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High-Paying Cyber Security Jobs Without a Degree

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Cyber security is a versatile tech field that will always be in demand, as long as the Internet exists. You can also acquire cyber security jobs without a degree. Cyber security roles are attainable with just a bootcamp education or self-learning. This article will show you the top 10 high-paying cyber security jobs you can get with no experience or degree.

Before getting to the list of the best cyber security jobs with a GED, you will get a clear understanding of what cyber security is. You will get a glimpse of the required skills for cyber security jobs, a step-by-step guide that explains how to get a cyber security job without a degree, and the top companies that employ cyber security experts without a college degree.

What Is Cyber Security? 

Cyber security is the process of protecting Internet-connected devices from possible digital attacks from bad actors. It is a broad field of study with many sub-disciplines, but the primary focus is always to provide security to software and hardware devices. It includes studying how to prevent possible network threats from within or outside an organization. 

Cyber security is also called information technology security, and within it are fields such as software development security, security operations, security and risk management, identity and access management, asset security, communications and network security, security assessment and testing, and security engineering.

Reasons Why You Can Get a Cyber Security Job Without a Degree

Due to the rising demands technology places on different businesses, it is now easier than ever to acquire cyber security jobs without a degree. There are many different facts and scenarios that support this. One major reason is that a degree in cyber security is not a regulated requirement.

Additionally, due to the high demand for cyber security experts, companies are being forced to select candidates with less work experience or education and train them in-house. The supply and demand of cyber security professionals are not balanced, providing the candidate more leverage to get a cyber security job without a college degree.

What Do Cyber Security Jobs Pay?

Ever wonder, “How much do cyber security jobs pay?” Want to learn the facts before making a career change or enrolling in a bootcamp? On average, a cyber security job salary is $112,974, according to ZipRecruiter. This average is high compared to other tech roles, but keep in mind that entry-level US-based cyber security workers make closer to $40,500.

On the other hand, experienced professionals in the top one percent of cyber security jobs make up to $304,500. Although it is unlikely that an entry-level professional will earn a cyber security job salary as high as those on the higher end, it could be possible in the future with experience and additional education.

What Skills Do You Need to Land a Cyber Security Job?

It is important to include all your cyber security skills on your resume. Skills for cyber security jobs can vary depending on specialty and experience. For example, you could have a strong set of hard skills in ethical hacking and risk analysis. At the same time, your soft skills could include adaptability and communication.

When listing your skill for cyber security jobs, ensure that you do not sell yourself short. Make a list on a piece of paper and brainstorm all of your skills. To get you started, we have hard and soft skills you can review below.

Hard Skills

Computer Science

To pursue a career in cyber security, you need to be well-versed in computer science. Employers will need you to understand how software works. So, cyber security students should spend time studying coding, programming, and any other subject that will improve their knowledge of how computer systems function.

Ethical Hacking 

Companies employ ethical hackers to hack into their fully protected systems. If they are able to hack the system, the cyber security analyst or ethical hacker will give the company a report on their network security vulnerabilities. This information will then be used to improve security.

Computer Forensics 

Computer forensics has to do with digging through computer systems to find digital data that can be used as evidence in criminal cases. Cyber security analysts should have at least some computer forensic skills. This is one of the best technical fields to enter if you’re interested in intrusion detection and solving problems.

Firewall Administration

Firewalls are important for protecting network systems from external attacks. Firewall administration is one of the first things you will learn while starting out in cyber security. You will need to master how to build firewalls or use existing firewalls to protect systems from security breaches.

Risk Analysis 

Risk analysis, or risk assessment, is an important skill in cyber security because it helps minimize security breaches by identifying potential threats. You don’t need a four-year degree or another undergraduate degree to learn risk analysis. Potential employers just want to see that you can prevent malicious activities.

Soft Skills

Adaptability

Cyber security risks and trends are rapidly changing and evolving. This creates challenges for cyber security professionals everywhere. As a cyber security professional, you need to be able to adapt your skill to new scenarios continuously. You also need to be able to change priorities as new rules and regulations develop.

Logical Reasoning

Cyber security does not come with a guidebook. While you likely understand the fundamentals, there is always a virus, hacker, or malware being created to test the skills of any cyber security professional. In order to achieve success, it is important to be able to apply your skills and experience logically to different scenarios.

