How Much Does a Network Security Specialist Make

How Much Does a Network Security Specialist Make

When you are choosing a field to study in which you will eventually build a career, one of the factors to consider is the salary you will be getting for your job. IT jobs have become very popular lately and this is mostly due to the rapid development of the industry.

One of the IT jobs and careers you can pursue is the career of a network security specialist who is in charge of cybersecurity of the company’s IT infrastructure.

A network security specialist can make anywhere from $89.000 to $105.000 on average, per year in the US. The exact number depends on the qualifications, certificates, proven record of good work, and previous job experience. 

With the rise of importance of network security, it is expected that the salaries will go higher, but this has to be taken with reserve. Also, if you try to perfect your skills by taking side courses and diversifying your knowledge, there are higher chances you will be offered a higher salary.

Why Is Network Security so Important?

Network security can be a company’s number one concern if they are dealing with sensitive and confidential data. Most IT companies and the ones that invest a lot into research and development are the ones that take network security very seriously.

However, every serious organization should have its line of defense against external attacks. This is formed via creating several layers of defense. The network security job is to identify potential threats and to find a way to prevent them.

Network security is trying to fight any unauthorized access from happening. Usually, people’s first thought is protecting the software, but network security refers to the hardware as well.

Another important role of network security is to have plans developed, in case there is a breach. The organization needs to have on paper what are the steps they will take and how will they fight this security threat.

Network Security Specialist Job Description

A network security specialist or cybersecurity specialist is the person within an organization that is in charge of keeping the IT infrastructure safe from external breaches. The job description may include more tasks, but further in this article, I will list only the basic ones.

To begin with, a network security specialist needs to be able to understand what type of data he or she has to defend and protect against attacks. Only if he fully understands the type and level of sensitivity of that data can he effectively develop the system that will protect it.

He has to be able to explain all the precautions that are being taken to all the employees using non-technical terms, so the confusion is avoided and everyone can understand what is being done and what is their role in that process.

They need to be able to identify potential threats and to develop a plan on how they will prevent any unauthorized access to the network. To be able to do this, network security specialists need to constantly monitor the infrastructure for any unusual activities.

Even though everything seems to be in order, the network security specialist needs to test the infrastructure on a regular basis and to think and act as an intruder would. This means that they have to put them into the role of a hacker and try to break into their system.

Only like this can they test the system and discover potential weaknesses of the defensive system and the firewall. After gathering data from this testing phase, they can develop new defensive strategies and apply them.

Last but not the least, network security specialists need to be constantly updating their knowledge with the latest trends and to try to keep up with any possible flaws and vulnerabilities every change in the system brings. 

Also, they have to keep in mind that hackers are constantly working on finding new ways to attack the system and they are becoming more and more creative as time goes by.

Salary of a Network Security Specialist

Network security specialists can earn, on average, somewhere from $89.000 up to $105.000 per year. This is the latest report from the year 2020. These numbers are not granted, they are just listed so you can have a general idea about the salary.

Of course, your salary will depend on the company where you are applying for the job, on your qualifications and previous experience, on the state you are living in, etc. There are so many factors that can be listed.

Smaller companies usually don’t have very high budgets, so what they can offer you is sometimes significantly less than the average minimum listed above. If you are an experienced network security specialist with a proven record of accomplishments then you might be offered a higher salary than the maximum average. 

The salary is a combination of all factors listed above, so you can make an estimation based on your experience so far. 

Sometimes, the city you are living in can determine your salary. Some areas have a higher standard of living and normally higher costs and thus higher salaries, while others have everything on the contrary.

No matter what your starting salary is, it is important to identify whether there is potential in the company for the salaries to be higher, as you prove your ambition. Sometimes companies offer lower starting salaries, but they compensate that with a benefits package and the potential to increase the salaries in the future.

Also, you must be aware that the IT industry is very popular, but good experts are in deficit. This means that there is a great potential for the average salaries to be increased in the future.

Cybersecurity is becoming more and more demanding, and only a few can keep up with all the changes, so companies are naturally willing to pay more for those who really stand out from the crowd.

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