How To Become a Cybersecurity Manager

Updated March 20, 2023

Businesses, government agencies and other organizations should have an effective plan in place in case of a cyber attack. Cybersecurity management includes everything these organizations do to protect their computer networks, information systems and digital data from cyber attacks like malware and security breaches. Cybersecurity managers are the professionals who limit online criminal activity and protect companies by managing their security projects, tasks, processes and investigations. In this article, we discuss what a cybersecurity manager does, how to become a cybersecurity manager and the skills, salary, outlook and workplace environment of cybersecurity managers.

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What is a cybersecurity manager?

A cybersecurity manager is a type of IT professional who, along with the team they oversee, maintains security systems, identifies system vulnerabilities and creates strategies to stop cyber criminals. They help businesses security breaches and loss of important or sensitive data. Because so many industries need cybersecurity managers, they have the opportunity to work in almost any field, from government agencies to corporations to nonprofit organizations. As technology grows and companies rely more on the internet and storing their data in the cloud, there is a growing need for cybersecurity managers.

Common industries that hire cybersecurity managers include:

  • Insurance

  • Education

  • Finance

  • Healthcare

  • Manufacturing

  • Information technology

  • Government

  • Nonprofits

Related: How To Become a Cyber Security Specialist

What does a cybersecurity manager do?

A cybersecurity manager uses their advanced level of knowledge about information security, information assurance and security operations to create and implement security protocols, policies and procedures. They also manage a team of other IT security professionals and work together to identify security gaps, design firewalls, create proactive solutions and provide security reports. If a company has a data breach, the cybersecurity manager monitors the situation, helps with the forensic investigation and talks with law enforcement agencies and attorneys.

Some specific responsibilities and duties of a cybersecurity manager include:

  • Performing risk management

  • Studying the latest cybersecurity trends

  • Training members of the company

  • Developing and implementing security strategies

  • Analyzing and reviewing costs and budgets

  • Addressing security breaches

  • Updating existing systems

  • Delegating tasks to team members and monitoring their performance

How to become a cybersecurity manager

There are many ways to learn about cybersecurity, gain experience and transition into the role of cybersecurity manager. This can work to your advantage, as it allows more flexibility in your career path and may provide more opportunities for pursuing a cybersecurity manager position. Whether you're thinking about starting college or are already an IT professional, here are some steps you can follow to become a cybersecurity manager:

1. Get an education

While employers might not always require a college degree for a cybersecurity manager position, many employers do prefer a bachelor's degree or higher. Common bachelor's degrees for a cybersecurity manager include cybersecurity, computer science, computer engineering, information assurance or another field related to information technology. Many universities also offer master's degrees specifically in cybersecurity management, which could lead to better job opportunities.

Some online learning organizations, which are not associated with universities, offer recognized and accredited programs in cybersecurity as well. While they're not college degree programs, they do offer certificate programs that teach you important information about cybersecurity and prepare for a role as a cybersecurity manager. This may be a great option for you if you already have a college degree or are already an IT professional in a related field and want to learn more about cybersecurity.

2, Earn certifications

You can show potential employers that you're eager for a cybersecurity position and want to keep your relevant skills sharp by earning certifications. By continuing your education through certifications, you can increase your chances of making a good impression. Depending on the industry and individual company, a potential employer may require or prefer certain certifications. You can look online or contact the employer directly to find out what certifications they want. The most common certifications for cybersecurity managers are:

  • Information Systems Security Management Professionals (CISSP-ISSMP)

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISM)

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

  • Certified Information System Auditor (CISA)

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

  • Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)

  • GIAC Security Leadership (GSLC)

Related: Top 10 Cybersecurity Certifications and How They Will Improve Your Career

3. Gain experience

The cybersecurity industry is a fast-growing field, so it's important to stay current on the latest cyber attack attempts, digital infiltrations and online threats. One way to do this is to regularly watch and learn from online videos, which can give insight about new topics in the field. Another way is to regularly read cybersecurity news from IT sources. You can also join professional associations where you have access to trending industry news and the opportunity to network with others in the field.

Most employers prefer cybersecurity managers to have several years of experience in cybersecurity or a related field and management experience. Cybersecurity managers can gain this experience by starting in entry-level jobs before moving to more advanced roles and management positions. Other ways to gain experience include internships, conferences, workshops, volunteering, specialized courses, accreditations and certifications.

4. Seek employment

There are several paths to gaining employment as a cybersecurity manager, depending on where you're starting. The level of employment and types of positions you can seek may vary depending whether you're an entry level student or if you already have a lot of IT or managerial experience. Job opportunities will vary based on your level of education, experience, skills and industry. Many cybersecurity managers start out at an entry level position and work towards a cybersecurity managerial position as they gain experience.

Common entry-level positions and positions that precede cybersecurity management include:

  • IT technician

  • Web developer

  • We administrator

  • Network engineer

  • Network administrator

  • Database administrator

  • Systems administrator

  • Security administrator

  • Software engineer

Related: Cyber Security Interview Questions and Answers

Skills needed for cybersecurity managers

Some important skills for cybersecurity managers include the following:

  • Communication

  • Information security and systems

  • Security operations

  • Network security

  • Vulnerability assessment

  • Information assurance

  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework

  • Linux

  • Project management

  • Strong interpersonal skills

  • Ability to balance organization goals with security needs

  • Analytical thinking and problem solving ability

  • Teamwork

Work environment for cybersecurity managers

A cybersecurity manager typically works during regular daytime business hours with an average of 40 hours per week. There may be some occasions where they need to work evenings or weekends, like when there are unexpected security problems or deadlines to meet. Cybersecurity managers most frequently work in well-lit and comfortable surroundings, like company offices or educational institution computer labs. Some cybersecurity managers may have positions that require travel.

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Salary and job outlook for cybersecurity managers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information systems managers, including cybersecurity managers, can expect an employment growth rate of 10% from 2019 to 2029. This growth rate is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations since cybersecurity positions are expected to increase as organizations expand their digital and cloud platforms.

In the United States, the average salary for an information systems manager is $87,735 per year. Your potential salary as a cybersecurity manager may depend on the level of education you have, the industry you're working for and your location. As with many occupations, different companies and industries may have varying titles for cybersecurity managers even though their tasks and responsibilities are similar.

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