When it comes to the tech industry, cybersecurity is one of the most sought-after and lucrative specializations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for cybersecurity analysts in 2020 was $103,590, with a projection of 31% growth from 2019 to 2029, significantly higher than the average growth rate for all occupations.
But if you don’t have any background in cybersecurity or a degree in the field, how can you enter it? Can someone in their 30s, 40s, or 50s still make a career change? Can you learn about cyber defense in less a year? Do you need a degree or certification to work in cybersecurity, or can you get by without them?
In this post, we’ll cover all of these topics and more, giving you concrete advice and links to useful resources as you embark on a career in cybersecurity. Whether you are just starting out in the field or have years of experience under your belt, you will be able to use the advice and resources provided to help you reach your professional goals.
Why is it so crucial to have strong cyber defenses?
Cybersecurity refers to the process of defending an information system, network, device, data, and user from intrusion, attack, or harm. Network security, application security, cloud security, endpoint security, identity and access management, cryptography, digital forensics, incident response, penetration testing, threat intelligence, and many more are all part of cybersecurity.
Every facet of today’s society is touched by cyberspace and therefore must be protected. Everything relies on the safety and reliability of digital systems and data, from individual gadgets and online accounts to essential services and national defense. Financial losses, identity theft, data breaches, reputational damage, legal liabilities, physical damage, and even loss of life are just some of the negative outcomes that can result from a cyberattack on an individual, business, or government.
Cyberattacks are becoming more common and more sophisticated, and new technologies like cloud storage, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, blockchain, etc., are becoming more widely used. Even though there are many ways in which these technologies can improve innovation and productivity, new cybersecurity risks and difficulties have emerged as a result of their widespread adoption.
There will be 3.5 million vacant cybersecurity jobs worldwide by 2021, according to a forecast by Cybersecurity Ventures. As a result, there is a severe shortage of qualified individuals in the cybersecurity industry. This also means that anyone interested in working in the field of cybersecurity can find plenty of job openings.
Starting a Cybersecurity Career from Scratch
If you have no background in cybersecurity but would like to pursue a career in the industry, the following advice may help you stand out to potential employers:
1 – Start from the ground up with a primer.
Step one is to get a fundamental understanding of cybersecurity theory, methodology, and practices. To accomplish this, enroll in a cyber security bootcamp or study cybersecurity principles online. The IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate is one such example that can be taken on Coursera. In this course, you’ll learn how to do fundamental security analysis utilizing a variety of methods and technologies. In addition to recognizing common forms of cyberattacks and vulnerabilities, learning to comply with industry standards and regulations, successfully communicating with stakeholders and clients, and being ready for a career in cybersecurity will all be covered.
2 – Think about how much you really care about technological advancements.
Cybersecurity is an evolving industry that calls both insatiable curiosity and a willingness to learn. You must be curious and eager to take on new technological problems and themes. You should also be analytical and have the mindset to solve problems. Cybersecurity is a fascinating and lucrative field if you appreciate working with technology and solving challenging problems.
3 – Educate yourself daily.
Cybersecurity is an enormous and constantly evolving field. You should always be aware of the most recent developments in terms of industry trends, threats, resources, and methodology. One way to increase one’s knowledge in this area is to consume content such as blogs, newsletters, podcasts, books, and reports. You can meet other people who share your interest in cybersecurity by joining online communities, forums, and social media platforms.
Zero in on your calling. One size does not fit all when it comes to cyber security. Cybersecurity encompasses a wide variety of fields, occupations, and subfields, each of which calls for its own unique set of competencies. You need to figure out what you’re good at and what would help you achieve your goals. Career options in cyber security often include:
A security analyst’s job is to keep tabs on and evaluate the state of security at a company or for a client. Detecting and responding to cyber incidents with a wide variety of tools and procedures, they also offer advice and write reports on how to tighten up security.
Engineers in this field are responsible for creating and implementing customized security solutions for businesses and other clients. Security professionals utilize their technical expertise to set up and manage systems to protect against threats.
A security consultant is a professional who advises businesses and individuals on how to improve their security measures. They do security audits, penetration testing, and risk assessments to help find and fix security flaws. Security policy, standards, and best practices are another something they aid in creating and enforcing.
A security manager is someone who is in charge of an organization’s or client’s security operations and strategy. They are in charge of organizing and carrying out various programs and activities related to security. They also direct and manage the security force.
A security researcher is someone who studies and analyzes the field of cybersecurity from all angles (emerging technologies, threats, vulnerabilities, attacks, defenses, etc.). They put their imagination and exploratory skills to use in order to make significant contributions to cybersecurity research.
5- Get the appropriate credentials. Earning a credential in the field of cybersecurity is an excellent approach to demonstrate your competence. They can also make you more marketable to potential employers by setting you apart from the competition. Numerous certifications covering a wide range of cybersecurity specializations are now available. Here are just a few of the most common:
CompTIA Security+ is a certification for beginners in the field of cybersecurity, covering fundamental knowledge and abilities. It’s made for newcomers who wish to show that they have a firm grasp on fundamentals of security such threats, vulnerabilities, attacks, defenses, compliance, and so on.
