Cybersecurity Jobs in Houston: 8 Entry-Level Roles

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover why Houston can be an ideal location to begin pursuing cybersecurity jobs, the types of cybersecurity roles available, the necessary workplace and technical skills for these roles, and the steps you can take to land a job.

[Featured Image] A group of employees walks through a park to grab lunch on their breaks from their cybersecurity jobs in Houston.

Organizations across many diverse industries face challenging and growing threats related to cybersecurity. These cybersecurity risks can cost companies substantial yearly losses and have caused an increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals who can secure networks and internal systems from potential attacks.

The growth in job opportunities for cybersecurity roles is outpacing the number of individuals gaining the necessary skills to become qualified for these positions. With an advantageous career outlook and diverse career pathways, depending on your skill set and interests, pursuing a future in cybersecurity can be a great opportunity.

While cybersecurity workforce shortages exist across the United States, Houston, TX, is a prominent city to consider if you're pursuing a cybersecurity job. Houston is home to a few of the largest organizations requiring cybersecurity professionals to handle their data. It features prominent companies in diverse industries and has local opportunities to pursue cybersecurity training and certifications.

To delve deeper into cybersecurity jobs in Houston and help you determine if this career path is right for you, it is helpful to look into the types of cybersecurity roles available and their average salaries, the necessary technical and workplace skills to have, and the education, experience, and certification requirements for cybersecurity jobs. 

Why work in cybersecurity in Houston?

The city of Houston is a great location to take advantage of the workforce gap present in the cybersecurity field due to the size of the city, the companies located here that need skilled professionals in this space, the resources local institutions are pledging to this discipline, and learning opportunities available in cybersecurity within Houston. Within the US, Houston has the fourth largest population and features some of the largest corporations in the health care and energy industries [1]. For example, Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center, which sees more than 10 million patients annually [2].

Some Houston institutions and colleges are pledging significant resources to enable students and professionals to enter the cybersecurity workforce. In 2023, for example, the University of Houston Downtown (UHD) received a $350,000 grant from the Texas Talent Connection Grant Program (TTCG) to help students pursue their cybersecurity careers through training and career advancement resources [3]. This program showcases the commitment of Houston academic institutions and grant programs to develop skilled cybersecurity professionals and address the need for these workers in the area.

The cybersecurity program through the Houston Community College is another asset you can use in the Houston area. The National Security Agency (NSA) acknowledges this program as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense [4].

Various institutions located in the Houston area also offer career development opportunities for you as a professional, such as certifications and bootcamps. Rice University hosts a 24-week cybersecurity bootcamp, covering key topics to help you prepare for your future career and to pass cybersecurity certification tests.

The University of Houston offers a cybersecurity bootcamp tailored to help you gain the skills needed to land a job in many of the top cybersecurity roles in demand today. Houston Baptist University also features a similar bootcamp, available even without relevant experience.

8 types of cybersecurity jobs in Houston

Depending on your skills and the types of jobs you're interested in, you'll encounter various cybersecurity roles across a broad range of industries today. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for roles within cybersecurity will grow and increase by 32 percent from 2022 to 2032. This demand growth rate is well above the average of 3 percent for all jobs in the US [5]. Below are eight different and relevant roles within the cybersecurity industry that you can pursue for a career in Houston and their salaries as of June 2024.

1. Penetration tester

Average annual salary in Houston (Glassdoor): $104,179 [6]

As a penetration tester, you work to identify vulnerable points within your company’s computer systems by running simulated attacks on these systems. These security tests aid in identifying weaknesses so that security teams can bolster the overall effectiveness of critical systems and networks and the protection they provide.

Key skills and concepts you commonly use as a penetration tester include ethical hacking, malware analysis, coding and scripting, network protocols, and other types of risk assessments. 

2. Security specialist

Average annual salary in Houston (Glassdoor): $72,885 [7]

Your main focus as a cybersecurity security specialist will be to identify threats and potential cyberattacks that your company may face with its sensitive data and enact security changes to deter these threats. Security specialists play a key role in the full lifecycle of securing internal systems in networks, from strategizing to leading the installation process and performing upgrades when needed.

