Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions anyone will ever make. Unfortunately, you’ll often find that the decision isn’t so straightforward. For example, cybersecurity and computer science careers have many similarities. But, if you have a strong interest in computers, which one should you choose?

You should explore both the cybersecurity and computer science fields as much as possible before you commit to either area. One way is to take courses that expose you to each field and its responsibilities. For example, Thrive DX conducts both cybersecurity training and coding boot camps. Pursuing them will equip you with fundamental cybersecurity skills and help you determine if this is a suitable career for you.

Cybersecurity and computer science have many similarities but are actually two separate career paths. Read through this guide to discover the benefits and drawbacks of each option. Then you can better decide which one suits you best.

What Are the Pros And Cons of a Cybersecurity Career?

A career in cybersecurity requires a deep understanding of an organization’s software systems and network operations. That knowledge is critical to help secure the network and prevent potential attacks by people with bad intentions.

The threats you’ll deal with in your day-to-day role will be constant, unpredictable, and originate from either within or outside the same organization. 

The types of threats, and motivations behind them, vary widely. For example, you may deal with thieves wanting to steal sensitive information, scammers trying to trick your employees out of their money, or hacktivists attacking your systems to bring attention to their cause.

That sounds like an exciting career to many candidates, especially with the benefits offered by such a career, which include the following:

High earning potential: A cybersecurity career includes the possibility of a high salary, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) highlighting average 2021 cybersecurity salaries at $102,600.

Job availability in-demand skills: There is no shortage of jobs in the cybersecurity industry. An increasing number of fields and industries rely heavily on technology to function. They all require cybersecurity expertise to protect them from threats.

Career advancement: There are many job levels in cybersecurity, which means you have plenty of opportunities for career advancement. With further education, training, and experience, you’ll move up the career ladder as much as you want.

Of course, nothing comes without a cost. A career in cybersecurity also includes the following drawbacks:

Demanding and irregular hours: Cybersecurity threats do not follow a regular 9-to-5 schedule, and neither does the cybersecurity industry. It’s not uncommon for people to work odd and demanding hours. Some roles even require you to stay on-call and respond to threats in the middle of the night.

Constant learning: Not only can cyber threats happen at any time of the day, but they’re also continuously evolving. The threats you must protect against today will likely be different a year from now. For that reason, you must constantly educate and train yourself to stay up-to-date with developments in the cybersecurity field.

Repetitive tasks: Although cybersecurity can be exciting, there are plenty of repetitive daily tasks that are nonetheless crucial to maintaining a network’s security and preventing trouble.

What Are the Pros And Cons of a Computer Science Career?

A person working on their laptop, like what they would do at a ThriveDX bootcamp

The fields of cybersecurity and computer science share many similarities. That’s why people  assume they’re the same thing, even though that’s not true.

Building a career in computer science means studying computers and the programming languages they run on. You’ll apply that knowledge in countless ways, like building software, developing websites, or maintaining databases with plenty of crucial information.

Many people find computer science careers desirable for their benefits, which include:

Good pay: There’s plenty of demand for talented people in the computer science field. That’s excellent news for people like you, because many employers are willing to pay top dollar for exceptional talent. The average annual salary for people in this field was $131,490 in 2021, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Flexible hours: Careers in computer science vary significantly, so you can find a job that suits your preference in working hours. Some positions involve regular 9-to-5 hours, while others require much more flexibility.

High demand: While some industries prioritize cybersecurity talent more than others, they all understand the importance of hiring computer science specialists. As a result, you won’t have to worry about finding a job in the computer science field.

Despite the excellent benefits mentioned above, you’ll still want to be mindful of these cons found in computer science careers:

Challenging interactions: Computer science roles involve a lot of interactions with other members of the same organization. That’s because you’ll be helping people troubleshoot problems with their computer systems. Unfortunately, not all of those interactions will be positive or stress-free, resulting in more challenges in your daily responsibilities.

Frequent developments: Computer science is a field that continuously evolves. So, keeping up-to-date with those developments will require your time and attention, on top of your daily responsibilities.

High-pressure work: Lastly, many computer science roles involve a lot of pressure and stress. That can be due to such issues as tight deadlines or problems without straightforward solutions.

Bottom Line: Should I Pursue a Cybersecurity Or Computer Science Career?

Cybersecurity and computer science careers are equally important, so one is not necessarily better than the other. However, when choosing which one to commit yourself to, the most important thing is to explore both, and see where your passions and personal preferences lay.

For example, suppose you feel a cybersecurity career might suit you. You should explore the field as much as possible before committing to it.

ThriveDX, a global leader in cybersecurity training, is an excellent partner to work with as you consider a career in the field. They offer a coding bootcamp to equip you with the fundamental skills needed to kickstart a cybersecurity career.

Taking part in a coding bootcamp is an effective way to take a peek into the cybersecurity field and learn if it’s a good fit for you. That will help you make a more informed decision about your future career, whether it’s in cybersecurity, computer science, or any other field.