What Salary Can I Expect with a Cyber Security Degree

While there’s certainly a wide range to cyber security salaries — as is the case looking at any broad topically-linked group of jobs — we can say one thing for sure. Relative to other degrees of the same level, cyber security graduates employed in the field make much more than the average wages for all degree types of that level. Some hidden gems yield particularly high salaries, such as a position just requiting as associates degree that makes an average of $73,000 a year. Though having said that, there are a wide range of employer types and levels of responsibility that can drastically change one’s security pay. One important note to those seeking jobs in cyber security is that it’s definitely a graduate’s market. If you feel like you are being undervalued by an offer, definitely shop around. There will be an estimated 1.5 million un-filled cyber security job openings by 2019, and at our current rate there won’t be nearly enough cyber security graduates to fill that gap.

To answer what type of salary one can expect with a cyber security degree generally, between $70,000 and $120,000 depending on experience. Most cyber security salaries are on par with other in-demand technology role salaries. Only the most talented developer roles will top $200,000, though moving up through management can easily top that amount in larger organizations. As with other tech fields, there’s also always the option to move into creating your own service or product. While this may not pay a salary to begin with, the payoff can be substantial if you can get your business running and sustainable. And with the current shortage of cyber security talent, there’s also no shortage of cyber security clients.

To answer what type of salary one can expect with a cyber security degree more specifically, let’s take a look at some common cyber security positions by level of education.

What salary can I expect with an associates in cyber security?

Similarly to other IT fields, an associates can get you in the door at many cyber security organizations. As with many fields heavy in IT and software development, there are also plenty of ways to enter the field without a degree. Though many larger, more traditional organizations will specify a degree level they are looking for on a role by role basis. Here are the salaries of some of the most common associates-level positions in cyber security.

What salary can I expect with a bachelor’s in cyber security?

With most IT and development fields, a bachelors degree — particularly with some projects in your portfolio — gets you in the door with most employers. While certifications are also important in cyber security (and increase salary further), they often require several years of experience on the job before you can take the certification exam. So below we’ve placed the salaries of some of the most common bachelor’s-level positions in cyber security for those without cyber security certifications.

What salary can I expect with a master’s in cyber security?

While very few cyber security positions will expect a master’s from every candidate, master’s degrees can help you to land jobs at employers working on more cutting edge technology, or give you the edge for prime positions. Furthermore, candidates with master’s are likelier to move up the ranks of a cyber security organization once they have some experience (if they don’t already). Cyber security jobs performed by master’s degree-holders in cyber security or related fields are also likelier to pay more. Master’s degree-holders in cyber security are generally qualified for all positions above in the bachelor’s and associates categories, but likely to be paid even more. Note that we are presented average salaries, thus roughly in the middle of a range. If you extend the salaries of the bachelor’s category up, or look at our detailed guide pages on careers for a range of earnings by position, you can gain a better glimpse of what a master’s degree might net in one of the positions in above categories. Another note is that many of the below positions require a number of years of experience. So even if you hold a master’s degree, if you haven’t worked or haven’t worked for long, then you will likely work your way up to the below positions through bachelor’s-level jobs. Below we’ve listed positions that often specify master’s in cyber security (or related fields) in job descriptions.

What salary can I expect with an doctorate in cyber security?

Very few jobs outside of academia and research settings require a doctorate in cyber security. Though doctorates do become increasingly common when looking at high-level information assurance policy leaders, high-level managers in government organizations, cutting-edge research labs, and high-value consultants. Below we’ve listed a few positions that PhD’s in information assurance might find themselves in.

  • Information Security Professor (tenure-track) — Median Salary: $113,857
  • Chief Information Security Officer — Median Salary: $204,000
  • Security Architect — Median Salary: $120,091