How to Plan a Career Path in Cybersecurity?


Are you trying to plan a career path in cybersecurity? Planning a cybersecurity career path is similar to planning a garden. Since we are in Spring, let’s use the garden metaphor to describe how to plan a career path in Cybersecurity.


Cyber security is one of the most important topics in today\’s world. There are many ways to secure your data and information, and we need to be aware of them.

Cyber security is a term that refers to the prevention of unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification or destruction of information systems and their data. It includes protecting communications between networks with encryption and guarding against malware.

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting information and data from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. Cybersecurity can be achieved through different means including security software, firewalls, and encryption.

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field with many career opportunities. It requires a lot of knowledge and skills to become an expert in this field. However, there are many ways to acquire these skills such as taking courses on cybersecurity and doing hands-on work in the field.

Planning and Preparation

If you are a serious gardener, you start planning your garden a few months before you plant including preparing the garden for plants and starting the seeds in small pots. You also will do the research on the best time to plant your crops in the garden.

Planning and preparing your garden is similar to planning the preparing for your cybersecurity career. Research is key.

You need to consider the following:

  1. What program will I enroll in?
    • Do I need another undergraduate degree or training instead? If you already have a degree, training might be your first choice. If you do not have a degree, you to consider acquiring one since that is in your long-term interest. I have always said that a certification gets you the interview, skills get you the job, and a degree allows you to be promoted.
  2. What certifications do I need to acquire?
    • At a minimum, you need Security+ from CompTIA but you should consider A+, Network+/CCNA first.
  3. What experience do I need?
    • For a lot of entry-level jobs, you will need 2-3 years of experience or you can learn what you need from capture the flag red team competitions and/or blue-team cyber defense competitions. There are more opportunities in the blue team career path than in the red team career path. You can also gain the experience you need through internships.
  4. What knowledge and skills do I need?
    • You need a good solid foundation in hardware, software, operating systems, networking, coding (python), and cybersecurity such as cyber defense and cyber offense.

Planting the Seeds of Knowledge

As part of preparing for your garden, you need to plant the seeds into pots inside to get them started. Not all crops require that and you know from your research what you need to plant ahead of time.

In your learning of cybersecurity, you need to plant the seeds of knowledge so they can cultivate into knowledge and skill seedlings. The first part of your training are in foundational skills which need to be firmly planted so you can grow into fully grown cybersecurity knowledge and skills.

Cultivating the Knowledge Seedlings into Career-Ready Skills

Your garden needs the right mix of sun, water, and fertilizer to allow for steady growth into fully grown crops that give you the greatest yield.

Your cybersecurity knowledge and skills need the right mix of reading, labs, and projects to allow for steady growth into fully skilled cybersecurity professionals. You need to continue to learn to get the greatest yield out of your training and acquiring of certifications.

Maintaining your Cybersecurity Foundation while Building your Expertise

Now you are into summer and your goal is to maintain your crops in your garden to allow for continued growth while you are protecting your crops from unwanted pests.

You also need to maintain your foundational knowledge through reading, labs, and projects while you are continuing to grow into more knowledgeable and skilled cybersecurity professional. As you gain more knowledge, you are also working on more certifications.

You need to avoid unwanted doubts about your knowledge and skills. You need to keep your confidence up and ready for the next stage of your development.

Harvesting the Fruits of Your Learning

At the end of the growing cycle for your crops, you need to harvest your crops throughout the summer and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

At the end of your training, you need to acquire an internship to practice your knowledge and skills in cybersecurity or practice and do cybersecurity competitions.

Now, is the time to start looking for a cybersecurity career. Put your resume together and apply for positions and be ready for the call for an interview. In your training, you probably like one particular area of cybersecurity over others so consider applying for those positions. There is a tremendous need for skilled cybersecurity professionals. As long you took your training seriously and acquired certifications along the way you should be in good shape.

Now is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Life-Long Commitment to Learning

At the end of the summer, you pull up the plants and start planning for a new spring. You reflect on the lessons learned for this growing season. Serious gardeners are continuously learning from each season.

Same with your cybersecurity career. Now, your learning has just begun. You need to be committed to continuous lifelong learning. Your newfound career will dictate what you need to learn and what certifications might be important. The next phase of learning is determined by what kind of work you are doing.

Learning to become a cybersecurity professional requires planning, preparation, planting, cultivating, maintaining, and harvesting your newfound knowledge and skills. In this article, we used the garden metaphor to learn the different phases of a cybersecurity career path. Following these recommendations will assist you in acquiring a career in cybersecurity.


Dr. M

Dr. M

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