Remote Cybersecurity Careers and the Mental Hurdles They Come With

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For those looking to work from home, the field of cybersecurity is ripe with careers that make this a viable option. Though these careers can offer one the freedom not to commute, they also come with their fair share of challenges, much like any other career path.

Understanding work-from-home cybersecurity jobs, along with the obstacles that they come with, can provide one with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of what a remote career in the field of cybersecurity looks like. Here are some cybersecurity careers and the mental hurdles they come with.

Cybersecurity Analyst

Cybersecurity analysts are typically the most valuable cybersecurity asset that an organization can have. These professionals possess the specialized skills to effectively monitor computer networks and keep cybercriminals from being able to access them.

They do this by installing various cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls and two-factor authentication, and monitoring networks for security breaches — which they can respond to in real-time.

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In addition to keeping networks safe by installing cybersecurity software, these
professionals can also monitor private files and other critical organizational data by closely monitoring them to detect the slightest hint of a security breach.

These professionals may also sometimes test an organization’s cybersecurity measures by attempting to hack in to identify any potential weak points in an organization’s cybersecurity measures.

Though some organizations prefer the cybersecurity analysts under their employ to work in person, many are far more flexible. This flexibility stems from the fact that the role of a cybersecurity analyst translates well as a remote job because it is done mainly on computers, save for the occasional installation of specific hardware within an organization’s office or headquarters.

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As such, there is no shortage of remote cybersecurity analyst positions, and those qualified for the role will be able to land a remote position with relative ease. To become a cybersecurity analyst, one must have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.

In addition to a university degree, one can bolster their chances of landing a remote cybersecurity role by obtaining special certification, such as a certification in information security, which
employers typically view it as a demonstration that one can effectively work in a cybersecurity position.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary for cybersecurity analysts is $103,590, making it an extremely lucrative career that still offers one the freedom to work from home.

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Ethical Hacker

Though many may be unaware that this job role exists, ethical hackers play a vital role in the world of cybersecurity. While blackhat — typically seen as unethical — hackers are known for hacking with nefarious intentions, ethical hackers are professionals tasked with hacking into networks to uncover vulnerable points in an organization’s cybersecurity measures.

Interestingly, many ethical hackers typically have some tie to cybercrime and hackers. While these individuals were not always hackers, they have brushed shoulders with others, making them aware of how hackers typically think and act. This awareness and understanding of the motives and practices of black hat hackers allow ethical hackers to be more effective in their role.

While not always the case, the vast majority of ethical hackers enter the field because they have a strong moral objection to the practice of black hat hacking and intend to help stop it. While not always the case, ethical hackers typically have computer science degrees.

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This role is separated from other cybersecurity jobs because many enter the industry from different backgrounds, such as black hat hackers. This being the case, ethical hackers must abide by a strict code of rules and ethics to ensure they don’t abuse their power in their roles.

To show potential employers a willingness and capability to abide by the strict rules that are a part of the profession, many ethical hackers will obtain a certification called the Certified Ethical Hacker. Though the salaries of ethical hackers can vary widely, PayScale estimates that the typical annual salary of these professionals is around $80,000.

While this round number can give one a general idea of how much money these professionals earn, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Many factors can affect how much money an ethical hacker earns, and salaries can vary widely.

Ethical hackers can find remote work relatively quickly, like many other cybersecurity roles. This is because black hat hackers may typically be outside of an organization’s physical location, making it reasonable for ethical hackers to do the same.

While some projects or occasions may require ethical hackers to appear physically in an organization’s location, this is not always typical. Those looking for a novel cybersecurity role that can work remotely can find the perfect career as an ethical hacker.

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Security Compliance Analyst

While the general public may not give much thought to security regulations dictated by the government, those who intend on lawfully running an organization have to. Though it may sound simple, complying with governmental security rules and regulations can be complicated and convoluted.

This being the case, security compliance analysts specialize in ensuring that organizations follow and comply with the many security rules and regulations imposed by the government.

Without the help of security compliance analysts, organizations risk inadvertently breaking the rules and not following security regulations. When this happens, organizations can be hit with severe fines, some of which could cause them to go bankrupt.

As such, organizations prioritize having a security compliance analyst on staff to ensure that they never have to experience the penalties associated with breaking the government’s security regulations.

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Security compliance analysts often find positions that allow them to work from home. Though this will differ from organization to organization, there is no shortage of minor roles for qualified professionals for these positions.

To become qualified for these roles, one must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many industry employers typically require security compliance analysts to have one or more certifications demonstrating their specialized knowledge of legal security rules and regulations.