Common duties of a security specialist involve installing solutions and resolving issues with security solutions, designing regulations, monitoring systems for any evidence of threats, crafting and maintaining security policies for your organization, and training other staff on pertinent cybersecurity concepts.

3. Cybersecurity analyst

Average annual salary in Houston (Glassdoor): $90,006 [8]

Cybersecurity analysts work with security measures that deter threats or potential attacks from harming critical systems, networks, and sensitive data. For this role, you'll benefit from a strong understanding of IT infrastructure, network security, and how to prepare for and stop cyberattacks.

As a cybersecurity analyst, you may be responsible for maintaining and building firewalls, handling encryption programs for your organization’s data, evaluating security weaknesses, and reporting on threats or breaches.

4. Forensics examiner

Average annual salary in Houston (Glassdoor): $79,241 [9]

As a forensics examiner in cybersecurity, you'll analyze and investigate data breaches, security attacks, and hacking or theft attempts on your organization’s networks and systems after they have occurred. This role aims to discover how an attack occurred, assess security vulnerabilities, determine what evidence exists, and see if you can recover destroyed or stolen information.

Your technical expertise will help you prepare detailed summaries of your investigation work and perform analysis on various network intrusion situations. t will also help to have threat analysis, software testing, and computer network defense skills. 

5. Cryptographer

Average annual salary in Houston (Glassdoor): $142,859 [10]

Cryptographers utilize ciphers and algorithms to encrypt the critical information and data contained within an organization’s networks and systems to ensure proper security. The data security techniques you use as a cryptographer work to prevent and deter cyberattacks and hacking attempts from malicious actors.

You also investigate and perform vulnerability assessments on current encryption ciphers and algorithms in the system to find weak points and improve upon them. The role of a cryptographer requires a few key technical skills, such as advanced knowledge of programming languages (Java, Python, C#), linear algebra, network architecture, and private and public key encryption. 

6. Security engineer

Average annual salary in Houston (Glassdoor): $127,296 [11]

As a security engineer, you'll work with various cybersecurity tools and implement advanced security measures and practices to deter cyberattacks from occurring and ensure the protection of sensitive data in your organization. This role aims to proactively develop cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls or encryption programs, and monitor systems and networks.

In this role, key concepts include network architecture, firewalls, ethical hacking, and computer forensics.

7. Security auditor

Average annual salary in Houston (Glassdoor): $94,390 [12]

Your role as a security auditor in cybersecurity is to assess and review the overall security of all systems and networks in your organization to ensure their safety and efficiency. By performing audits on your company's cybersecurity, you can ensure their current security measures are sufficient in protecting the organization, find weak points or vulnerabilities in the system, and ensure compliance with relevant regulations, if applicable for your organization.

A few concepts and skills you need in this role include penetration tests, firewalls, encryption protocols, and policy development.

8. Source code auditor

Average annual salary in Houston (Glassdoor): $78,418 [13]

As a source code auditor, you carefully analyze and audit each line of code included in the source code you are focusing on to discover where vulnerabilities or errors are. By finding weaknesses within an organization’s source code, you can identify important security issues to prevent cyberattacks from occurring. 

This role employs a mix of key concepts from cybersecurity, computer science, and coding, requiring skills like penetration testing, database security, cryptography, software development, programming, and software security. 

Essential skills for cybersecurity jobs in Houston

To land a cybersecurity career and be effective as a cybersecurity professional, you need a particular set of technical and workplace skills. Expanding your skill set and closing any gaps for relevant cybersecurity skills can help you stand out from the competition during the application process. 

