Cybersecurity Career Outlook

webteam October 1, 2021
Graphic design of a lock within a cyberspace setting.

Cybercrime and threats continue to inundate nearly every facet of personal and professional life. Whether it comes in the most common form of hacking (think social media accounts or email passwords) or more coordinated efforts like phishing scams and unpatched vulnerability manipulations, dealing with cybersecurity concerns is a frequent human experience in the digital age. As a result, the cybersecurity career outlook is bright and growing with job opportunities. Cybercrime Magazine predicts that a ransomware attack will impact a business every 11 seconds by the end of 2021. The question is no longer if a cyber threat will affect you, but when.

To combat cyberattacks and mitigate their effects, organizations and businesses across industries seek out cybersecurity professionals who know how to stay ahead of threats and keep private information out of the wrong hands. Demand for information security analysts—a top cybersecurity related job—is expected to grow 33 percent from 2020 to 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth equates to 16,300 job openings per year for the next decade.

Bar graph that shows that information security analyst job demand will increase by 33 percent from 2021 to 2029.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nationally, U.S. News and World Report ranks information security analyst as #4 in Best Technology Jobs, #10 in Best STEM Jobs, and #15 in Best Jobs overall.The rush to hire cybersecurity professionals is seen at a local level, too. The chart below shows job growth in the U.S. and Wisconsin for four cybersecurity-related occupations: information security analysts, network and computer systems administrators, computer network architects, and computer and information systems managers:

Line graph that shows cybersecurity job postings will steadily increase in Wisconsin and nationwide over the next decade.
Source: Emsi 2021.3

Industries with the Largest Demand for Cybersecurity

The cybersecurity career outlook is heavily influenced by industries experiencing increased, high demand for professionals. The top industry adding the most cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. from 2021 to 2029 is computer systems design and related services, followed by the management of companies and enterprises industry. According to 2021 Emsi data, aerospace and defense company, General Dynamics, and computer software company, Oracle Corporation, lead the job posting boards for attracting cybersecurity talent.

A pie chart that breaks down the in-demand industries for cybersecurity talent. The leading industry is Computer Systems Design and Related Services.
Source: Emsi 2021.3

Additionally, cybersecurity job opportunities are brimming in various industry sectors, including: financial/risk management (Deloitte), engineering (Leidos Holdings, Inc.), IT consulting (Accenture), E-commerce (Amazon), health insurance (Humana), and banking (Wells Fargo).

RELATED: 4 Industries that Need Cybersecurity Talent

Cybersecurity is not industry specific. In fact, any industry that deals with securely processing and storing information is in need of cybersecurity professionals to keep their proprietary software, products, customers, stakeholders, and employee information safe.

What Employers Want in a Cybersecurity Professional

There’s an obvious, growing demand for cybersecurity talent, but what exactly are hiring managers looking for? Here’s a glimpse at how cybersecurity professionals make a positive impact in their role:

  • Analyze and resolve security issues in networks and computer systems to secure an IT infrastructure
  • Design, develop, test, and evaluate secure software
  • Develop policies and procedures to manage enterprise security risks
  • Evaluate and communicate the human role in security systems with an emphasis on ethics, social engineering, vulnerabilities, and training
  • Interpret and forensically investigate security incidents

RELATED: When it Comes to Cybersecurity, Being Human Can Be Your Biggest Strength or Weakness

Along with hard skills like computer science, operating systems, auditing, and agile methodology, hiring managers also want a cybersecurity leader who understands the human implications behind cyber threats. According to Security Magazine, human error poses cybersecurity challenges for 80 percent of businesses. Hard skills alone cannot mitigate these challenges—successful cybersecurity professionals must also be equipped with non-technical skills that allow them to approach situations from both a tactical and human angle.

Some of these non-technical skills include management, communications, troubleshooting, planning, and innovation:

Bar graph that shows the most common, non-technical skills that are needed of a cybersecurity professionals, such as management, communications, and leadership.
Source: Emsi 2021.3

Earning Your Master’s in Cybersecurity

If you’re ready to prioritize your future career goals and to protect businesses from ever-increasing cyber threats, the University of Wisconsin offers an online, 34-credit Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree designed specifically for working professionals.

The curriculum was developed with input from industry leaders and serves to fill the skill gap identified by today’s cybersecurity employers. With a focus on core cybersecurity topics, such as network security, cryptography, managing security risk, and more, graduates of the program will gain competencies that set them up for success as information security analysts, cybersecurity architects, chief information security officers (CISO), and systems administrators.

Students of the master’s program must choose at least one of four tracks of study to personalize their learning: Digital Forensics, Cyber Response, Governance & Leadership, and Security Architecture. Each track consists of three to four courses specifically designed to build skill sets. For example, in the Digital Forensics track, students take the Computer Forensics and Investigations, Computer Criminology, and Network Forensics courses.

RELATED: Which Cybersecurity Track is Right for You?

What’s Next?

The cybersecurity career outlook is bright—and so is your future in the UW Cybersecurity program! Curious about what you’ll learn in the courses and how it will apply to your current and future roles in the cybersecurity field? See the program’s curriculum or reach out to a helpful enrollment adviser at 608-800-6762 or

Programs: Cybersecurity