their digital assets.
As more manufacturing processes become automated and interconnected, the need for cyber security professionals to safeguard against potential cyber attacks is on the rise. This has resulted in competitive salaries being offered to entry level cyber security professionals in the manufacturing sector.
Professional services firms, such as consulting and auditing firms, also offer attractive salaries for entry level cyber security professionals. These firms often work with clients from various industries, providing them with cyber security solutions and services.
As a result, they require a skilled workforce of cyber security experts to deliver these services effectively. Entry level professionals in this industry can expect to earn competitive salaries while gaining valuable experience working with different clients.
The healthcare sector is increasingly becoming a target for cyber attacks, as sensitive patient data is highly valuable on the black market. To protect patient information and ensure the security of their systems, healthcare organizations are investing in cyber security measures.
This has created a demand for entry level cyber security professionals in the healthcare industry, with competitive salaries being offered to attract talent.
It’s important to note that the salary range for entry level cyber security jobs can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and the specific company or organization you work for. To get an accurate understanding of the salary you can expect in your desired industry, it’s recommended to research current job listings and consult salary surveys or websites like Payscale or Glassdoor.
Top Paying Locations for Entry Level Cyber Security Jobs
When it comes to entry level cyber security jobs, the location can have a significant impact on the salary. Some regions offer higher compensation due to the demand and cost of living. In 2023, several locations are expected to be at the top in terms of pay for entry level cyber security professionals.
California has long been known as a hub for technology and innovation, and it’s no surprise that it ranks among the top paying locations for entry level cyber security jobs. The state is home to numerous tech giants and startups, creating a high demand for cyber security professionals.
With the increased need for data protection and threat prevention, companies are willing to offer competitive salaries to attract top talent.
New York is another hotspot for entry level cyber security jobs. The city is a major financial center, housing numerous banks, investment firms, and other financial institutions. With the increasing number of cyber threats targeting the financial sector, these organizations are investing heavily in their cyber security teams.
As a result, entry level professionals can expect to find lucrative opportunities in New York.
Virginia, particularly the northern part of the state, is home to many government agencies and defense contractors. These organizations deal with sensitive information and face constant threats from cyber attacks. As a result, the demand for skilled cyber security professionals is high.
The combination of government and private sector opportunities make Virginia an attractive location for entry level cyber security jobs.
Texas is emerging as a top destination for entry level cyber security jobs. The state has a thriving technology sector and is home to many Fortune 500 companies. With the increasing reliance on technology and the growing threat of cyber attacks, there is a strong demand for cyber security professionals in Texas.
Moreover, the relatively lower cost of living compared to other tech hubs makes it an attractive option for those starting their career in cyber security.
Massachusetts is another state that offers attractive opportunities for entry level cyber security professionals. With renowned educational institutions like MIT and Harvard, the state has a strong talent pool and a vibrant tech scene.
The presence of numerous technology companies and research organizations creates a favorable job market for cyber security professionals. Additionally, the state’s commitment to innovation and emerging technologies further enhances the demand for skilled cyber security experts.
Tips to Earn a Top Salary in Entry Level Cyber Security
Get a bachelor’s degree in information technology or computer science
One of the most important steps to earning a top salary in entry level cyber security is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in information technology or computer science. These degrees provide a solid foundation in the field and are highly valued by employers.
According to a study by Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals with a bachelor’s degree in computer science earn a median annual wage of $86,320.
Obtain relevant certifications like Security+
In addition to a degree, obtaining relevant certifications can greatly enhance your earning potential in the field of cyber security. One popular certification is Security+, which is offered by CompTIA.
This certification validates your knowledge and skills in areas such as network security, compliance, and threat management. According to PayScale, professionals with a Security+ certification earn an average salary of $72,000 per year.
Gain hands-on skills through internships or personal projects
Employers highly value hands-on experience in the field of cyber security. To increase your chances of earning a top salary, consider gaining practical skills through internships or personal projects. These experiences not only provide valuable practical knowledge, but also demonstrate your commitment and passion for the field.
According to a survey conducted by (ISC)², individuals with hands-on experience earn an average salary of $93,000.
Consider relocating to a top paying metro area
Salary ranges can vary significantly depending on your location. It’s worth considering relocating to a top paying metro area to maximize your earning potential. Cities such as San Francisco, New York, and Washington D.C. are known for offering higher salaries in the field of cyber security.
According to a report by Robert Half, professionals in San Francisco earn an average salary of $112,000, while those in New York earn an average salary of $106,000.
Network and leverage connections on LinkedIn and at industry events
Networking is crucial in any field, and cyber security is no exception. Building connections with professionals in the industry can open doors to higher paying job opportunities. LinkedIn is a great platform to connect with professionals and join cyber security groups to expand your network.
Additionally, attending industry events and conferences can provide valuable networking opportunities. According to a survey by Cybersecurity Ventures, 85% of all jobs are filled through networking.
While cyber security salaries can vary significantly, most entry level roles pay between $55,000 and $95,000, with key factors like specific job role, location, certifications, and education impacting pay.
By positioning yourself with in-demand skills and experience and targeting high paying industries and markets, you can maximize your earning potential as a cyber security professional.
With massive talent shortages in the field projected over the next decade, now is an excellent time to start a career in cyber security.