Cybersecurity and data privacy are booming fields with tremendous growth potential for professionals with the right expertise. Earning a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy can provide you with the skills and strategic understanding of the mission-critical risks posed by data breaches and other cyber risks. Qualify yourself for some of the most challenging and highest paying cybersecurity jobs with an MLS degree.
The cybersecurity industry needs qualified talent. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021. That’s a 350 percent increase from the 2014 estimate.
An MLS in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy will set you apart from other candidates seeking to fill these roles. It can also increase your salary. Cybersecurity and privacy professionals must understand not only technical issues but also the law and policy issues that cybersecurity and privacy raise and how to address them effectively within their organizations. A master’s degree in legal studies can help build this essential knowledge and prepare you for higher-responsibility roles.
Here are some of the highest paying cybersecurity jobs that require a master’s degree and the legal and strategic dimensions of cybersecurity and privacy that accompany those roles.
1. Chief Information Security Officer
A chief information security officer, or CISO, is the executive who oversees all data security and cybersecurity operations within a large organization. Sometimes these professionals are called chief security officers, or VPs of security, but all are leaders with ultimate responsibility for digital security and privacy.
As C-level executives, CISOs earn top salaries. The average salary for CISOs is $162,000, but the highest paying positions can surpass $220,000 per year.
As data privacy and cybersecurity become increasingly more important, more businesses are adding CISOs to their executive leadership teams. If the trend continues, and there is little reason to believe it won’t, 100 percent of Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies will have a chief information security officer or equivalent position by 2021. They will need qualified professionals to fill these roles.
Success in this role requires strong leadership skills and a firm grasp of legal and policy issues in addition to technical and cybersecurity expertise. CISOs should be equally confident combing through data, conversing with attorneys, or presenting in a boardroom.
2. Chief Privacy Officer
A chief privacy officer, or CPO, oversees the policies and procedures that govern the handling of customer information. These professionals often work closely with chief technology officers or other technical leaders to implement responsible privacy programs. They must also collaborate with legal teams, human resources departments, and other stakeholders throughout the organization.
The average salary for a chief privacy officer is $152,267. Professionals in larger or particularly vulnerable organizations may make upwards of $240,000 per year. More experience or advanced education can lead to increased salaries in this high-responsibility field.
As the name implies, chief privacy officers are members of the C-suite with executive level responsibilities. Their work requires strong leadership skills, broad policy knowledge, and an in-depth understanding of the privacy issues facing companies today.
3. Security Architect, IT
Security architects plan, research, and design the security infrastructure. They coordinate the work of a programming team to build the security structure that protects businesses against data privacy hacking and other cyber threats. Their daily work may include testing and system integration to ensure the fullest protection across all software and technology.
Depending on the size and complexity of the organization, security architects can expect to earn an average salary of $123,062. Experienced and well-qualified security architects earn up to $160,000.
In addition to performing the technical aspects of the job, security architects also develop company policies and procedures to bring all staff members into alignment with security systems. Security architects need to understand the underlying legal and policy issues impacting cybersecurity and data privacy.
4. Data Privacy Advisor
Data privacy advisors, sometimes called data privacy consultants, ensure that processes and procedures comply with data privacy regulations. Also, data privacy advisors may be contracted for a single, intensive project. They may also work with businesses over time to support and refine an organization’s data privacy measures.
The average salary for a data privacy advisor is around $86,000, but large companies dealing with more sensitive data may pay up to $135,000.
Job postings may list a bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement, but many businesses prefer data privacy advisors with higher levels of training due to the complexity and responsibility involved.
5. Privacy and Security Product Manager
Privacy and security product managers guide the development of data and security-related products. They work with engineers, designers, marketers, and other professionals to ensure that products meet privacy and security standards and support end-user satisfaction.
The average salary for a privacy and security product manager varies depending on the complexity and scope of the product. Also, some make as much as $146,000 per year.
Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Data Privacy?
Cybersecurity and data privacy professionals play an essential role in all types of businesses. Their work and expertise keeps data safe and enables organizations to operate in the modern world. This is a growing industry with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Also, as consumers become more concerned with privacy and as more sensitive information is stored online or in the cloud, cybersecurity will become even more important.
While technical knowledge is important in all of these roles, the positions also require strong communication, leadership, and planning skills. A firm understanding of law and policy related to security and compliance is essential.
Graduates with a master’s degree in cybersecurity and privacy may also find rewarding cybersecurity jobs as cybersecurity analysts, cyber threat specialists, or privacy managers. Lastly, prepare for a leadership role in this high-demand field with a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy from CSU College of Law.