In addition, many employers will also look for prior experience in the space, making this role a little trickier to break into than some other cybersecurity roles. Those interested in pursuing this remote cybersecurity career can expect to earn an average annual salary of about $90,000. This being the case, this can make for a career that provides one with both a stable income and the freedom to work from home.

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A Caveat to Remote Cybersecurity Roles

While many cybersecurity jobs offer professionals the freedom to work remotely, working remotely in a cybersecurity role can be different than working remotely for other careers.

As cybersecurity professionals will have unprecedented access to an organization’s network, it’s vital that cybersecurity professionals who work remotely work from a secure network.
While a secure network can be achieved relatively easily from one’s home by taking the proper
precautions, this will typically mean that homes or offices are the only places that one can work.

That being the case, those looking for a remote role that allows them to work from coffee shops, hotels, or public libraries will have a difficult, if not impossible, time finding a remote cybersecurity role where this is appropriate and allowed.

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The Mental Hurdles of Remote Cybersecurity Careers

As noted, those stepping into minor cybersecurity roles will only be able to do their jobs from a secure network. Typically, this means that one’s home will be the only place that one will be able to work. While this can offer more convenience since one doesn’t have to commute, for some, it can mean having to spend prolonged periods isolated from others. While this may be sustainable for a short period, the impact of social isolation on cognitive health can be significant and severe.

This being the case, knowing the cognitive dangers of working in a small cybersecurity role is essential. By being aware of the risks, one will be able to better plan for them and, hopefully, be able to counteract them effectively to keep one’s brain functioning healthily.

Before fully understanding how isolation from working a remote cybersecurity career can negatively impact one’s cognitive functions, it’s essential to understand what people are referring to when talking about cognitive health. While definitions may vary slightly, cognitive health typically refers to one’s brain’s ability to function in different capacities.

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These capacities include the areas of thinking, learning, remembering, coordination, and emotional response. As one can see, cognitive health can affect a broad range of abilities. When cognitive health is compromised, one can experience a slew of negative, uncomfortable, and crippling effects.

While those who intend to work remote cybersecurity jobs may be worried that these careers may
negatively impact their cognitive health, it’s essential to understand that there are ways to counteract this.

The aspect of minor cybersecurity roles that has the most significant impact on cognitive health is the isolation that these roles may require. This being the case, counteracting the isolation that can result from stepping into remote cybersecurity careers is key to counteracting the adverse cognitive health outcomes.

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Counteracting Isolation

Knowing some things one can do to avoid the negative cognitive impact of isolation can allow one to have a remote cybersecurity career without compromising one’s brain function. Here are some ways to ensure one doesn’t experience a cognitive decline due to isolation.

Take Advantage of Social Media

While social media has begun to gain a great deal of negative attention for the detrimental effects that it can have on people, it’s essential not to throw the baby out with the bath water. While one should use discretion when engaging with social media, these platforms can be a great way to experience human connection — even from home.

Regarding those active minor cybersecurity roles, this can mean messaging others during one’s lunch break or taking moments throughout the day to engage with others in some way. Engaging with others in this way will allow those working in minor cybersecurity roles to feel less isolated and safeguard themselves from the adverse cognitive effects of isolation.

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Think About Adopting a Pet

For those who will be spending long hours alone at home working a remote cybersecurity job, having a pet can make this practice feel less lonely and isolating. Though pets can’t speak, their interactions with them allow one to engage with other living creatures healthily.

For many, cats and dogs make ideal pets. These animals typically enjoy play and show signs of affection to their owners, which can result in feeling less lonely. Though these are typical pet choices, there is a multitude of animals that can make great pets. Finding a pet that makes one happy can help curb the isolation that may result from pursuing a remote cybersecurity career.

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Join a Club, Group, or Class

With many jobs, one can feel tired and worn out by the end of the day. This fatigue can deter one from feeling motivated to go out and engage in social activities with others.

This is especially dangerous for individuals such as remote cybersecurity professionals, as this may be the only time during weekdays to enjoy the physical company of others. A potent way to combat work fatigue is by joining a club, group, or class.

When one joins a club, group, or class, one will feel more obligated and motivated to leave the house and engage with others, even after a long and tiring work day. In this way, having social obligations can help remote cybersecurity professionals shield themselves from isolation and the adverse cognitive health consequences that can come as a result of experiencing it.

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Staying Healthy in a Remote Cybersecurity Role

For those searching for remote career options, the cybersecurity field is ripe with work-from-home opportunities. While these roles can offer convenience, they typically require that one only works from home and not any other locations.

Though the isolation that may come as a result of this has the power to affect one’s cognitive health negatively, there are ways that remote cybersecurity professionals can combat this isolation. By being proactive about staying socially engaged while working a remote cybersecurity job, one can enjoy a stable remote career without having to compromise their cognitive health.