8. Computer/Network Security Consultant
Median salary (experienced): $99,700
Top pay: $152,000
Job growth (10-year forecast): 27%
Sector: Information Technology
What they do: Protect computer systems and networks against hackers, spyware, and viruses. “I consider myself a cybercrime fighter,” says Gregory Evans, an independent computer security consultant in Atlanta.
Why it’s great: No company or government agency can afford to have a serious breach in the security of its computer system. New technologies and an unending supply of creative hackers around the world keep the field challenging. Consultants can often work from home. And top-level pros command big paychecks.
Drawbacks: Talk about stress. If a system is infiltrated by a virus or hacker, it could mean lights out for the security consultant’s career. “This is a job you can’t afford to ever fail in,” says Evans.
Pre-reqs: Mostly major geekdom, since the skills can be self-taught. Still, a computer science degree comes in handy. An information systems security professional certification (CISSP) is increasingly favored. Experience is key for better-paying positions: Most companies won’t hire a consultant with less than five years of experience.
Source: Yahoo! Finance