It may be a “virtual” realm of activity on the Internet, but the criminal activity out there is real. Fraud, identity theft, and trafficking have all been identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as serious crimes, and trained experts are needed to track down perpetrators and prevent illegal activities.

The field of cybersecurity is still evolving right along with technology, generating jobs at a much faster pace than the national average. In fact, information security and technology jobs are projected to grow 13 percent between 2020 and 2030. In that period, an estimated 667,600 jobs should open up, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security.

The pay is way ahead of the national average, too: cybersecurity agents earn a median wage of nearly $107,580 a year.

Wide range of applications

Because technology spans all industries, being skilled in computer forensics and data analysis opens up dozens of career doors beyond the criminal justice or government-related fields you might associate with cybersecurity.

Many cybersecurity experts work in the corporate world, where they protect social security and credit card information and financial transactions, or prevent leaks of products still in development.Businesses employing cybersecurity workers can include banks, healthcare providers, tech and retail firms, “or any small business connected via the internet,” according to the BLS. These employees may be focused on upgrading computer networks and regulating data access, or responding to breaches and viruses. The technology needs of businesses, large and small, are growing every day.

On the forensics side, computer analysts may track down criminals like money-launderers or drug dealers by following electronic trails and tracing cell phone calls.

Cyber Security is a high demand, high paying field that is growing at a rapid pace because companies of every size are faced with  cyber threats.

As a cyber security analyst, you will protect IT infrastructure (including networks, hardware and software) from a range of criminal activity. You will monitor networks and systems, detect security threats (‘events’), analyze and assess alarms, and report on threats, intrusion attempts and false alarms, either resolving them or escalating them, depending on the severity.

Broadly, you can work in one of the following areas:

  • consulting, offering advisory services to clients
  • working to protect the security of the organization you work for.

Ranger College has partnered with a sister community college to offer three new cyber security classes.

  • Three courses: CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+
  • Three series of the three courses are scheduled in parallel.
  • Courses are offered Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings  6pm to 10pm.
  • Weekend scheduling for each course is Saturdays, 8am-5pm and Sundays, 1-5pm.
  • Each course totals 36 class hours.
  • Courses are all on Zoom.
  • Upon completion of training, you take a certification exam to become certified.
  • You could qualify for tuition assistance through the TRUE Grant.

To find out if you qualify for the Texas Reskilling and Upskilling through Education (TRUE) Grant, contact the Financial Aid Office at (254) 267-7110, [email protected].

Cybersecurity-related careers

Information Security Analysts

Median wages (2021): $107,580 annually, $51.72 hourly
Employment (2021): 141,200
Projected job openings (2020-2030): 47,100

Database Administrators

Median wages (2021): $98,860 annually, $47.53 hourly
Employment (2021): 168,000
Projected job openings (2020-2030): 13,200

Computer Systems Analysts

Median wages (2021): $99,020 annually, $47.61 hourly
Employment (2021): 607,800
Projected job openings (2020-2030): 42,800

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, bls.gov.