Workplace skills

Critical workplace skills to focus on when pursuing a career in cybersecurity include:

  • Collaboration

  • Empathy

  • Problem-solving

  • Communication

  • Networking

  • Leadership qualities

  • Attention to detail

Technical skills

Some of the most commonly utilized technical skills by cybersecurity professionals are:

  • Penetration testing

  • Risk assessment

  • Linux server administration

  • Digital forensics

  • Programming language knowledge (Java, C++)

  • Ethical hacking

  • Computer science fundamentals

  • Cloud security

  • Security auditing

How to start your cybersecurity career in Houston

Understanding how to acquire the workplace and technical skills necessary for a cybersecurity career is beneficial in providing a place to start your journey as a cybersecurity professional. Examining factors like experience and education level, bootcamps, and certifications gives you a few options for where you can begin your career.


Many professionals in the cybersecurity field hold bachelor’s degrees. A bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or a closely related field, like programming, computer engineering, information sciences, and other similar disciplines, is often necessary for cybersecurity roles. An associate degree or no degree at all may be sufficient in certain cases to land a job.

A master’s degree can facilitate professional growth and help you land a senior role. Employers may award candidates with master’s degrees with preference when hiring for senior-level positions. These positions may involve training other cybersecurity professionals or dealing with public policy surrounding cybersecurity, so a more advanced degree may be necessary.

Work experience

Candidates with previous experience outside the cybersecurity field at a related job may get preference from employers when filling cybersecurity positions. Depending on your professional employment and the responsibilities and duties you handled in this role, your prior experience might help you qualify for a cybersecurity job. Professionals in cybersecurity today usually transition between different career paths at varying points in their careers. Information technology, software development, systems engineering, security, and other fields are among those with applicable relevant experience.

Building relevant experience through internships within the cybersecurity field is a great way to get started in your career as well. Numerous companies and industries offer cybersecurity internships for you to pursue.


Attending and completing a cybersecurity bootcamp is an advantageous way to gain the skills necessary for a cybersecurity career. These bootcamps can help you fully prepare to land an entry-level job in less than a year because of the exposure they give you to real-life scenarios relevant to the industry.

Bootcamps allow you to pursue a career in the cybersecurity field while managing your day job, so they benefit full-time employees looking to switch careers to cybersecurity. Some of the best options if you are thinking about exploring bootcamps are:

  • Berkeley Cybersecurity Bootcamp

  • Northwestern Cybersecurity Bootcamp

  • Penn Cybersecurity Bootcamp

  • Cybersecurity Bootcamp at UT Austin

  • Cybersecurity Bootcamp at the University of Denver


Obtaining relevant certifications is another streamlined way to gain the competencies required to land your first cybersecurity position as a professional. After you obtain the necessary experience, these certifications may also prove helpful in progressing your career within the industry.

To become certified, you usually have to pass an exam covering the relevant subject matter and fulfill several requirements about your professional work experience. Having certifications helps you prove to prospective employers that you have the required skill set to succeed in a cybersecurity role when you apply for jobs. Following are some of the popular cybersecurity certifications, including:

  • CompTIA Security+

  • ISACA CSX Cybersecurity Practitioner (CSX-P)

  • EC-Council Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO)

  • IAPP Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP)

  • ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

  • ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

Getting started on Coursera

To learn more about cybersecurity jobs and how to prepare yourself to attain these roles in Houston or elsewhere, completing a course or receiving a relevant certificate is a great place to start. On Coursera, you can enroll in some of the top courses in the world.

Check out Foundations of Cybersecurity by Google. This course features a shareable certificate and covers the basics related to ethics in cybersecurity, the core skills needed for these jobs, how cybersecurity threats impact organizations, and the tools analysts in this field deploy. The course is part of the eight-course Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate, which can help you become job-ready within six months by completing it in full.

Another relevant course worth checking out is the IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Assessment. Taught at an intermediate level, this course leverages knowledge from industry experts to expose you to key skills used in cybersecurity jobs, real cybersecurity projects for you to gain experience, and common tools used in the industry. Continue your learning by completing the remaining seven courses of the eight-course IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate.

Article sources


United States Census Bureau. “Most Populous States, Counties, Cities,” Accessed June 26, 2024.

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