Best 8 Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs in 2024

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Embarking on a career in cybersecurity can seem daunting, especially after reaching initial milestones such as graduation or obtaining entry-level certifications. The question then becomes: What’s next?

According to the Fortinet Cybersecurity Skills Gap report, 90% of leaders favor hiring individuals with technology-focused certifications. However, 56% of firms struggle to recruit cybersecurity talent.

The cybersecurity and information technology fields offer a plethora of career paths, presenting a wide array of opportunities.

With so many cybersecurity or information technology career options, it can depend on your interests and what type of role most appeals to you. Based on the skills gap report, you might have what employers are looking for.

Key Takeaways

  • Cybersecurity faces a notable skills gap, heightened by increasing cyberattacks, emphasizing the need for skilled professionals. There’s a high demand for tech-certified candidates.
  • Embarking on a cybersecurity career offers numerous paths, from degrees and recognized certifications like CompTIA Security+ to self-led learning.
  • Critical cybersecurity skills, technical expertise in cloud security and encryption, and essential soft skills like effective communication and problem-solving are important qualities.
  • Engagement with the cybersecurity field, continuous education, and practical application, such as through projects or volunteer work, are all steps you can take to advance your career.
  • The key to climbing the cybersecurity ladder is continuous professional development, acquiring advanced certifications, honing resumes, and mastering interviews.

Cybersecurity Educational Pathways and Certifications

Enhance your cybersecurity journey with various educational pathways, from basic certifications like CompTIA Security+ to intensive boot camps. Certifications and boot camps can efficiently jumpstart your cybersecurity career.

If formal education isn’t your cup of tea, self-taught pathways through online courses and resources can also be a viable option — but they demand high self-discipline.

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Degrees in computer science, information technology, or cybersecurity provide in-depth knowledge and often include internship opportunities for real-world experience.

Given cyber education’s flexible nature, it’s crucial to assess your career roadmap, align it with your life situation, and choose a path that complements your learning style and professional goals.

As we talk through these roles, you can compare our 15 best cybersecurity certifications to decide if certain certificates are worth pursuing.

Best 8 Entry-Level Cybersecurity Jobs

Entry-level cybersecurity jobs are a great way to kickstart a career in the field. Here are some of the best entry-level cybersecurity jobs to consider:

1. Network Administrator

Network administrators oversee and secure an organization’s network infrastructure. Certifications like CompTIA Network+, CCNA, and CISSP are often crucial. These certifications validate the necessary skills in infrastructure management and security.

Average Salaries: $78,801 (£27,000, €31,000)

2. Security Consultant

Security consultants scrutinize organizational security and pinpoint weaknesses, advising on improvements. Key certifications like CISSP, CEH, and CISM validate a consultant’s proficiency in cybersecurity facets like risk management and ethical hacking, thereby boosting their credibility and command over industry standards.

Average Salaries: $101.059 (£55,000, €58,000)

3. Security Analyst

Security analysts defend an organization by pinpointing and mitigating security threats. To excel, they need certifications like CISSP, CompTIA Security+, and CySA+.

Average Salaries: $116,000 (£41,000, €48,000)

4. Incident Responder

Incident responders tackle cybersecurity incidents, including data breaches and cyber-attacks. Essential certifications for these roles include ECIH, CEH, GCIH, and CISSP, showcasing deep knowledge and skills in handling incidents and ethical hacking.

Average Salaries: $58,111 (£48,000, €56,000)

5. Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst

SOC analysts oversee security systems, manage alerts, and tackle incidents. Key certifications like CompTIA Security+, CISSP, CEH, and GSEC showcase the necessary cybersecurity expertise for the role, including incident response and ethical hacking, which are crucial for effective organizational monitoring and management.

Average Salaries: $70,000 (£35,000, €41,000)

6. Penetration Tester

Ethical hackers, or penetration testers, evaluate an organization’s security by exposing vulnerabilities using certifications like CEH, OSCP, and CISSP. They highlight security expertise, enhancing a candidate’s competitive edge in cybersecurity.

