12 Highest Paying Cyber Security Jobs & Salaries (2024)

May 10, 2024 · 14 min read

Cybersecurity is touted as having a zero unemployment rate. It is one of the fastest-growing and in-demand professions in the world today as more and more businesses shift to digitalization. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Cyber Security roles are projected to grow by 35% by the year 2031.

This makes it one of the most attractive career paths these days and many are seeking roles in the cybersecurity space. But as a broad discipline, it can be daunting to outsiders. In this post, we aim to showcase what Cybersecurity is and what potential roles can one take. 

What is a cyber security job?

Cybersecurity is the art and science of protecting data and assets connected to the internet. It uses principles from various fields of study to make effective strategies to prevent unauthorized access and leakage of sensitive information. It combines proper data security training, data handling protocols, and relevant technology.

Cybersecurity experts are highly trained professionals that assess, implement, and improve an organization's cyber defense. Cybersecurity professionals can identify vulnerabilities in the system and can provide necessary solutions to address these. They train and educate users on the proper data security protocols and teach them how to spot malicious activity like phishing scams. They also regularly check security protocols to find any vulnerabilities and ensure that these systems are working as intended.

Why choose a cyber security career?

As a high-responsibility career, cybersecurity is not for everybody. But for some, it can be a highly challenging and fulfilling job. There are three main reasons to seek a career in cybersecurity: very challenging, in high demand, and has a tangible impact.

Well paid

A cybersecurity career can be well paid, with salaries ranging from entry-level positions starting at $50,000 and quickly reaching six figures as you gain experience.

It's important to note that salaries can vary depending on factors such as the position, company, location, associated responsibilities, and level of experience. Additionally, certifications and specialized skills can also contribute to higher earning potential in the cybersecurity field Overall, a cybersecurity career can offer lucrative opportunities, especially as the demand for skilled professionals in this field continues to grow.

High demand

As the world becomes more and more connected thanks to the power of the internet, the demand for cybersecurity professionals will only skyrocket. Many industries, organizations, and even governments are eager to attract the best talents in the world.

This high demand but little supply also makes this career one of the highest salaries in the market today. When you pick cybersecurity as a career, you are in a position to work in virtually any field or industry you want. Furthermore, your earning potential is higher on average than in most careers these days. If you want job security with amazing compensation, a career in cybersecurity might be for you.

A real tangible impact

Finally, perhaps one of Cybersecurity's greatest selling points is that it is one of several careers that makes a difference in the world. As a cybersec professional, you are working to protect people's data and maybe even their lives. You not only oversee networks and computers, but you also work with internet-capable medical devices like imaging machines and even pacemakers.

A few years back, the FDA recalled almost half a million pacemakers dues to fears of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. A dedicated cybersecurity firm found the vulnerability and notified authorities immediately. Thanks to vigilant cybersecurity professionals that a potential disaster was averted.

With that being said, let's jump into discussing the highest paid cyber security jobs.


cybersecurity career paths

Top 12 Highest Paying Cyber Security Jobs and Salaries

1. Penetration tester

Also known as ethical hackers, these professionals are experts in looking for vulnerabilities in a system to gain access. These penetration tests are employed to check the robustness of security systems to keep unwanted and unauthorized access out. They perform simulated penetration attacks that are employed by real-world malicious hackers to gain entry. Essentially, they use underhanded methods to provide organizations with valuable data that helps in boosting the security infrastructure.

They earn an average salary of $97,659 yearly.

2. Malware Analyst

As the name suggests, Malware Specialists are professionals that focus on analyzing many forms of malware. Malware is a type of software that is designed to cause malicious activities on devices, networks, or servers. They can either aid in outside actors gaining unauthorized access, collecting data, or just causing physical damage. Malware analysts specialize in understanding and neutralizing these harmful codes preventing them from causing damage. They have an annual average salary of $87,000.

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3. Cybersecurity Administrator

Cybersecurity Administrators are responsible for implementing and managing the cybersecurity strategies and protocols in a given organization. They are information security managers that lead the whole information security team and also serve as the bridge between the technical and the non-technical personnel. They are expected to help design robust security plans, identify security risks, as well as promote policies that would increase security.

They get an $81,442 yearly average salary.

4. Information Security Analyst

These professionals act as sentries in the information security sphere. They monitor networks and look for any signs of security breaches or cyberattacks. They are also one of the first people to respond to any detected breach. Generally, they comb the whole network and look for suspicious activity or anything out of the ordinary. They regularly check the safeguards in place such as firewalls and drive encryptions and make sure they are in good working order.

They are paid an annual average salary of $89,926

5. Chief Information Security Officer

The Chief Information Security Officer is a cybersecurity job that is kind of like a Cybersecurity Administrator but on a much bigger scale. They are senior-level executives that design and implement security measures for bigger organizations. They handle both the technology and the company policy side of the whole security infrastructure. They may also handle several teams under them performing various tasks depending on the size of the organization.

