The Complete Cybersecurity Career Guide
The New Orleans, LA metro area is a tech hub for emerging startups, new tech ventures, and well-known companies in various sectors.
Safeguarding their hardware, software, and online data has become a priority for all these organizations, so if you are in Louisiana and are thinking about becoming a cybersecurity professional, your timing could not be better!
In this career guide, we’ll explore the following topics
- What do you do in a cybersecurity job?
- Is there a demand for cybersecurity professionals in Louisiana?
- How do people get started in cybersecurity?
- Are cybersecurity certifications worth it?
- What are some typical entry-level jobs in cybersecurity?
- How much do entry-level cybersecurity salaries pay?
- What are the main sectors hiring cybersecurity jobs in Louisiana?
If you want to break into tech, change careers, and go to work every day knowing that you are making a difference, then cybersecurity can open up the right opportunities for you.
What Do You Do in a Cybersecurity Job?
Q: What is cybersecurity?
A: Cybersecurity is the job function that creates, maintains, and monitors an organization’s safety measures for their computer network in order to prevent cyberattacks.
Q: What do cybersecurity professionals do?
A: Cybersecurity professionals work to secure various areas of an organization’s digital systems. Their mission is to protect the integrity of a network’s data, preventing hackers from stealing or compromising it.
By protecting all the different aspects of a company’s digital systems, people working in cybersecurity can prevent disastrous cyberattacks like the recent ones perpetrated against the Colonial Pipeline, JBS Foods, and SolarWinds.
You could specialize in Application Security. Applications are the programs and software you use every day at work or your personal devices, such as Microsoft Office, Skype, Slack, and others. Applications can be made secure by updating, testing, and patching them regularly.
Information Security is another sub-section of cybersecurity. In these functions, you’ll be tasked with protecting the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of sensitive information and proprietary data.
On the other hand, if you decide to go into Operational Security, your job will be to track data as it moves in-and-out of your firewall and across the network. You will reduce the likelihood of data getting stolen, compromised, or held for ransom.
In Network Security roles, your main goal will be to prevent unauthorized access to your company’s network. Technical controls and identity management are key in network security.
Is There a Demand for Cybersecurity Professionals in Louisiana?
Yes! The demand for people working in cybersecurity has been skyrocketing nationwide, with analysts estimating a 0% unemployment rate for the whole cybersecurity sector, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 33% growth rate between 2020-2030 for Information Security Analysts jobs.
At the time this guide was written, there are 460,000 job openings in cybersecurity in the United States and almost 3,000 roles waiting to be filled in the state of Louisiana so there’s never been a better time to become a cybersecurity professional!
There are a few different trends that are fueling the cybersecurity job demand:
- The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the rate of adoption of new technologies and caused the boom of the e-commerce sector.
- The sudden shift to a remote workforce has led to so many cybersecurity challenges to ensure the safety of users joining the company’s network from outside the firewall.
- The popularity of ransomware as a service (RaaS) has made pre-packaged ransomware “kits” widely available, giving even inexperienced hackers the tools to carry out powerful attacks.
Cybersecurity is not complicated, but it definitely comes with its own very specific industry jargon. To help you familiarize yourself with essential concepts, we put together this beginner’s overview of key cybersecurity terms and concepts.
How Do People Get Started in Cybersecurity?
No tech experience? No problem. People learn how to become tech professionals in so many different ways! You just have to start somewhere.
Young professionals who had a few different jobs in non-tech sectors like retail and hospitality can become dissatisfied with the growth and earning potential ahead of them. For others, changing their careers is more about finding a purpose in what they do at work every day.
Not everybody chooses to go to college, either. But rest assured, cybersecurity hiring managers often look for candidates with practical, hands-on experience instead of requiring higher education degrees.
So whether you are new to cybersecurity and the tech sector, or pivoting from an IT role, you need to find a training solution that can provide you with the hands-on skills that will ultimately get you hired.
The Loyola University Cybersecurity Bootcamp is an excellent launchpad for your future cybersecurity career, no matter what level of experience you currently have.
The way it works is really simple:
- Classes are 100% live & online during weeknights and weekends, so you do not need to waste time commuting, and you can keep up with all your other responsibilities.