Research

When new cyber security risks develop, it is important to be able to research them to find recommendations and solutions in a timely manner. There will be a time in every cyber security professional’s life when they will encounter something they haven’t studied or dealt with before. Be flexible and willing to research a problem to get the best information to solve it quickly.

What Education Do You Need to Get a Cyber Security Job?

The education requirements for cyber security professionals are a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Security, Cyber Security, Computer Science, Information Technology, or a related field. However, there are some entry-level positions you can get with just a GED and some hands-on training.

While the education requirements for cyber security professionals are important, they are not always necessary. Some companies will hire individuals who are self-taught or seek alternative education options. Applying for cyber security jobs without a degree is acceptable due to the lack of qualified individuals in the field. Many companies will even train new employees.

Cyber security bootcamps are also a perfect alternative to college. Attending a bootcamp’s online programs will allow you to get cyber security jobs without a degree. You can find an entry-level job where you’ll use practical skills at government agencies and other companies that hire people with cyber careers.

Why College Is Not for Everyone

Many people go to college straight out of high school because it’s a good way to get started on a successful career. However, not everyone is mentally or financially prepared to attend a four-year institution right after high school. If you’re not prepared, you may end up dropping out or failing.

Colleges are incredibly expensive in the US, especially if you’re interested in attending a private school or an Ivy League institution. If you can’t pay upfront for your college degree, you will likely end up with major student loans that you’ll be paying back for years after you’ve graduated. 

Colleges don’t offer the same hand-holding and supervision of your education as high schools do. Some students may not be ready to pursue such intensive and independent learning. In any case, choosing not to attend college immediately after getting your diploma doesn’t mean you won’t have a long and successful career. 

Alternatives to a Degree

If you do not want a four-year degree you may be looking for alternatives to college for cyber security jobs. Luckily, there are different alternatives available. Self-study and coding bootcamps are great alternatives to college for cyber security jobs. They teach you the same fundamental skills and are considered acceptable alternatives for many employers.

Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Get a Cyber Security Job?

Yes, you can get a job after a cyber security bootcamp or after a coding bootcamp. In fact, those who apply for jobs after cyber security bootcamp or coding bootcamp are likely to receive an entry-level role as a cyber security professional. This is because coding skills are essential when handling cyber security because many viruses and malware stem from code.

These bootcamps are designed to provide fast-paced, high-intensity, and job-specific training. There are online and in-person options, with curricula designed to mimic college education.

Some of the best cyber security bootcamps in the industry are Evolve Security Academy, Flatiron School, Springboard, and The Tech Academy. These bootcamps offer lessons on cyber security and also provide extensive job placement services. If you pass your courses, you are likely to find a job within just a few months of graduating.

Studying on Your Own

If you are not interested in a coding or cyber security bootcamp, or cannot afford one, there are alternate ways to learn cyber security. The next best thing is to study the subject on your own. Through self-study, you can gain the valuable knowledge needed to be a successful cyber security expert. If you aren’t sure where to start, we have provided a list of options to help.

Enroll in an Online Course

There are many different online learning platforms that provide free or affordable courses in cyber security, networking, and programming. These courses are absolutely essential to get you started on your self-learning journey. Look into platforms such as edX, Codecademy, Coursera, Udemy, and Udacity. They have top-notch courses on cyber security for any learning level.

Read a Book

There are tons of books available that individuals can read in order to teach themselves more about cyber security. When choosing a book, it is important to keep the publishing date in mind. Newly published books are better resources. This is because cyber security risks, threats, and solutions are rapidly changing. Older books will miss key information.

Audiobooks and Podcasts

Just as there are many books, there are also many audiobooks and podcasts that individuals can use to learn about cyber security. TED talks are very popular amongst self-taught cyber security professionals. It is just as important to pick a newer podcast or audiobook due to the fluid nature of cyber security.

Webinars

Webinars are also available to help teach awareness and solutions to cyber security threats. Webinars can be free or cost a one-time fee to attend. These webinars are often packed with influential guest speakers, new information, and tips from other cyber security professionals.

