How much can you make in network security?

Network security is one of the fastest growing and highest paying fields in tech. As cyber threats become more sophisticated, demand for qualified information security professionals continues to outpace supply. But just how lucrative are careers in network security? Let’s take a closer look at some quick answers to common questions about compensation in this exciting field.

How much do entry-level network security jobs pay?

Salaries for entry-level network security roles such as security analysts, associates, and administrators typically range from $50,000 to $90,000 per year. According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for a network security administrator in the U.S. is $72,543. With bonuses and profit sharing, total compensation can exceed $80,000 even at the start of your career.

What is the average network security salary?

The average salary for network security professionals in the U.S. is $113,000 per year according to the latest data from PayScale. Salaries range from approximately $59,000 for junior roles to over $156,000 for senior positions. The table below provides a breakdown of average salaries by job title:

Network Security Role Average Base Salary
Network Security Administrator $72,543
Network Security Engineer $99,245
Information Security Analyst $90,120
Information Security Manager $131,600

As you can see, information security managers and engineers earn the highest average salaries due to their specialized skills and seniority.

What network security certifications lead to higher salaries?

Certain network security certifications are associated with increased earning potential. Top certifications that boost salaries include:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  • CompTIA Security+
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)

According to a Global Knowledge survey, IT professionals with a CISSP make an average of $110,603 per year. CISM holders earn $118,miah548 on average. Other sought-after certs like CISA and CompTIA Security+ are also correlated with higher salaries compared to uncertified professionals.

What soft skills help increase network security pay?

While technical expertise is essential for network security roles, certain soft skills also boost earning potential. Some of the top soft skills that recruiters look for include:

  • Communication skills
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Problem-solving ability
  • Writing skills
  • Creativity and out-of-the-box thinking
  • Organizational skills

Network security professionals who can clearly communicate risks, write reports, collaborate across teams, think strategically, and manage their workload stand apart when it comes time for promotions and raises.

How does experience impact network security salaries?

As with most fields, salaries tend to correlate strongly with years of experience in network security roles. Below is a table showing average reported salaries grouped by experience level:

Years of Experience Average Salary
0-5 years $83,610
5-10 years $107,920
10-20 years $118,200
20+ years $132,040

As shown, network security professionals see significant pay jumps as they progress in their careers, with those having over 20 years of experience earning nearly $50,000 more on average than entry-level employees.

How does location impact earnings potential?

Where you live and work plays a major role in determining your network security pay. Large metro areas and tech hubs tend to offer the highest salaries. Below are the top 5 highest paying cities for network security jobs and their average salaries according to PayScale:

  1. San Francisco, CA – $132,000
  2. New York, NY – $128,000
  3. Seattle, WA – $125,000
  4. Boston, MA – $123,000
  5. Chicago, IL – $120,000

When adjusted for cost of living, smaller cities can still provide generous compensation. For example, network security professionals in Raleigh, NC earn an average of $105,000 per year with a low cost of living.

What industries pay network security professionals the most?

Your earning potential as a network security professional also varies by industry. Below are 5 high-paying industries and their average salaries according to PayScale data:

Industry Average Salary
Banking $118,000
Finance $116,000
Aerospace & Defense $115,000
Software $114,000
Pharmaceuticals $111,000

Working in highly regulated industries like banking, aerospace, and pharmaceuticals tends to correspond to higher network security pay compared to other sectors.

What are top paying network security job titles?

While network security administrator and analyst roles offer a typical starting point, there are a number of high-paying specialized job titles to strive for. Below are 5 of the top paying network security jobs according to PayScale:

  1. Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) – $187,000
  2. Director of Information Security – $148,000
  3. Information Systems Security Director – $140,000
  4. Information Security Manager – $131,600
  5. Information Security Architect – $130,000

Reaching leadership positions like CISO, Director of Information Security, or Security Architect represent some of the most lucrative long-term career paths in the field.

What is the career trajectory for a network security professional?

A typical career path for someone entering the network security field would look something like:

  1. Entry-level roles – Starting as a security analyst, administrator, or associate to gain hands-on experience (2-5 years)
  2. Mid-level roles – Promotion to security engineer, SOC analyst, or penetration tester to specialize and manage projects (5+ years)
  3. Technical team lead – Take charge of a security team and its initiatives after proving leadership skills (7-10 years)
  4. IT management – Transition from hands-on work to cross-functional leadership and strategy (10+ years)
  5. C-Suite executive – Take the helm as CISO or CSO to drive cybersecurity strategy across the organization (15+ years)

This shows how network security professionals can start in an entry-level role before gaining specialized expertise and eventually transitioning into executive leadership positions over the span of a career.

What are some top companies hiring for network security roles?

Many large technology companies have major hiring needs when it comes to cybersecurity talent. Below are 5 of the top companies currently hiring for network security professionals according to leading job sites:

  • Cisco
  • IBM
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Capital One

Major defense contractors, tech giants, cybersecurity vendors, and financial institutions represent leading employers in the network security job market.

How can you advance and earn more in network security?

Here are some tips for maximizing your earning potential and advancing your network security career:

  • Obtain specialized certifications like CISSP or CISM to qualify for senior roles
  • Gain experience in high-paying industries such as finance or aerospace
  • Consider relocating to large metro areas for increased opportunities
  • Develop soft skills like communication, strategic thinking, and leadership
  • Take on diverse projects and challenges to broaden your skillset
  • Express interest in management and executive opportunities
  • Continue learning and staying up-to-date on cybersecurity innovations

By developing a well-rounded skillset, seeking out high-paying roles and industries, obtaining valued certifications, and displaying leadership potential, you can maximize your network security pay and reach the highest levels of the profession.


A career in network security offers immense earning potential across a variety of industries and roles. While starting salaries generally fall between $50,000 to $90,000, network security professionals can make over $130,000 annually with sufficient experience and certifications. Key factors like location, industry, certifications, soft skills, and career trajectory dramatically impact salaries in this field. By following best practices and working towards leadership positions, you can take your network security career to new heights and earn substantial compensation protecting critical systems and data.