- The whole program is 400 hours and takes about 10 months to complete.
- You will be taught by instructors who are cybersecurity experts working in the field.
- You’ll get plenty of practice on our state-of-the-art virtual platform through cyber labs and threat simulations that mimick real-world scenarios.
- You do not need any previous experience to apply.
Our Cybersecurity Bootcamp is a unique program that is designed to help you learn essential skills, gain practical experience, and become part of our network of cybersecurity professionals—everything you need to launch a successful new career.
Are Cybersecurity Certifications Worth It?
If you don’t have any previous experience in IT or the tech field in general, cybersecurity certifications can help you stand out from the crowd during your job search.
If you decide to attend the Loyola University Cybersecurity Bootcamp, upon completion you will receive a certificate from Loyola University, ranked among the best colleges by the US News and World Report.
Once you have had a chance to get your feet wet in the vast world of cybersecurity, you’ll have a better idea of which aspect you might want to specialize in. At that point, you pursue the industry certifications generally held by professionals in your chosen function.
Every time you pursue a new certification, you will need to study exam-specific topics. However, it’s a good idea to first attend the Loyola University Cybersecurity Bootcamp, because it will help you gain in-depth cybersecurity knowledge and hands-on skills that are applicable to many cybersecurity industry certification exams.
Widely-recognized certifications you might consider pursuing include:
- The CompTIA Network+ certification exam covers configuration, management, and troubleshooting of different network devices. It also tests familiarity and skills with new technologies, including cloud, mobile, virtualization, and communication tech.
- The CompTIA Security+ certification covers a range of essential entry-level cybersecurity topics including networks, systems, penetration testing, and security administration.
- The CompTIA CySA+ certification tests your skills in intrusion detection, security analytics and cyberattack response, and data analysis for different threats, vulnerabilities, and risks.
- The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification tests your skills with Amazon Web Services Cloud infrastructure, security, and compliance issues.
- The Linux LPI Essentials certification exam assesses your knowledge of the Linux operating system. The exam also covers your management capabilities of users and groups, and skills in Linux command line, networking configuration, administration, and permissions.
- The Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate certification covers the concepts and principles of security operations and the skills and knowledge necessary to work successfully in a Security Operations Center (SOC).
Let us be absolutely clear: you do not need all the certifications above to start a career in cybersecurity. In fact, we normally recommend learners to sit for only a couple of them, according to their individual career goals.
What Are Some Typical Entry-Level Jobs in Cybersecurity?
Do you like the idea of being in charge of setting up and monitoring a company’s security infrastructure? Or do you think you would prefer spending your days trying to find weaknesses in online networks?
Depending on that answer, your first entry-level roles will either be in defensive cybersecurity (Blue Team) or offensive cybersecurity (Red Team). While the blue team builds a secure architecture and establishes appropriate security protocols, the red team tests the strength and integrity of those defenses.
The two teams work together to make sure that cybersecurity measures protect clients from cyber threats, but professionals on each side often have a specific set of skills. Here are some of the most common and sought-after positions for entry-level cybersecurity jobs on each team.
Entry-level roles in defensive cybersecurity include:
- Security Operations Center (SOC) Analysts
- Network Security Administrators
- Network Operations Center (NOC) Technicians
- Information Security Researchers
- Digital Forensics Examiners
Entry-level roles in offensive cybersecurity include:
- Offensive Cybersecurity Analysts
- Ethical Hackers
- Red Team Operators
- Penetration Testers
- Vulnerability Assessment Analysts
For more detailed information about these cybersecurity jobs and what each one entails, we put together an in-depth piece on cybersecurity career paths in New Orleans.
How Much Do Entry-Level Cybersecurity Salaries Pay?
Like in every industry, salaries vary depending on your experience level, academic credentials, what companies you’ve worked for, and your skill level, but according to ZipRecruiter, the national average income for cybersecurity jobs is $112,974 at the time this guide was written.
This higher-than-average pay for entry-level roles in cybersecurity is due to the ongoing shortage of cybersecurity professionals: the demand for people working in cybersecurity is higher than the number of skilled IT security workers in the job market.