This is a valuable place to network and learn about the most recent cyber security threats and hone your skills. It also provides new opportunities for further learning and classes. It is one of the best ways to start working on obtaining cyber security jobs without a degree.

How to Get a Cyber Security Job With a GED

Step 1: Take Online Cyber Security Courses 

If you want to get a job in cyber security with a GED then enroll in online courses to learn the basics of cyber security. Some great options can be found on Udemy, Coursera, and other similar learning platforms. Cyber Security Course for Beginners – Level 01 on Udemy and Cybersecurity Specialization offered by Coursera are ideal starting points.

Coursera and other similar online learning providers have made it easy for individuals looking to break into the cyber security field to get cyber security jobs without a degree. These online courses are affordable and can help students acquire cyber security jobs without experience in a prior cyber security role.

Step 2: Widen Your Scope 

Taking online cyber security courses alone is not enough. You also need to pay attention to the emerging Internet of Things technologies that may come in handy. These include cloud computing, encryption technology, and subsectors of artificial intelligence like deep learning and machine learning.

Step 3: Attend a Bootcamp 

You do not need a GED for cyber security bootcamps or coding bootcamps. You will even earn a certificate after a few weeks or months of extensive training. If you can’t afford a bootcamp, there are STEM bootcamp scholarships available that you can tap into. Many job titles accept bootcamp graduates and people with advanced certification.

In a bootcamp, you will develop soft skills and get the hands-on experience you need to enter the cyber security job market. There are also some free cyber security bootcamps you can look into. You can attend an online bootcamp or a program in San Francisco, New York, or any other city.

Step 4: Get a Certification 

Individuals can get a job with a cyber security certificate. In fact, Google will hire professionals who apply to jobs with a cyber security certificate and no degree. If you are not sure whether a certificate is a great choice, consider what you can do with a cyber security certificate before coming to a final decision.

Individuals can get jobs with a cyber security certificate in many fields and for many major companies. These jobs come from top-tier businesses like Google, Mircosoft, and Amazon. Additionally, these roles are entry-level with room to grow. If you are looking to climb up the ladder, then a certification is a great way to take that first step.

Step 5: Build Connections

Getting into cyber security with a GED can be tough. A great way to counter the steep climb toward your goal is to build connections. Networking is a great way to create lasting professional relationships that can turn into job opportunities later. After all, one good recommendation from the right person can land you your dream job in cyber security.

Step 6: Apply for Entry-level Jobs

Once you’ve learned about cyber security, you will be ready to apply for entry-level jobs. Companies are more likely to give you an entry-level position than a mid-career, so apply for jobs you are likely to get and gain the experience you need to move on to something more advanced.

High-Paying Cyber Security Jobs Without a College Degree

When deciding whether or not to attend college it is important to look into the highest-paying cyber security jobs without a degree. These jobs vary and may encompass your dream, or be a complete bust. It is all dependent on the specialty you are looking to enter. Below is a table of the highest paying jobs in cyber security without a college degree.

Job Average Salary Outlook
Security Software Developer $119,166 22 percent
Penetration Tester $118,128 33 percent*
Network Security Engineer $115,949 33 percent*
Security Risk Analyst $114,330 33 percent*
Cyber Security Specialist 107,569 33 percent*
Identity and Access Management Analyst  $104,722 14 percent
Incident Response Analyst $99,815 33 percent*
Cyber Security Analyst $99,538 33 percent*
Information Security Analyst $92,509 33 percent
Security Operator $90,265 33 percent*
Digital Forensic Investigator  $82,382 16 percent
Systems Administrator $74,145 5 percent

*Job outlook information has been sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on information security analysts.

Best Cyber Security Jobs that Don’t Require a Degree: A Closer Look

There are many cyber security jobs you can get with a GED.

Security Software Developer

These experts develop security protocols and programs to safeguard computer-based applications. This could be a program that needs to be upgraded, or you may need to completely replace a company’s existing security program. Security software developers are the same as traditional software developers except that they only focus on security.

To do this, they conceptualize threats during product development and typically work alongside a development team and a security architect. You will need to combine your knowledge of cyber security and software development in order to thrive as a security software developer.