They have a median salary of $256,040 annually, making it one of the highest paying cyber security jobs.

6. Network Security Architect

Network Security Architects specialize in designing network security measures against attacks. They combine technological solutions, security policies, and company procedures to promote a secure network infrastructure. They perform several roles including penetration testing, white-hat hacking, security analysis, and many more.

They are a median salary of $175,065 yearly, making it one of the highest paid cyber security jobs.

7. Network Security Engineer

A Network Security Engineer is a professional who is responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining the security infrastructure of a computer network. They are experts in network security protocols, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other security measures to protect the network from cyber threats. Their main role is to identify vulnerabilities and develop strategies to defend against potential attacks.

The median salary of a Network Security Engineer varies based on experience, location, and industry. However, the median salary is $125,000 yearly.

8. Cloud Security Engineer

A Cloud Security Engineer is a professional responsible for developing and implementing security measures to protect cloud-based systems and data. They are proficient in identifying potential vulnerabilities and creating strategies to mitigate risks. Cloud Security Engineers work closely with teams to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of data stored in the cloud.

Their median salary can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and company size. However, according to reports, the median salary is $121,823 yearly

9. Security Sales Engineer

Cybersecurity is an ever-growing industry. New technologies are coming out that needs to be marketed to other organizations that need them. Security Sales Engineers specialize in this side of the industry. they act as security consultants that offer appropriate solutions to potential clients. They combine information technology know-how and sales skills to effectively market these solutions.

They have an average yearly income of $157,509, making it one of the highest paying cybersecurity jobs on the list. But as a sales position, they are sometimes offered a commission effectively giving them a variable salary range.

10. Bug Bounty Specialist

This fancy-sounding title is a very serious and highly sought-after occupation. A bug bounty is a way for large tech companies to outsource their security testing in a way. In this system, third-party computer system experts look for vulnerabilities and bugs that internal cybersecurity teams may have overlooked. They then report these vulnerabilities to the organization in question in exchange for a bounty. Kind of like bounty hunters in the wild west. They average $74,867 in salary yearly.

11. Application Security Engineer

These professionals are focused on the software security of applications. They do a similar role as other cybersecurity experts but with an emphasis on the application development process. They work with application development teams and project management to ensure data security is ensured at all times throughout the development. They earn an average salary of $117,111 annually

12. Information Security Analyst

An Information Security Analyst is responsible for protecting an organization's data and systems from cyber-attacks. As part of their day-to-day, they help develop, implement and monitor security measures to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information. They must have a deep understanding of computer networks, operating systems, firewalls, encryption technologies, and other security protocols. They must also be able to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities in order to develop effective countermeasures. They earn an average salary of $89,933 annually.  

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FAQs - High-paying cybersecurity jobs

Why does cybersecurity pay so much?

This is mainly because of two factors: scope of responsibility and demand. Due to its sensitive nature, data security requires extensive technical training and know-how.

As a professional in the industry, you are expected to be able to make sound decisions that could have a huge impact. Data is such a vital resource that it should be handled carefully and secured from unauthorized access. This training requires a significant investment of time and resources which affects the availability of talent. Couple this with ever-increasing demand and you get a high-paying albeit challenging career.

What is the highest paying cybersecurity job?

The highest paying cybersecurity job is typically the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). As the top executive responsible for managing and implementing an organization's information security program, the CISO is in charge of protecting sensitive data and ensuring the overall security of the company.

With their high level of expertise, extensive experience, and accountability for the company's cybersecurity strategy, CISOs are compensated lucratively. Their salaries can range from six to seven figures, depending on the size of the organization and industry. 

What are the highest paying entry-level cyber security jobs?

While you can land a position working as a cyber security engineer from the get-go, the chances are few and far between. This is primarily because businesses look at years of experience. But one can start off their career doing roles that are easy jump-off points towards the data security sector.

IT Support Technicians and Network Technicians are popular ones.  At an annual average salary of $46,042 and $54,747 respectively, they are some of the highest-paying entry-level positions too.

If you want something that's security-focused right from the beginning, starting out as a Junior Penetration Tester is a good option. With an average yearly pay of $86,965, makes it a fairly lucrative entry-level job too.

What skills are needed to land a high-paying cyber security job?

While there are dozens of highly-specialized skills that you must learn depending on which area of cybersecurity you want to focus on, there are a few general skills that all technology security experts must have:

Problem-solving skills

As a security expert, you will be faced with security problems that you need to solve. It can be as mundane as doing a regular password change to patching a critical vulnerability against the clock. Knowing how to address these problems in a calm yet quick and efficient way is a must for anyone considering taking up IT security as a career.