This certification is aimed at those who have some experience with hacking but want to learn more about ethical hacking and penetration testing. It’s perfect for would-be or working security experts who want to show off their proficiency in testing and breaking into computer systems and networks.
Professionals in the field of information security can further their careers by earning a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) credential. It’s perfect for seasoned security pros who want to showcase their knowledge of safe system architecture, development, and management.
Six, get some actual work under your belt. When hiring cybersecurity personnel, experience is a top priority for many companies. It might be difficult to find work without experience, and vice versa. The following suggestions will help you obtain experience in the field of cybersecurity and so overcome this obstacle:
Help out a small business or non-profit that could use some assistance with their cybersecurity by volunteering your time. You can obtain experience and referrals by offering your services for free or at a reduced cost.
Challenge yourself and hone your cybersecurity chops by taking part in online platforms and competitions. You can, for instance, sign up for Hack The Box, a site where you can try your hand at a wide range of hacking challenges and scenarios. Participating in Capture The Flag (CTF) competitions, where hackers compete against one another to discover and exploit flaws in simulated systems and networks, is another option.
Make a portfolio and projects that highlight your work in cybersecurity. Setting up a home lab using your own hardware or virtual machines allows you to test out a variety of software and hardware on your own time. Blogs, films, podcasts, etc., provide more avenues for documenting and disseminating your work.
Join a group or look for a mentor. Collaboration and communication are essential in the realm of cyber security. If you want to succeed in the field of cybersecurity, it’s a good idea to locate a mentor or a group of peers who can act as a guide, a support system, and a source of motivation for you. Mentors and other helpful contacts can be sought out in a number of ways.
Reddit, Discord, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. are just a few examples of online forums where cybersecurity enthusiasts and experts may meet, talk shop, and learn from one another.
In-person opportunities to connect with other local cybersecurity enthusiasts and professionals for the purposes of networking, information sharing, skill development, etc., such as conferences, workshops, hackathons, etc.
There are several cybersecurity-related professional organizations and associations that you can join as a member to have access to numerous resources, opportunities, events, certifications, etc.
Never stop growing and developing. Cybersecurity is a dynamic and ever-changing field. Staying current and competitive in your field requires constant education and skill development. For this, you can:
Keeping up with the newest developments in the field of cybersecurity through reading blogs, newsletters, podcasts, books, publications, etc., covering topics like new technology, threats, vulnerabilities, attacks, defenses, legislation, etc.
Participating in intensive training programs that provide in-depth instruction on sophisticated cybersecurity issues including cloud security, AI security, IoT security, blockchain technology, etc.
If you want to further your education, you might consider earning a degree in cybersecurity or a related subject.
expertise in the field of cybersecurity or a closely connected field. If you’re interested in contributing to the development of cybersecurity through scientific investigation and innovative practice, you can also work in research or an academic setting.
Getting input and assistance from more seasoned cybersecurity professionals or experts will help you grow professionally and professionally.
Finding a position or internship in cybersecurity that is a good fit for your interests and abilities, and then applying for and doing well in the relevant interviews and tests. Create a CV and portfolio that highlight your cybersecurity experience, skills, and projects.
When learning about cyber security, where should one begin?
Learning the fundamentals of cybersecurity is a good place to start for anyone interested in the field. They can do this by enrolling in a cyber security bootcamp or taking an online course. They should also think about why they are interested in technology and strive to learn something new about developments in the field every day.
Is age 30 too late to start a career in cyber security?
No, thirty is not too old to start a career in cybersecurity. People of all ages, genders, and walks of life are encouraged to pursue careers in cybersecurity. Starting a career in cybersecurity is possible at any age if you have the passion, motivation, and commitment to learn and develop. You may have to put in more work to catch up to the industry’s current level of expertise, but you can use your prior experience and applicable talents to your benefit.
Can I become skilled in cyber security in a year?
Cybersecurity training can be completed in as little as six months. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be a cybersecurity expert or pro in a mere six months. The topic of cybersecurity is wide and complex, necessitating constant study and development. In 6 months or fewer, you can master the foundations of cybersecurity by enrolling in an online course or a bootcamp. Gaining work experience is possible through voluntary work, online platforms and contests, and the development of personal projects and a portfolio. If you want to get ahead in the field of cybersecurity, though, you’ll need to maintain studying and gaining experience.
Do you need a degree or certification to work in cybersecurity, or can you get by without them?
Without a degree or credentials, finding work in cybersecurity is not difficult. However, it could be more difficult or competitive than the average labor market. A degree or certification in cybersecurity is a great way to demonstrate your expertise to potential employers and stand out from the competition. However, these are not the only things that should be considered when looking for a career in the cybersecurity field. Potential employers additionally consider things like your work history, projects, portfolio, talents, attitude, personality, etc. You can show that you have these qualities by making an impressive portfolio of your cybersecurity initiatives and accomplishments and by performing well in interviews and tests.