Penetration Tester

Penetration testing, or pentesting, is a form of ethical hacking that involves deliberately piercing through an organization’s cyber defense network. This could include testing enterprise apps, web apps, database management systems, and other networks and products used by the company.

The primary responsibility of a pentester is to find all the possible security vulnerabilities on a given system, then find ways to fix them. The three common types of pentesting are black-box testing, white-box testing, and gray-box testing.

If this sounds like your ideal position, you may find yourself wondering how to become a penetration tester without studying for a degree or obtaining one. The answer is to enroll in free online courses and immerse yourself in a basic IT role. This will give you the skills and experience needed to become a penetration tester over time, without a traditional degree.

Network Security Engineer

A network security engineer is an IT professional who designs and configures systems to protect an organization’s network from possible security threats. This includes looking out for malware, bugs, and direct cyber attacks.

Apart from identifying security risks, a network security engineer also comes up with recommendations that will keep each part of an organization’s network safe. Knowledge of computer forensics, threat detection, and threat response is required for this role. 

Security Risk Analyst

These professionals analyze the existing integrated security processes of an organization and provide their superiors with the information required to minimize security vulnerabilities. There are three primary steps involved in security risk analysis: risk identification, risk analysis, and risk evaluation.

They access systems, determine risk levels, and explain to others how these risks could be detrimental to the organization. The details provided by security risk analysts help organizations make informed decisions.

Cyber Security Specialist

Cyber security specialists are tasked with ensuring their business or organization’s data and other sensitive information is safe from threats at all times. Cyber security specialists assess internal and external threats, create cyber security risk mitigation plans, and assist in training businesses on best practices for data safety and storage.

Students often wonder how to become a cyber security specialist without a degree. In order to achieve this goal, individuals must be willing to teach themselves the fundamental skills they need to become a cyber security professional, as well as enroll in online courses. This will provide a good foundation and result in higher employability.

Identity and Access Management Analyst

Often called IAM, identity and access management deals with the technologies, policies, and processes put in place to monitor and manage digital identities within an organization. Simply put, identity and access managers ensure that a company’s data is only being accessed by authorized parties.

This field falls within network security and database administration. As an IAM analyst, you will be charged with ensuring that only people with certain clearance levels can view important data and tech resources at a given organization.

Incident Response Analyst

As the name implies, incident response analysts are charged with monitoring a company’s network along with other members of the incident team. Their role is the equivalent of a first responder in the healthcare industry. This is one of the best career opportunities for cyber professionals out there.

They look out for security threats and are usually the first in a company’s network security workforce to report these threats. Incident response analysts typically go through seven steps. They prepare, identify, contain, eradicate, restore, learn from, and test their incident response plan.

Cyber Security Analyst

A cyber security analyst, or IT analyst, monitors and evaluates a company’s tech infrastructure. Their goal is to analyze systems and keep them safe from possible cyber attacks by improving security measures. They also prevent unauthorized access to a company’s network from both external and internal bodies.

A cyber security analyst configures tools to increase network security for an organization and reports their findings to decision-makers. They may work full-time for one company or work as a consultant for several companies.

In order to become a cyber security analyst without a degree, many individuals opt to enroll in online courses through edX, Coursera, Udemy, and other similar online learning platforms. They also read books, listen to podcasts, and practice key methodologies.

Information Security Analyst

An information security analyst specializes in protecting a company’s private data. They take note of irregularities and alert their employer of possible breaches. The strategies security analysts may use include implementing firewalls and other protective software to keep digital data safe.

Apart from cyber security, a security analyst should also have skills such as networking, incident response, documentation, and excellent communication. This is one of the most common jobs in the cyber security industry and doesn’t require extensive experience.

Security Operator

Security operations are a set of strategies and resources designed to maintain network security within an organization. The department is usually made up of different types of cyber security experts with unique technical skills, including security operators.

A security operator detects, evaluates, and monitors network security threats. They are also part of the team that responds to security threats. There is a strong demand for security operators with a high experience level and deeper understanding of cyber security concepts.

Digital Forensic Investigator

If you have a background in cyber security and forensics, you can work as a digital forensic investigator. A digital forensic investigator digs through computer systems for data that can be used in criminal investigations. This data is sometimes heavily encrypted and the forensic investigator’s job is to decrypt it and preserve the data’s integrity.

