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Best Cyber Security Entry Level Jobs

In the crypto digital era, as businesses, governments, and individuals alike become increasingly reliant on technology, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated. Cyber threats loom larger than ever, with cyber-attacks becoming more frequent and sophisticated. This urgency has led to a surging demand for professionals equipped with the knowledge and skills to safeguard our interconnected digital landscape. For those eyeing a future in this booming sector, starting on the right foot can make all the difference. If you’re a budding cybersecurity enthusiast, you might be wondering, “What are the best cyber security entry level jobs to get my foot in the door?” You’re in the right place.

The cybersecurity realm is vast and diverse, offering a plethora of opportunities for newcomers. It’s an industry that promises not just good pay but also the chance to make a tangible difference in the world, ensuring the safety of critical infrastructures, sensitive data, and digital identities. Yet, with its breadth comes the challenge of pinpointing where exactly to start. The entry point you choose can shape your career trajectory, laying the foundation for specializations and advanced roles down the line.

In this article, we will delve deep into the most promising and rewarding entry level positions in cybersecurity. From roles that require diving into the technical trenches of network defense to those that focus on the broader strategy of risk management, there’s something for everyone, irrespective of background and inclination. If you’re passionate about technology, problem-solving, and making a difference, the cybersecurity industry awaits your talents.

So, whether you’re a recent graduate, a professional looking to switch lanes, or someone who’s simply curious about the prospects of a cybersecurity career, read on. Let’s embark on this journey to uncover the entry-level roles that can be your springboard into the dynamic world of cybersecurity.

Best Entry Level Cyber Security Jobs

1. Security Analyst

A Security Analyst is responsible for protecting an organization’s computer systems and networks from cyber threats. They monitor for suspicious activity, investigate security breaches, and ensure that data is protected against unauthorized access. One of the bes cyber security entry level jobs.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Monitoring: Regularly monitor security access and the organization’s network for irregularities and signs of unauthorized access.
  2. Incident Response: Respond to cybersecurity incidents, such as malware infections, denial of service attacks, and security breaches. This can also involve coordinating with other IT professionals to resolve the issue.
  3. Vulnerability Management: Conduct periodic scans of networks to identify vulnerabilities. Recommend and implement corrective measures.
  4. Risk Assessment: Evaluate security risks associated with new technologies or processes and provide recommendations to stakeholders.
  5. Policy and Compliance: Ensure that the organization complies with internal policies and external regulations related to information security. This might involve periodic audits or reports.
  6. Training and Awareness: Develop and deliver security training programs to employees to heighten awareness about potential threats and best practices.
  7. Security Solutions: Recommend, install, and manage security solutions like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption mechanisms.

Skills and Qualifications:

  1. Technical Knowledge: Familiarity with various operating systems, network protocols, and security software/tools is crucial.
  2. Analytical Skills: Ability to scrutinize system logs, detect and respond to security incidents, and interpret complex data.
  3. Problem-Solving: Respond to threats and vulnerabilities with appropriate measures.
  4. Communication: Ability to communicate technical details clearly to non-technical stakeholders and provide training.
  5. Staying Updated: Cyber threats are evolving constantly, so a Security Analyst must stay updated with the latest in the field.

Certifications (helpful but not always required):

  • CompTIA Security+
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate

Career Progression:
With experience, a Security Analyst can move on to roles such as Security Engineer, Security Consultant, or even Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) in larger organizations.

Salary:
The salary of a Security Analyst can vary widely based on factors like experience, location, and the size of the employing organization. As of my last update in 2021, in the US, an entry-level Security Analyst might expect a salary starting from $50,000 to $70,000, with experienced analysts earning upwards of $90,000 or more.

In conclusion, a Security Analyst plays a pivotal role in safeguarding an organization’s digital assets. The demand for this role has been growing as cybersecurity threats continue to evolve and pose significant challenges for businesses worldwide.