Communication skills

Cybersecurity is collaborative work. You are expected to work with others in a team. Sometimes with people from different fields of expertise. That is why it is crucial to have good interpersonal skills. You are expected to relay to others your thoughts, expert opinions, and concerns to people of varying technical understanding. Being a good communicator lets you efficiently relay important information, especially in time-sensitive issues.

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Keen attention to detail

More often than not, the exploits that malicious individuals use are tiny cracks in the system. These cracks, which often go unnoticed, sometimes cause the most amount of damage. As a cybersec specialist, you must have a keen eye for the tiny details. You have to be thorough and meticulous in testing and combing every part of your cybersec strategy. You have to also be able to identify potential risks of seemingly harmless things and must be able to address them quickly and effectively.


Technology is advancing at break-neck speeds. New tech is coming up from mobile devices to internet-enabled coffee machines and other IOT devices. As a security engineer, you need to learn these devices quickly. You need to understand how to integrate them securely into the network without compromising the security of existing devices. You need to be able to learn quickly and be able to adapt to the rapid changes in the tech landscape.

Ethical hacking

Knowing what you're up against lets you effectively counter it. That is why a cybersecurity engineer or cybersec professional is expected to know the fundamentals of hacking. Ethical hacking is the application of hacking techniques to test the robustness of a network's security as well as to identify any flaw. Constantly testing your systems with close-to real-world threats is a must. This knowledge helps them form effective countermeasures, find and patch vulnerabilities, and look for ways to improve their security plans in the long run.

What qualifications do I need to get a high-paying job in cyber security? 

Most businesses or organizations require that you at least have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science or other related fields. Preferably with a specialization in cybersecurity or data forensics. You can also further augment your qualifications with various certificates by completing specialized training on specific subfields. It is preferred that you complete certifications that relate to your desired specialization.

Are there any certifications that I can get that will increase my chances of getting hired for a high-paying job in cybersecurity?

While a myriad of cybersecurity certifications are available in the market, most employers are looking for these three certifications the most. Certified Information Systems Security Professional or CISSP is an independent certification given by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium. Another certification to consider is Certified Information Systems Auditor or CISA. It is given by ISACA also an independent international non-profit organization.  Finally, there is CompTIA Security + by The Computing Technology Industry Association or CompTIA. Having any of these three can significantly increase your chances of landing your dream cybersecurity career.

Is it worth getting a degree in cybersecurity?

Absolutely! Not only is a degree a major requirement by most if not all businesses and organizations, but it also prepares you for a possible career in the field. It arms you with the right and up-to-date skillset and knowledge that you will need to thrive in today's landscape. Having a cybersecurity degree under your belt gives potential employers assurance that you have the fundamental know-how to be able to perform the tasks needed for the job. 

What industries offer the highest salaries for cyber security jobs in the United States and Worldwide?

The top-paying industry for cybersecurity engineers is those that face the most damage after a cyber-attack: financial institutions, governments, and health and medicine. These industries hold large amounts of private data that could be exploited by malicious actors. That is why they are investing large amounts into bolstering their cybersecurity systems. They also are some of the biggest employers of the top cybersecurity talents globally.

Are you ready to take your career to the next level?

Nexford's Career Path Planner takes into account your experience and interests to provide you with a customized roadmap to success.

Receive personalized advice on the skills and qualifications you need to get ahead in areas like finance, marketing, management and entrepreneurship.

Take the quiz to get started now!

Where are high-paying cyber security roles available?

Your best bet to land a high paying cybersecurity job would be in the industries mentioned above. Additionally, some of the best-paying sectors include tech, banking, and e-commerce. One of the best ways to look for job opportunities is to go directly to a company's website. Online job boards are also great sources of job openings as companies like to recruit from as many outlets as possible. 

How many years does it take to work in a top-paying cybersecurity role?

A study shows that although anyone can land a cybersecurity job even with 0 years of experience, the average is about 3-5 years. This shows that while having the necessary degrees and certifications does improve your chances of landing a job, employers value relevant experience a bit more. What this means for you is that you can increase your chances by taking opportunities that could boost your experience even while schooling. This could be internships, part-time work, or freelancing.


As you can see, cybersecurity jobs in 2023 pay particularly well! And it's the perfect time to pursue a career in this field with the growing demand for such expertise.

With that being said, if you're looking to pursue a career in one of the highest paying jobs in cybersecurity then consider looking into our Fundamentals of Cybersecurity Course, which will get you on-track to becoming a cybersecurity professional.

You can even take our MBA in Cybersecurity to accelerate your career path.

Alternatively, discover how you can acquire the most in-demand skills and open the doors to a successful cybersecurity and tech career with our free report. Download the free report now and discover how you can reach new heights in your career.

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