A forensic expert may work as a cyber security consultant, checking through digital data to confirm that it hasn’t been manipulated so that it can be used as evidence during legal battles. They should know how to use company software to gain a basic understanding of digital forensics.

Systems Administrator

Systems administrators are a vital component of any cyber security team. This is because they are in charge of downloading, installing, and implementing a business’s security solutions and measures. They also assist in troubleshooting and risk assessment and management.

To become a systems administrator without a degree, you will need to partake in a lot of self-paced, self-taught study. Students who are self-taught often turn to online learning platforms, webinars, and YouTube videos to learn the skills they need to become successful system administrators.

Companies That Offer Entry-Level Cyber Security Jobs

  • Accenture: This is a Fortune 500 global services tech and consulting firm that was founded in 1989. Occasionally, the company has positions available for high school graduates with a bootcamp education.
  • BAI Security: This is a cyber security auditing firm that was founded in 2007. It provides security risk assessment for companies and suggests solutions for possible security vulnerabilities.
  • VMware Carbon Black: This cyber security firm was founded in 2002 with headquarters in Massachusetts. It provides organizations with endpoint cloud-based security software. 
  • OnShore Security: Based in Chicago, this firm was founded in 1991 to provide managed cyber security services to companies in the US. It offers many different cyber security jobs with no experience.
  • FireEye: This is a private cyber security company in California that was founded in 2004. It investigates security breaches and provides both hardware and software to help companies secure their networks.

Where to Find Cyber Security Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree

Indeed 

Indeed is a great job board to utilize when you are trying to figure out where to find cyber security jobs.The platform is updated regularly with new cyber security positions all over the world. There are options for entry-level security analysts with detailed requirements listed. You can find cyber security professional positions from some of the largest employers out there.

LinkedIn 

LinkedIn is another great place where you can find cyber security jobs without a degree. It is more than just a professional networking community. It can also be an amazing source for cyber security job openings. Most of the jobs on LinkedIn are posted directly by the company’s recruiting department, and you can apply for the jobs you want directly with your LinkedIn profile.

Glassdoor 

Glassdoor is another global stage for individuals looking into where to find cyber security jobs without a degree. It contains a host of entry-level, mid-career, and advanced jobs. Apart from job listings, Glassdoor also has a review system that shows you what former and current employees have to say about each company. This gives you a glimpse of what you can expect from a job before you send in your application.

Consider a Cyber Security Degree Later in Your Career

Although it’s possible to start a career in cyber security without a degree, it’s still a good idea to get one later once you have the funds and some professional experience. After all, a degree will still play a key role when it comes to advancing your career. For example, managerial positions are usually reserved for those who have a degree in cyber security.

Wondering how to get a career in cyber security without a four-year degree? Thanks to online learning and accelerated degrees, you don’t need to spend four years attending college in person. You can even get a two-year bachelor’s degree while keeping your existing job. Then, you can take it a step further and get your master’s degree in a specialized area within cyber security.

Cyber Security Jobs Without a Degree FAQ

How do I start a cyber security job with no experience?

The first step to getting a cyber security job with no experience is to build a project portfolio. With a project portfolio, in addition to your resume, you can show prospective employers that you have the technical knowledge required to beef up their security system. 

What jobs can you get with cyber security degree?

Jobs with cyber security degree requirements are rapidly increasing. You can apply for a wide array of different cyber security positions with a cyber security degree. Some examples of these positions are cyber security engineer, cyber security specialist, ethical hacker, network administrator, and security auditor.

Does cyber security require coding?

Yes, cyber security requires coding knowledge because it is essential when mitigating risks and assessing threats. However, some junior or entry-level roles can be filled by people with no cyber security experience or coding experience. Regardless of the role you are pursuing, foundational programming knowledge will be of use.

How long does it take to get a cyber security job?

How long it takes to find a job in cyber security varies from person to person. It usually takes between two to four years to get the knowledge and experience you need to launch a career in cyber security. However, it can take as little as six months if you have prior tech industry experience or if you choose to attend a fast-paced cyber security bootcamp.

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