Businesses are becoming increasingly more reliant on technology as they adopt new tools and digitize processes to support remote and hybrid teams, drive efficiency and innovation, and better serve their customers anytime, anywhere. The downside of all this technological change is that organizations are at greater risk for cyberattacks and data breaches.

Cybersecurity incidents are not only disruptive but also costly. Research from IBM shows that the average cost of a data breach for companies in the United States is about $9.4 million. That’s more than twice the global average of roughly $4.4 million.

Organizations need IT security experts to help protect their data and systems from attacks by malicious actors, and ideally, prevent attacks from happening in the first place. And research for Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide indicates technology teams are hiring, especially for cybersecurity skills. So, if you’re thinking about pursuing an IT security role, now is a great time to explore your options.

What employers seek in IT security job candidates

IT security professionals with in-demand experience and valued certifications will likely find numerous employment opportunities in the current hiring market. Most employers also require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline, such as IT, computer science or business, for many IT security roles.

Here’s a look at five IT security-related jobs that many companies are looking to hire for in the coming year — and what skills and experience you’ll likely need to be considered for these roles:

1. Systems security administrator

Systems security administrators maintain and support existing business system applications. This IT security job may be a blended role in small or midsize companies, combining systems administrator duties and the management of software and networking hardware. In larger organizations, this position focuses entirely on security, including installing and maintaining firewalls, virus protection and other measures. In both scenarios, the system security administrator helps to define best practices, report to management, and coordinate penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities.

Requirements: Candidates for the systems security administrator role must demonstrate knowledge of data systems security procedures and familiarity with relevant systems hardware and software. Good communication skills and the ability to work well in a team setting are also needed.

Credentials: Many employers prefer candidates with GIAC certifications for the system security administrator position.

2. Network security engineer

These IT security professionals are tasked with building an organization’s network security infrastructure. That work can include designing, integrating, and installing hardware and software to create the infrastructure from scratch, but it can also involve modifying an existing network to respond to emerging threats. The network security engineer also monitors threat detection and response activities and routinely analyses security events, alerts and notifications.

Requirements: A network security engineer must be proficient in security technology and have extensive and current knowledge about cybersecurity threats and trends. These professionals must also know how to create and document security policies.

Credentials: For the network security engineer role, many employers will seek out candidates who have certifications such as the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Cisco Certified Network Professional Security (CCNP Security).

3. Systems security manager

Systems security managers are responsible for leading a team of security administrators, analysts and other IT professionals to implement and continually improve an organization’s security policies, procedures and systems. These professionals also evaluate, test and select new security products and technologies for the business. They also typically manage security audits and vulnerability and threat assessments, and they direct responses to network or system intrusions.

Requirements: Most employers want professionals with an extensive background in systems and network security — at least five years of previous experience. As this IT security job is a management position, strong leadership and interpersonal skills are also a must.

Credentials: Most employers look for the CISSP or CompTIA Security+ certification.

4. Data security analyst

Data security analysts must thoroughly understand all aspects of computer and network security, including firewall administration, encryption technologies and network protocols. They perform security audits, risk assessments and analyses and recommend data systems security enhancements. They are also called on to research attempted data security breaches and help address identified security weaknesses related to those incidents.

Requirements: Data security analysts need strong communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as excellent judgment and self-motivation. It is also vital for professionals in this role to stay up to date on industry security trends and developments and applicable government regulations, so they can help formulate appropriate security policies and procedures for their organizations.

Credentials: Most employers hiring for the data security analyst role will look for skilled candidates with at least three years of practical information security experience. The CISSP designation is a highly valued certification for data security analysts to possess.

5. IT auditor

IT auditors are responsible for performing detailed evaluations and internal control and audit reviews of computer information systems. They must have a broad knowledge of the IT framework and intricate components of computer systems, as well as leadership experience overseeing teams working on various platforms, such as operating systems, networks, databases and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. The most experienced IT auditors are tasked with preparing reports and making recommendations to eliminate IT security risks.

Requirements: Professionals need excellent problem-solving and communication skills, plus solid knowledge of system architecture, to take on the IT auditor job. This role can provide a broad view of IT security issues across the organization.

Credentials: The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification from ISACA is the broadly accepted standard certification for IT auditors.

Resources for IT salary research

If you’re interested in any of the roles listed above, or other IT security positions, you can take your research a step further by exploring the average starting salaries for these jobs, which are listed in the Robert Half Salary Guide. You can also use our Salary Calculator to get more insight into what salary you could potentially earn for these roles in your local market.

And, when you’re ready to start your search for an IT security job, get in touch with the recruiters at Robert Half. We’re here to help!