Graduates with a master’s degree in cybersecurity are landing starting pay of $214,000 and up
PER Rich GrisetJuly 8, 2022, 12:53 p.m.
A group walks through Sather Tower on the UC Berkeley campus, as seen in March 2022. (Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
When it comes to job demand, it is difficult to get past the field of cybersecurity. By 2025, there will be about 3.5 million unoccupied cybersecurity jobs worldwide, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, a researcher and publisher covering the international cybereconomy. And this follows a 350% growth in the number of open jobs in cybersecurity between 2013 and 2021.
Because virtually every element of work, life, and everything in between now has a digital component, the need to protect our information from cybersecurity threats has only grown. With this growth, master’s programs in cybersecurity have also flourished.
“The job market is crazy for cybersecurity,” says Mary McHale, a career advisor for the master’s degree in information and cybersecurity (MICS) at the University of California-Berkeley. The university took first place in Fortune’s first ranking of the best online master’s programs in cybersecurity. “When you look at opportunity and demand, it’s huge.”
Whether they are fighting cybercriminals who want to make a profit by stealing information or challenging nation-states that want to harm us, cybersecurity professionals are in an interesting and constantly evolving field. And UC Berkeley graduates are getting jobs with starting salaries of more than $ 200,000 immediately after graduation. Here’s what you need to know
What is the demand for cybersecurity professionals?
In June, Lakshmi Hanspal, Amazon’s head of global device and service security, was the keynote speaker at Berkeley’s MICS dive program. In his address, Hanspal said Amazon had more than 600 unoccupied cybersecurity jobs.
This is a high figure, especially considering Amazon’s deep pockets. “They say demand is increasing more and more,” says McHale of UC Berkeley. “It simply came to our notice then [students] gaining visibility in the job market, the amount of care they receive is tremendous. “
Many master’s degree candidates in cybersecurity programs participate in summer internships with companies before graduating.
“Most come back with a full-time job offer when they finish,” says Mustaque Ahamad, a professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Cybersecurity and Privacy. “You have an aligned job, absolutely.”
While a master’s degree in cybersecurity or a related subject such as computer science is not required to work in cybersecurity, it is very helpful in informing graduates about the latest trends and events in the field.
“A master’s degree will prepare you for top-level careers and higher skills,” says Ahamad. “A master’s degree will essentially be a cybersecurity specialist.”
How much can you earn with a master’s degree in cybersecurity?
If you have a master’s degree in cybersecurity, it’s pretty common to earn a six-figure salary immediately after you graduate. “It’s a profession that will pay you well,” Ahamad says. “The vast majority of [graduates] go to Microsoft and Google and Cisco and Intel.
According to a UC Berkeley alumni salary survey, graduates with a master’s degree in cybersecurity earn an average salary of $ 214,000, not including bonuses; the average salary is $ 200,000. Some graduates who are now executives, such as directors of information security (CISO), directors of information (CIO) and directors of technology (CTO), earn more than $ 300,000.
“CISO ‘s functions will exceed $ 250,000 and $ 300,000 [salary mark]closer to $ 400,000, depending on the company and the size of the organization, ”McHale says.
The average salary of computer programmers, who write, test, and modify code and scripts for applications and computers to work properly, was $ 93,000 in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Information security analysts, who plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems, had an average salary of $ 102,600. Computer network architects, who design and build data communication networks such as intranets, wide area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LANs), had average revenues of $ 120,520 in 2021. .
While graduates who go to work for the government generally earn less money, the knowledge gained by becoming familiar with the government systems to be secured can pay off if they eventually work for a major defense contractor. .
“The experience is golden,” Ahamad says. “They face sophisticated nation-state threats, therefore [with] systems and applications and the high level of security that is needed, once they have that experience, that really makes them a top tier in cybersecurity. “
McHale says that while some Berkeley master’s degree graduates in cybersecurity are heading to the public sector, most are taking new jobs in the private sector.
“People with this professional master’s degree are now open to a path of incredible career opportunities,” McHale says. “There is the ability to apply these skills to any industry or anywhere in the world, because they can take that basic skill and apply it to something that they are passionate about.”