Have you wondered how you start a career in cyber security? What are the education and training requirements to start a career in cyber security? How do you get a cyber security job without experience?
This article is about how to start a career in cyber security career the right way. It talks about the importance of getting a degree, getting certifications, and participating in internships and/or cybersecurity competitions. This article will also discuss the career path into launching a cyber security career.
The Cyber Security Professionals of the Future
The cyber security profession is one of the most in-demand careers in the modern world. With cyber attacks on the rise and data breaches happening just about every day, it is a lucrative and rewarding career choice for those who are passionate about protecting people and enterprises from cyberattacks. According to cyberseek.org, there are 597,767 open positions in the United State in March, 2022.
What is a career in Cybersecurity?
A career in cybersecurity is one that focuses on ensuring the protection of information, systems, and infrastructure. Cybersecurity professionals are responsible for protecting data and information of an organization by identifying, preventing and mitigating cyber threats. They must be able to identify the source of the attack, how it was carried out, and what was compromised. Developing relationships with partners is key in creating a successful cybersecurity program. Partners can include federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and others.
Here are some of the positions that require cybersecurity knowledge and skills today:
- Technical support
- System Administrator
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Network Specialist
- Cyber Security Specialist
- Penetration Tester
- Incident Response Handler
- Digital Forensic Specialist
Every job in IT and cyber requires some level of cyber security knowledge and expertise.
What are the education and training requirements to start a new career in Cybersecurity?
There are many education and training paths to be able to start a new career in Cybersecurity. Here are some of the paths:
- Career Path #1: Get a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or a related field, participate in cyber defense and capture the flag cyber competitions, and also do an internship.
- Career Path #2: Enter a cyber security apprenticeship program and work on your degree in parallel with being an apprenticeship. This is a new path that is becoming more popular.
- Career Path #3: Get an associate\’s degree in networking or technical support. Work in a technical support position and work your way up to a cyber security position through certifications. NOTE: All technical jobs all work in cybersecurity today. All technical positions have a cyber defender role along with other technical tasks.
- Career Path #4: If you already have a degree in another field, you could work on just getting the right certifications and find an organization that you can intern with to assist in the transition. Getting a Master’s degree is not the right path for someone who is trying to break into the field. You will start at the bottom with Bachelor’s degree graduates. You need the foundational knowledge in technology to be truly successful.
What are the foundational skills needed to start a new career in Cybersecurity?
The foundational skills needed to start a new career in cybersecurity are:
- Knowledge and skills of the fundamentals of computing and information technology, such as hardware, software, networks, operating systems, and programming especially Python,
- Knowledge and skills of networking and telecommunications
- Awareness of common security threats and vulnerabilities
- Awareness of cryptography
- Awareness of legal issues related to cybersecurity.
What are the certification requirements to start a new career in Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity professionals may need to take part in a certification process before they can start working as cybersecurity professionals. They may also need to get licensed depending on the country they are working in. At a minimum, CompTIA Security+ is required for most entry-level positions in Cyber Security today. Now, Security+ requires a solid foundation in hardware, software, networking, and operating systems. CompTIA does recommend A+ and Network+ as prerequisites to Security+. The next step above Security+ is CySA+ from CompTIA. If you want to work as an ethical hacker and/or pentester, then you need to acquire CompTIA Pentest+ or Eccouncil’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).
What are the experience requirements to start a new career in Cybersecurity?
To be able to start a new career in Cybersecurity, you are going to need experience. I highly recommend that you get an Internship position over several summers. Usually, 85% of interns get hired by the sponsoring employer at graduation so you have a good chance of landing a cybersecurity position that way.
Another way is to apply and get accepted into a cybersecurity apprenticeship program that allows you to work while you are going to school earning a degree.
A third way is to earn experience through participating in cyber defense and capturing the flag of cyber security competitions. Employers recruit and hire students from these competitions so that is another way to get the experience you need.
There is an old adage – Certifications get you an interview, your skills get you the job, and the degree allows you to get promoted.
Characteristics of Aspiring Cybersecurity Professionals
One must possess a set of vital characteristics if one aspires to succeed in the world of cybersecurity. I believe that these are intelligence, innovation, logical reasoning, strong skills in basic mathematics and information technology, adequate organizational skills, and the motivation to make a difference in this difficult field. You need to have a passion for solving problems because working in cybersecurity is about solving complex problems with organizations.
In this article, we explored the complex world of cyber security careers. Breaking into cybersecurity is not an easy task and requires solid knowledge and skills in technology along with solid knowledge and skills in cybersecurity. A combination of education, training, certifications, and experience is needed to land a cybersecurity position. We explored different pathways to a cybersecurity career..
If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. I am more than happy in helping.