2. Security Administrator

A Security Administrator is primarily responsible for installing, administering, and troubleshooting an organization’s security solutions. This role ensures that the IT infrastructure is protected against unauthorized access, malicious attacks, or potential security breaches.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. System Maintenance: Install, configure, and support security tools such as firewalls, anti-virus software, patch management systems, and other related technologies.
  2. User Access Control: Manage user accounts and access controls. This includes adding/deleting/modifying user access, as well as setting up roles and permissions.
  3. Monitoring and Reporting: Continuously monitor security logs and alerts to detect and respond to security incidents in real-time. Generate periodic security reports for management.
  4. Incident Management: Respond to and investigate security breaches, malware infections, and other security incidents. This can involve coordination with other IT departments and possibly legal or HR, depending on the nature of the incident.
  5. Backup and Recovery: Ensure that data backup solutions are in place and regularly tested. This involves restoring data in the event of data loss, corruption, or security incidents.
  6. Policy Enforcement: Ensure that security policies and procedures are adhered to by auditing system setups and user activities.
  7. Updates and Patches: Regularly update and patch systems and software to protect against known vulnerabilities.
  8. Training: Assist in developing and delivering security awareness training for employees.

Skills and Qualifications:

  1. Technical Proficiency: Familiarity with various operating systems, security tools, network protocols, and databases.
  2. Problem-solving Skills: The ability to quickly diagnose and resolve security and technical issues.
  3. Attention to Detail: Carefully review logs and configurations to ensure security measures are correctly implemented.
  4. Communication Skills: Ability to explain security risks and issues to non-technical team members or stakeholders.
  5. Continuous Learning: Stay updated with the latest security threats, trends, and solutions.
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Certifications (often beneficial but not always required):

  • CompTIA Security+
  • Microsoft Certified: Security Administrator Associate
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security

Career Progression:
With additional experience and training, a Security Administrator can progress to roles such as Security Engineer, Security Architect, or Information Security Manager.

Salary:
The salary for a Security Administrator can vary based on location, experience, and company size. As of my last update in 2021, in the US, entry-level Security Administrators might expect a salary range from $55,000 to $75,000, with experienced professionals earning significantly more.

In summary, a Security Administrator is a vital cog in the cybersecurity mechanism of an organization. They provide a foundational layer of protection and ensure the smooth operation of security tools and protocols. The increasing complexity of cyber threats has made the role even more crucial in the modern IT landscape.

3. Incident Responder

An Incident Responder is a cybersecurity professional responsible for addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack, commonly referred to as a security incident. Their primary goal is to manage the situation in a way that limits damage and reduces recovery time and costs.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Detection and Analysis: Monitor security alerts from various sources (like intrusion detection systems) and investigate signs of incidents in a timely manner.
  2. Incident Triage: Determine the severity and impact of the incident. This helps in prioritizing response efforts appropriately.
  3. Containment: Implement short-term and long-term containment strategies to prevent further damage while the root cause is being identified and eradicated.
  4. Eradication: Once the cause has been identified, remove the threat from the environment.
  5. Recovery: Restore and validate system functionality for business operations to resume. This may involve the restoration of systems from backups.
  6. Documentation and Reporting: Document details of incidents, responses, and lessons learned. Regular reporting might be required both for internal stakeholders and regulatory bodies.
  7. Communication: Coordinate with other IT teams, management, legal, PR, and possibly law enforcement, depending on the nature and severity of the incident.
  8. Post-Incident Analysis: After handling the incident, conduct a retrospective of the incident to understand what went wrong and how to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Skills and Qualifications:

  1. Technical Knowledge: Familiarity with various operating systems, network protocols, and tools used in incident detection and response.
  2. Analytical Skills: Ability to rapidly analyze complex situations under pressure.
  3. Communication Skills: Effective written and verbal communication, especially in high-pressure situations. Incident Responders often need to explain technical details to non-technical stakeholders.
  4. Problem-solving: Ability to diagnose the root cause of an incident and devise solutions quickly.
  5. Collaboration: Coordinate with different teams and departments during incident response.