Average Salaries: $93,784 (£33,000, €38,000)

7. Security Engineer

Security engineers safeguard organizational systems and data primarily through notable certifications like CISSP, CEH, CISM, and CompTIA Security+. These certifications underscore their expertise in cybersecurity genres, heightening their industry valuation.

Average Salaries: $107,000 (£52,000, €61,000)

8. Compliance Analyst

A Compliance Analyst role focused on cybersecurity requires obtaining certifications like CISSP, CISM, CISA, and CRISC. These certifications showcase a proficient understanding of cybersecurity, risk management, and adherence to relevant standards, laying foundational expertise critical for ensuring an organization’s compliance with cybersecurity regulations.

Average Salaries: $75,000 (£42,000, €49,000)

Note: Salaries for cybersecurity positions, as mentioned, are based on industry averages and can vary significantly depending on the organization and geographical location.

Additionally, the certifications required for a specific role will vary, tailored to the position’s unique demands and the hiring manager’s preferences. The roles often identified with a “Junior” prefix, depending on an organization’s naming conventions, are crucial entry points into the cybersecurity field.

These foundational roles are essential for building a successful career in this rapidly evolving domain, where continuously enhancing your skills and knowledge is vital for maintaining relevance and effectiveness.

Skills That Will Land You Your First Cyber Job

To begin your journey in cybersecurity, you need both technical prowess and strong communication skills. Here are some essential skills to focus on:

  1. Cloud Security: Understanding how to secure cloud environments is crucial as more businesses move their data and operations to the cloud.
  2. Programming Languages: Proficiency in programming languages such as Python, PowerShell, and Bash is essential for automating tasks and writing scripts to enhance security.
  3. Encryption: Knowledge of encryption is core to protecting data and ensuring confidentiality.
  4. Cyber Threat Knowledge: In-depth knowledge of cyber threats and attack techniques will enhance your defense capabilities.
  5. Risk Assessment: Risk assessments are crucial for effective security planning. This involves identifying and evaluating potential risks and vulnerabilities in a system or network.
  6. Intrusion Detection: Developing skills in intrusion detection is vital for threat identification. This involves monitoring networks for suspicious activity and responding to potential security breaches.
  7. Problem-solving and Analytical Thinking: These skills are essential for tackling complex security challenges and finding creative solutions to problems.
  8. Practical Application: Applying your skills through projects or volunteer work will amplify your market prospects and give you valuable hands-on experience.

Lastly, don’t overlook the importance of networking. Proactively building relationships within the cybersecurity community can lead to unexpected opportunities. Ensure you actively engage with peers, attend industry events, and participate in online forums.

The Bottom Line

Cybersecurity careers promise stability and prosperity, offering a unique sense of achievement by playing a vital role in protecting digital infrastructures. As cyber threats continue, the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals surges, indicating a sector brimming with opportunities.

Starting with basic skills, individuals have the potential to advance through continual education, relevant certifications, and hands-on experience.

Whether aspiring to be a Security Analyst, an Incident Responder, or a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), the cybersecurity path is rich with possibilities for growth and impact. Embrace this challenging yet rewarding career, and you could become a leading digital defender for one of the many significant organizations.

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John Meah
Cybersecurity Expert
John Meah
Cybersecurity Expert

John is a skilled freelance writer who combines his writing talent with his cybersecurity expertise. He holds an equivalent level 7 master's degree in cybersecurity and a number of prestigious industry certifications, such as PCIP, CISSP, MCIIS, and CCSK. He has spent over two decades working in IT and information security within the finance and logistics business sectors. This experience has given John a profound understanding of cybersecurity practices, making his tech coverage on Techopedia particularly insightful and valuable. He has honed his writing skills through courses from renowned institutions like the Guardian and Writers Bureau UK.