By: Tom Goulding

It’s no secret that our world is becoming more and more digitized by the minute. With this kind of growth comes great opportunities for industries to shift and new threats to emerge. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the cybersecurity space are expected to grow by a staggering 33% by the year 2030 in the U.S. alone.

As data volumes and tech dependency grows, more vulnerabilities can open up – and until appropriate defense mechanisms are implemented, organizations and individuals are open to exploitation. UCR University Extension offers cybersecurity education options for both new and continuing students looking to join this booming industry.

In-demand skills with high rewards

Cybersecurity professionals watch for cyberthreats, assess vulnerabilities in networks, software and hardware, and work to mitigate risks before they become issues. Naturally, those in this field fit right into industries like big tech, government and other major enterprises. But the truth is this profession is indispensable to practically any industry that works with computers and is vulnerable to cyber risk.

Beyond having great flexibility as to where they can work, cybersecurity professionals are also very well compensated – to the tune of $100k a year in California, per ZipRecruiter. A cybersecurity salary essentially is a high reward to alleviate serious risks. There is also great scope for career development in the cybersecurity industry and it can be a great career path for those looking for a long-term profession.

Cybersecurity professionals build, test and analyze systems to prevent their client’s (and client's machines') information from being accessed or exploited by ill-intended forces. They identify threats and build protective barriers against phishing scams, malware and more.

As the online world becomes more mapped, complex and developed, cybersecurity analysts will need to become informed about (and remain up to date with) the newest online hazards and industry best practices, while also understanding how to approach older, more established threats. Cybersecurity pros draw from an extensive base of IT knowledge, ranging from in-depth understanding of hardware and software to systems administration, application configuration and coding skills in Java, Python, C++, SQL and more. There’s no shortage of job needs in this field and plenty of room for specialization into diverse positions, such as:

  • Data recovery specialist.
  • Penetration tester.
  • Network security engineer.
  • Cryptographer.
  • Cyber intelligence specialist.
  • Cybersecurity attorney.
  • Cloud security architect.
  • IoT (Internet of Things) security specialist.
  • Virus technician.
  • Threat hunter.
  • Bug bounty hunter.
  • And dozens more.

Companies employ dedicated cybersecurity pros with these titles (and various others) to respond to threats as they happen — and to preemptively analyze previous intrusions and possible future incidents to secure their in-house systems.

Through UCR University Extension’s programs, students can expect to master cyber skills to:

  • Search for and troubleshoot vulnerabilities with programs like Wireshark and Nessus.
  • Ethically hack using Kali Linux and other penetration testing tools.
  • Move toward certification in Linux+, Cloud+, Network+ and more.
  • Solve digital puzzles with ever-evolving tactics and needs.

Our cybersecurity programs are ideal for anyone looking to move into an exciting industry with no signs of slowing down. We’ve been advancing our students for more than 65 years through professional development, personal enrichment and academic excellence. Every program is designed for our learners to start or further enhance their professional journeys with skills and ambition to match. Whether your goal is to upgrade your credentials or shift careers altogether, UCR University Extension offers a variety of choices with outstanding value and flexibility.