Certifications (often beneficial but not always required):

  • Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) from GIAC
  • Certified Computer Security Incident Handler (CSIH) from CERT
  • CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

Career Progression:
Experienced Incident Responders can progress to roles such as Incident Response Team Lead, Incident Response Manager, or even broader cybersecurity leadership roles, like Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

Salary:
The salary of an Incident Responder can vary based on several factors, including experience, location, and company size. As of my last update in 2021, in the US, entry-level Incident Responders might expect a salary range from $60,000 to $80,000, with seasoned professionals earning upwards of $100,000 or more.

In conclusion, an Incident Responder plays a critical role in managing and mitigating the effects of security incidents. As cyber threats continue to grow in complexity and frequency, the demand for experienced Incident Responders in the industry is likely to remain strong. One of the best cyber security entry level jobs out there.

4. Penetration Tester (Junior/Associate)

A Penetration Tester, sometimes called an “ethical hacker,” is a cybersecurity professional tasked with simulating cyber-attacks on systems, networks, and applications to discover vulnerabilities before malicious hackers can exploit them. By identifying these weak points, organizations can proactively strengthen their security posture.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Planning: Determine the scope of the attack, including systems, networks, and applications to be tested. Obtain necessary permissions and approvals.
  2. Reconnaissance: Gather as much information as possible about the target system to find potential vulnerabilities.
  3. Scanning: Use tools like vulnerability scanners to identify known vulnerabilities in the system.
  4. Gaining Access: Exploit found vulnerabilities to understand the potential impact of a breach. This might include gaining unauthorized access, escalating privileges, or extracting sensitive data.
  5. Maintaining Access: Determine if the system is vulnerable to issues like backdoors, which could allow prolonged unauthorized access.
  6. Analysis: After testing, provide a detailed report of the vulnerabilities discovered, data accessed, and recommendations for securing the system.
  7. Clean-up: Ensure that all changes made to the test systems are reverted, leaving no tools or payloads behind.

Skills and Qualifications:

  1. Technical Proficiency: In-depth understanding of networking, programming, databases, and operating systems.
  2. Tool Familiarity: Experience with penetration testing tools like Metasploit, Burp Suite, Wireshark, and Nmap.
  3. Analytical Skills: Ability to think critically and find vulnerabilities that automated tools might miss.
  4. Creativity: Often, penetration testing requires thinking “outside the box” to find novel ways to breach systems.
  5. Ethical Integrity: Adherence to guidelines and boundaries is crucial. The goal is to improve security, not cause harm.
  6. Communication: Ability to clearly document findings and suggest remediation steps to stakeholders.

Certifications (often beneficial but not always required):

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
  • Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP)
  • Licensed Penetration Tester (LPT)
  • Global Information Assurance Certification Penetration Tester (GPEN)

Career Progression:
Penetration Testers might progress to roles such as Senior Penetration Tester, Penetration Testing Team Lead, Red Team Lead, or transition to broader cybersecurity roles. One of the best cyber security entry level jobs.

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Salary:
The salary for a Penetration Tester can vary widely based on factors such as experience, location, and the hiring organization’s size and type. As of my last update in 2021, in the US, an entry-level Penetration Tester might expect a salary ranging from $70,000 to $90,000, with experienced testers earning upwards of $130,000 or more, especially in specialized or leadership roles.

In summary, a Penetration Tester plays an essential role in identifying and addressing potential vulnerabilities, ensuring that organizations can fend off real-world cyber threats. With the ever-increasing complexity and frequency of cyber-attacks, the demand for skilled Penetration Testers continues to grow.

5. Cybersecurity Technician

A Cybersecurity Technician is a professional responsible for helping to safeguard an organization’s computer systems and networks from security breaches and attacks. This role is typically more hands-on and technical, focusing on the implementation, monitoring, and maintenance of security measures.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Implementation: Install and set up security tools and software, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, anti-virus software, and encryption tools.
  2. Monitoring: Actively monitor systems and networks for potential security breaches using various tools. This often involves analyzing traffic and logs for suspicious activity.
  3. Incident Handling: Assist in responding to security breaches and incidents, which might include gathering data for analysis or helping with remediation efforts.
  4. Updates and Maintenance: Ensure that software, especially security software, is regularly updated to protect against known vulnerabilities.
  5. Backup and Recovery: Assist in the backup of critical data and aid in recovery efforts in the event of data loss or corruption.
  6. Compliance: Ensure that systems comply with organizational security policies and any external regulations. This might involve periodic checks or audits.
  7. User Support: Provide guidance and support to other employees regarding security best practices. This could include troubleshooting security-related issues or helping with password resets.
  8. Documentation: Maintain detailed documentation about the organization’s security infrastructure, configurations, and procedures.