You can have fun and browse through a lot of online resources to check your earning potential. Here are our favorites:
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a no-nonsense source of verified information. As “the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics,” it accrues and presents the most recent official data available. According to their website, the median annual wage for information security analysts was $103,590 in May 2020.
- Salary.com, on the other hand, uses a mix of HR-reported market data and compensation consultants reviews to estimate how much you should be getting paid. The website shows that the average salary for entry-level cybersecurity analysts in New Orleans, LA is $70,310 as of August 27, 2021, but the salary range typically falls between $64,082 and $77,062.
- Glassdoor, instead, “aggregates salary data from millions of employees and third-party sources using patent-pending machine learning algorithms.” As such, the accuracy of the information you’ll find here really depends on how many people have voluntarily contributed their information to the platform. However, it is also a great resource to explore cybersecurity career paths and dig deeper into job-specific skill sets.
- SalaryExpert, on the other hand, uses data from “surveys we conduct, surveys purchased from other organizations, and reports from publicly traded organizations.” At the time this guide was written, they estimated the average internet security analyst’s gross salary in Louisiana is $77,870 or an equivalent hourly rate of $37.44.
What Are the Main Sectors Hiring Cybersecurity Jobs in Louisiana?
Cybersecurity jobs are in high demand in Louisiana because, no matter the industry, every single organization operates through technology.
Think of some of the biggest employers in the state: CenturyLink, Acadia Healthcare, Momentum, Odyssea Marine, Entergy. Everything they do relies on data moving around digital networks: from digital communications and cloud storage to remote facility security and GPS tracking.
In the NOLA area, the main local industry sectors include energy production and distribution, advanced manufacturing, BioSciences, digital media, environmental development, international trade, and, of course, tourism and hospitality.
The production and distribution of energy rely heavily on physical infrastructure that is often maintained and monitored with the help of interconnected sensors and IoT devices. These new technologies could expose critical information, creating novel threats to our energy supply chain.
The integration of smart sensors in manufacturing facilities is very convenient, as they can monitor machinery and send alerts when maintenance is required. Unfortunately, hackers could leverage weaknesses in IoT devices to infiltrate the network and shut down operations or hold proprietary data for ransom.
The data produced by the bio-economy can be very alluring for hackers looking for ransom opportunities and identity theft exploits. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we witnessed a sharp rise in cyber threats targeting hospitals, research facilities, and software for industrial equipment used in life sciences manufacturing.
The bottom line is that every company, in every industry, everywhere in the world, needs skilled cybersecurity professionals.
So start training to fill that need and launch a thriving career in cybersecurity.
Invest in Your Future
Put your best foot forward and get started on a new, promising career in cybersecurity! It’s the right time to invest in your future, and we can help you every step of the way.
In this guide, we’ve covered what cybersecurity professionals do, how much their average salaries are, what certifications can boost your credentials, and what the most common entry-level jobs are.
If you are ready to change your career, the Loyola University Cybersecurity Bootcamp is here to help you get started in this skyrocketing industry.
Not only is our bootcamp designed to give you an in-depth foundational knowledge of cybersecurity tools and techniques, but our virtual learning ecosystem has all the resources you need to practice and hone the skills you need to be job-ready.
Because we are in the business of changing lives for the better, our Cybersecurity Bootcamp offers 100% live, online classes, so you can keep your day job while you prepare for the next phase of your career.
In just 10 months, you could be completing the Loyola University Cybersecurity Bootcamp and getting your foot in the doot for your first job.
Our career services team will work with you from day one, helping you with networking opportunities and making sure your resume and online profiles are in tip-top shape. We cannot guarantee job or internship placement, but we will refer you to job opportunities with our extensive network of national and local industry partners as soon as you are ready to join the cybersecurity workforce.
You also don’t have to commit to the full program right away. We offer learners the opportunity to test-drive our bootcamp by signing up for our Introductory Course. It is a stand-alone course, and in just 30 hours you’ll get a taste of our online learning environment, the quality of cybersecurity education we provide, and the practical skills you’ll be able to hone.