Skills and Qualifications:

  1. Technical Knowledge: Familiarity with various operating systems, security protocols, and tools used in protection and detection.
  2. Problem-solving Skills: Ability to diagnose and remedy security issues, ensuring minimal disruption to operations.
  3. Attention to Detail: Given that even a small oversight can lead to vulnerabilities, a keen eye for detail is crucial.
  4. Adaptability: The cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, requiring technicians to be adaptable and willing to learn continuously.
  5. Communication Skills: Ability to explain technical issues in simple terms and work collaboratively with other IT teams.

Certifications (often beneficial but not always required):

  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+)
  • Cisco’s CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) Security
  • Microsoft Certified: Security Administrator Associate

Career Progression:
Cybersecurity Technicians can progress to more specialized roles such as Security Analyst, Penetration Tester, or Cybersecurity Engineer. With more experience and perhaps further education, they can also move into cybersecurity management or consultancy roles. One of the best cyber security entry level jobs.

Salary:
The salary for a Cybersecurity Technician can vary based on experience, location, and the size of the hiring organization. As of my last update in 2021, in the US, an entry-level Cybersecurity Technician might expect a salary ranging from $45,000 to $65,000, with experienced technicians potentially earning much more.

In summary, a Cybersecurity Technician provides a foundational layer of technical defense in an organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure. Their hands-on work in implementing, monitoring, and maintaining security measures is crucial in the ongoing battle against cyber threats.

6. Software Developer

A Software Developer is responsible for the design, creation, testing, and maintenance of software applications. They transform ideas and requirements into functional software solutions, which can range from desktop applications to mobile apps and web-based platforms.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Requirements Gathering: Collaborate with stakeholders or clients to understand and analyze software requirements.
  2. Design: Create detailed software designs, including system architectures, data flow diagrams, and user interfaces.
  3. Coding: Write clean, efficient, and maintainable code using appropriate programming languages and tools.
  4. Integration: Integrate various software components or third-party systems as required.
  5. Testing: Develop and implement test cases to identify bugs and ensure the software functions as intended.
  6. Maintenance: Address bugs, improve performance, and periodically update the software to meet changing needs or incorporate new technologies.
  7. Documentation: Document code, technical specifications, and user manuals to aid in future development and user support.
  8. Collaboration: Work closely with other team members, such as other developers, UI/UX designers, QA testers, and project managers.

Skills and Qualifications:

  1. Technical Proficiency: Knowledge of one or more programming languages (e.g., Java, Python, C#, JavaScript).
  2. Problem-solving Skills: Ability to think critically, troubleshoot, and address software-related issues.
  3. Attention to Detail: Given the precision required in coding, a meticulous approach is essential.
  4. Continuous Learning: Technology and software practices change rapidly, necessitating a commitment to ongoing learning.
  5. Teamwork: Ability to collaborate effectively with diverse teams.
  6. Communication Skills: Convey technical information clearly to non-technical stakeholders.

Certifications (often beneficial but not always required):

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
  • Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE Programmer
  • AWS Certified Developer – Associate
  • Google Associate Android Developer

Career Progression:
Software Developers can specialize in particular areas, such as web development, mobile app development, or system architecture. With experience, they might progress to roles like Senior Developer, Software Architect, or even move into managerial roles like Software Development Manager or CTO (Chief Technology Officer).

Salary:
The salary for a Software Developer can vary significantly based on factors such as experience, location, domain of expertise, and the size and type of the hiring organization. As of my last update in 2021, in the US, an entry-level Software Developer might expect a salary ranging from $55,000 to $75,000. Experienced developers, especially those in high-demand areas or with specialized skills, can earn significantly more.

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